There are two key reasons to fall in love with 2013. Firstly, it has an irresistible love of music, be that of the pop or classical form but secondly, and most importantly, it’s a record that as a body of work is one of the most exhilarating and emotional released so far this year.
2013 is as much an adventure story, autobiography, romantic poem and a classical opus as it is a pop record. But what makes it so convincing comes down to Jones’s passion. Every note of the record convinces you that the Welshman believes 100% that he’s on the right path, which, of course he is. A classical pop crossover has never sounded as good.
Don Juan hints at Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain with an oriental twist. Passionate Friend is a darkly introspective jaunt with lyrics such as “what is this thing, this thing to which my darkness clings”. It juxtaposes a bouncy melody with brooding lyrics, blending both together seamlessly and bringing out the manic intensity of each.
Rome feels like being ushered into a medieval court with the use of the harp and flute, accompanied by his dulcet choral range. This is continued in The Rain in Rome, which captures exactly this choral connection and creates something beautiful – music out of nature.
If one were to liken Jones to anyone, it would be Kate Bush. There are some similarities in their sounds, but it is more the awkward abandon with which he embraces every song that they share. It feels as though we are getting a peek into the inner workings of a cluttered yet focused mind that is always one step ahead. There are grand ideas as he bounces disconnectedly between instruments; he does away with timescales and jumbles them all together in a way that is oddly soothing.
Ultimately, to compare Jones with anyone or anything happening in music at the moment does him a disservice. This is a bold album that feels like a genuine outpouring of emotion. He pits old and new against one another in a unique manner and demands that the audience take their own journey, rather than simply being led.