For the first time after a couple of month (or was it years?) I bought some newly released CDs. None of the following CDs have any apparent copy protection in Germany (other markets may vary).
Element of Crime, a German band around novelist and lyricist Sven Regener, published their new CD Mittelpunkt der Welt last month, after four years. It is the second CD from this band I bought -- after their 1993 album Weißes Papier, which I still consider one of the best albums on my shelf. While Regener is ten years older than me, I was easily able to relate to his lyrics twelve years ago. Weißes Papier presented a somewhat melancholic, disenchanted man, who despite his grumbling hasn't given up hope at all, and yes: loves his life. In fact, a non-conformistic character, not quite grown up man in his thirties, who is about to leave his "wild years" behind and wonders what to do next. Twelve years later, the same character, now clarified, deeper, still not quite conforming, with emotional scars he tries not to hide.
Musically very melodic, chansonesque, with some soft Western Music influences, is Mittelpunkt der Welt my favourite German music production of the year. I think it is appropriate to place it
directly next to Nancy Sinatra's 2004 album, which is musically related.
Favourite track: Finger weg von meiner Paranoia
A lot has been written about Kate Bush's new album, in fact a double album. My advise: don't listen to the critics. Listen to this album instead! While most of the critics are right that it is her best album since Hounds of Love, and yes, the track Mrs. Bartolozzi about her washing machine is incredibly silly, they don't seem to grasp the beauty of the music and the diligent production quality. The arrangements are quite different from all of Kate Bush's previous works, with a hidden complexity only noticable if you listen closely. And yet, it is unmistakably Kate Bush.
Favourite track: King of the Mountain
This album surprised me a lot. Enya is carefully exploring new and complex compositions and arrangements, giving this album a new freshness which I really did not expect. It is probably closer to her first album, The Celts, than any of her other works. I would have expected her to move to more simple compositions and arrangements, as observed on her previous album A day without rain. While the German CD release does not have any copy protection, the music itself has one: encoding the songs to OGG or MP3 destroys the dynamics, the reverb on Enya's voice and some sound effects on tracks like Less than a pearl. Additional to the new freshness, Enya using a different style of singing on a couple of tracks -- a low key, natural voice style instead of her usual soprano. Her Soprano is still present, of course, for example on If I could be where you are. Unfortunately, there is again no Gaelic song on the album, but instead some written in Loxian, a language developed by Roma Ryan (who writes Enya's lyrics.) These songs are the strongest on the CD, imitating the sound and flow of the Gaelic language quite well, but without the limitations of a grown grammar.
No favourite track here, they are all great.
I cannot recommend these CDs high enough. They are worth every cent I spent on them.