Another year, another list of my favorite albums. As always, these have been carefully selected through a strict scientific method; now that I have taken the lab coat off and turned off all the Bunsen burners, these are the 10 albums the formula yielded. It’s just science.
10. Chance the Rapper, “Coloring Book”
All year, friends had been telling me to listen to this album, and I’m really happy I finally gave in. A groundbreaking album in the “gospel hip-hop” genre, it’s steeped in the optimism America needs right now.
9. Laura Gibson, “Empire Builder”
My love for Laura Gibson is well documented. Over a year ago, her New York home burned down, taking many of her valuable instruments with it. I contributed to the fund to replace her belongings – now I’m just hoping I make her year-end Top 10 list of favorite fanboys.
8. Mitski, “Puberty II”
This song will make you cry. That is all.
“Your Best American Girl”
7. Thee Oh Sees, “A Weird Exits”
Unapologetic psychedelic rock devoid of nuance. They manage the rare feat of capturing the frantic energy of their live shows on their recordings.
6. Petal, “Shame”
Catchy guitar-driven pop from singer-songwriter Kiley Lotz of Scranton, PA. Came out in January of 2016 and remained a lock for my Top 10 all year.
5. Tribe Called Quest, “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service”
Tribe has been out of the public spotlight for more than a decade, so it’s not like the public was clamoring for a new album. But that makes “We got it from Here…” all the more impressive. They had something to say and came back to say it – it doesn’t feel at all like a cash grab that you see from lesser acts. Plus, the world needed to hear the late Phife Dawg one last time.
“We the People”
4. Russian Circles, “Guidance”
Instrumental, emotional nerd metal.
3. Bleached, “Welcome the Worms”
Another stellar guitar-pop album from L.A. based Bleached. Every song an earworm, front to back.
“Wednesday Night Melody”
2. Avalanches, “Wildflower”
A sprawling album in which each song winds into the next, mixing disco, hip-hop, soul and general silliness. While not quite as good as the Australian band’s 2000 debut, it’s great to have them back after 16 years.
“Because I’m Me”
1. Radiohead, “A Moon Shaped Pool”
I know, I know – “White Guy in 40’s Likes Radiohead Album” isn’t exactly breaking news. But the album deserves all the praise heaped on it during the year – it checks all the boxes that make an album great. And the fact that Radiohead is still breaking new ground after two decades makes it all the more remarkable.
“Burn the Witch”