Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 Top 10 Albums of the Year

Last year I reviewed around 50 albums, this year it was around 40. Every year I hope to review around 100, so 2 a week, but never do it.  Gotta get busy for this year if I want to make it.

This year I had a hard time deciding on a top album.  Normally one album really stands out, but this year not so much.

For each album below I've included an excerpt from my original review.

10.  99 Cents by Santigold
As much as I loved the power and speed of Master of My Make-Believe, I think this album is at its best when Santigold is slowing things down and getting a bit more experimental.

9.  Tell Me I'm Pretty by Cage the Elephant
... it's the 60's. From the Beatles, to garage rock, to psychodelia; it's all here. It is all well covered, but again we are left with an album that doesn't feel whole, it feels lacking in some way and disjointed.

8.  Get Gone by Seratones
These guys have essentially created a live studio album and have done a solid job of it. The band is performing at high energy and the producers captured it perfectly. I was not surprised when I went to look for a video for this band to find mostly live performances. That is where this band lives.

7.  Not to Disappear by Daughter
When I first started listening to this album it seemed like I should have liked it more than I did. Then today we had a cold and rainy day and so I threw it on and went for a walk. That's where this album is at home.

6.  Babes Never Die by Honeyblood
The songs are good and smart and she's a good vocalist, but that is not what makes this album grab you, it is the mix of Myers and Tweeddale driving the sound that makes you sit up and listen. You listen to a song like "Hey, Stellar" and you do not miss the bass or the keyboards and you realize that bands like Fleming and John may have been better off if they had stripped down their sound.

5. A Seat at the Table by Solange
Of the albums I've heard this year if someone were to ask me in ten years to pick one album to represent 2016, I would pick this album.

4. Know-It-All by Alessia Cara
Much of the album is an examination of the world around her, her view of the world, even at times anthemic takes on her generations view of the world and how they fit in. I must say she's the kind of artist who I'm happy to hear getting a voice. I wouldn't mind my 13 year old daughter listening to her music if I had one because it's message is positive and powerful which I like.

3.  Love You to Death by Tegan and Sara
They have interesting lyrics, good hooks, and good pop voices. I've been hooked on this album like no other so far this year, so it is definitely my favorite album of the year so far.

2. Church Clothes 3 by Lecrae
If you ever wonder why is it that rap has become so popular, I would say it's the same reason that any genre of music becomes very popular. In among all the bad versions of rock or disco or pop or country or rap or whatever are those albums that stand out and remind you why this genre of music is relevant. Why it has a home in our culture here in the United States. This album from Lecrae has done that for me this year with rap.

1.  Nothing's Real by Shura
All in all I really like this album. Lyrically Shura is interesting, she's tapped into the music of the 90's perfectly and extracted just what she needed. This is a fun album just to throw on for any reason you want. The sign of a really good album it hits all the moods and yet all fits together.

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