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2020 Album Countdown: The A-OK (24-18)

7 Dec

I’m trying something different with my countdowns this year. Instead of writing a whole big thing (that nobody will read) I did individual album reviews and put the link under the artist. If you wanna check out my specific thoughts, click the link-if not, move through the count!

This is NOT the final list. This is the middle of the countdown list.


Jason Mraz (1 awesome; 2 good; 5 ok;  meh; 4 dislike of 12 = 

8.3% awesome; 

16.7% good; 

66.7% OK & up

 -33.3% dislike = 

33.4% OK & up)

This is a very light, and optimistic album.  And I have an ethical dilemma about supporting a “look for the good in everyone” or “make love not war” narrative, when it’s a matter of ethics violations, suppression, human rights, and life and death, as is going on right now.  It’s the right message for a different time.  Sorry (not sorry), but this hippy-dippy $hit ain’t gonna cut it right now, and it’s a pretty privileged position to be coming from when people are literally dying in the street.  At this time, I say, Jason, read the room.

Also, not to get too down on the artist of my first concert experience, but I really dislike the genre of reggae.  So each song was judged on my opinion, rather than on it’s own merits as I usually would.  Because there’s no way I’m putting even a good reggae song on my playlist!

Thirdly, listening to reggae I do not like made me wonder if there’s some sort of listener effect (scientifically speaking) where your opinion remains consistent.  For example, because I didn’t like 2 reggae songs in a row, am I more likely to hate that third song too?  Even if it’s not reggae? And this is only broken with an extreme like of that third song?  I was wondering because of the true reggae songs, I think there were 3-4, yet I really didn’t like any of the songs that followed….


Jojo  (2 awesome; 3 good; 5 ok; 1 meh; 4 dislike of  16 = 

12.5% awesome; 

18.8% good;

Awesome good avg = 15.65%

62.5% OK & up

25% dislike

Awesome – dislike = neg

Good – dislike = neg

Awesome good avg – dislike = neg

Ok – dislike = 37.5%)


Lady Gaga (5 good, 5 meh, 1 hate of 16 = 

31.2% good; 

31.2% meh; 

Avg of good & meh = 

31.2% OK

-6.3% for hated song = 

24.9% good; 

24.9% OK

Chromatica (interludes):  they’re nice.  I like them and was left wanting more each time.  I gather they are a type of separation for the musical chapters.  I say that because I was wondering why the album doesn’t sound futuristic until a third of it is finished.  And I realized there was a break-up to end the first third, then a 2nd chomatica interlude, and a definite change in feel/sound.  If that’s the case, I say throw out the entire first chapter.  Every song was weak and generic.

I was listening to the Lady Gaga album, and a song came on that immediately made me amped up and excited.  I thought–finally!  It took til track 16, but here is a show-stopper.  It was the next song in her catalogue, Bradley Cooper singing “Black Eyes” off A Star Is Born Soundtrack.  But that little story tells you how I felt about Chromatica.  There was some strong ‘remix for the gay club scene’ vibes from this album.  It’s dancy.  I did like, what I gather, is supposed to be 3 chapters of a story.  It’s a neat concept, and I’d like to see it done better in the future.  On this album, you could unfortunately toss chapter 1 and 3 in the trash.  Each of the songs on the first and last thirds of the album were weak to bad.


The Flaming Lips (4 ok of 11 = 36.4%)

Alice fell asleep in Wonderland.  That’s how I would describe the album.  It’s experimental, but down-tempo, low-key.  Background music, with distortion.  

These last 3 songs, finally woke me up.  I nearly didn’t finish listening to the whole album, because I thought I could tell where it was headed.  I’m glad I didn’t abandon it before it got better.  I wish Flaming Lips had released an EP with the latter-part of the album.  


Alicia Keys (7 ok of 16 = 43.8% ok)

I guess the album is good, though it’s not my cup of tea, apparently.  I wanted higher energy, less slow, less chill.  But even for those who like this easy-going music, I think the album could have benefitted from some editing.  Don’t keep every song just to have a more substantial album.  Cut weak songs–even if it turns into an EP.  Or single.  


Joan Osborn (7 ok of 10 = 70% ok)

18. The Top A-OK album of 2020 is:

The Lone Bellow (6 good; 6 meh of 12 = 

50% good; 

100% meh and up; 

avg = 70% Ok )

Next list is The Good.

Check it out!

Alicia Keys: ALICIA Album Review

7 Dec

Truth Without Love:  It has a discordant sound I don’t like.

Time Machine:  The base is the exceptional part of this song.  The chorus has a funk sound.

Authors of forever:  It’s down-tempo, and chill.

Wasted Energy:  I immediately liked the 4 count low piano note.  And I immediately didn’t like the vocalizations that followed those.  This is another track that is intentionally discordant.  The verse is sung in sharp of something, so it’s displeasing to my ear.

Underdog:  My favorite song on this album so far.  I like the marching beat, and the lyrics are truthful, yet hopeful.  It’s like a softer Phillip Phillipson.  Calypso on the bridge, make it interesting, and the “um ba doo, um ba doo, um ba um ba umba do” makes it catchy.

3 Hour Drive:  It’s a nice duet.  Not much to speak of.  More low-key songs.

Me x 7:  Women should be told more often to put themselves first.  And that it’s ok to put yourself first. 

Show Me Love:  This transported me back to 1995.  With Brandi, Monica, TLC, SWV, sexy females with a more R&B sound.  

So Done:  A song about being authentic to yourself, and not losing yourself in any relationship is one I can get behind.  The pace is super-slow, and I wish it was more interesting, but I do like the lyrics.

Gramercy Park:  A continuation of the sentiment from the last song.  She gave up who she is to be in this relationship.  Keys changed herself to be more palatable to this partner.  And now the partner found someone else–ironically nothing like what Keys created her image to be to please this person.

Love Looks Better:  The only song on this album so far that has made me excited.  The piano is a carnival here.  It’s finally got some beat, and some stuff going on, vs. the super-mello stuff prior.

You Save Me:  Quiet song.

Jill Scott:  A retro 1960s sound.  The singing reminds me of a whispering Janice Joplin.

Perfect WAy to Die:  The singing style reminds me of Keys’ prior works more than any other track on the album.  The song doesn’t capture my attention.

Good Job:  It’s always nice to hear you’re doing a good job and what you’re doing matters.  Points for positivity on this album.  It’s a good surprise after more than 3 minutes in, to find out the song is a shout out to everyone working for us in 2020:  Teachers, first responders, etc…

Three Hour Drive:  Another duet that’s nice, but not all that memorable. 

I guess the album is good, though it’s not my cup of tea, apparently.  I wanted higher energy, less slow, less chill.  But even for those who like this easy-going music, I think the album could have benefitted from some editing.  Don’t keep every song just to have a more substantial album.  Cut weak songs–even if it turns into an EP.  Or single.