Music bought in 2015

New [on LP]

Rock Or Bust by AC/DC
This short fuse of an album (a mere 35 minutes) didn't wow the critics, but I liked it. Special mention to 'Dogs of War', 'Rock The Blues Away' and the excellent title track. Lovely lenticular artwork, too.

Take On Me by a-ha
This 7", released for Record Store Day, takes the cake when it comes to thievery. It cost $29. TWENTY-NINE DOLLARS. For two songs. Madness! Sparta!

Honky Tonk Demos by Dire Straits
Four tracks ('Sultans of Swing', 'Water Of Love', 'Down To The Waterline', 'Wild West End') across two 7" discs, released for Record Store Day. All songs were recorded during a so-called 'Charlie Gillett Session' on 27 July 1977. Wow, that's almost forty years ago, and the songs (even if they're just demos) still sound unbelievably vital and fresh. Mr. Gillett's was apparently a key figure in getting the band exposure. He's thanked on the back of this release with the following words: 'Some five years from his passing, we salute Charlie Gillett's championing of music over the airwaves. Music and music lovers miss you.' Lovely words.

Parels voor de Zwijnen by De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig
This Dutch hip hop landmark from 2005 was never released on vinyl. In 2015, a pressing of just 500 copies was produced for entertainment conglomerate FNAC.

Foreverly by Billy Joe & Norah
A lovely collection of covers and standard. What a weird collaboration (Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones), but it works.

En Route by Tourist LeMC
A Belgian hip hop release, no less. Tourist LeMC raps in his native dialect of Antwerpian (that's not the correct term). His topics are positive, intelligent and hopeful. Which is nice.

Tré! by Green Day
The closing chapter of the 'Uno! Dos! Tré!' trilogy. More of the same, but that's not a bad thing.

Hey by Elvis Perkins
A gorgeous song, affordable at just $3. I immediately bought four copies to give away as birthday presents.

I Can't Get No Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones
A 12" rerelease to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic song that helped shape rock music.

Cast In Steel by a-ha
Hurrah! a-ha did come back after 'Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)'. Their first album since 2009 is also their first vinyl since 'Memorial Beach' in 1993. Excellent stuff, especially 'Under The Makeup', 'Giving Up The Ghost', 'The Wake' and the title track.

Album Collection Volume One by Bruce Springsteen
Reissues of Springsteen's first seven albums in one sturdy box. Received this from Petra and Maarten, as a compensation for the two birth announcements I made for their children. Thanks, guys.

Shine by Years & Years
Brilliant song, but $11 for a single!? What were they thinking. Check the slowed-down 33rpm version here.

Achter Glas by Boudewijn de Groot
Boudewijn de Groot is a national treasure from The Netherlands. On 'Achter Glas', he explores familiar themes, while coming to terms with becoming older and facing mortality. What a phenomenal talent de Groot still is. Bowing down on both knees.

En hoe het dan ook weer dag wordt by Maaike Ouboter
Dutch singer-songwriter Ouboter impresses with intimate, fragile, soft-spoken songs. One to watch. And, well, listen to.

Crosseyed Heart by Keith Richards
Is it me, or does the 'Heartstopper' beat/groove resemble The Stones' 'Flip The Switch'? Borrowing from yourself is not plagiarism, of course. This is the first Keith solo album I've listened to. Ace stuff.

Maryland by Gesaffelstein
Soundtrack to the 2015 Alice Winocour movie (starring our Matthias Schoenaerts). Just 1,000 copies were made.

Toy Story Favorites by Randy Newman
Six favourites from the first three movies. 'Just' six tracks across two sides of a lovely picture disc, making it quite steep at $26. Sigh, it's hard out here for a vinyl lover.

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Danny Elfman
The best soundtrack of all time, on two picture discs. Essential.

Night Time, My Time by Sky Ferreira
Worth owning, if just for 'Heavy Metal Heart'. One of the best songs of the 2010's.

The Best of Nicktoons by Various Artists
A exclusive, which prompted my impulse purchase. I never watched Nicktoons (or Nickelodeon) while growing up, so I don't have any nostalgic attachment to these songs. I'm a sucker for scarce exclusives.

Delirium by Ellie Goulding
$79.60!? Madness! Sparta! Nice box set, though.

Compton by Dr. Dre
A ridiculous $65.08 via Dre's own site, which advertised the exclusive nature of the release. A few months later, every corner drugstore had the vinyl for $25. They swindled this wigger.

Back to the Future by Various Artists
$50 for this picture disc!? What's going on with these absurd prices?

If I Can Dream by Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley's ballads, with orchestral enhancements. Purists cry foul, but my father (a major fan) and me don't complain.

25 by Samson & Gert
The Belgian children's television icons release their first vinyl since 1992. Pure nostalgia for just $16.90. Now that's a price point I can agree with.

The Walk by Alan Silvestri
The beautiful soundtrack to the supremely underrated movie. One of just 500 copies.

