One of the great albums of the year for me is Scritti Politti's White Bread, Black Beer which I know Elton John also really likes (or claims to but why wouldn't he like it) and which contains some very fine and typically bizarre ballads. One of the things I really like about it is the insanely poor packaging which sets a new standard, somehow. Another thing is it sounds great. My favourite track is 'Mrs. Hughes'.
But more amazing is the relatively recent compilation of the first Scritti Politti recordings from the late 70s. I remember decades ago Epic Soundtracks wondering why the song 'Confidence' hadn't been a chart hit. Answers there were many, and I suppose one answer is that the band at that time were either very unable to play together or were very good at appearing that way, either way it wasn't going to cut it amongst Bucks Fizz and Genesis. But hearing it now I'm not sure whether I'd ever heard that song, and now I can't get it out of my head. It is very compelling.