Kirsty MacColl first emerged on the British pop scene as something of a novelty – her first single was the girl group pastiche "They Don't Know," which became a hit when covered by comic Tracey Ullman, and her first chart success on her own was the witty country-styled number "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis." But in 1989, MacColl released the album Kite, which revealed she was one of the best and most insightful U.K. songwriters of her generation, with a body of work that was witty, disarmingly honest, eclectic, and adventurous. A motorboat accident claimed MacColl's life in 2000, cutting short a career that was still in motion. All I Ever Wanted: The Anthology is a two-disc collection that brings together highlights from MacColl's albums Kite, Electric Landlady (1991), Titanic Days (1993)…
Galore is a 67 minute journey through a cross-section of Kirsty's recordings between 1979 and 1995 and, while it ignores many of the quiter, more contemplative songs which make Titanic Days and Electric Landlady so effective the cumulative effect of the tracks chosen is spellbinding. Even better, the album ends on one of its brightest peaks - the duet with Evan Dando on Lou Reed's Perfect Day.
Lifelines is the second studio album by Andrea Corr (lead singer of the Celtic folk rock and pop rock group The Corrs). The album consists of covers of songs by The Velvet Underground, Kirsty MacColl, Harry Nilsson, Ron Sexsmith, Nick Drake, The Blue Nile and others.
Its lengthy incubation process notwithstanding, V.V. Brown's clever debut album, Travelling Like the Light, is as genuine, natural, and deep as mishmash throwback pop can get. There are a couple contemporary moments, like "Shark in the Water," featuring strummy verses and a surging chorus, but the album mostly shoots forth nods to R&B and rock & roll of the '50s, '60s, and '70s that are relentlessly playful, whether the lyrics reveal tears, daggers, or butterflies. Brown, an English songwriter who has written hits for the Pussycat Dolls and Sugababes, is bound to provoke comparisons with Janelle Monáe for her retro look and boundless energy, but she's closer to being the child of Kirsty MacColl and the sibling of Jazmine Sullivan, messing with pop traditions as she courts and reprimands with a large, youthful voice that positively dances.
Upon leaving the Smiths in 1987, Johnny Marr embarked on a musical walkabout, choosing to collaborate rather than build a career. He began playing studio sessions, appearing on records by Talking Heads, Pretenders, Kirsty MacColl, Pet Shop Boys, and Billy Bragg, embarked on an extended collaboration with Matt Johnson of The The, and formed Electronic with Bernard Sumner, effectively sitting out the great Brit-pop explosion of the '90s. By the turn of the millennium, he finally tried his hand at fronting a band, turning in the underwhelming Boomslang with the Healers in 2003, before once again sliding into a supporting role, joining Modest Mouse in 2006 and then decamping for the Cribs a few years later.
Nearly three years after the release of her highly acclaimed debut album This Is The Life, Amy Macdonald returns with another collection of bittersweet indie pop that oozes innocence and world-weariness in equal measure.The success Macdonald has enjoyed since her debut hasn't dulled her ability to write lyrics that display a maturity way beyond her years, which she marries to a wistfulness the most hardened bluesman would envy. Musically, there hasn't been a huge progression in style, but when there's nothing broke, there's little reason to fix it. Her songwriting (in both style and substance) recalls the early days of Kirsty MacColl, while her deeper vocals have more in common with Alison Moyet. It's a match made in heaven.