One of my favourite albums of 2020 was produced by Booker T. Jones, Serpentine Prison by Matt Berninger. Booker T is a legendary musician and producer, and his album Melting Pot (Booker T. & the M.G.’s) was released fifty years ago in January 1971. It’s worth a listen, even though their most well known track is Green Onions, which (even if you don’t recognise the title) you’ll probably know.
You’ve probably guessed that I enjoy listening to new albums, as well as discovering old music that’s new to me.
I find out about new albums from a variety of sources, and sometimes I kick myself for missing one – like Earth by Ed O’Brien. But, this debut album by Matt Berninger of The National, is one I didn’t miss! It was recommended to me by Anisa Subedar, a friend I haven’t met in real life yet.
I immediately liked the overall sound of the album and the fascinating lyrics, and it’s one of my favourites of 2020. The album was produced by the legendary Booker T. Jones and features Gail Ann Dorsey (probably best know as David Bowie‘s bass player from 1995 until his death in 2016) in one song.
Serpentine Prison isn’t the drastic change of pace that many frontmen create when they do a project outside of their main band, but it does enough to justify itself as separate from The National’s catalog. At the same time, longtime fans of the group will undoubtedly feel at home here, too, while also admiring what Berninger does differently. It’s not all equally captivating or distinctive, but it is consistently moving, tasteful, and alluring, promising something even greater when Berninger returns for his sophomore solo sequence. Jordan Blum
You can see all my favourite 2020 albums by clicking here.
See also: Melting Pot (Booker T Jones)