One More Chapter
A twenty two year-old's view on life, death,
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
This year has been pretty unfortunate in a lot of ways. As Trevor Noah said recently, "this year started with Zika...and then got bad." But, wait! There was one piece of 2016 that gives us a reason to rejoice! MUSIC!
This was, undoubtedly, one of the best years for Music in a very long time. SO MANY AMAZING ALBUMS were released this year. Almost so many it's overwhelming. And now I'm going to go over some of, what I feel, are the best albums to have been released in the year 2016. I hope that you take the time to check some of these out and discover new music. It's a great form of escapism.
I've included a bit of everything in this list: indie, folk, experimental, soundtracks, rap/hip-hop, pop, singer-songwriter, electronic, slow, fast, sad, happy - you name it! Have fun perusing!
As this is a very long list, here is the order to help navigating easier (note, the order is completely random, not by preference):
1. "It Doesn't Have to Make Sense" by Ingrid Michaelson
2. "Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet" by Greg Laswell
3. "Cleopatra" by the Lumineers
4. "This Unruly Mess I've Made" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
5. "This is Acting" by Sia
7. "Life of Pablo" by Kanye West
8. "Red Earth and the Pouring Rain" by Bear's Den
9. "22, A Million" by Bon Iver
10. "Lemonade" by Beyonce
11. "Joanne" by Lady Gaga
12. "How to be a Human Being" by Glass Animals
13. "Who Will Be Next" by Joe Purdy
14. "Young as the Morning and Old as the Sea" by Passenger
It Doesn't Have to Make Sense
Following their divorce this year, after eight years of marriage, Ingrid Michaelson and Greg Laswell both came out with an album chronicling their experience. Michaelson's album, which came out late August of this year, is one of her best yet.
"It Doesn't Have to Make Sense" is a pop album for indie fans, providing a mix of upbeat "I'm over you" songs, intense building shout-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-with-the-windows-down songs, and slow ballads that will break your heart. Every single song is a hit and a total change of pace for long-time Michaelson fans like myself. Considering the fact that her previous album, "Lights Out" was a bit of a flop for me, "It Doesn't Have to Make Sense" is Michaelson's way of saying that she's back in a big way.
My favorite songs from the album: "Drink You Gone" and "Light Me Up"
Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet
0This is Greg Laswell's half of the divorce. The record, released March 2016, will sound familiar to those who enjoyed Laswell's previous release, "I Was Going to be an Astronaut." His echoed voice over an almost electric feeling track brings a slight Justin Vernon-esque atmosphere to the whole record.
"Everyone Thinks I Dodged a Bullet" is a perfect breakup album for the hard-core indie fan. It's slow pace and angsty lyrics are pure gold, and the piano/guitar versions of some songs do well to tie in Laswell's singer/songwriter origins, flashing us back to some of his first hits like "Comes and Goes (in Waves)" from 2008's album, "Three Flights from Alto Nido."
Some of my favorites from this album are: "Dodged a Bullet - Piano Version" and "Watch You Burn."
That's right! The Lumineers came back to the music scene this year with their second album, "Cleopatra," this past April and they seriously did not disappoint. Cleopatra stays true to the folksy feel of their debut album, but brings with it heavier instrumentals and more songs to tap your feet to.
When they released their first single for the album, "Ophelia," I knew we were about to have a smash, and they pulled through. "Cleopatra" was one of the best releases this year by far.
Some of my favorites from the record are: "Sleep on the Floor" and "Gun Song"
This Unruly Mess I've Made
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis releaed "This Unruly Mess I've Made" in February, proving once agains that they create light-hearted dance music, as with its tracks, "Dance Off," "Downtown," and "Let's Eat," while also telling it like it is with extremely moving masterpieces like "White Privilege II," "Light Tunnels," and "Kevin."
This album is more than just a hip-hop album. It is epic, it builds, it features countless guest artists like Chance the Rapper, Ed Sheeran, Leon Bridges, Idris Elba, and more. Listen to it beginning to end in order to get the proper experience. This is, without a doubt, Macklemore's best album yet.
Some of my favorites from this ablum are: "Growing Up" and "White Privilege II"
This Is Acting
How could I make a list of the best albums to come out this year and NOT include Sia's number one? This album is made up of all her "reject" songs. Songs that she wrote for other artists that just didn't make the cut for one reason or another, but she took them on herself and absolutely killed it with her 2016 album, "This is Acting."
I've been a Sia fan from the very beginning, back when she would show her face and wrote deep, dark, depressing songs about her addctions and depressions. After her recovery hiatus she entered following a suicide attempt, she came back to the music scene bigger and stronger than ever, and her momentum hasn't stopped.
"This is Acting" is everything we love about Sia. Her belting voice, performing epic songs that are perfect for the car rides. It may be more mainstream than I prefer, but there is no doubting Sia's absolute talent when it comes to songwriting.
Some of my favorites from this album are: "Unstoppable" and "Alive"
Life of Pablo
Most of you who know me, know I have an unnatural hatred for Kanye West. I just think that someone as arrogant and obnoxious as him doesn't deserve to have me listen and admire his music. But, unfortunately, the man does make pretty good music...well, at least this is true for his most recent release, "The Life of Pablo." His electronic, almost experimental, rap is awesome. The album sounds like Justin Vernon and Jay Z had a baby and, as much as I hate to admit it, I love it. To make it even better, Sia features on a song from it and it's a jam and a half.
