Album Reviews- Golden/Three Letters From Sarajevo

Ok, this month’s music album review pairing completely makes no sense, unless I take some time out to explain.

So here goes….. Each month I trawl the web looking for artists who will be performing live in Sydney (content for my monthly Gig guide post), gigs which pique my interest and hopefully might also interest you? And through those research findings, I’m often introduced to albums or artists whom I was previously unaware of to my own chagrin. But to ensure that the album/artists are worthy of recommendation, I listen to their respective albums cover to cover and end up being a little obsessed with them! The two most recent albums which I’ve been obsessing over has been Kylie Minogue’s ‘Golden’ album, and Goran Bregovic’s ‘Three Letters from Sarajevo’.

Golden – Kylie Minogue

I can still remember it, weird how some memories stick with you. I must have been in year 1 or year 2 in 1988 (only 5-6 years old), and there was a new kid at our school. I still remember his name (Conrad) and he and his family had newly immigrated from Poland. And although he didn’t have much English, I still remember him singing during class “I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky” (and I imagine they were lucky, finding themselves in Australia compared to 1980 Communist Poland); and exactly 30 years after Kylie’s first artistry successes, Kylie released her 14th studio album – Golden – in 2018! I challenge you to suggest another artist who still sounds as good as Kylie does 30 years on! As she has definitely not lost any of her vocal abilities at age 50 (although I thought she would be older than that – as she’s been around forever!)

The first time I heard the country-sounding ‘Golden’ album, it had already been out there for more than 10 months, and I can’t say that I’ve heard any of the tracks played on mainstream radio before. So when I first listened to her made-in-Nashville album from start to finish, I was amazed by how good it was and I was left wondering why it hadn’t been played more in mainstream radio? The opening track ‘Dancing’ is a  perfect example of how Kylie has blended her usual pop style with country- ‘Dancin’ has a dancy beat to it, while the prominence of the stringed instrument (sounds a bit like a banjo) gives it the country-music vibe, while Kylie’s actual vocals reminds me a bit of the Queen of Country, Ms Dolly Parton. This new style really suits Kylie, fitting her like a golden pair of hot-pants – and my Stetson is off to her for being able to re-invent herself for the second time! Bravo Kylie! Bravo! Most of the notable tracks are in the first half of the album, like ‘Stop me from falling’; the title track ‘Golden’; and ‘Shelby 68’…… In the end the tracks are a good blend of pop and country-pop, and ideal album to have in the background when you’re doing your chores.

If you’d like to check Kylie’s 14th studio album out, just ask your smart speaker to “Play Kylie Minogue, Golden, on Spotify”.

 Three Letters from Sarajevo, Goran Bregovic

Whilst I’ve been aware of Kylie for most of my life, I’ve only known of Goran Bregovic for the past 2 weeks (although Goran has been a professional musician for over 4 decades!). For those who don’t know him, Goran Bregovic is a Bosnian artist who performs internationally with his 40 piece band called the ‘Wedding & Funeral Orchestra’ (it was actually his band’s name which first caught my attention when browsing for gigs). His style of music-isms is described as “Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Romani, Romanian, Serbian, Albanian, and Italian and Turkish themed. And is a fusion of popular music with traditional polyphonic music from the Balkans, tango, and brass bands.” Ok, that was a direct copy&paste from Wikipedia.

It’s hard to describe his music in my own words, but let me give it a go. His music is completely foreign to me, I don’t understand a single word being sung but I’m still very much enjoying the album though; as they say, music is truly an international language! The songs are heavy with instrumentals by his Wedding &Funeral band, fronting several of the tracks are guest vocalists (usually female), and from my understanding three of the tracks are letters from the 3 major faiths in Sarajevo (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism). So if these faiths can’t find harmony in person, at least they can find a point of harmony through the power of music!

So if you want a change-up from the usual music you’re enjoying at the moment, give Three Letters from Sarajevo a listen! It’s up-tempo and body-movin’. Just ask your smart speaker to “play Three Letters from Sarajevo on Spotify” Or if you want to access Goran Bregovic’s vast back-log of songs, just ask your Smart speaker to “Play Goran on Spotify”, just asking for his first name is enough (or otherwise Google goes searching for Erin Brockovich to play). Enjoy!

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