Thirty three and a third

In praise of the rediscovered long player…

With many people reporting they are enjoying rediscovering the joys of actually listening to an album in full – see, for example, British Psychological Society President David Murphy on 10 which have influenced him – we thought we would dip back into our archives to find some long players.

In our ‘One on Ones’ we have often asked psychologists for ‘One album’ recommendation:  

Saida Melgar
One album: Mika’s ‘No Place in Heaven’ (2015) was released when I was going through big changes. I was questioning the choices I had made. This album spoke to me and gave me so much strength to get to know myself and find out what I want. After that I decided to move to England and pursue a career in psychology.

Mike Eslea
One band you should go and see right now: IDLES. Singer Joe Talbot says they are definitely not a punk band, but they make a powerful punky racket to go with their darkly humorous and soul-baring lyrics. Perfect music for this old punk rocker! There’s plenty for Psychologists to enjoy, too: their first album is a meditation on grief, inspired by the death of Talbot’s mother; the second an examination of masculinity and fatherhood in modern Britain. With jokes. 

Til Wykes
One album: After considering jiggling round to Tamla Motown, chilling with Mozart and being uplifted by Tracy Chapman I have plumped for ‘Stop Making Sense’, by Talking Heads. This album reminds me of a crowded bus over the Andes with my two children, aged four and five, singing ‘Life During Wartime’. The resonance of life under gunfire is not lost, especially with the current Syrian crisis. 

Andrew Dunn
One album: Pulp’s ‘A Different Class’ – Clever, funny, poignant.

Peter Fonagy
One song/album: I remember in Hungary listening to the Beatles song ‘Lady Madonna’ and I didn’t understand and mispronounced the words because I couldn’t speak English. And then the Sergeant Pepper album came out and I listened endlessly. That had the words on the inside cover. It was my first proper lesson in English.

Martin Conway
One early memory: Seeing Dylan live in Earls Court in 1974 when he played his best album ‘Blood on the Tracks’. I was only three.


In our ‘Culture’ section, we have reviewed some albums and live performances from a psychological perspective (and would love to do this more):

Take flight to insane places
Jon Sutton listens to 'Flight of ideas', the psychologically-inspired album from Warm Digits

To face reality and accept it
Sabrina Elasri on the concept album 'Map of the Soul: Persona' from Korean Pop band BTS

Waxing and waning on Goldfrapp's discography
Sally Marlow on the duo's album ‘Silver Eye’

Finding a melancholic balance
Jon Sutton and Philip Corr on an unusual musical project from 'Russian Linesman', drawing on Hans Eysenck and personality theory; a follow up was reviewed here

Universalise that human experience
Jon Sutton reviews Roger Goula’s 'Overview effect'

Seven broken hearts, seven racing minds
Lindsey Hines on 'Let them eat chaos' from Kate Tempest

Putting flesh on the skeleton of narrative
Fiona McBryde reviews 'One more time with feeling', the cinematic accompaniment to the new album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Music and science in harmony
Laura Meldrum-Carter looks for links between Floating Points’ neuroscience background and his album ‘Elaenia’

An intimate experience
Tom Dickins listens to ‘Everyday Robots’ by Damon Albarn

Dredging the riverbed of our national psyche
Isobel Todd watches Gazelle Twin

Dark peak
Sally Marlow in an Evil Blizzard

An empty bliss beyond this world
A brief mention of an album from The Caretaker, inspired by the experience of dementia


There is also a lot of material in our archive, and over on the Research Digest, about music and psychology more broadly. Here are a few selected highlights:

The Wombats on psychological influences and mental health 

Jake Farr on music and creativity

Catriona Morrison on the Beatles

Mandeep Singh and Niamh Doody on 'conscious rap'


Catherine Loveday speaks to composer and performer Martyn Ware

Psychologists who rock…

Neuroscientists at Western University, including Adrian Owen, have recorded #StayAtHome

'We all have unique relationships with music'

'The world needs to come into music'

Music and change the Rowley Way

Musings on music

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