It’s pretty easy to get mad at 2016. A lot of musicians died this year, and that seems unfair. But people die all the time, and I wonder… even in the wake of still more deaths as we drag ourselves screaming and bleeding towards 2017, if it just seems worse because we focus on those negatives. Yes, there’s a lot of negative. But there is positive too, and maybe we should be looking closer at that, shift our perspective…
So let’s see if I can pick a Top Album of 2016. Oh that’ll be easy, right? Haha not even close. Looking for positives, there was so much good music this year. So much! And I was very fortunate to be able to hear some of it…
Before we go too far, though, let’s look at my past winners. I’ve been doing these posts since 2006. I know…
2015 Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls
2014 Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems / Sloan – Commonwealth (tie)
2013 Black Sabbath – 13
2012 Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas
2011 Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton – Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At The Lincoln Center
2010 Jack Johnson – To The Sea
2009 Leonard Cohen – Live In London
2008 Metallica – Death Magnetic
2007 Carolyn Mark – Nothing Is Free / Immaculate Machine – Fables (tie)
2006 Sloan – Never Hear The End Of It
So. Those are all mighty damn fine albums, all of which I still love to this day.
And now for 2016…
Albums From 2016 That I Heard (In No Particular Order):
Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem
Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome
Rolling Stones – Havana Moon
Tuns – Tuns
Sloan – One Chord To Another (remastered boxed set)
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
John K. Samson – Winter Wheat
Carolyn Mark – Come! Back! Special!
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
54-40 – La Difference: A History Unplugged
A Rebel Few – As the Crow Flies
Evilyn Strange – Evilution
Derek Kortepeter – Cataclysm
Metallica – Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct (deluxe)
Black Sabbath – The End
Gojira – Magma
Opeth – Sorceress
Gone Is Gone – Gone Is Gone
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – Broken Lines
Ghost – Popestar
Gojira – Terra Incognita (remaster)
Volbeat – Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie
Guided By Voices – Please Be Honest
Jake Bugg – On My One
Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are
Jack White – Acoustic Recordings 1998-2016
Prophets Of Rage – The Party’s Over
Mumford & Sons – Johannesburg
Rolling Stones – Totally Stripped
Trews – Time Capsule
ESP Ohio – Starting Point Of The Royal Cyclopean
I know! That’s one helluva list. So much good music! And even listing all of that I’m fairly certain I’ve missed adding a few. Hm.
Anyway, how to pick my fave from all of those? Silliness. Why not just say they were all awesome and let’s all move forward and try to make 2017 kick as much ass as we can? Who would even try to narrow it down…? THIS GUY, that’s who. Because tradition. I can’t stop making these now!
I won’t lie. I sweated over this for a long time. I went back and forth on many of these albums. Which will I play more? Which pleased me most? My lovely wife asked which of these records I’ll enjoy most 5 years from now… um, all of them? Dammit.
But I must decide, and I have. For reasons.
Aaron’s Best Of 2016:
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker / Metallica – Hardwired… To Self-Destruct (tie)
Yup, it’s my third year coughing up a tie. But I’m not waffling! I’m not not choosing by choosing two choices. Wow that last one was an awkward sentence…
Y’all know I loved the new Leonard record. That I bought it before he died, and didn’t play it until after he died. Probably, it gained even more weight for all of that, as I am already a life-long Leonard fan, and his last studio album (before the inevitable post-humous stuff) is hugely significant. But forget all that other stuff. It is just that strong.
Y’all also know I loved the new Metallica album. It kicked so much ass. Just wow.
It balances: We lose Leonard, and his album brings us joy and catharsis in the pain of his loss. And Metallica lifts us back up, providing release in those mighty riffs.
So, two winners. And it could easily have been others. I mean, speaking of resonance following bad news, the latest Tragically Hip album (Man Machine Poem) gained much weight for it (possibly) being the Hip’s last album following Gordie’s announcement of his cancer diagnosis (stay strong, Gord! We love you!). And it’s a great record, which fits the discography perfectly… And if you look back through that list, you can see so many other albums deserving of mention, like Gojira and Carolyn Mark and A Tribe Called Quest and…
You see how this way leads madness.
No matter. It is done.
Thanks for reading!
For those of you still reading and still with me, there follows a list of records about which I either made a lot of noise, or in which I am still extremely interested. However, I have not managed to buy any of the following yet this year. Given unlimited resources, I would already own copies of all of these:
2016 Albums Aaron Still needs To Buy:
Case/Lang/Veirs – case/lang/veirs
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
Wilco – Schmilco
Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial
David Bowie – Blackstar
Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
Norah Jones – Day Breaks
Bonnie Raitt – Dig In Deep
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
Deftones – Gore
Dinosaur Jr. – Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not
Bob Dylan – Fallen Angels
Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate
Van Morrison – Keep Me Singing
Jeff Beck – Loud Hailer
NOFX – First Ditch Effort
Pixies – Head Carrier
Violent Femmes – We Can Do Anything
Cult – Hidden City
Neil Young – Earth
Neil Young – Peace Trail
And even here there are likely still a zillion albums I have forgotten to list… its just endless!
Stay safe, Dear Readers. Stay warm. Be with those you love, and tell them you love them on a daily basis. Let’s make 2017 kick all sorts of ass!
Thank you so much for being Constant Readers. Without you, we’d just be rattling in the ether for no good reason, after this long. It’s all because of you. We love you! Thank you.