Song of the Year 2015

Impact Nottingham, my university’s magazine, made a playlist of the best songs of 2015. My contribution was Alabama Shakes’ Gimme All Your Love, off their second album Sound & Color, which incidentally is my album of the year too. Below is my write-up of the track. You can see the full playlist here, and listen to the full album on Spotify here.

It’s almost impossible to pick the best track off of Alabama Shakes’ second album, Sound & Color. The record, a successful follow-up to 2012’s Boys & Girls, presents a new sound for the band, experimenting with dissonance and genre-hopping (sometimes within the same song), whilst never losing its roots in blues and soul.

‘Gimme All Your Love’ catches you off guard throughout. The band doesn’t really do crescendo, much preferring to hit the listener with a huge contrast in dynamics between verse and chorus. Only the middle 8 offers brief respite, before bringing it all home with an emphatic end. This is the kind of song you would love to see live.

At points, the words force themselves up through frontwoman Brittany Howard’s vocal chords and out of her mouth as if she is going through some sort of strange exorcism of emotions. It’s amazing to listen to and even better to watch. This woman can contort and control her voice from a breathy whisper to a throaty wail in the same line; it’s part of what makes her and the record so listenable again and again.

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