Okay, I hear you all. First album of the annual musical advent and it doesn’t even come from this year. Frankly, my dears – I don’t give a damn. Not with this one.
This was one of those releases that seep out from that strange period. The void. The space between lists. Released in mid-December 2020, too late for last year’s list, too early (if you are being pedantic) for this year’s. But I cannot let this go. It is simply too good.
It’s fitting that it should drop in that window that is neither here nor there, because the entire album feels as though it comes from across a part of the universe that is in an alien space. Music from billions of light years away. Opening with the spectral, ghostly voice from beyond on Ghost Story, it unfolds into something that is like a dream.
Tracks bleed into other tracks, quite seamlessly. There are moments that make you cry and some that make you laugh. Some make you close your eyes and reflect on the wonders of existence whilst others just make you want to dance. It is virtually flawless.
There is the uplifting Interstellar Love, featuring Leon Bridges. Few things are more moving than the sumptuous strings of Reflecting Light, and Sananda Maitreya’s vocal is as good as you will hear. Cola Boyy and Mick Jones contribute wonderfully to the incredibly catchy We Go On whilst Wherever You Go is the perfect example of a tune from another dimension. There are twenty-five tracks (count ’em) on We Will Always Love You. Not one is superfluous.
In fact, whilst strictly speaking it shouldn’t be on this list, I cannot think of a better way to launch this year’s musical advent.