Favourite music albums of 2016

I guess this year final­ly marked the end of my album lis­ten­ing behav­iour. Spo­ti­fy’s Dis­cov­er and Dai­ly Mix fea­tures were the one-two punch that knocked it out. In addi­tion I some­how stopped scrob­bling to Last.fm in March. It’s switched back on now but the dam­age is done.

So the data I do have is incom­plete. I did still delib­er­ate­ly put on a num­ber of albums this year. But I won’t post them in order of lis­tens like I did last year. This is sub­jec­tive, unsort­ed and hand-picked. I will even sneak in a few albums that were pub­lished towards the end of 2015.

My sources includ­ed Pitch­fork’s list of best new albums which used to be how I dis­cov­ered new music and still wields some influ­ence. I cross-ref­er­enced with Spo­ti­fy’s top songs of 2016.

So first Spo­ti­fy tells me what to lis­ten to and then it gives me a list of things I actu­al­ly lis­tened to. This is get­ting weird…

Any­way, here they are. A * marks a par­tic­u­lar favourite.

  • A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… *
  • Solange – A Seat At the Table
  • Hamil­ton Lei­thauser + Ros­tam – I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
  • The Avalanch­es – Wildflower *
  • Blood Orange – Free­town Sound
  • Whit­ney – Light Upon the Lake
  • Car Seat Head­rest – Teens Of Denial *
  • Chance The Rap­per – Col­or­ing Book *
  • Moody­mann – DJ-Kicks *
  • Grimes – Art Angels * 
  • Float­ing Points – Elaenia
  • The Range – Potential *
  • Sepal­cure – Fold­ing Time
  • Jami­la Woods – HEAVN

Here’s a playlist which includes a cou­ple of more albums if you want to have a listen.

Favourite music albums of 2015

Well what do you know, a blog post. Because look­ing back is the thing peo­ple do this time of year and I actu­al­ly have the lux­u­ry of time to look back for a change, I thought I’d com­pile a list of albums I enjoyed lis­ten­ing to in 2015 that were also released in 2015. 

There were quite a few albums I lis­tened to this year that weren’t released in 2015. Those don’t show up here. If you’re curi­ous, there is always Last.fm. Most notably, I dis­cov­ered The Hold Steady through BEE and got seri­ous­ly hooked on ‘Boys And Girls In Amer­i­ca’. Some of the best rock music made this side of ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, if you ask me.

Any­way, here is a list of the 15 albums from 2015 that I lis­tened to the most, in order of num­ber of plays. A ❤️ denotes a par­tic­u­lar favourite. If you want to have a lis­ten, here’s a Spo­ti­fy playlist.

  1. DJ Koze – DJ Kicks ❤️ (Just a flaw­less mix of delight­ful tunes that lift the spirit.)
  2. Blur – The Mag­ic Whip ❤️ (Lyri­cal­ly inter­est­ing, son­i­cal­ly a kind of review or rep­e­ti­tion of their whole oeu­vre. Atmos­pher­i­cal­ly I think they cap­tured the spir­it of the times quite well.) 
  3. Tame Impala – Cur­rents (The falset­to gets on my nerves some times, but the open­ing tracks have an irre­sistible groove to them.)
  4. Court­ney Bar­nett – Some­times I Sit and Think, and Some­times I Just Sit ❤️ (Strong con­tender for album of the year. Fun­ny, imag­i­na­tive lyrics and music that sim­ply rocks.)
  5. Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down… ❤️ (It is kind of amaz­ing to me how Vile keeps churn­ing out one great record after an oth­er. This is his most opti­mistic to date.)
  6. Jamie XX – In Colour (There are a few let­downs on this one pre­vent­ing it to be the kind of dance music album you play on repeat.)
  7. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A But­ter­fly (All over the place. I dig the nods to P‑Funk.)
  8. Every­thing Every­thing – Get To Heav­en (I binged on this in July and have hard­ly lis­tened to it since because of the love hate rela­tion­ship with the singer’s voice. But this remains delight­ful­ly eclec­tic and energetic.)
  9. Dr. Dre – Comp­ton (Not avail­able on Spo­ti­fy but I men­tion it here because I enjoyed the return to uncom­pli­cat­ed west side hiphop it offers.)
  10. Car­ly Rae Jepsen – Emo­tion (Oblig­a­tory guilty plea­sure. Each year I get hooked on one of these female pop stars. This was Car­ly Rae’s year.)
  11. Miguel – Wild­heart (Eas­i­ly the best R&B album of the year. Ver­sa­tile, sexy, musi­cal­ly interesting.)
  12. Roy­al Headache – High (Great throw­back to punk that sounds fresh at the same time. Great lyrics.)
  13. Destroy­er – Poi­son Sea­son (Was­n’t so sure about this one until see­ing them live (again) at Le Guess Who? and now that I’ve heard the songs live I under­stand what they’re try­ing to do here. These songs are meant to sound BIG.)
  14. Deer­hunter – Fad­ing Fron­tier ❤️ (Anoth­er album of the year hope­ful. Most acces­si­ble album of a band that con­tin­ues to fas­ci­nate. Musi­cal­ly and lyri­cal­ly imag­i­na­tive and exciting.)
  15. Maji­cal Cloudz – Are You Alone? (I return to this for its inti­mate atmosphere.)

Hon­orary mentions:

I should have lis­tened to these more but some­how did­n’t. Here they are in no par­tic­u­lar order.

  • Low­er Dens – Escape From Evil
  • Ought – Sun Com­ing Down
  • Beach House – Depres­sion Cherry
  • Kelela – Hallucinogen
  • FKA twigs – M3LL155X
  • Ratk­ing – 700 Fill