The phrase “something for everyone” gets thrown around a lot, and it’s not always accurate. There certainly isn’t something for sweet Auntie Sandy in the Goth Zone bargain bin, for instance. But we guarantee that whoever your difficult-to-buy-for giftee is, one of these five belter albums will bring a smile to their dial when they open it come Christmas morn. Check em’ out!
The undisputed diamond of the year, 30 will genuinely appeal to more demographics than a Tim Tam (even people who shop at Goth Zone!). In our frothing write-up, we called it: “A sublime triumph…inspired by divorce, motherhood, and the unblinking eye of the ever-present media.”
You know who are equals? Ed Sheeran and his wife Cherry Seaborn. Convince the Grinch in your fam that true love really is possible with Ed’s latest bout of brilliance. We said (of stand-out track Leave Your Life): “In its closing ad-libbed moments, Sheeran comes very close to sounding like King of Pop Michael Jackson in the way he lets that super-emotional serrated edge come into his belted notes. Beautifully textured yet sparse, this one’s a gorgeous piece of percussive pop.”
You’d probably better listen to it again, just to make sure it’s as awesome as it was last time. (SPOILER, IT IS.)
The second entry in Taylor Swift’s back-cat reimagining is an undoubted gem; who gets away with a 10-minute pop song? Nobody except T-Swizz, that’s who (unless you want to count Meat Loaf, we guess – but he certainly didn’t have the cajones to create a clip of the long version!). In our review of Red (Taylor’s Version), we said: “Revisiting this album a decade later, Swift has managed to retain the authenticity that made it such a poignant masterpiece… [the album] becomes a new feather in the hat of an artist who only continues to reach higher.” Right on!
Forty years: that’s how long its been between ABBA albums. D’you know what was happening 40 years ago? Princess Diana and Prince Charles got married. The first Frequent Flyer program was established. Ronald Regan was elected US president, for God’s sake! And ABBA released The Visitors, their eighth album (and seventh #1 in a row).
This year, we got its follow-up: the brilliant Voyage. Here’s what we had to say about it: “A thrilling addition to the Swedish pop phenomenon’s already-spectacular discography… There’s an innocent earnestness to ABBA that’s unmistakable, oh-so-rare and frankly adorable. Perfect diction draws us into each song’s evocative storyline as we gleefully draw comparisons to fave ABBA songs from yonder years.”
We already used up our best Paul Kelly/train pun in the headline of our article for this album’s announcement, but suffice to say, you’ll be right on track if you grab this steaming beauty. Don’t be a slowcomotive; keep calm, carriage on, and get your mitts around this puffin’ great record!
These were our thoughts upon its release: “Paul Kelly doesn’t do things by halves. Twenty-five years after his Christmas classic How to Make Gravy, he’s delivered his first Christmas album, a 22-song set that’s epic, educational, festive and fun… All are welcome on Kelly’s Christmas Train, probably the most eclectic Christmas collection ever released.”