I think I speak for most people when I say that 2016 was a TOUGH year; emotionally, politically, socially. But, there was one area that kept us all sane this year: music.
2016 was one of the BEST years for music. I deliberated for months over this top 10 list (and am STILL rethinking it!) and so without further ado...
1. Bon Iver - "22, A Million"
Justin Vernon comes out of retirement for one of the most mind-boggling records.
The album is full of beautiful songs exploring faith, questioning life and experimenting in sonic spaces. I don't think I'll ever get tired of exploring the songs on this record.
2. Chance The Rapper - "Coloring Book"
Behold, the man ushering in a new era of the music industry! What more is there to say about Chance? The 23 (!!!) year old rapper who refuses to sign a record deal, snagged 7 Grammy nominations, and who has earned worldwide stardom has made a beautiful and poignant piece of (free) art.
-Finish Line/ Drown
3. The 1975 - "I like it when you sleep..."
Building on their meteoric rise, The 1975 made one of the most cohesive and GORGEOUS albums of 2016. The record hearkens back to huge '80's sounds while still maintaining their characteristic British swagger.
-If I Believe You
4. Radiohead - "A Moon Shaped Pool"
One of music's most prolific bands returns with an album that's both meditative and explorative. Bonus: Radiohead and Paul Thomas Anderson collaborated for numerous music videos from the album (WOW), including what was one of the best of the year.
-Burn the Witch
-True Love Waits
5. Thrice - "To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere"
Yet another prolific artist who came out of retirement to make (arguably) their greatest album. TBEITBN has some of Thrice's most political songs ("Blood On the Sand") and also philosophical ("Salt & Shadow").
-Blood on the Sand
-Salt & Shadow
6. Aubrie Sellers - "New City Blues"
One of the greatest voices in the new era of country music, Aubrie Sellers is the most badass chick on the block. With her signature "garage-country" style and zero shits given attitude, she's a force to be reckoned with and makes some of the best damn music around. I couldn't stop listening all year!
-Sit Here and Cry
-Dreaming in the Day
7. Frightened Rabbit - "Painting of a Panic Attack"
Sad and introspective are two words I'd use to describe the newest album from Frightened Rabbit. They've made some of their most accessible and eye-opening songs to date; a record that tells many stories that you'll want to listen to over and over again.
-I Wish I Was Sober
-Blood Under The Bridge
8. Kings of Leon - "WALLS"
KoL is back with an album that explores new sounds, but reminds you of why you you fell in love with them.
-Waste A Moment
9. J. Cole - "4 Your Eyez Only"
Cole returns with an album that's not only inspirational, but attentive to the problems that exist in lower-income segments of our society. The sprawling title-track that ends the album is a posthumous "letter" from the album's narrator, James, to his daughter about the racial issues in America... cue the tears.
-4 Your Eyez Only
10. American Football - "American Football [LP2]"
Chicago heroes and emo-legends return to music 17 years after their iconic debut album. LP2 starts right where LP1 left off: singing about emotion and social issues.
-Give Me the Gun
-I've Been So Lost for So Long
-Home Is Where the Haunt Is