Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top 10 Albums of 2016 So Far

Did Radiohead's latest make the cut?

Here are my favorites from the first half of the year.

10. Nothing But Thieves - Nothing But Thieves

9. Lemonade - Beyoncé

8. Blackstar - David Bowie

7. untitled unmastered. - Kendrick Lamar

6. Oh No - Jessy Lanza

5. A Moon Shaped Pool - Radiohead

4. The Colour in Anything - James Blake

3. ANTI - Rihanna

2. Coloring Book - Chance the Rapper

1. Love You to Death - Tegan and Sara


  1. GASP!

    Who is this Jesse Lanza? How in the world did I miss an album when I've listened to well over 100?

    Adding to my listen list now!

    Also, LOVE that we're 4/5 in the Top 10 ATM. I'm kind of shocked that you loved Chance the Rapper's album so much though. I liked it, but it didn't strike me as hard as I expected it to, and I certainly wouldn't place it among the more memorable and more diverse of the UC albums this year.

    But I liked it.

    1. Check out Lanza!! She *barely* misses my top 5!

      I keep coming back to Chance's album. While ANTI is certainly more neat and polished, Coloring Book feels more ambitious, and it starts and finishes on SUCH a high. That said, my #2 and #3 are almost interchangeable right now. :/

  2. Radiohead's is my #1. I agree Bowie's is among the ten best so far.
    Chance the Rapper and Rihanna's albums have strong individual tracks, although I'm forced to skip over songs, think it's the use of autotune and reverb that bothers me.
    Anyway, glad to see you are still following music! Are you on RYM? For comparison's sake, you can read my 2016 lists: https://rateyourmusic.com/~mas365

    1. Thanks for the link! I've been more into music than films lately, but I'm going to catch up on more movies in the coming months. I'm not on RYM, though it looks like fun. If I make an account, I'll send you a link. :)

      Love that Radiohead and Bowie are on your list. I'm a sucker for the sound of albums like ANTI and Coloring Book.

      I know you aren't a fan of their pop material, but have you given Tegan and Sara's new album a listen? It's so much better than their last LP, and I say that as a big Heartthrob fan. I know Drew at A Fistful of Films loved their new album as well.

  3. You're welcome! Rateyourmusic is like letterboxd-just for music. The site has existed for years. Fun to read the non-professional reviews on there, which sometimes are more brutally honest than metacritic.

    Oddly, I'm ok with Kayne West using autotune on his 2016 album. Depends I guess.

    I've listened to Tegan and Sara sporatically, "Walking with a Ghost" & "Turnpike Ghost" are two favorites of mine. To be honest I think they sold out with Heartthrob. I'm willing to give the new album a try since both you and Fisti recommend it :)

    1. I think T&S were trying too hard to sound mainstream on Heartthrob, but I still feel that it works as a great pop album. (I’d argue the production was more to blame than the writing.) Though, I wouldn’t say they sold out. I randomly decided to check out all 6 of their pre-Heartthrob albums a couple of months ago, and they’ve changed their sound several times over the years, incorporating more pop elements with each new LP. So, it doesn’t surprise me much that they went full-on pop. Their latest album has a different feel than Heartthrob. Greg Kurstin’s glossy production fits better this time, and it seems - both to my ear and from what I’ve read/seen in interviews - that it’s a much more personal, mature album than their last one. Of course, it’s still very much a POP album. Hope you like it! :)

      Love that “Walking with a Ghost” is one of your favorites. “So Jealous” is probably mine, with “The Con” being a close second. While I do love their pop stuff, I also prefer their older material.

      Oh, and I joined RYM. ;)


  4. Sounds like you've been on a Tegan and Sara kick recently. I like when artists are willing to change their sound so their discography has variation, although I prefer when it's done for artistic reasons and not just because the label wants them to get played on the radio.

    Added you as friend on RYM!

    1. Haha, I guess so, and I can’t even remember why I decided to listen to their old stuff. I only knew them from Heartthrob, after all. (I re-listened to Heartthrob before I updated the 2013 SoundSpecs, so maybe that's the reason.) Glad I checked them out though, as I love their 2004-present material.

      I think their change to pop was done for both reasons, actually. Sainthood (their last album before Heartthrob) is all over the place, and it appears they were struggling to find their sound at that point. (I LOVE that album, though.) It seems like their move to pop is a happy marriage of their wishes for a creative change with broader appeal and the studio’s desire to make them more bankable. They seem fully invested in the songs/new sound, but I totally see the selling-out argument.

      Thanks for the add! Added you, too. :)

    2. Just reviewed the new Tegan and Sara on RYM. Even though I didn't love it to the degree you did, thanks for the recommendation.

    3. Sorry you didn't like it, but it's awesome that you gave it a chance. :)