I am writing this article a little later this time than the last year, but still how exciting. 2016 was rich in the music, as it always is but somehow less exciting I feel. This year it was quite hard to make this list because unlike the year before, it felt like I’ve really been listening just to a few albums over the year, which feels so out of character for me.
But still, there were great albums. Please know that this is just my perspective and my look on the best album that I listened to last year. I am aware that Amon Amarth and Metallica had great albums (to name a few), but simply enough, these are the 20 that I loved the most.
20. SLOW DAKOTA – THE ASCENSION OF SLOW DAKOTA
1. ALBUM / INDIE-POETRY / 22.7.2016
I’ve talked about the Slow Dakota album before and I think it’s worth your listen. It’s a combination of quite a few genres, including poetry. The whole album also changes rhythm quite a few times, which keeps your attention right where it should be.
19. IMANY – THE WRONG KIND OF WAR
2. ALBUM/ SOUL-BLUES-FUNK/26.8.2016
To be honest with you guys, I’ve found Imany by a mistake when I was looking for different singer, but I am really happy I’ve found her. Imany (Nadia Mladjao) is a french singer who you will instantly fall in love with, but more importantly she has the kind of voice that is really distinguish to her and you won’t forget it. This second album is really interesting concept piece that is lyrically and melodically strong. I originally had her higher up, but there is a moment at the middle of album where my excitement goes little down. So I’ve moved her a bit. But hey, it’s a great soul with story, message and very nice combination of single a choir vocals.
18. THE HEAVY – HURT & THE MERCILESS
4. ALBUM / FUNK-ROCK / 1.4.2016
I was waiting for this album for such a long time and got really exited about it. Although it’s for me the least exciting album yet, it’s still really brilliant. This band just pumps you up and sort of forces you to have a great time, but in a very nicely way through funky/rocky way. Which I truly prefer.
17. MICHAEL KIWANUKA – LOVE & HATE
2. ALBUM / SOUL/ 15.7.2016
If you thought that the true soul music, not the funky modern Bruno Mars version, but the true Otis Redding kind of soul music was gone, that let me assure you that it’s not true. One of the best voice and artists for me is british Michael Kiwanuka, his debut was brilliant and with the second record Love & Hate it’s even more honest, playful and beautiful. It’s just so heartwarming knowing that this music is still out there.
You just got to listen to this one.
16. KA – HONOR KILLED THE SAMURAI
4. ALBUM / RAP / 13.8.2016
I am not much of a rap fan, but when I hear something so good as the fourth studio album from american rapper Ka, well then it has to be on this list. What I love in rap music is something that will surprise me and good use of words. Having genre which is based on lyrics wasted on bitches does not really impress. So when Ka released this interesting concept album with clever remarks and great music, which draws your attention I was rather happy about it and returned to this album through the 2016 couple times.
15. RADIOHEAD – A MOON SHAPED POOL
9. ALBUM / ALTERNATIVE / 8.5.2016
This list could never be complete without Radiohead album on it, since we’ve been waiting for quite a while. Although the album has been recorded between 2014 and 2016, it was released last May. I must say, it’s not my favorite album, but I am a fan and it is a very good album. Below you find the first single, which is also the most energetic. Radiohead are one of the bands that are capable of making deeply melancholic yet somehow energetic and song with both deep and light mood. It’s a mystery of a few.
14. GROUPLOVE – BIG MESS
3. ALBUM / INDIE-ROCK/ 9.9.2016
Grouplove are such a fresh band in the indie rock and sort of pop rock, even with their third album I am still really happy this band exists. This new album is really energetic and clever little indie that worths the listen.
13. BIRDY – BEAUTIFUL LIES
3. ALBUM / POP-INDIE/ 25.3.2016
I’ve known about Birdy from the first album but for some reason I gave her a proper listen only with her third album, I really get know what was the craze about. Her voice is beautiful and soulful for pop/indie music of today. The music she does has a lot of emotions and stong vocal parts, which is the reason I’ve fallen in love with this very good album.
12. SLAVES – TAKE CONTROL
2. ALBUM / PUNK / 30.9.2016
I have not heard a good proper punk music in a while, which is why I am so excited bout british punk duo Slaves. It’s an unlikely punk setting yet they make a punk music the way it sounded in the 70’s, which I am really exited about. I rather don’t see the point between pop and punk, but this sound is brilliant. Even though this album is not as good as the debut it’s still brilliant and if you like the old punk, I think you will like this one as well.
11. SOFI TUKKER – SOFT ANIMALS (EP)
EP / ELECTONIC / 8.7.2016
I’ve decided to put two EP’s on this list. Not that there are not full albums to pick from, but this EP’s are just joy and I hope we’ll hear full albums soon. The first EP is Sofi Tukker, duo from New York that makes truly weird electronic music that is really dancy and somehow skips into different dance scene genres. It’s also the kind of music you always remember, it’s just quite unique and special.
