The cool thing about 2016 was that it wasn’t completely a shitshow all the time.
A lot of the time, sure, but like, sometimes awesome things happened. For example, every week I had Friday to look forward to, when I could scour the depths of the web for new album releases– and there were a lot of good albums released this year. I’ve taken some time to reflect and pick out my 7 favorite albums from the year to share with you.
There’s a bit of a theme I’d like to point out with some of the titles of the albums I picked– “In Loving Memory Of When I Gave A Shit,” “How To Be A Human Being,” “Being No One, Going No Where,” “Cut The Body Loose…” I guess maybe my choices pretty accurately represent the kind of year I had, and I’d like to take a moment to thank all the artists who put themselves out there and share their pain with us so that we can feel understood and not so alone.
All that aside, here, in no particular order, are my 7 favorite albums of 2016!
“In Loving Memory Of When I Gave A Shit” by LOLO
This album is the absolute ultimate “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward” album. From the artist on Genius:
I was really depressed, so I wrote about it. I was fucked off with how women are still objectified, so I wrote about it. I was (and still am) saddened by the state of the world, so I wrote about it.
LOLO has been a favorite of mine since I first heard her feature on Matt Nathanson’s “Headphones,” and with the release of her first full-length album I feel like we finally have the chance to understand not just her and where her music comes from, but also the incredible musical assets she has to offer (that voice though). I had the chance to see her perform live at Bardot’s School Night and it was absolutely incredible, she’s just as, if not more, powerful live than on recording.
“Elohim” by Elohim
Elohim’s debut album kind of came out of nowhere for me. I had heard “Sensations” and enjoyed it, and then suddenly this album’s kind of creepy but really more curious and intriguing cover came up on my release radar and I had to give it a listen. The album is an absolute ethereal indietronic treat, bringing in the musical sensibility of classical music with the modern electronic resources available today. The themes of the album range from relationships struggles to anxiety and life’s “journey.”
“Being No One, Going No Where” by STRFKR
Although a bit dark and moody sounding from the title, “Being No One, Going No Where” is actually a gently uplifting dance album more about the goal of being no one, and going no where, than the burden. From Genius:
In the era of the personal brand—amid the FOMO Age—it’s increasingly hard to shed a stifling sense of self, or to just be in the moment that you’re in. Well, consider this an invitation to get blissfully insignificant.
All of that plus that album artwork is absolutely stunning. Fantastical!
“Every Now And Then” by Jagwar Ma
“Every Now And Then” is one of those albums you can put on and play for hours and still believe you’re on the first song. It never seems to end– the flow between songs and the entire album is so smooth they could have released it as one 50-minute song and I think I would have bought it. You can dance to this album, drive to this album, work to this album, clean to this album, even write to this album (the lyrics are apparent but not so prominent as to be distracting). It’s the perfect tempo to really do anything to and from the start to the finish you’ll be in a steady groove.
“Light Upon The Lake” by Whitney
“Whitney. Like Whitney Houston but without the Houston.” (This is how they introduced themselves when I saw them live, which was phenomenal).
Amidst all the chaos of the year, this album was the key to light hearted relaxation. The airy guitar riffs and high, smooth vocals will have you recalling your fondest summer memories on the lake, and the simpleminded approach to love and growing up will take your mind off the bigger, pressing adult matters in our lives, if only for a few minutes.
“Cut The Body Loose” by Astronautalis
Astronautalis started writing this album 5 years ago. It came out this year, though, and the timing couldn’t be any more fucking perfect. With the finish of a New Orleans funeral procession marching down the street, Astronautalis “guides grievers from heavy, insurmountable suffering to a full-on raucous celebration in the streets.” [source] In other words, exactly the kind of music 2016 needed.
“How To Be A Human Being” by Glass Animals
I think when this came out I listened to it for a week straight. It’s a little more upbeat departure from their previous album, and I found it so much more relatable and easier to take in than “Zaba.” Songs about love, drugs, premade sandwiches, waiting in lines, growing up, pork soda, and eating mayonnaise, all with the wild depth of just barely controlled chaos of sound we’ve come to expect from Glass Animals. I’m not sure if I would claim this to be a handbook on how to be a human being, but it sure does seem to capture a lot of the human reality we all face everyday.
BONUS: “All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend” by Aurora
I couldn’t not include the beautiful, long-awaited debut from my favorite, AURORA. If you haven’t listened, you should, it’ll take you on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, and pro-tip: she’s even better live. Seriously, watch this girl perform, she’s got some serious dance moves and I can confidently say she’s the only artist who I’ve cried both tears of joy and sadness to at the same show.
What were your favorites this year? Share in the comments below!