People’s Songs (Stuart Maconie)

This exceptional book, The People’s Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records by Stuart Maconie, combines modern British history with an in-depth knowledge of popular music. Here is the story of Britain since World War 2 outlined through fifty significant songs, with others mentioned along the way.

It was an absolute joy to read; with its wealth of information and knowledge, it appealed to my love of history, politics, culture, and music. It’s a book I’m sure to read again.

I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of the fifty songs in the book, you can find it here.

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link) and see all my 2021 books here.

Immigrants (Nitin Sawhney)

When a nation flounders under the yolk of a morally bereft government more bothered about igniting the flames of a phony culture war to cover up its own jingoistic ineptitude than dealing with racial inequities and massive unearned financial disparities, we’re forced to look elsewhere for guidance. 

Here, on his twelfth album, Nitin Sawhney adds his voice to the fray and adds layer upon layer of ruminations on identity, life as a migrant and belonging. Source

The challenging album Immigrants by Nitin Sawhney is one of my favourites of 2021. You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

More Signals, More Dreams

This album by Puppy Bordiga is one of my favourites of 2021. You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Let me share with you the album notes: This is an album inspired on the work of those who capture the signals from the skies… Somehow continuing the line of my previous album Visiting our Neighborhood.

This new work started as an almost all guitars and sound processing thing, but evolves exponentially with the addition of the keyboards. I’ve tried to balance the different moods, it is for moments ambient, experimental, symphonic, and even alien-alike music (if that exists). A reflection on macrocosmic genesis and life.

As we are made from interstellar material up to the very single atom, putting the eyes on the skies, remembering our connection with the Cosmos could be a healthy breath in the difficult times we’re facing these days.

Volume levels recommended, as all the works of this kind are from medium to low, although you’re free to do what you want. Enjoy!

Flat White Moon (Field Music)

Since forming in 2004, this Sunderland band may have gone through many iterations and phases, but brothers David and Peter Brewis have always been at its core. Over the years they have gained themselves a loyal following and famous fans including Prince, and their ninth album is rooted around tracks inspired by their early influences – The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Fleetwood Mac. Source Unknown.

This excellent album by Field Music is one of my favourites of 2021. You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Matters of Life and Death

Matters of Life and Death by Philip Stuckey is an excellent anthology of short stories, with lots to think about and plenty of ideas to reflect on.

It’s a collection of stories filled with elements of horror, fantasy, personal experience, and (obviously) matters of life and death. The stories, some short and some longer, are captivating and intriguing to read.

This is an enjoyable and thought-provoking collection. Although a cliche, it’s like a box of chocolates, you don’t know what you’re going to get. As the author says of his book, it’s a glimpse into the lives of others, and an invitation to consider the true nature of our world and our place in it.

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link) and see all my 2021 books here.

Note: Philip Stuckey is also a musician in the band Stuckfish. Stuckfish began in 2017 with the collaboration of two musician friends: singer-songwriter, Philip Stuckey and guitarist/composer/producer, Adrian Fisher. Joined in 2020 by experienced and talented musicians, Gary Holland (keyboards), Phil Morey (Bass) and Adam Sayers (drums), Stuckfish has created melodic rock songs with a progressive twist. Source

Medicine At Midnight (Foo Fighters)

Medicine at Midnight is the 10th studio album by American rock band Foo Fighters. It was released in 2021 having been delayed from 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s one of my favourite albums of 2021.

The album shows a slight shift in the band’s style, adding elements of dance-rock and pop to their usual rock sound. The song Cloudspotter contains a guitar riff that Dave Grohl wrote 25 years ago but was never able to use it until now.

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Flock (Jane Weaver)

Flock is the 11th album from Liverpool’s prolific psych virtuoso Jane Weaver, it’s one of my favourite albums of 2021.

Of the album, she said: “I’d felt down in the dumps when writing it and subconsciously I wanted to write myself up, and wanted a pop album with bittersweet lyrics.” But while the production might be maximalist, there are also intriguing elements of free jazz, synth-pop and 60s girl group melodies thrown into the mix.

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

How I Long for Peace

The title of this post is a song from the recent album First Farewell by Peggy Seeger, it’s one of my favourite albums of 2021. I chose to feature this song because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but this is a wonderful collection of songs addressing a variety of issues and subjects.

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

I cannot understand
How the sisters, wives and mothers
Cannot stop the slaughter
Of the husbands, sons and brothers

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

There never will be peace
Till men abandon fighting
As the way to deal with problems
That prevent us from uniting

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

The profits made from war
There’s few that can resist them
Hypocrisy and greed control
The lifeblood of the system

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

The world can wait no longer
For political permission
Sit down, disrupt, do anything
To make the whole world listen

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.