Albums to gift this Christmas
One thing we always have is music; to escape, inspire, connect with others and ground us when everything remains uncertain. This year, artists have been forced to approach their work in new ways, but many have continued to release melodies more meaningful and important than ever. Here’s a roundup of albums to gift this Christmas, with a little something for everyone.
evermore by Taylor Swift
Released just 5 months apart, evermore is the surprise successor to folklore. Swift spins fictional tales into ballads of stoic retrospection, glittering pop and even country, with warm references to hometown nostalgia. evermore offers both emotional depth and soothing reflection, proving that the pop star remains the frontrunner in storytelling.
Live at Royal Albert Hall by Arctic Monkeys
The 2018 performance that raised £250,000 for War Child UK is captured here in all its cathartic thrill. Boisterous and erotic in the band’s signature style, the 20 hits are weightily reminiscent of the rough and sweaty gigs audiences have missed this year. Also, all proceeds benefit the non-profit.
Together at Christmas by Alfie Boe and Michael Ball
The musical duo continues to strengthen their partnership with a festive tracklist of refreshed classics, plus a playful original: My Christmas Will Be Better Than Yours. Rich orchestra and old-school style vocals create a comforting, easy listen and a must-have for anyone’s holiday collection.
Music Played by Humans by Gary Barlow
The singer-songwriter returns with his first solo album in seven years, sharing the stage with Michael Bublé, Alesha Dixon and Barry Manilow, to name a few. Incorporations of latin- and jazz-inspired chords and an 80-piece ensemble make for a carnival of colourful dimensions new to ballad-loving Barlow. It is a bright celebration of music to lift our spirits from these strange times.
Moral Panic by Nothing but Thieves
After a period of experimentation, the band’s third studio project is freshly charged and unconventional, with anthemic stadium pleasers to balance chaotic energy. This release morphs into a timely reaction to the current climate, with references to political unrest, mass panic and the angst of the information age. Rock lovers will appreciate this gift that resists the norm with grit, risk and commitment.
Man on the Moon III: The Chosen by Kid Cudi
The American rapper delivers long-awaited closure in the third instalment of his trilogy. Cudi continues to dismantle mental health stigmas with fearless vulnerability and teams with Skepta to update his rhyming with cosmic energy. MOTM3 lives up to its decade of hype with a cinematic experience of full-bodied music both intense and personal.
Some Kind of Peace by Ólafur Arnalds
The Icelandic instrumentalist re-emerges as an exhale of crisp winter air with a project of organic serenity. Arnalds favours classical sound in this work but holds on to his trademark blend of electronic ambience with piano and string. Featured collaborations with close friends bring intimacy to a work that feels like a beacon of hope after a chaotic year.