Best of 2013: Albums, Part 2

dianebirch8219_photo_gal__photo_382164777_lrIn October, my friend Robbie tagged me in a Facebook update about the album Speak A Little Louder by Diane Birch.  I don’t remember exactly what he said about it, but whatever it was intrigued me enough to go give it a try on Spotify.  Well, it only took me a couple listens and less than 24 hours later, I’d purchased the deluxe edition on iTunes.  Because of this, Speak A Little Louder wins the “out of nowhere” album award for 2013.

I had purchased Birch’s 2009 album Bible Belt back when it was released, but it never really spoke to me like I wanted it to. For this reason, I was a little hesitant when Robbie recommended Speak A Little Louder to me.  I needn’t have worried, though. Full of 80s influences, not the least of which is Stevie Nicks herself, it’s an album pretty much custom made for me.  I told a friend of mine that Birch’s album is a better Stevie Nicks album than the last Stevie Nicks album – and I stand by that assessment.  There’s a trio of songs in the middle of the album – “Pretty In Pain”, “Love & War” and “Frozen Over” – that have so much Stevie influence it can’t be anything but an intentional homage.  Trying to pick just one of them for my year-end best songs list was painful indeed, but I did manage to pick one.  You’ll have to wait till early next week to find out which one made the cut.

It’s really hard to surprise me with music these days and for an album to so completely take me by surprise was so refreshing.  And if it just so happened to be the tipping point that caused Darren Hayes to follow me on Twitter, so much the better.

I would love to go and see Diane Birch live when her US tour hits Minneapolis on March 6, but I am just too old for general admission shows.  Add that to the fact that I know better than to try to head to Minneapolis shows while there’s still the potential for snowfall and I just don’t think it’s in the cards.  But you owe it to yourself to check out her album, especially if you’re a Stevie Nicks fan.  The Nicks is strong with this one.

Also, be sure to check out Robbie’s interview with Diane Birch that he did for Idolator.  It’s pretty awesome stuff

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