Wednesday 29 December 2021

My Top Twenty-One of 2021: #3

3. John Grant - Boy From Michigan

For most of the year, I had John Grant's latest album down for Number One on this countdown. He took that slot in 2015 and 2013, and would have done so in 2010 had I not discovered Queen of Denmark too late in the day. Only his last record, 2018's Love Is Magic, failed to secure the championship, and even then it placed at a very respectable #4. This is a much better album than LIM though, and in any other year it would have walked away with the title. The fact that I found two records even better than John Grant this year says something about the high standard of music I've discovered in 2021. But more on them tomorrow.

Boy From Michigan shows the two sides of Grant's character very well. It's very much a record of two halves, and for some that might prove divisive. One half is bittersweet balladeering, and here Grant excels with material that recalls the heights of his revered solo debut. Best of the bunch remains County Fair, a nostalgic recreation of childhood highs and lows, like pages torn from his adolescent diary... it's definitely one of the best songs I've heard all year.

The other half is the one some might struggle with. Quirky and camp 80s electronica, with lyrics that recall Sparks at top of their arched eyebrow game. Of those tracks, Rhetorical Figure is the one that appeals most to the English teacher in me. Although even I had to look up "epizeuxis".


  1. I think this album has already had more spins than 2018s Love Is Magic. At the moment, this sits snugly up there with Queen Of Denmark and Pale Green Ghosts

  2. The Kraftwerk-like Best of Me is probaby my favorite. Plenty to appreciate on the LP. I also like the lullaby-for-grownups Country Fair, soothing and nostalgic.


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