British singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer, Scott Statton aka “Neo Soul”, has always been a solo performer. He began playing music at a young age and found fame as the lead singer and guitarist of the “Skins” back in the ’90s. Nowadays, he makes his living from touring and the sale of his albums and merchandise – but still considers himself a “solo artist”. Most of his fans know him from his song “Alone”, which was featured in the American Pie movies. The song was also featured in an episode of Chuck. In 2017, he released his first solo album in 15 years, “No Artifice”. It was a commercial success, reaching the Top 40 in both the UK and the US. It spawned the singles “Invisible (No Artifice)”, which reached the top of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and “Ghosts”, which reached number 39 on the Top 40 chart. We spoke to Statton about “No Artifice”, touring and the future of music.
Top 40 Albums Of All Time
When it comes to music and album rankings, people often compare music to food. Just like you might crave certain types of cuisine, you have a certain type of album that you look for when you’re traveling or searching for new music. Statton agrees: “When you’re on the road, away from home, away from your crew, it is amazing how much you appreciate tunes that you’ve had on repeat for the duration of the trip. It becomes sort of a comfort blanket. It’s like putting on an old pair of pants – you know, the ones that you wear when you’re five and you don’t feel like wearing any clothes and just want to go in the pool – but this time, they’re a little longer and they make you feel slightly less vulnerable.” Whether you’re a diehard Skins fan or have never heard of them before, there’s an album out there that you’ll find soothing and mesmerizing. Here, we’re going to run down the top 40 albums of all time, as chosen by Statton.
40. Paul Weller – Out There
“Out There” is Paul Weller’s third solo album (fourth overall), and his first release for 16 years (since 1996’s “Weller & The Push Stars” – though he did contribute songs to various compilations throughout the ’90s). Weller had recently gone through a very public split from his wife, and this manifested itself in emotional songs like the Grammy-nominated “Sober, Sorry”, which details Weller’s depression and feelings of inadequacy following the break-up. “Out There” is a bit of a return to form for Weller, but it also feels like a step into the future. While “Sober, Sorry” details the dissolution of a marriage, the next album, “The Colour of My Soul” (which came out in May 2001), details the end of a five-year collaboration with Damon Albarn (frontman of the band “Blur”).
39. The Kooks – See Ya Later, Alligator
“See Ya Later, Alligator” is The Kooks’ third album. It was recorded and produced in New Orleans, and it was completely self-created by the band’s four members. Like Modest Mouse’s “The Big Moon”, it features a lot of instrumentation – predominantly brass – and it heavily draws on vintage blues tones. The Kooks were formed in 2006 and started playing shows around London in 2007. The following year, they released their self-titled debut album, which received critical acclaim and several “Best New Artist” nominations at the Grammy Awards. Since then, the band has released a couple more albums and been featured on numerous TV shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show. Their songs have been featured in films and adverts, and the band has even opened for bands like The Who, The Cure and The Pretenders. For a band that started out of necessity, being able to carve out a niche playing unique sets that combine blues, jazz and R&B has certainly paid off. It’s an album that you can listen to and enjoy without feeling like you’re missing out on anything else.
38. John Legend – Love in the Future
John Legend’s debut album, “Love in the Future”, was released in 2006 and follows his enormously successful eponymous debut album (number one on this list), which was released in 2003. The album features a more focused sound than his previous studio album. Gone are the days of huge ballads and sweeping orchestral pieces. Instead, we have stripped-down versions of some of Legend’s biggest hits, featuring guest appearances from the likes of Bebe Rexha, Questlove and Michael McDonald. It was a bold move by Legend, but it worked. “Love in the Future” was a massive international success and has since gone triple platinum in the US. It spawned the hit singles “All of Me”, which reached number four on the Billboard Top 100 and is featured in the film adaptation of “The Greatest Game Ever Played”; “Love Problem”, which also reached number four on the Billboard Top 100 and was featured in the film “A Walk to Remember”; and “You and I”, which was featured in the film “The Bucket List” and also reached number four on the Billboard Top 100.
37. The Kooks – Midnight Dreams
“Midnight Dreams” is The Kooks’ second album. Like “See Ya Later, Alligator”, it was recorded and produced in New Orleans. It sees the band expand their sound even further, going for a pop sound that is equal parts Prince and Daft Punk. It was originally going to be titled “Chasing Happiness”, but that was soon changed. The album was a major success, reaching number two on the UK Albums Chart and spawning the Top 20 hit “Everybody Needs Somebody”. It also earned the band their second Grammy nomination, this time for “Best New Artist”. Unfortunately for them, they did not win. In 2011, The Kooks released their third album, “Something About You”, which didn’t match the success of its predecessor. However, it did give the band their third Grammy nomination – this time for “Best Dance/Electronic Album”. It’s an album that started slowly before finding its footing, and is now regarded as one of the greatest pop albums of all time.
36. Blondie – Parallel Lines
“Parallel Lines” is Blondie’s 22nd studio album and their first in five years. It was recorded at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, with producer Mike Elizondo (Kings Of Leon, Fleetwood Mac, The Strokes). It is a return to form for the New York City-based band, who began their career in the 1980s as one of the most popular and influential alternative bands of the time. Their music has been featured in films and on TV shows such as “Girls”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “The L Word” and the British TV show “The Bridge”. “Parallel Lines” does seem to be a bit of a departure from their previous album, “Raw” – a more guitar-led and upbeat offering. This can be attributed to the influence of the album’s co-producer Mike Elizondo, who plays guitar in the band. Frontman Debbie Harry has also admitted that, due to his guidance, the album has a “clearer sound”. Whatever you want to call it, “Parallel Lines” is a significant step forward for Blondie and, at the very least, will please their longtime fans.