On 29th October 2021, Billy Bragg is already publishing his fourteenth album, The Million Things That Never Happped. With Bragg looking back to four decades in which he delivered reasonable to good chart placements. Here is my view on his latest release.
Billy Bragg – About The Artist
Billy Bragg, whose civil name is Stephen William Bragg, is a British singer-songwriter, who is originally from Barking, East London. The artist, who was born there on 20th December 1957, mixes elements of folk and rock with other styles like other Americana genres, but also punk. He is a very political singer-songwriter. On the music side, he started releasing music in 1983, debuting on the album side with Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy. Especially in the 1980’s and 1990’s, he placed multiple albums in the Top 20 of the UK charts, with scattered good chart placements in other places as well.
Billy Bragg even had one Number 1 hit. In 1998, he was at the very top of his home country’s charts, She’s Leaving Home alongside Cara Tivey. According to my information, he released his last album in 2013, Tooth & Nail.
Billy Bragg – The Million Things That Never Happened – Track by Track
The twelve song album lasts 46 minutes.
1. Should Have Seen It Coming
The opening track of the album comes with a rather slow atmosphere. Laid back sound and an almost blues-alike touch of pop/rock. Really nice song, centering on the vocals by the artist.
2. Mid-Century Modern
Mid-Century Modern is a nice blend of classic Americana sounds with a strong country music touch. The steel guitar is howling and the guitars scrum a few chords. Very groovy, warm atmosphere, nice listen.
3. Lonesome Ocean
After the guitars have been leading the songs before, this song also comes with a strong impact from the keyboards. At most mid-tempo with a sad touch. Nice listen, indeed.
4. Good Days & Bad Days
One thing which came into my mind when listening to Good Days & Bad Days was the song to me comes with a much stronger English accent than the songs before. Nice way of creating a good atmosphere with very limited instrumental assistance.
5. Freedom Doesn’t Come For Free
One classic country / Americana instrument was missing in a dominant role sole far – the better it is that Freedom Doesn’t Come For Free greets you right at the beginning with the fiddle. Nice track with a very traditional country sound.
6. Reflections On The Mirth Of Creativity
While the tracks before had a strong touch of country music, Reflections On The Mirth Of Creativity rather lean towards folk music again. A beautiful song with a very harmonic instrumentation and a lovely story.
7. The Million Things That Never Happened
The title track has a very depressive, melancholic sound. Again, the fiddle is taking a main melodic role – this time, however, it is more coming with a whiny character. Very good to listen to.
8. The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here No More
The strength of Billy Bragg – at least in this album – is storytelling. The song is a beautiful writing equality and living together. In ordder to tell that story, Bragg simply finds the right instrumentation and melody. Very impressive listen.
9. I Believe In You
A new element in this song is the female backing vocal, which turns the song into a very emotional direction. A song in a rather alternative music style. The short message I Believe In You beautifully stands above the track.
10. Pass It On
Pass It On is a lovely Americana-rock song, again in a rather moderate, mid-tempo atmosphere. Good work on the guitar.
11. I Will Be Your Shield
The second last song on the album is a quiet, almost depressingly feeling piano track. Towards the end of the song, I Will Be Your Shield surprisingly gains some energy, before it is slowly fading.
12. Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained
While most of the songs of this album are deep, thoughtful and concentrate on telling their story. the closing track almost feels like a party song compared to The Million Things That Never Happened as a whole. A cool song with a typically British touch.
Billy Bragg – The Million Things That Never Happened – Spotify
Here is The Million Things That Never Happened on Spotify:
Billy Bragg – The Million Things That Never Happened – My View
Well done! The Million Things That Never Happened is indeed a collection of interesting, well-written songs. The album is not a must-listen – but if you opt for it, you will have a good time.
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