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Top 50 Albums of 2016

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savages the band live

 

Well here we are once again – another year passed as we are hurled into the unknown future. 2016 has been an absolute whirlwind for everyone involved, there’s no questioning that. But what’s great is, no matter what challenges we face, no matter how much hope is lost or how bleak certain parts of the future look, we can always depend on great art to be released. And many times, chaos in the world can breed our most beloved works.

As I look back on 2016, I’ve come to realize that music is probably the art form I consume the most. I am usually working day and night on film projects so I don’t get to catch as many movies as I would like (this is something I want to change in 2017). When I get a few hours free before I go to bed, it’s hard to convince myself to spend it leisurely when I know there is so much work I have left to do. This is also the reason why I don’t get to read too many books, even though I LOVE reading (despite the fact that I’m a bit of a slow reader). But music has a portability that movies and books often don’t. I can take it anywhere, which allows me to soak in sounds no matter what I’m doing. (Yes, I know I could do audiobooks like this too but I’m not a huge audiobook fan. I like highlighting stuff and flipping back and forth)

This is why I think music is such a bigger part of our lives than many people realize. It’s everywhere you go; it’s all over TV, movies, it’s in grocery stores, clothing shops, restaurants. And speaking of “everywhere you go”, 2016 may be the year where streaming reached its pivotal turning point. Streaming has exploded and I don’t think there’s any going back, for better or worse. The good news is that paid subscriptions have risen a ton within the last year. The bad news is, artists are still paid tiny fractions of what they should be earning. The other bad news is the amount of downloads has decreased considerably. The streaming paradigm says something about our cultural philosophies as a whole – we want access to everything, all the time, everywhere we go. Even if that means not actually owning the songs.

On some levels, it’s hard to argue against that model strictly speaking from the point of view of the consumer. You pay a monthly fee and get access to millions of songs that you can play wherever you go, as much as you want. And the monthly fee is usually less than the cost of one single album. It’s cheap and convenient – which is what practically every consumer wants. I imagine streaming is only going to get bigger so I hope the royalty rates for artists continue to climb.

But anywaysssss….enough of that, let’s get to business. As always, I want to make it clear that these are my PERSONAL FAVORITES and I’m not saying these are the undisputed, objectively best albums of 2016. These are MY top albums, plain and simple, that adhere to my musical tastes. The good news is, I have a pretty decent taste in music so no bullshit will be found here – that I can guarantee. And although I put them in a certain order, you must understand that every single one of these albums is fantastic. The number 50 album on this list is better than most of the music I heard last year so please, give every album on this list a chance.

Here we go!

50. Holy Wave – Freaks of Nurture
49. Eureka California – Versus
48. Seth Bogart – Seth Bogart
47. Chance the rapper – Coloring Book
46. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
45. Whitney – Light Upon the Lake
44. Empire of the Sun – Two Vines
43. Explosions In The Sky – The Wilderness
42. Deakin – Sleep Cycle
41. Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
40. Jenny Hval – Blood Bitch
39. Night Moves – Pennied Days
38. Porches – Pool
37. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
36. Young Thug – Jeffrey
35. Maxwell – blackSUMMER’Snight
34. Local Natives – Sunlit Youth
33. ANOHNI – hopelessness
32. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 3
31. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
30. Woods – City Sun Eater In The River of Light
29. of Montreal – Innocence Reaches
28. MMOTHS – Luneworks
27. Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack
26. Crystal Castles – Amnesty (I)
25. Julianna Barwick – Will
24. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani – Sunergy
23. Vince Staples – Prima Donna
22. White Lung – Paradise
21. Frank Ocean – Blonde
20. Angel Olsen – My Woman
19. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
18. Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
17. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
16. Peter, Bjorn and John – Breakin Point
15. Kevin Morby – Singing Saw
14. Holy Fuck – Congrats
13. M83 – Junk
12. Beyonce – Lemonade
11. Paul Jebanasam – Continuum
10. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
9. Brandy Clark – Big Day in a Small Town
8. JEFF the Brotherhood – Zone
7. Bon Iver – 22, a Million
6. Solange – A Seat at the Table
5. The Avalanches – Wildflower
4. Ra Ra Riot – Need Your Light
3. Yeasayer – Amen & Goodbye
2. David Bowie – Blackstar
1. Savages – Adore Life

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» Feature Article, List, Music » Top 50 Albums of 2016

January 6, 2017