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Album anniversaries: Three records to celebrate in June 2024

Album anniversaries: Three records to celebrate in June 2024
Album anniversaries: Three records to celebrate in June 2024 Copyright Wolf Tone, Island, Blanco y Negro - Atlantic
Copyright Wolf Tone, Island, Blanco y Negro - Atlantic
By David Mouriquand
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From flirtatious pop to electro remixes via raw declarations, three British artists tackle love in all its permutations – sultry, heartbreaking, and melancholic. Here's our pick of the three albums celebrating a major anniversary this month.

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Every month of 2024, Euronews Culture takes a trip down memory lane and handpicks a trio of albums celebrating a major milestone.

These are the three records you should choose to (re)discover as they respectively turn 10, 20, and 30 this June.

Turning 10 in 2024: Glass Animals – ZABA

(Release date: 9 June 2014)

Glass Animals - ZABA
Glass Animals - ZABAWolf Tone

British indie rock band Glass Animals have got a busy year ahead of them. Before they drop their fourth studio album, titled ‘I Love You So F***king Much’ (thanks lads, didn’t know you cared), in July, their debut LP ‘ZABA’ turns 10 this month.

Led by songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Dave Bayley, this four-piece exploded onto the scene in 2014 with the single ‘Gooey’, which garnered much air play and ended up propelling the album to certified platinum status in the US. They continued doing the rounds by playing opening acts for Metronomy and St. Vincent, showing that they had the chops to command a stage with their spacey and sultry pop.

For many, they are best known for their hit single ‘Heat Waves’ from their third album ‘Dreamland’, which went viral on TikTok. And while no shade shall be thrown here, their debut album remains their most vibrant and cohesively atmospheric in their discography to date.

There’s a psychedelic wooziness that decries from each of the tracks on ‘ZABA’, a sensation that is heightened when listening to the album as a whole. The jungle timbres; the tropical percussion; the canny use of hip-hop basslines and offbeat funk that complement some entrancing melodies... It all sounds like a right mess, but ends up very special. The overarching concept – if you can call it that – stems from Bayley’s favourite book as a child, “The Zabajaba Jungle” by William Steig, which follows a young boy as he traverses a dreamlike jungle in which he encounters weird creatures.

It’s a great read, if you haven’t had the pleasure.

From this unifying vibe, with added layers of sexiness, comes tracks like ‘Black Mambo’ and its mellow R’n’B goodness; the oozing sensuality of ‘Gooey’; the tropical electro shimmy of ‘Pools’ - all to Bayley’s breathy and whispered vocals. It’s the kind of smooth and darkly playful record that makes it a perfect listen on a warm summer evening where reason gradually melts into desire. 

It’s a sensual daze that’s lasted 10 years.

Also turning 10 in June: The debut (and self-titled) album by experimental hip-hop group clipping.; First Aid Kit’s third LP ‘Stay Gold’, a sophisticated set of songs by the Swedish indie folk outfit.

Turning 20 in 2024: PJ Harvey – Uh Huh Her

(Release date: 8 June 2004)

PJ Harvey - Uh Huh Her
PJ Harvey - Uh Huh HerIsland

PJ Harvey is one of the all-time greats, a performer unafraid of reinventing herself with each new album. Ragged love songs; experimentation with electronics; folk tunes; chamber pop; diary entry travelogues examining the consequences of conflict... It never gets dull with Polly.

Her 2004 album turning 20 this month is not usually ranked very high compared to the likes of ‘Rid of Me’, ‘To Bring You My Love’, ‘Is This Desire?’ or ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’. However, ‘Uh Huh Her’ is one of those hidden gems in a chameleonic discography that bonifies with age.

Hot off the heels of arguably her best album (‘Stories...’), ‘Uh Huh Her’ was always going to have a hard time of it. Less commercial sounding than its predecessor, her sixth LP feels rawer, like a return to the DIY-sounding days of Polly’s first two albums. Hardly surprising, since this record marked the first time she had produced a project on her own.

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The guitars are like claws throughout, and songs like ‘Who The Fuck?’, ‘The Letter’ and ‘Cat on the Wall’ have an earthier feel to them, leading the album to feel less polished. But it’s by design. It’s a grittier and more stripped-down record, but one that doesn’t skimp on moments of genuine beauty, like the hushed incantations of ‘The Slow Drug’ or the gorgeous ‘No Child of Mine’.

As for the album’s finale - ‘The Desperate Kingdom of Love’ followed by a mniute-long recording of seagull sounds in the appropriately titled ‘Seagulls’ and the stunning closer ‘The Darker Days of Me & Him’ - it reveals ‘Uh Huh Her’ to be the flipside to ‘Stories...’ when it comes to approaching love. ‘Stories...’ was about the euphoria of new love; ‘Uh Huh Her’ is the comedown, that episode where everything doesn’t seem so rosy, and a break-up feels possible. She did foreshadow this realization with the second track ‘Shame’, in which she sings: “Shame is the shadow of love”. So everyone was warned.

Following her brush with the mainstream, this underappreciated masterstroke revels in its warm sounding roughness, another stellar outing from a true innovator. Choose to reappraise. 

Also turning 20 in June: The Killer’s debut album, the wonderful (if overplayed) ‘Hot Fuss’; the overlooked debut from Hope of the States - ‘The Lost Riots’; The Beastie Boys’ post-9/11 valentine to New York ‘To The 5 Boroughs’; and The Hives’ ‘Tyrannosaurus Hives’, which while not as strong as its predecessors is still plenty of fun.

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Turning 30 in 2024: Everything But The Girl – Amplified Heart

(Release date: 13 June 1994)

Everything But The Girl - Amplified Heart
Everything But The Girl - Amplified HeartBlanco y Negro - Atlantic

British duo Everything But The Girl, composed of lead singer and songwriter Tracey Thirn, and guitarist and keyboardist Ben Watt, has dabbled in various musical styles: jazz, pop, bossa nova... They enjoyed a moderate amount of success in the 80s but by the time ‘The Language of Life’ and ‘Worldwide’ dropped in the early 90s, no one was really paying much attention. 

Little did they know that mainstream success was just around the corner with the release of their seventh studio outing ‘Amplified Heart’ in 1994.

The album embraced a folk rock and percussive sound, and it earned them a lot of airplay and recognition, especially thanks to the Todd Terry dance remix of the song ‘Missing’ -one of their greatest tunes. The more low-tempo original is a heartbreaker, an infectious love song about someone who vanishes without a trace and the ones left behind dealing with the emotional fallout. The remix adds an oddly poignant note, as the club beats perfectly fit with Thorne’s mournful voice, giving the hit track a bittersweet edge.

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The remix would signal a change of pace for the duo, who also wrote lyrics and music for two tracks on Massive Attack’s second album - ‘Protection’ and ‘Better Things’ - also in 1994. They embraced a more electronic sound that could be heard on subsequent albums, ‘Walking Wounded’ and ‘Temperamental’.

Beyond ‘Missing’, ‘Amplified Heart’ explores varying facets of turbulent love – with standouts including the opening trio ‘Rollercoaster’, ‘Troubled Mind’ and ‘I Don’t Understand Anything’. The second half of the album is redeemed by ‘Missing’ but does get a little cloying at times. Still, the album’s melodies are understated and instantly catchy, to the point they feel like they’ve been with you forever.

Everything But The Girl came back last year after an extended 24-year hiatus with the excellent ‘Fuse’, and here’s hoping they won’t wait too long to release more. In the meantime, you’d do well to revisit ‘Amplified Heart’ on its 30th anniversary.

Click here for previous Album Anniversaries entries

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Happy listening and see you next month.

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