Thursday, 8 December 2016

Albums of the year - 2016 we are again. I won't beat around the bush here, 2016 has been a steaming pile of shit through-and-through, from beginning to end (probably). The ONE saving grace has been the amount of great music we were gifted with to help us through it. 

I'm gonna keep it simple and just post my top 40 albums, with a few lines about the top 10. I hope to start a fresh in 2017 and post regularly like I used to (in addition to a new blog-related project). So stay tuned!

40. Tim Hecker - Love Streams
39. Glass Animals - How to Be a Human Being
38. Animal Collective - Painting With
37. Lone - Levitate
36. Bracken - High Passes
35. Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
34. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
33. Xenia Rubinos - Black Terry Cat
32. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
31. Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter

30. Banks - The Alter
29. Basia Bulat - Good Advice
28. Quilt - Plaza
27. Yeasayer - Amen & Goodbye
26. Anderson .Paak - Malibu
25. Lambchop - FLOTUS
24. Exploded View - Exploded View
23. Goat - Requim
22. Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
21. Rihanna - ANTi

20. Charlie Hilton - Palana
19. Chairlift - Moth
18. Anderson .Paak - Malibu
17. NAO - For All We Know
16. Warpaint - Heads Up
15. Tegan and Sara - Love You To Death
14. Andrew Bird - Are You Serious
13. ANOHNI - Hopelessness
12. Amber Arcades - Fading Lines
11. Carly Rae Jepsen - Side B

10. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

My summer soundtrack; Dev gave me everything I wanted/expected from Blonde (the underwhelming Frank Ocean record) - from the airy pop of Best To You and Augustine to the more reflective cuts like 'Hadron Collider' and 'EVP', this record really does have it all. 

9. Shura - Nothing's Real

Perhaps my LEAST favourite thing about the instant gratification culture is the way new artists release half of the tracks from their (often delayed) debut albums in the form of buzz-singles, leaving very little excitement when the (often mediocre) album actually does drop. Thankfully, Shura broke this pattern with this exhilarating synth-pop masterpiece. 

8. Jessy Lanza - Oh No

Though not quite as incredible as Pull My Hair Back, Oh No! still features some of the best production I heard on any record this year. From the jittery synth-pop of 'VV Violence' to liquid gold shimmer of closing track 'Could Be U', I still cannot get enough of this one.

7. Solange - A Seat At The Table

Solange has had a special place in my heart ever since she dropped the BOP that was 'I Decided' all the way back in 2008. Suffice to say, her artistry has come a long way since then. I don't believe another album has quite captured the identity discussions that swept social media in 2016 quite like this one did. The production is flawless too (well of course, have you heard Losing You??).

6. Beyoncé - Lemonade

Shocker! Solange's big sis has grabbed a seat at the table (ha) right next to her! I know a lot of Beyoncé haters (unfortunately) so this one is ESPECIALLY for you lot. This is hands-down the post powerful release of this year; every track is a MOMENT, especially Formation, Don't Hurt Yourself and All Night. I highly recommend watching  the accompanying film, but be warned, you will be slayed. Beyoncé has now cemented herself as a cultural icon and you haters can seethe at this fact.

5. case/lang/veirs - case/lang/veirs

It is at this point where the list enters the 'intimate, warm and personal singer-songwriter' phase; I'm sure this will come to no shock to anyone who reads my blog regularly. I'm usually very fussy when it comes to folk music, but when it came to this glorious collection of songs from three of the most incredible songwriters of all time, it was truly love at first listen. This record really comes into its own in these cozy winter months. 

4. Angel Olsen - My Woman

This right here is an album of two halves; the first half consists of more experimental, more pop-rock moments such as the fantastic 'Shut Up Kiss Me' and 'Not Gonna Kill You'. But then a shift occurs mid-way through, which sees Angel revert back to the sullen and reflective chanteuse we know and love. That's not to say that this was a regressive step; Angel's artistry is still growing with every release and it's so exciting to watch.

3. Weyes Blood - Front Row Seat To Earth

I'll be honest here, I've had a spot reserved on this list ever since I heard the single 'Seven Words', which is possibly my song of the year 2016 (I can't be bothered to post a full list because I haven't been able to keep up with all the songs I've loved this year). From the dream-like euphoria of the production to the warmth of the vocal melodies, this album is very much ~me in 2016~...and probably next year also - forever in a daze. 

2. Cate Le Bon - Crab Day

Again, if you're a regular reader, you'll know that I was obsessed with Cate Le Bon's Mug Museum album back in 2013 (and still very much am to this day). I'm still not quite sure if it was the strength of the songwriting, the nostalgic production values or the fact that I'm just an utter pottery nerd, but I just could not get enough of that record. With this in mind, Cate had a lot to live up to when she announced Crab Day, but thankfully she managed to meet my impossibly high expectations. From the catchy and raw guitar pop charm of 'Wonderful' to the sprawling and wacky closing track 'What's Not Mine', this has secured Cate's position on my heavy rotation list for the next few years I reckon. Bonus good news, there's a follow-up EP dropping next year!

1. Mitski - Puberty 2

I'm sure this will come as NO surprise to any of you, because I just cannot stop talking about this record. It struck a chord with me like no other record could and for that reason it HAD to be number one on this list. Puberty 2 came at a time where I was at a crossroads in my life; I was about to take my A level exams, but despite being fully aware of their importance, I just couldn't find it in my to put petulant bullshit aside to prioritise my work (/my future). But thankfully, upon just one listen of this, I was sobered, I was transfixed and I was overcome with a sense of calm.

I'm sure everyone has that one album that resonates with them more than any other, to the point where it forms a snapshot of that time in your life...well this is mine. Whether it is my fears and concerns about my identity, longing for validation from academics and future employers or my frustration with how happiness comes and goes so rapidly, Puberty 2 makes me feel supported in my journey of self-discovery (yuck) and personal development.

So there you have it folks, bye 2016!

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