Thursday, December 15, 2016

2016 Favorite Albums (Numbers 20-11)

Almost to the top, here are the records that just narrowly missed my top ten:


Cubicolor - Brain Sugar

Gorgeous downtempo electronica that was always a great rainy day record.


Local Natives - Sunlit Youth

Though they leaned more heavily towards electronics on Sunlit Youth, Local Natives never sacrificed melody or song craft. The songs here search for meaning in that hyper twilight hour between your 20s and 40s where you feel like you should be heading in the right direction, but are always doubting yourself.


Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

Although the majority of Skeleton Tree was recorded prior to the accidental death of Cave's 15 year old son, the specter of his death hangs over this album. It's a haunting work, that is almost painfully insular; but it is a stunning reflection on life, loss, and seeking redemption.


Gojira - Magma

Born out of grief for the passing of the Duplantier brothers' mother (Joe is Gojira's singer/guitarist and Mario is the drummer), Magma is Gojira's tightest and most commercially viable record and yet its most somber and melancholy. While there are still raging songs here, the majority of the record finds the band exploring texture and drama.


Wild Beasts - Boy King

After their last impeccable record Present Tense, I was curious where Wild Beasts would take their sound next. They seemed to be wavering closer towards Talk Talk territory, becoming more and more ambient. With Boy King, they reveal that they had no intentions of fading into the background. Over 10 tracks, Wild Beasts amp up the synths and sleaze, and create a swaggering behemoth of an album.


A Tribe Called Quest - We Got it From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service

Laid back but overflowing with ideas and killer beats, this comeback record from A Tribe Called Quest couldn't have come at a better moment.


Banks and Steelz - Anything but Words

On paper, a collaboration between Paul Banks of Interpol and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan sounds like a disaster. In actuality, it was one of my biggest surprises this year. I still find myself going back to record and finding something new. A very melancholy tone hovers over the project, with tracks like "I Can Hardly Feel," "One By One," and "Gonna Make It" provided a triple punch of foreboding atmosphere.


Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman

Ariana's amazing vocal range is highlighted on this stunningly diverse set of pop songs.


Tinashe - Nightride

Sleek and futuristic, Nightride is Tinashe's place holder while waiting for her major label album to come out, and seriously, it is some of the best R&B I have heard in awhile. If this is just a placeholder, I can only imagine how brilliant the next album will be.


Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

While some could accuse Love You to Death as merely being Heartthrob 2.0, they would sorely be mistaken. Adding more depth and texture to their sound, Tegan and Sara have fashioned the best pop record of the year. Watch out Taylor Swift, these women are nipping at your heels.

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