Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color


By Quinn Murphy

Do you enjoy modern blues rock, and a slightly alternative sound to your music?  If so, then look up Alabama Shakes Sophomore album Sound and Color.  With 12 songs, each one better than the last, you will definitely enjoy the albums many different beats, grooves, and melodies.  The band is lead by vocal powerhouse Brittany Howard, who also plays rhythm for the band.  Other members consist of Zac Cockrell on bass, Heath Fogg on lead guitar and backing vocals, Steve Johnson playing percussion and also backing vocals, and Ben Tanner rocking on the keyboard.  This album has had lots of fan acclaim, as well as critical acclaim, with it garnering a Grammy for Best Alternative Album.  

Listening to albums all the way through is something I have always done, and this one works very well as one big picture, but it also works as an album you can skip around and determine your favorite songs with. Some personal favorites are the grammy award winning song “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “The Greatest”, or my personal favorite “Gimme All Your Love”.  With an album like this, every listener is going to have a different favorite song, and that is 100% ok, mainly because there are no terrible songs on this album.  The album did get a nomination for best album of the year at the 2015 Grammys, and the song “Don’t Wanna Fight” won the band two awards for Best Rock Performance, and Best Rock song, two very well deserved awards.  

One big reason you should listen to this band is just to hear Brittany Howard’s righteous vocals.  She blows it out of the water in this album, and let’s it absolutely rip in most of the songs, which to me is welcomed with open arms.  The songs to look for the best vocals from her are “Gimme All Your Love”, “The Greatest”, and “Don’t Wanna Fight”.  Lucky for me, these are my favorite song on the album, so I usually will skip around to find these.  

The band really captures the old ideals of blues rock, and brings it back to the mainstream in this modern era full of acts trying their hardest to capture the lightning in a bottle that Alabama Shakes luckily were able to catch with this album.  This album is able to go from tapping your foot to bobbing your head blues rock, to slow swaying blues feel within seconds, and they hit all the right notes.  I recently looked up videos of the band performing songs from this album live, and it is a sight to see.  Hearing Howard’s vocals live itself is something to really want to hear, but the band commands the stage and the audience’s attention with each song.  

If you have not already searched this album on iTunes, spotify, tidal, whatever your music streaming platform of choice is, then you are doing yourself a large disservice.  Everyone should listen through this album at least once in their life, and then be constantly listening around the album to their favorite songs, and be recommending this album to their friends, family, strangers on the street, even their pets.  I strongly believe this album might have been one of the best albums to come out last year, and would argue with anyone about that.