Something seems to be missing these days. It seems that record companies, radio stations, and streaming services are pushing some the great established musicians to the background. As a result these veteran artists are not getting the attention they deserve. Enter the Top 10 Album Countdown: The New Oldies. The main point is simple – to make this list you must have at least 20 years of producing established music. The album by the artist must have been released between November 1st, 2019 and October 31st, 2020.
#2 Simply Red – Blue Eyed Soul
Coming in at #2 on the New Oldies 2020 Album of the Year Countdown is Simply Red’s Blue Eyed Soul. It’s the twelfth album by the British Soul-pop band Simply Red. It not is an album that represents some of their best work, but its perhaps the most appropriate album for the “New Oldies” project here on Jukebox.
It’s the second album released by Simply Red since the band reunited in 2015 after being on hiatus for five years.
Blue Eyed Soul is a slang word used when White musicians cover R&B and Soul music. If you have followed the 35 year career of Simply Red, Soul and R&B sound is the band’s core competency. When it came to Blue Eyed Soul, Simply Red didn’t try to conquer new ground or innovate a new sound. Instead, they took this core competency to the nth degree and produced some great music. This is easy an album that you would think was written and produced in the 1971-1975 period od music.
It’s 10 tracks and 33 minutes of music which lengthwise is also a throwback to albums 45+ years ago.
The album’s opening track Thinking of You brings a James Brown vibe right out of the gate. There is “Don’t Do Down” that has almost a Curtis Mayfield vibe to it. BadBootz mixes a little funk and electronic in, but its a pure 1971-1975 sound through and through. Sweet Child, Complete Love, and Tonight round out the picture with some soulful ballads. Lead vocalist Mick Hucknall writes all the songs and with his soulful voice delivers each song with passion.
It is worth noting that the CD/digital versions of this album compared to the vinyl release have a different ordering of the track. Track order and placement is very important on an Album of the Year, and in this case I gave the nod to the CD/digital versions.
The strength of this album is Simply Red tapping into their core competency – R&B and Soul. This album is about as throwback as throwback gets. One of the best for this past year.