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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My 20 Favorite Albums of 2016 Part 1

2016. It will be a year to remember. From the numerous deaths in the music community, which included David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and Prince, to the Presidential election, and finally the death of icons Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, and Carrie Fischer.

But even in the sadness that has accompanied this past year, we have also seen some absolutely incredible musical releases. In fact, putting together my top 10 list was a challenging task. Limiting myself to just 10 albums seemed to be very unfair. So instead of my usually top 10 list, with a few honorable mentions, I've decided that for 2016 I'll have a top 20 listing of favorite albums.

Now without further ado, here is part 1.

20. Frightened Rabbit: Painting of a Panic Attack
Frightened Rabbit's latest release sees the band changing their sound slightly. The band is still producing "big sounding" music, but it's much more personal. This albums sees them going deeper in their exploration of relationships, all the while producing incredible pop songs. Finally, the band continues their tradition of coming up with great titles for their records.

19. Regina Spektor: Remember Us to Life
Full disclosure. This is the first Regina Spektor album I've listened to in its entirety. The entire time I was listening, I kept thinking to myself, why haven't I checked her out soon? It's so good, and is a great showcase of Skeptor's pop charm, and fantastic piano work. I find this to be a great beginners record to Regina Spektor's discography.

18. The Beatles: Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Yes The Beatles made this list. It is true that this album contains no new music from the band. But what it does contain is a taste of what it was like to see the greatest rock band in history live. It's utterly magically. At their heart, The Beatles were just a rock n' roll band, and that is what you hear on this release. It's the closest someone my age will ever get to seeing the group live.

17. The Rolling Stones: Blue and Lonesome 
If at any point you are looking at getting into the blues, this is a great beginners blues album. The magic of this album is that the Rolling Stones make the blues accessible to individuals who may not go and check that genre out. But after hearing the Stones' covers, they might do so. Additionally, The Stones sound like they are having fun on this album. The passion they have for the blues is apparent, and it will bleed through your speakers, and hit you square in the face.

16. The Lumineers: Cleopatra
Early in 2016 The Lumineers delivered in my opinion a perfect folk pop record. The songs are beyond catching, and the album showcases the bands strengths of melody and lyrics. It is not very hard to picture all of these new songs being sung to in a large stadium setting. Cleopatra has made the Lumineers a very big band.

15. Bob Mould: Patch the Sky
It's always weird for me to read an article that argues that guitar based rock is dead. To refute this claim, I would simply play this new album by Bob Mould. It is heavy on the guitar, and old school garage rock. Mould is beyond confident in his craft, and the we the listener reap all of the benefits. This is a must have for anyone looking for a guitar centered album.

14. Sarah Neufeld: The Ridge
About a year ago I got into a TV show on Amazon Prime called Mozart in the Jungle. The show is centered around the "New York Symphony", and classical music in the modern world. Because of it, I have been searching for some great classically inspired music, and I didn't need to look very far. Violinist Sarah Neufeld, from indie giants Arcade Fire, delivers a very modern sounding classical music album. The melodies are haunting, and the star of the show is her violin. I cannot suggest this album enough.

13. Tegan and Sara: Love You to Death
Tegan and Sara continue their string of making fantastic pop songs. If you are a fan of 80s synth pop music, along with heartfelt lyrics, Love You to Death is a MUST have. Tegan and Sara have this way of making you feeling every emotions that they are feeling. It's pretty captivating.

12. The Last Shadow Puppets: Everything You've Come to Expect
Alex Turner, frontman of the Arctic Monkeys, continues to prove himself as one of the best frontmen in the indie rock scene. He continues to prove that with the latest effort from his side project, the Last Shadow Puppets. As I'm thinking about it, has Alex Turner made a bad record yet?

11. Moon Hooch: Red Sky
If you are looking for modern jazz music that will get you on the dance floor, Moon Hooch is the band for you. Every song is catchy, upbeat, and makes you want to shack your booty. I dare the staunchest music snob not to dance to this music. It is physically impossible.

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