Joan Armatrading is a celebrated singer-songwriter. She was born in what was once called Saint Christopher and Nevis. However, she grew up in England with a short interval in Antigua. Armatrading left school at a young age to support her family. Luckily, she became recognized as a singer-songwriter, thus resulting in her becoming more and more prominent over time.
Her path to success was far from smooth. Even so, she made herself known in the United Kingdom and beyond in the 1970s. Something that made her a pioneer in her chosen field. Armatrading has seen incredible success by any reasonable standard. For proof, look no further than her 20 studio albums, which isn’t even counting her other releases.
Here is our opinion of the ten best Joan Armatrading songs ever released:
10. “Tall in the Saddle”
“Tall in the Saddle” comes from Armatrading’s self-titled album from 1976. The phrase refers to someone riding in an erect, impressive fashion. As such, it has strong connotations of pride or perhaps even arrogance. “Tall in the Saddle” seems to be a post-breakup song. The narrator isn’t happy about what has happened. However, the lyrics are focused on her warning that her ex will face a comeuppance for his behavior someday.
9. “Show Some Emotion”
It isn’t uncommon for cultures to go back and forth on expressing emotions. For instance, the Archaic Greeks saw no issues with it. In contrast, their descendants from the Classical period had much stricter expectations. Our society has seen a push for more expressiveness in recent decades. Despite this, the message of “Show Some Emotion” remains relevant, even though it was released in the late 1970s.
8. “Never Is Too Late”
“Never Is Too Late” was on the same studio album as “Show Some Emotion.” Funny enough, it also has surprisingly beneficial life advice. The song reminds listeners that we need companionship, meaning we’re better off not isolating ourselves. Everyone knows this, but it is something worth repeating anyway.
7. “Kind Words and a Real Good Heart”
This song reminds us that “Kind Words and a Real Good Heart” aren’t automatically reciprocated. Someone can be these things but be mistreated by others. This doesn’t mean that people should stop being kind-hearted. Instead, the song tells listeners that they should watch out for those who would exploit them because of it.
“Temptation” was one of the singles from Secret Secrets in 1985. It reached the number 65 position in the United Kingdom. That means it put in a respectable performance, though it wasn’t as successful as Armatrading’s most popular hits. Regardless, “Temptation” is more or less what it sounds like – a clear statement of interest in a highly memorable musical form.
5. “Me Myself I”
Of course, not everyone wants company 24/7. Some people do just fine when they are by themselves for a while. Indeed, they might even prefer it that way because different things appeal to different people. “Me Myself I” is an excellent song for people in such a mood. The lyrics stress that there is nothing wrong with the narrator when they are acting this way. Instead, it is just a part of who they are.
4. “Drop the Pilot”
“Drop the Pilot” is one of Armatrading’s better-known songs. After all, it peaked at the number 11 position in the United Kingdom in 1983, meaning it was the last of her singles to become a Top 20 hit in that country. On top of this, it did well in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. “Drop the Pilot” didn’t find success without good reason. It is an innovative work incorporating rock influences while still sounding characteristically Armatrading. As such, it is a show of incredible songcraft subsequently executed with years of hard-earned experience. This song isn’t everyone’s favorite from Armatrading’s body of work. Even so, it is widely acknowledged as one of her best.
Times Square has seen enormous changes over time. It came into existence in the early 20th century. Subsequently, it benefited from the prosperity of New York City, thus enabling it to become one of the cultural centers of the United States. By the mid-century, Times Square was starting to see severe issues that would make it a colorful but not well-regarded place until recent decades. “Rosie” is a reminder of a bygone era. We know that Armatrading was inspired to write it during a visit to the United States. Something that happened because she accepted her taxi driver’s offer to show her around Times Square in the 1970s.
2. “Down to Zero”
“Down to Zero” features wordplay that is surprisingly clever yet so simple that anyone can understand it in an instant. It is about the idea of someone feeling as though they are number one in looks being brought crashing down by the realization their significant other has become interested in someone else. Supposedly, Armatrading wrote the song because she ran into two women relating similar stories around the same time, which was unusual enough to trigger her sense of inspiration. The result is one of the finest musical expressions of rejection from the second half of the 20th century.
1. “Love and Affection”
As mentioned earlier, Armatrading’s path to success wasn’t smooth. She released more than one single before she recorded “Love and Affection,” which became her first real hit. Specifically, the song received a silver certification from the BPI. On top of that, it was a number 10 hit in the United Kingdom. Simultaneously, it climbed to the number 16 position in Ireland. It is no exaggeration to say that “Love and Affection” made Armatrading someone of note in the music world. That means that it laid the foundations for what was to follow.
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