10. PUMAROSA – PUMAROSA
EP / Electoronic-Funk-Jazz / 2016
Pumarosa is the other band with the EP. This is a five-piece english band that just absolutely stuns you live, everything you hear in this EP and think is just production, you are wrong, it’s all proper music. It’s a bit of combination between electronic, dance music but also jazz, soul and funk. It’s all combined together rather neatly and what you need is to see this band live, they are amazing!
9. NICK CAVE – SKELETON TREE
16. ALBUM / ART ROCK / 9.9.2016
Nick Cave’s latest album had been recorded 18 months before it’s release and it’s probably the most challenging yet, especially for the listeners. Although most of the album had been finished by the time Nick Cave and his family had been struck by a tragedy, Cave amended some of the part of the album, which makes it even heavier to listen to. In a way, one has a feeling that Cave just like Bowie thoroughly prepare their fans with one album onto the next phase. Still, this album for me is a unique combination of his latest work and is as usually very lyrical and ancient in its presentation, if you know what I
8. KALEO – A/B
2. ALBUM/ BLUES-ROCK / 10.6.2016
Since the first album from The Black Keys it feels like there have not really been a blues rock band with an original sound, the wait is over. Kaleo is a young blues rock band from Iceland that you could probably notice thanks to a HBO tv shop Vinyl, nevertheless, the whole album A/B is absolutely brilliant. It’s fresh, energetic and raw blues rock that offers really nice sound, be it the ballads or more energetic tracks. What is an amazing point is the melody that singer JJ Juliu Son carries in his rather powerful voice. Brilliant record!
7. IGGY POP – POST POP DEPRESSION
17.ALBUM / ALT ROCK / 18.3.2016
It really feels like Iggy Pops Post Pop Depression was once of the most anticipated albums of 2016, not only because it’s Iggy Pop but mostly because we knew about those amazing names that joined forces with Iggy. The combination of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) is just fascinating and not only you can hear all three of the forces on this album, it’s also a great listen that I love coming back to.
6. ROLLING STONES – BLUE& LONESOME
23. ALBUM / BLUES / 2.12.2016
I never quite believed that we’d actually see Blue & Lonesome, yet here we are. This album is such a beautiful tribute to the blues music and it’s roots that the Stones know and love very much. And you can really feel it from this record. The first name that popped to my head when I first heard the album was Howlin’ Wolf, one of my absolute favorite bluesmen and this record goes in that very manner, you hear some of the classic early stones in this album, but it’s really mostly blues appreciation, so be ready. As blues goes, this is joy listening to.
5. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY – THE WILDERNESS
7. ALBUM / POST-ROCK / 1.4.2016
What I always say with the new record of american band Explosions in The Sky is that this must be their best album, and I am gonna say it again. This must be their best album yet. It’s just for post-rock band, it’s easy to fall into the same cycle, but it’s something this band never had, in my opinion. Every album is something unique and interesting and this one is very melancholic and epic in its sound, plus it’s one of the most melodic post-rock I know.
4. DAVID BOWIE – BLACKSTAR
25. ALBUM/ BOWIE GENRE / 8.1.2016
There is an overuse of the word icon, when there is really only few who can be described by it. The one true icon the world had must be David Bowie. The way he developed, not only himself, but also the whole music genre is just absolutely unique. And at the same time he survived his demons and inspired millions. There was no doubt that he could still do something utterly shocking and breathtaking, and here we are. The ultimate goodbye which came too soon.
3. AURORA – ALL MY DEMONS GREETING ME AS A FRIEND
1. ALBUM / DREAM INDIE / 11.3.2016
Whatever they are doing in the Scandinavia, they are doing it right. The moment something emerges from the northern part of Europe it’s always not only very good but most importantly original. Aurora is one of those authors, she will probably remind you of a mash of Fever Ray and Bjork, but she has a lot to say for herself. Her debut album is a pure joy which is a mix of electronic indie and quite a dreamy pop. The amazing thing on this singer are the stories she tells, which are together with the music very powerful.
2. DAUGHTER – NOT TO DISAPPEAR
2. ALBUM / POST-POP – INDIE / 15.1.2016
Daughter are such and interesting band, even though they release albums slowly it’s always worth the wait. This band has really nice moments when you think it’s post-pop or post-rock album, but then you hear the dreamy voice of Elena Torna who delivers powerful lyrics in a very melancholic atmospheric album which is worth your time.
1. GLASS ANIMALS – HOW TO BE A HUMAN BEING
2. ALBUM / PSYCHEDELIC POP – INDIE ROCK / 26.8.2016
From the moment this album was released back un August I have not stopped listening to it, and I can almost say I listened to this album every day from the moment of its release. It’s just a wonderous album, it’s extremely playful and clever. Always you put this album on you find something different you can concentrate on. This british band just deserves so much more than it is getting because they are brilliant both lyrically and musically. Not to mention their live performance. For me, album of the year!
These are my Top 20 albums, which are yours?
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