Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Favorite Music of 2016

20 Favorite Albums of ‘16

In all my years of music obsession I don’t think I’ve ever immersed myself in music so much as I did in 2016. I’ve never listened to so many different albums and so many different artists. The year was dominated with soundtracks for me, but thanks to some new Spotify features, I was introduced to many more bands than I had ever been before.

My year end music lists are usually dominated by early year releases. For some reason the first half of most years just seem to be filled with albums that hit me harder than the albums released later. I also tend to get much more listening time for the year’s early releases than I do for the late year ones. But this year was different. After Sturgill Simpson’s amazing not-really-country ode to his son “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth”, I figured nothing could surpass it in my mind. Then a few months later Car Seat Headrest hit me despite their questionable name. That one held my top spot for quite some time; then the new Leonard Cohen blew me off my feet, released like Bowie’s early year masterpiece, just before his death. Then A Tribe Called Quest’s triumphant return floored me, and then no one expected Run the Jewels to jump their 2017 release date the day before Christmas. The hits just kept on coming until the very end.

Anyway, the best I could whittle the list down to was 20, and there were still so many great albums I had to leave off the list. Here they are:


Run the Jewels 3
 Run the Jewels
Run the Jewels, Inc.
Dropped: December 24, 2016 (digital), January 13, 2017 (physical)


We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
A Tribe Called Quest
Epic Records Group
Dropped: November 11, 2016 (digital), November 18, 2016 (physical)


You Want It Darker
Leonard Cohen
Columbia
Dropped: October 21, 2016


Teens of Denial
Car Seat Headrest
Matador Records
Dropped: May 20, 2016 (digital), July 8, 2016 (physical)


A Sailor’s Guide To Earth
Sturgill Simpson
Atlantic
Dropped: April 15, 2016


 “Awaken, My Love”
Childish Gambino
Glassnote
Dropped: December 2, 2016


Lightning At the Door
All Them Witches
New West Records
Dropped: January 15, 2016


Human Ceremony
Sunflower Bean
Fat Possum
Dropped: February 5, 2016


Blackstar
David Bowie
Columbia
Dropped: January 8, 2016


IV
Black Mountain
Jagjaguwar
Dropped: April 1, 2016


Young Gun Silver Fox
West End Coast
Wax Poetics
Dropped: July 15, 2016


Slow Knife
Kuedo
Planet Mu
Dropped: October 14, 2016


Lost Themes II
John Carpenter
Sacred Bones Records
Dropped: April 15, 2016


A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead
XL Recordings
Dropped: May 8, 2016 (digital), June 17, 2016 (physical)


untitled unmastered.
Kendrick Lamar
Interscope
Dropped: March 4, 2016 (digital), March 11, 2016 (physical)


Magma
Gojira
Roadrunner Records
Dropped: June 17, 2016


The New Breed
Jeff Parker
International Anthem Recording Co.
Dropped: June 24, 2016


My Woman
Angel Olsen
Jagjaguwar
Dropped: September 2, 2016


Until the Hunter
Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions
Tendril Tales
Dropped: November 4, 2016


Acid Guru Pond
Bardo Pond w/ Acid Mothers Temple and Guru Guru
Fire Records
Dropped: April 16, 2016 (vinyl), May 12, 2016 (digital)

These are my Five Favorite EPs of 2016, if you’re into the whole brevity thing.


Confront the Truth
Tony Molina
Slumberland Records
Dropped: October 28, 2016 (digital & vinyl only)


Hoops
Hoops
Fat Possum
Dropped: August 26, 2016


Drool Sucker
No Joy
Top Shelf Records
Dropped: August 26, 2016 (digital & vinyl only)


From the Basement
Sunflower Bean
Fat Possum
Dropped: September 9, 2016 (digital only)


Blind Spot
Lush
Shellshock
Dropped: April 15, 2016 (digital), April 22, 2016 (physical)

16 Soundtrack Albums of ‘16

Soundtrack listening has become my preferred musical medium. I don’t just enjoy scores but also the way it has become more common for soundtrack album producers to recreate the running order of popular songs throughout the soundtrack albums, so you get score music, then a song, then more score, then another song, completely recreating the story of the film itself. Not all of them do this, and I also enjoy a good mix of songs before the score presentation as well. But the recreation of the music of the soundtrack seems to have become more sacred to soundtrack album producers over recent years.

This year marks the first year I’ve ever included television scores in my favorite music list. As you’ll see, they are quite dominant, making up more than a third of the entries here and dominating the top five. It proves that television is finally being seen as just as important an art form as cinema; with just as much attention to quality in the music they use to tell their stories. Although some of the television shows represented aired prior to 2016, their soundtrack albums didn’t see light of day until 2016. It is becoming an increasingly popular market.


Luke Cage
various artists
 Score: Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad
MARVEL
Dropped: October 2016 (digital) November 25, 2016 (vinyl)


Arrival
Johann Johannsson
Deutsche Grammophon
Dropped: November 11, 2016


Mr. Robot, vols. 1 & 2
Mac Quayle
Lakeshore Records
Dropped: June 3, 2016 (digital), June 24, 2016 (physical)


Stranger Things, vols. 1 & 2
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
Lakeshore Records
Dropped: August 12, 2016 (vol. 1 digital), August 19, 2016 (vol. 2 digital), October 21, 2016 (vol. 1 physical), October 28, 2016 (vol. 2 physical)


Moonlight
various artists
Score: Nicholas Britell
Lakeshore Records
Dropped: October 21, 2016 (digital), November 25, 2016 (physical)


Jackie
Mica Levi
Milan Records
Dropped: December 2, 2016 (digital), December 16, 2016 (physical)


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Michael Giaccino, John Williams (original Star Wars themes)
Walt Disney Records
Dropped: December 16, 2016


Swiss Army Man
Andy Hull and Robert McDowell
Vocals: Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe
Lakeshore Records
Dropped: June 24, 2016 (digital), July 8, 2016 (physical)


Halt & Catch Fire
Paul Haslinger
Lakeshore Records
Dropped: August 19, 2016 (digital), October 14, 2016 (physical)

Manchester By the Sea
various artists
Score: Lesley Barber
Milan Records
Dropped: November 18, 2016


Rats
Pierre Takal
Death Waltz Recording Company
Dropped: October 25, 2016 (digital only)


Atomic
Mogwai
Temporary Residence
Dropped: April 1, 2016 (digital), June 17, 2016 (physical)


Jessica Jones
Sean Callery
MARVEL
Dropped: February 2016 (digital), December 23, 2016 (vinyl)


Hell or High Water
various artists
Score: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Milan Records
Dropped: August 12, 2016 (digital), August 19, 2016 (physical)


The Witch
Mark Korven
Milan Records
Dropped: February 19, 2016 (digital), March 4, 2016 (physical)


Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The Lonely Island
Republic
Dropped: June 3, 2016


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