Writing by Molly McKew // The captivating folk artist Mary Webb has recently released her new album Love Like Planets, a beautiful and delicate new offering to the Australian music scene (listen here!). In the midst of her tour through Australia to promote her record, she stopped to tell Ramona readers about the five greatest albums in her record collection (and this is well worth reading!).
Writing by Mary Webb & Molly McKew
The captivating folk artist Mary Webb has recently released her new album Love Like Planets, a beautiful and delicate new offering to the Melbourne music scene (listen here!). In the midst of her tour through Australia to promote her record, she stopped to tell Ramona readers about the five greatest albums in her record collection (and this is well worth reading!).
Mary: There are some themes here, like returning to or reflecting on childhood, using your voice as a textural or percussive instrument, and using technology to take existing sounds and transform them into something different. As well as their curiosity and experimental nature, I think what I’m drawn to in all of these albums is their humanness. These artists are trying to express something real and connect through common experience and feeling. One mark of a great album, I think, is the way it flows from beginning to end. It should take you exactly where you need to go at exactly the right time. So, to truly appreciate great works (at least for the first time) I would heartily recommend you listen to it undistracted, in the dark, right the way through, and sit in the silence for a time afterwards to let it really soak in.
Radiohead :: KID A (2000)
I remember when this came out. I already knew and loved OK Computer, and was soon to venture back and discover Radiohead’s earlier records, but when I heard Kid A, it struck a chord with me. I was in year 10 at high school. I would lock myself in my room, put on this album, turn the volume right up and the lights right down and get lost in the textures. On occasion, I’ve listened to one song from Kid A in isolation and tried to connect with it on the same level. It never works. This was a lesson for me. I love that it’s not a collection of singles cobbled together onto a disc. Each song has its place and the songs flow seamlessly from one to the next. When the album ends, you feel like you’re waking up from a deep sleep.
Elbow :: BUILD A ROCKET BOYS (2011)
It’s hard to pick a favourite album from Elbow, they all stand out in some way. But I had to choose this one for its melodies and its tenderness. The album’s inspiration is nostalgia; reflecting on childhood’s people and places. It’s sentimental at times but never cringe- worthy, and there are some melancholy ones as well as some warm, fun ones. A nice mix. The opening song ‘The Birds’ is a beautiful start to the album, and I love that it returns at the end in a different form as ‘The Birds (reprise)’. I was introduced to Elbow with this album, and I think it’s a very accessible place to start.
Laura Marling :: SEMPER FEMINA (2017)
When the opening track starts playing, I get a shiver of anticipation every time, because I know what’s coming and it’s beautiful. The songwriting is everything I’ve come to expect from Marling, and the production takes it to another level. Marling has always seemed bestowed with a wisdom beyond her years, and one thing I find so satisfying about this album is that it’s about exploring something new and unexpected. There’s still insight, and that old-world longing for love and connection, but it feels fresher, more real, and a little bit playful. It’s also more open, more specific. You can picture the people, the conversations, the situations. And like most great albums, it flows well. When you put this one on, I’d recommend making a bit of room for interpretive dancing, should the desire arise.
Imogen Heap :: ELLIPSE (2009)
Imogen Heap is really interesting as a creator. Her character and her story are so much a part of the music she makes and the way she performs it. I liked her earlier work just enough to keep listening and to give Ellipse a try when it came out in ’09. I’m glad I did. Heap recorded Ellipse in her childhood home, after a round-the- world writing trip. (Something for me to aspire to perhaps!) The album has a good flow, making it worth listening to as whole album, but the songs are strong individually as well. The lyrics on Ellipse are a big step up from her previous work. To really get the most from them, I’d recommend reading them. They’re mostly very understandable if you listen (which is great) but sometimes they go by pretty fast, so it’s nice to read them at your own pace and let them sink in.
Björk :: MEDULLA (2004)
Bjork’s music has always enthralled me. It’s expressive, raw and powerful. Vespertine (the previous album) is a great record and I still go back to it now, but Medulla strikes me in a deep, visceral way that I can’t ignore. It is almost entirely acapella, but it doesn’t lack depth or variety; quite the opposite. It features two choirs, three beatboxers, an Inuit throat singer, a human trombone and several guest vocalists, and is both energetic and meditative. Bjork says she wanted the record to “be like muscle, blood, flesh”, which I think is about stripping back the cultural layers to find what we all have in common as humans. This one maybe isn’t background music, at least to start with. Sit and listen to this one in a dark room with candles.
Listen to Love Like Planets here:[spotifyplaybutton play=”spotify:album:7F98tA7kGnKqYOSZ1zMNbU”/]
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