It's finally come to this. My top 10 favorite albums of 2016. Without further ado....
10. We/or/Me: Everything Behind Us is a Dream
I first heard of local Chicago artist We/Or/Me aka Bahhaj Tahezadeh in an article on the Chicagoist website back in January. The article described We/Or/Me as: "a local singer/songwriter who has been self-producing gorgeous albums in the traditions of 1960s British folk music." Boy were they correct. Everything Behind Us is a Dream is an album that demands the listeners attention, and is a perfect example of the incredible folk scene in the Chicago land area. If you are looking to get into folk music, We/Or/Me is a great place to begin.
9. The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Monolith of Phobos
I cannot explain to you how excited I was when I first found out that Les Claypool from Primus and Sean Lennon had formed a band. I knew immediately that their album would be one of the most unique sounding records I have ever heard. Monolith of Phobos is proof that my assumption was correct. This is a great prog-rock record, that explores some pretty far out topics. From prescription drug addiction to 'Head', the feature film produced my The Monkees. This record is truly a treasure.
8. Rogue Wave: Delusions of Grand Fur
Delusions of Grand Fur is Rogue Wave's best album is 2007's Asleep at Heaven's Gate. The album finds Rogue Wave expanding their sound, but staying true to what makes them a band with staying power. It features some catchy indie-pop songs, and that showcase meaningful lyrics. It's almost like a sequel to Asleep at Heaven's Gate.
7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree
I was scared to listen to this record at first. It was almost as if the emotional impact this record promised would be too great for me to handle. Skeleton Tree focuses on the tragic death of Cave's son. This is Nick Cave at his most rare and hurt. After listening to this album numerous times, all I can say is that Nick Cave is one strongest individuals in the world. This record sees him at his lowest, and he brings the listener right there with him. And yet, there is a sense of hope throughout the album, that is truly inspirational.
6. Yeasayer: Amen and Goodbye
Yeasayer's latest release utterly blew me away with how intellectual it was.This record is unreal in the very best way possible!! From religion and philosophy to social media and life in the 21st century it has it all. And the actual music written shows a band hitting on all cylinders. With Amen and Goodbye, Yeasayer may have just re-defined what it means to be an indie rock alternative band.
5. Norah Jones: Day Breaks
This record is so good!!! Day Breaks sees Norah Jones returning to her jazz roots. If you were a fan of her first album, Come Away with Me, you will absolutely love this record. Day Breaks sort of feels like a proper sequel to Come Away with Me. Personally, the last track, Fleurette Africaine (African Flower), is the highlight of the record, that is well worth your time to listen to.
4. David Bowie: Blackstar
What can I saw about the late great David Bowie that hasn't already been said? Same goes for his 2016 and last ever release Blackstar? Upon its release, critics called the album spectacular. After Bowie's death of cancer, it became his magnum opus. Any music fan NEEDS to listen to it at some point in their life. It lives up to the hype.
3. Moby and the Void Pacific Choir: These Systems are Failing
For any person who says that Moby's music is too blah, I present to you These Systems are Failing. These Systems are Failing sees Moby at his heaviest ever. I think I can best described the sound of this record as a mixture of punk and EDM. It also features very heavy politically relevant lyrics. I've had fun with this album too. I would play it for people, who I knew didn't like Moby's music. I wouldn't tell them who it was till after I saw their initial reaction. All parties came away with a different perspective of who Moby is as an artist.
2. Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool
I love A Moon Shaped Pool. It is a beautiful record. For me, it is on par with their 2007 release In Rainbows. And it is sort of a return to form for Radiohead. In 2011, Radiohead released King of Limbs which I found to be very robotic in sound. Where King of Limbs was abrasive, A Moon Shaped Pool is melodic. And with the untimely death of Thom Yorke's partner Dr. Rachel Owen, it takes on a whole new meaning.
1. Esperanza Spalding: Emily's D+ Evolution
The word masterpiece is thrown around a lot. And I am just as guilty of throwing that word around as anyone else. With that being said, please believe me when I tell you, Emily's D+ Evolution is a masterpiece. What Spalding does on this album is absolutely incredible. She creates a fusion of jazz, classic rock, RnB, and pop. It is unlike anything I have ever heard. It's an album that ten years from now, I'll be able to listen to, and hear something new that I had never heard before. Because I am a music nerd, I have a list of my all-time favorite albums written down. It's time for me to add to the list.