New [on CD]

A Place With No Name by Michael Jackson
A veritable CD single from Germany is one of the last countries to actually issue compact disc singles.

Kisses On The Bottom by Paul McCartney
Just $1 for this excellent collection of McCartney's favourite pop and jazz standards, plus two new songs of his own.

Xscape by Michael Jackson
Just $5.67 for the deluxe version of the posthumous album, including all the (extremely impressive) demos and a DVD with the making of the album.

Are You With Me by Lost Frequencies
Another Germany-only CD single. The first UK number one for a Belgian act in history, and a fantastic song to boot.

Scoundrel Days by a-ha
Reissue of a-ha's best album, including early demos and extended mixes.

The Ties That Bind by Bruce Springsteen
Four CDs, two Blu-rays, pure joy.

Second hand [on LP]

Baby It's You by Promises
Promises, the Knauer siblings' band. Leslie Knauer has pipes. Just listen to the refrain.

Hunting High and Low by a-ha
Just £1 in London's 'Music and Video Exchange Notting Hill'. The final a-ha record I needed. I now own all studio albums, but I do need 'Memorial Beach' on wax to actually complete the vinyl collection.

Together In Electric Dreams
by Giorgio Moroder with Philip Oakey
Isn't it funny how one can come across gaping cultural black holes, and immediately benefit from them? Just this morning, I stumbled upon the Phil Oakey/Giorgio Moroder collaboration Together in Electric Dreams from the movie Electric Dreams, after someone mentioned the song in an online LaserDisc discussion. I had never ever heard of it until I read the post. I subsequently found the song on YouTube, listened to it, immediately liked it, bought the iTunes file for $1.29 and have been listening to it non-stop since. 'So good', as Harry Osborn would say. And then I found the 7" vinyl single on a flea market. Even better.

The Storm/Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
by Jim Steinman
The prologue and epilogue to his epic album 'Bad For Good'. Truly triumphant tracks from my favourite songsmith.

Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young
by Jim Steinman and Fire Inc.
From the 'Streets of Fire' soundtrack, fully curated by Steinman. As a fan, I desperately need to see this movie.

(I'll Never Be) Maria Magdalena by Sandra
One of the best German-but-sung-in-English songs of all time.

Ti Sento by Matia Bazar
One of the best Italian songs of all time. I genuinely dig it.

Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire by Bonnie Tyler
A Steinman produced record is always an essential purchase. This one includes 'Holding Out For A Hero', which I actually discovered thanks to its inclusion on the 'Shrek 2' soundtrack.

Think About The Way by Ice MC
A 90's favourite. What a floorfiller. Bomb-diggi-diggi-bomb-diggy-bomb for the win.

Miss California by Dante Thomas with Pras Still a classy song. Whatever happened to Dante Thomas?

Chartbusters by Ray Parker Jr.
A birthday present from my nephew Grigore and his bonny lass Lynn. 'Ghostbusters' is the only worthwile track included.

Hollywood Seven by Alides Hidding
A cover, but a darn good one. Possibly on those rare covers that better the original. Love the synths. Too bad this is the 7" edit, because the extended cut is even better (especially the longer intro).

Too Late For Goodbyes by Julian Lennon
Can a song by a Julian really be a bad one? This one can even be heard on one of Grand Theft Auto V's radio stations.

Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee
One of the most touching (movie) ballads of all time. This is my wedding song runner-up. Springsteen's 'My Beautiful Reward' is number one.

Hilversum III by Herman van Veen
Herman van Veen, a national treasure from The Netherlands, sings a song about the days of yore, when the milkman brought the milk, people sung their own tunes in the street and everybody loved each other.

Lazy Bums by Lazy Bums
The Israeli entry for the 1987 Eurovision Song Contest, in Brussels no less. Featuring two, well, lazy bums dressed in a Blues Brothers-esque getup and showcasing incredible dance moves. Here's a YouTube-link. This song always manages to make my day. An ideal depression remedy.

U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer
Yo Sweetness! Hammer's breakaway breakthrough breakdancing ballbreaking hit.

Song For Whoever by The Beautiful South
One of the best songs ever written about songwriting. The protagonist sings about all the girls he wrote songs about, and the money the royalties gave him. On top of that, 'Song For Whoever' boasts a beautiful melody and fantastic singing. What more do you want?

Second hand [on MC]

Too Legit To Quit by Hammer
Hammer on a lenghty cassette. Yes. The stuff that a nerd's dreams are made of.

Second hand [on CD]

Unbelievable by EMF
Early 90's floorfiller. Essential purchase (in a second hand video game store, no less) at $1.

L'Envers Du Décor by Sita
Sita Vermeulen, the best kept musical secret from The Netherlands, offers a few French songs in addition to the best of her first two English albums, in an attempt to conquer the French-language market after the unexpected hit success of her 'Le Chemin'-collaboration with Kyo.

Heat by Soulsister
Not just one of the best Belgian albums of all time, but one of the best albums of all time. Nothing but hits. Hits, hits, hits as far as the eye can see.

Julian De Backer, 1 April 2016