The 10 Best Albums of 2016

I listen to a lot of music. Between running at the gym, sermon preparation, and a host of other activities, I am constantly sifting through new albums throughout the year. Below is my list of the top 10 albums that were released in 2016.

 

10. Wilco – Schmilco

Wilco’s tenth studio album is filled with the stuff that makes Wilco Wilco. Tweedy’s twangy vocals, smooth harmonies, and poetic verses easily solidified this as one of my most listened to albums throughout the year.

 

9. White Denim – Stiff

I started listening to White Denim during my freshman year of college and I have looked forward to each of their releases ever since. Though not as enthralling as their earlier albums “Exposition” and “Fits”, “Stiff” moves and grooves from beginning to end. Part of what keeps bringing me back to White Denim is their relentless desire to blend genres into solid music.

 

8. Hiss Golden Messenger – Heart Like a Levee

Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, Hiss Golden Messenger’s “Heart Like a Levee” is like listening to Megafaun’s best songs on one album. The use of blues and folk rhythms allow the record to come through warm and inviting while also staying true to the form with melancholy when necessary.

 

7. Big Thief – Masterpiece

Adrianne Lenker’s voice haunts me. From the fragility of the song Paul to the emphatic harmonies on Masterpiece she has clearly found her calling.

 

6. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

Will Toledo has recorded A LOT of music (some from the backseat of his car; hence the name). With the release of “Teens of Denial” Toledo has started to receive critical acclaim and he deserves it. This albums contains a lot of honesty which is ironic considering 2016 is being called the year of “post-truth”.

 

5. Angel Olsen – MY WOMAN

Olsen’s 2014 “Burn Your Fire for No Witnesses” is easily one of my favorite albums of the decade, and she followed it with a solid collection of songs on “MY WOMAN”. Though not as haunting as the simple strumming and singing from her previous album, her songwriting has matured and kicks with force. Her vibrato still lingers between my ears whenever I hear the songs Sister and Woman.

 

4. Explosions in the Sky – The Wilderness

Without a doubt, I listened to “The Wilderness” while writing sermons more than any other album this year. The musical project of a bunch of friends from Austin, Texas, Explosions in the Sky is one of the most contemplative and moving post-rock bands I’ve ever heard.

 

3. Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

Greta Kline’s sweet voice rings through on each song of “Next Thing” and was one of the biggest surprises (for me) of 2016. I bought the album on a whim after hearing about it on All Songs Considered and I kept coming back to it throughout the year.

 

2. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

The most needed album of 2016.

 

1. Andrew Bird – Are You Serious 

Maybe it’s because I became a father this year, and Andrew Bird’s recent step in fatherhood shaped the album, but “Are You Serious” was my favorite album of the year. From beginning to end every song drips with the flavor that has comes to define Bird’s music: haunting harmonies, moving melodies, winsome whistling, etc.

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Kyle Morton – What Will Destroy You

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – The Rarity of Experience

Ray LaMontagne – Ouroboros

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

 

 

 

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