As it must by now be pretty apparent, I seem to have taken a leap into the deep end with the start of the new year, somewhat “overloading” (for lack of a better word) myself with personal challenges and very miscellaneous to-do lists.

Before I slip in another short post with an update on the monthlies (also known as the 30-day challenges) I’ll skip briefly to the only two tasks (so far) that I’ve set to be year round.

The first is to read at least one chapter (20-30 minutes) per day. I try and get it done within the first hour or two of the morning, so my mind is fresher. Most notable on the list of books read so far are the classic ‘Five Children and It’ (which I found to be rather mundane) and a couple of books from the Assassin’s Creed series (surprisingly addictive).

The second challenge is as follows: Listen to one (new) album every day of the year. New to me, that is. So far, it’s been something of a catch-up with lots of music from the last few years that I’d been wanting to get my hands on.

The reasons it really hasn’t been that easy are these: it takes about one hour per album; I do not content myself by simply listening to an album in the background, but instead enjoy being actively invested in the listening experience and developing a reaction to it; and while there’s no shortage of good music, it does sometimes take a while to find that genre that I feel like grooving to. But it’s been both a refreshing and stimulating experience.

Without further ado, here are my top 5 picks from this past month’s 31 albums.

5. CHVRCHES – Every Open Eye (2015)

Classic CHVRCHES, really. Got me so pumped.
Bury it

4. The Naked and Famous – Simple Forms (2016)

Lots of play with the vocals, and quite a different sound from the last time I heard an album of theirs. Very, very beautiful.

3. John Mayer – Paradise Valley (2013)

The perfect car music. Soft and easy on the ears; emotive, reflective.
Dear Marie

2. Assassin’s Creed OST (Jed Kurzel, 2016)

Atmospheric and transcending. So percussive, it’s breathtaking. Heard this before actually seeing the movie and I swear I could see it all in my head.
The Creed

1. Oh Wonder – Oh Wonder (2015)

So many tracks I love. This is just sublime.
White Blood

The rest includes fantastic music from the likes of Kaiser Chiefs, Muse, Two Door Cinema Club, Birdy, James Bay, Arcade Fire, The Paper Kites, Bublé, and more. You can check out my favourite tracks in this curated Spotify playlist, to which I am adding new tracks daily. And if you’ve got any album suggestions, you know where to find me.

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