Monday, December 12, 2016

Best Albums of 2016

  1. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

    A lot of albums attempted to tap the pulse of 2016, as mean-spirited a year as I've ever lived through, but none managed to so thoroughly express the slow-motion dread as Radiohead. This doesn't sound particularly fun, and I suppose it's not. But instead of projecting angst back into the world like Hail to the Thief, an album I've never particularly liked, Thom Yorke took all the anger and turned it in on himself, creating the most personal and tortured Radiohead album, yet. It's all there in "Daydreaming," a song that seems to float along with incredible beauty balanced by a looming, woozy unrealness. Of course, it helps that the records simply sounds incredible, correcting the weak thud of King of Limbs, which is probably my least favorite Radiohead album. All said, A Moon Shaped Pool stands up with Ok Computer and Kid A as the best that Yorke and company have produced.    
  2. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
    I haven't wrestled with any album as much as this one. It seems intentionally off. The erratic, slapdash Life of Pablo is almost the exact opposite of the steely minimalism of Yeezus. The latter was reportedly completely re-edited in a furious week-long, Rick Rubin-assisted spree, resulting in something nearly flawless. On the other hand, Kanye seemingly couldn't figure out how to finish Life of Pablo, and it's not hard to see way. None of these bits seem to belong to the same album. I've been trying for the past three months to reorder the album into something that at least flows, but no playlist works. Yet, I can't stop listening. It's filled with some the best and worst of Kanye, and all of it feels so alive. Part of me feels terrible loving it as much as I do, because for the first time, this feels like an unhealthy pursuit for him. By the time you get through the run of "FML," "Real Friends," "Wolves" it becomes clear that this is a profoundly sad album. Perhaps the music is the only thing holding him together?  
  3. Beyonce - Lemonade
  4. A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service
  5. Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book  
  6. David Bowie - Blackstar
  7. NxWorries - Yes Lawd! 
  8. Jamila Woods - HEAVN
  9. Solange - A Seat at the Table  
  10. Noname - Telefone
  11. The Avalanches - Wildflower 
  12. Angel Olsen - My Woman
  13. Hamilton Leithauser - I Had a Dream that You Were Mine 
  14. Mitski - Puberty 2 
  15. Bon Iver - 22, A Million  
  16. Frank Ocean - Blonde
  17. Brian Eno - The Ship 
  18. Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing 
  19. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered 
  20. Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20 
  21. Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker
  22. Cass McCombs - Mangy Love 
  23. Wilco - Schmilco 
  24. James Blake - The Colour in Anything 
  25. Anderson .Paak - Malibu 

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