All Songs Considered
1:12 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Question Of The Week: Which Recent Album Will Hold Up The Best?

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 5:04 pm

I was at a stunning performance of soul songs by Birmingham's St. Paul & the Broken Bones this past weekend that recalled the timeless sounds of Otis Redding. When the show finally came to an end, up came the exit music: It was Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need Of Love Today," the opening cut to his breathtaking 1976 album, Songs In The Key Of Life. It's a song with a sentiment that always gives me chills, or moves me to tears, or both.

So come Sunday morning it was all Stevie in my apartment. I played his 1972 album Talking Book. I was amazed at how well this record sounds more than 40 years after it was first released. That number scared me but also got me thinking: What recently released album — say one out within the last few years — will stand the test of time?

A few come to mind for me. There's Once I Was An Eagle by Laura Marling, who already has a timeless sound, one that could have been from 40 years ago, or 40 years from now. The latest records by St. Vincent and James Blake both feature music that challenge our ideas of traditional sounds, while pointing to the future with very modern stylings and production. That's similar to what Stevie Wonder's Songs In The Key Of Life and Talking Book did 40 years ago — they drew on the past but pointed to the future.

What current albums do you think will hold up the best in the decades to come? Tell us in the comments section or via Twitter: @allsongs.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.