Some of my favorites from this ablum are: "Ultralight Beam" and "Wolves"
Red Earth and the Pouring Rain
I am an AVID Bear's Den fan. I would consider them one of my top five bands of all time. "Red Earth and Pouring Rain" is the band's second full-length album, following the one and only "Islands" (an amazing ablum if you haven't listened yet). This album is an entirely different feel from the "Islands" with more synthesized layers and tracks, it's dark electricity is a whole new type of magic. The album is full of hits, and it's proof that the band's main duo, Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones, are here to stay. They've done it again and I can't get enough.
Some of my favorites from the album: "Greenwoods Bethlehem" and "Roses on a Breeze"
22, A Million
This was Justin Vernon (also known as Bon Iver's) first album in five years. Previously, with his albums "For, Emma, Forever Ago" and "Bon Iver," we heard a haunting, melancholic sound that felt as though it was recorded in a wood cabin in the middle of the woods during winter. But with "22, A Million," Vernon has created something completely unique and other worldly. With titles you have to be taught to pronounce and songs that are made through a mix of sampling and synthesizing, this album is not only my absolute favorite from the 2016 year, but also one that will go down in history.
Some of my favorites from this ablum are: "00000 Million" and "715 - CRΣΣKS"
That's right folks, I've jumped on the Beyonce train. For a long time I just have not understood what all the fuss is over "Queen B." I just don't get it. I mean, girl can sing, but none of her songs are really that good. But now I get it. Lemonade is a piece of literal art. But, before listening to th music, one must - and I mean must - watch the visual album first. Then, proceed to listen to the entire album as you wish. Seriously though, this record is a whole other level, proving once and for all that Beyonce can master hip-hop, pop, soul, even country. This is the perfect breakup album. Give it a listen and feel the empowerment.
Some of my favorites from this album: "6 Inch" and "Daddy Lessons"
Gaga is back and better than ever. I was a huge fan of her "Born This Way" album from back in 2011. Since then, she has kind of fallen off my radar. Her 2013 album, "Artpop," was a flop for me and "Cheek to Cheek" I just didn't really pay attention to, to be honest. But "Joanne" is Gaga like you've never seen her before. A fresh start, a new look (yet again), and some damn good music. This is a record to pay attention to. It's powerful, catchy, indie meets pop meets rock, and it features Florence Welch, so there you go. It's got it all.
Some of my favorites from this album are: "A-YO" and "John Wayne"
How to be a Human Being
I recently have gotten into Glass Animals. They are a fun yet dark, pop yet almost experimental, they make you want to dance, but also make you feel badass somehow. They are great. If you haven't heard any of their music before, listen to "Cocoa Hooves," "Flip," "Pools," "Gooey," and "Walla Walla." THEN listen to their latest album, "How to be a Human Being." This album is a head-bobbin, foot-tappin piece of gold. It's absolutely amazing and completely untraditional. It's one of a kind and makes little to no sense whatsoever, yet you will still accept it purely because it's so catchy. Even when you're listening to lyrics of a man ordering a sandwhich.
Some of my favorites from this album are: "Life Itself" and "Pork Soda"
Who Will be Next?
When I went to see Glen Hansard in concert this year with my father, Joe Purdy was the opening act. This is how I was introduced to this album and it entered my life just at the right time. It's clear that Joe Purdy feels similarly about our country and the world as many of us do right now. His 2016 release, "Who Will Be Next?" is a part of a movement happening in the world of music right now - a new generation of protest music. It's like the 60's all over again, except instead of protesting the war, many are protesting the problems of today (*cough* Trump *cough*). This album is wonderful, if not a bit depressing. Purdy refuses to rhyme, or keep a straight rhythm, but he is charming and witty and speaks to how many of us are feeling.
Some of my favorites from this album are: "My Country" and "Maybe We'll All Get Along Some Day"
Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea
I have saved the best for last (second only to 22, A Million). This year was the much anticipated (or, at least by me and my sister) release of Passenger's latest album, "Young as the Morning, Old as the Sea." Passenger is my favorite artist. Hands down. And, yes, I understand I've said that about several artists in this post - but to be fair, I have a tattoo of Passenger's album cover covering most of my back. This album is just another example of how Mike Rosenberg is the master of lyrics. I mean, seriously, the man is a poet. His songs give me a series of existential crises as I listen during long car rides. So, yeah, it's a pretty good album.
Some of my favorites from the album are: "Home" and "The Long Road"
The Rest of them:
Honestly, these are all also amazing, but I'm tired of writing about all of them and I'm pretty sure you're sick of reading about all of them. So, incase you're interested - here are the rest of my favorite albums that came out in 2016, proving once and for all that this year wasn't the worst year to ever happen.
About This Blog:
I started this blog as a way to challenge myself to write more over the 2014 year, but it has blossomed into so much more than that. I use it to let people in on what's happening in my life, talk about things I find important and to spread the news about amazing people, places and art.