Best 8 Albums of 2016
The best part of the New Year, by, far, is having a legit reason to get excited for stuff. And as you are sorting out all your resolutions, I think you should add "listen to new music on the regular" to the top of that list. Could you imagine a world without music? I absolutely could not. Getting in your car and driving around in silence, burning off that pizza and champagne dinner without your "go-to" playlist...I just cannot even imagine it dears. Even writing without some background noise sounds so depressing. And a party without music..Gasp. Life without music would be like seeing everything in black and white, or not even seeing anything at all. It was a pretty epic year music related. Looking back on 2016, these were my top 8 albums in no particular order. Enjoy the playlist at the end of the post too with my favorite tracks from each album.
SAM'S FAVE ALBUMS OF 2016.
- A MOON SHAPED POOL : RADIOHEAD- I have loved this band for 25 (goodness, I feel old) years so it's no surprise that this album would make me fall head over heels again. I adore the sweet sounds of violins, violas, and cellos played by members of the London Contemporary Orchestra, then arranged by Johnny Greenwood in a newfound delicious romanticism. A Moon Shaped Pool was recorded on 8-and 16-track recorders, capturing the early, genius impulses of the group. Thom Yorke can do no wrong if you ask me. Jeremy Larson said it best..after eight years of labyrinths and paranoia and rabbit holes, Radiohead finally let us in and it's magical. Absolutely magical.
- A SEAT AT THE TABLE : SOLANGE- This album has been on repeat. It's such a great one to hit a two lane highway with and do some thinking. (I do my best thinking on the road) The assertion sits atop an essay that Solange Knowles wrote in the waning weeks of summer. She recounted a painful incident where a group of women pelted her with harsh words. When A Seat at the Table dropped three weeks later. it became clear that the essay's title pulled from the lyrics of "Weary." This is such a beautiful album full of empathy and I feel like you are almost listening to her personal journal entries. She has some hardships in her life and they are conveyed through her music but in the end, you discover her strength and courage in this album.
- BLOND:FRANK OCEAN- Blond is a collection of quiet moments from the man who's worked to make himself the most talked about thing on the internet. In his songs, Ocean is not in control. In fact, he is attractively lost and I love it! He is such a great story teller, a poet. We waited four years for this and it was definitely worth the wait if you ask me. It's layered and thoughtful and even after ten listens things are STILL revealing themselves to me. It's easy to get lost in and it took away any disspointing thoughts I had about Frank for making me wait so long.
- LEMONADE: BEYONCE- Queen B quenched my thirst for lemonade, I can say that for sure. Beyonce once again surprised her Instagram followers (helloooo, me) with a teaser of a new cryptic project titled “Lemonade" causing us to immediately cancel all weekend plans and not think clearly about anything else happening in the world. I remember it like it was yesterday. This album is pure greatness. It's transforming anguish into art. It's teaching us lessons about conviction and forgiveness, and how those things can co-exist. And it never gets old. This is the album I clean the house to. HA!
- THANK YOU 4 YOUR SERVICE: A TRIBE CALLED QUEST- Is it really possible that it's been 18 years??! Okay, I am really showing my age here. Their beats always get me moving. They were absolute revolutionaries. The vibe is welcoming, as ever: You can come in and wipe your feet on the rhythm rug, but after that, it is time to confront some sobering realities. This album is tear-jerking protest music. The timeliness of this album can’t be understated, nor could it have been predicted. On “We the People…,” Q-Tip breaks out into a mini-song as hook: “All you Black folks, you must go/All you Mexicans, you must go/And all you poor folks, you must go/Muslims and gays, boy we hate your ways/So all you bad folk, you must go.” It follows in the pathways of Jamila Woods’ HEAVN and Solange Knowles’ A Seat at the Table as an album that expresses the deeply painful and deep-seated racist attitudes of current America without rancor. That the hook echoes President-elect Donald Trump’s most famous and reductionist campaign views works in ways that it would not had Hillary Clinton garnered enough electoral college votes to win the election.
- HUMAN PERFORMANCE: PARQUET COURTS- This is their third album and my favorite of the three. I love their intense but witty energy. They are just cool Brooklyn-via-Texas dudes...and the album is fun and gets in my head. Throw on "One Man, No City" ...the guitars stretch out for six minutes doing sitar impressions over bongos. Then thank me later with red velvet cupcakes.
- LOVE STREAMS:TIM HECKER- Tim Hecker’s music has always felt sublime in the old-school sense — beautiful and terrifying and perfectly sacred all at once, a humbling reminder of the power of the almighty. I mean ,really. On Love Streams, he makes that spirituality explicit, folding liturgical music and the human voice into his glacial synthetic drift. Reworking 15th century choral arrangements with the help of Jóhann Jóhannson and the Icelandic Choir Ensemble, Hecker drags new age music into the world of high art, grasping at transcendence through the profoundly artificial. It's a little complicated but I dig it. This album makes me feel like I am in space. It takes me places around the world and I love listening to it when I write. It leaves me incredibly inspired.
- 22, A MILLION: BON IVER- Vernon nailed his most difficult maneuver yet, pushing Bon Iver to new extremes of synthetic oddity without losing the warm beating heart and scratchy stubble that have caused this project to endure. 22, A Million snuck up on me as much as a non-surprise album can and it's the perfect snowy day beauty.
Enjoy these 8 perfect perfect albums. Looking forward to what 2017 brings musically. I am confident Ryan Adams will not disappoint me and be at the very top of this list this time next year. I plan on seeing him live in Madrid, Spain this Summer. Really hope you guys enjoy this new chapter in my blog with all things music. I will be reviewing albums, sharing festival secrets and tips and tricks, and insider tours of the top music venues in all the land. There will be some interviews too. Currently securing Ian Moore for my very first where hopefully he will share some travel tips for you musicians out there. Shop my fave fall/winter concert attire below and go get lost with my playlist!!
Happy snow day everyone...I actually sprained my knee last night in Target of all places so I will be elevated on the sofa with movies all weekend. Missing the art crawl tonight with friends and I am bummed. But it has been a good day getting lost with Solange, Elie Saab, and learning my new Leica. Of course mexican wedding cookies from Stonehorse Market are involved and lots and lots of coffee. Heaven also just got the best gal ever ......Jessica Cooper..your beauty and great big heart will be greatly missed. You touched my life in the biggest way and inspire me to always be positive and never stop reaching for those stars. Until we meet again girl....go fly!!