My Favorite Albums of 2016

So, yeah, 2016 is (almost) over, so we got that going for us, right?

This is my annual list of albums that I liked. Not the best albums. Not the most innovative albums that were shattering our conceptions of music. Just albums I found myself listening to repeatedly. You likely don’t agree on a number of levels, and likely on an equal number of levels I don’t care. No, that’s a little mean-spirited. What I mean is that I’m not trying to impress anyone with this list, so don’t be mad if I didn’t properly recognize the-most-brilliant-musicians-of-our-time-that-I-happened-to-not-care-that-much-for-anyway.

Also, there are likely some omissions thanks to the fact that I haven’t had a chance to listen to certain albums. Only so many minutes in the day, eh?

That didn’t excuse me from getting into some non-2016 acts/albums this year, including the Both (Ted Leo & Aimee Mann), the Blondie and Morphine back catalogs.

Without further ado, let’s take one last look at 2016 before embarking into 2017 with the hope that we all make it to 2018.

#20 Speedy Ortiz: Foiled Again EP: Appearance #1 of Sadie Dupuis on this list, this time with her full band. More or less my 2016 mantra came from the first line of this song.

#19 Touché Amoré: Stage Four: I actually found this album really hard to digest, mostly because of the subject matter … but got to mean something that I have, repeatedly. Probably the first post-hardcore band to make my top list … ever?

#18 The Men: Devil Music: This could possibly reflect the mood of the latter half of the year, but I predict a strong comeback of this style of giving-no-f&$ks music.

#17 Kristin Kontrol: X-Communicate: Synth pop! Excommunication has a recreational activity!

#16 Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression: The most David Bowie album on 2016, including David Bowie’s last album.

#15 Future of the Left: The Peace and Truce of the Future of the Left: Again, my enjoyment of this album may reflect 2016 more than the album itself. Nothing wrong with that as we’re all creatures of our surroundings.

#14 David Bowie: Blackstar: I mean, if you know you’re going to go out, why not release an album in the same month that feels like you might have recorded it after you shuffled off this mortal coil?

#13 Thee Oh Sees: A Weird Exits & An Odd Entrances: I’m lazy, so I listed both Thee Oh Sees albums here. I’m guessing they release 3 albums next year to see how much they can push this exponential discography growth.

#12 Beyoncé: Lemonade: I liked it.

#11 Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam: I Had a Dream That You Were Mine: I probably haven’t given this album enough time to really understand it. I had that problem with the Walkmen, too. I think it will age well, though.

#10 Kendrick Lamar: Untitled Unmastered: This kind of a throwaway album is what finally allowed Kendrick Lamar to click with me. Ended up listening to To Pimp a Butterfly more after hearing this one, but at least he finally made sense to me.

#9 Savages: Adore: Brutal.

#8 Wolfmother: Victorious: You know, this is just kind of stupid garage rock, but we need more of that.

#7 The Kills: Ash & Ice: My favorite album cover of the year and continued a strong run by the Kills.

#6 Avalanches: Wildflower: I had just graduated from college with the Avalanches released their prior album … and that one took a long time for me to really get. This one had “Frankie Sinatra”, which might have been the song I listened to most this year (*I checked, it was #2. #1 is coming up)

#5 Run the Jewels: RTJ3: Late entry! Run the Jewels released this in a surprise move on Christmas Day. I maybe would be be happier if they dropped it on the original date right before DJT’s inauguration, but whatever, I hope El-P and Killer Mike release an album each year of the forthcoming mess.

#4 Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree: The most subdued and haunting Bad Seeds album, and that says something. “Rings of Saturn” could be the best Nick Cave song they have ever recorded. Then again, there is a lot of competition for that title.

#3 Sad13: Slugger: I spotified the heck out of this album right after the election and I think it helped me make it through that dark period. So, Sadie Dupuis, I thank you for that!

#2 Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool: Kind of like Nick Cave, Radiohead decided to go subdued and haunting with new album. “Decks Dark” is beautiful.

#1 Aesop Rock: The Impossible Kid: It is all about tone this year, and Aesop Rock nailed it. I actually didn’t partiocualry care for the album the first time I listened. But then I listened again. And again. And again. Turns out “Mystery Fish” was my most-played song of the year.


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