I’m already predicting backlash for not putting The 1975’s “Long-Ass Album Title That Girls Think Is Beautiful But Is Actually Really Creepy And Fucked Up” on this list. I like The 1975 and liked this album (and folks, a lot more than 10 albums came out this year), but The 1975 has almost become a social token and I’m sick of it. People think that by telling people they listen to The 1975 that they are part of this movement towards music that makes them appear “unique” (even though literally every person does it therefore making it not unique). They also probably can’t name an album track and don’t recognize the superiority of songs like “Heart Out” and “Settle Down.” It’s like people who watch “The Wire” just for the sake of being able to tell people they’ve watched “The Wire,” and completely miss the commentary about the futility of the war on drugs. The faux 1975 cult needs to stopped and I’m going to take a stand right here.
“The Sound” is really not that great of a song. The verses are pretty weird and the chorus doesn’t pass the “I could’ve came up with that in a heartbeat” test.
BOLD PREDICTION: Matt Healy joins the 27 Club before his 28th birthday this April and thus joins the rank of other dead folk who really weren’t the most amazing song writers ever but since they’re dead will be considered such.
Truth be told every year I write this blog and then like a month later I have a completely different list in mind. For example, last year I named New Politics’ Vikings to the top spot, and then a week later I determined it should’ve been Frank Turner’s Positive Songs For Negative People. But at that point the list was out and I wasn’t going to just symbolically go back and edit the post a week later, after anyone who was going to click on it had already clicked on it. But I still have to do it now because Rolling Stone does theirs like four months before the year is even over, and since Rolling Stone time and time again has proved itself to be the pinnacle of journalism (and credits little J’s in their coverage of Foo Fighters attainment of the high road), I’m still going to post this now.
So folks here we go the, my third installment of the top 10 albums of the year:
11. “Westworld: Season 1 (Music From The HBO Original Series)” – Ramin Djawadi
This is technically cheating but I actually gave song of the year to 4 songs in 2014 so at least there’s precedent. And our president-elect got help from Russia to win the election so the precedence literally goes to the top of society.
Radiohead nerds like myself (spoiler alert) loved hoping there would be Radiohead songs in each episode of Westworld. I didn’t actually care that much for the robot sex, tbh. But this soundtrack creates the illusion that “Black Hole Sun” is a good song so if your New Year’s resolution is to be a more positive person, listen to this instead of offering rides home to little kids.
Best Tracks: “A Forest,” “No Surprises,” “Paint It, Black,” “Back To Black,” “Fake Plastic Trees”
10. Yellowcard – Yellowcard
This is somewhat symbolic since I’ve been a Yellowcard fan for years it is sad AF to see them go. I’d equate it to when Michael Scott left The Office because while they may not have necessarily had a profound impact on my life, I watched them grow from copying and placing an underage drinking violation notice in the back of their CDs to writing an entire album about the paralysis of someone they love. This is the swan song this band deserves and it’s a damn good one.
Side Note: Saw them on the Ocean Avenue Acoustic tour in 2013 and that’s still a top ten show I’ve even seen, and it’s sure got competition with The Killers, The Strokes, Coldplay, McCartney, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, etc.
Best Tracks: “What Appears,” “A Place We Set Afire,” “Fields & Fences.”
9. Matter – St. Lucia
I’m trying to compensate for still being in the midst of a classic battle with good ol’ album fever on this one, but I’m confident it holds up in a week as long as I’m not listening to it when I’m doing literally everything. It’s also a slight far cry (instincts predator) from what I normally listen to, unless you consider U2 to be an electropop band and have listened to nothing but Pop and Zooropa. Any time a band names a song something like “Dancing On Glass” (similar to 30 Seconds To Mars’ “Closer To The Edge) you know they’re a bunch of badboys.
Best Tracks: “Do You Remember,” “Dancing On Glass,” “Help Me Runaway.”
8. Blush – Moose Blood
Folks I’m right there with you: this band’s name is fucking stupid. Almost to the point where I refused to listen to them at first and it took divine intervention in the form of what the hell else do I do when living at school during Thanksgiving break so decided to listen. It was kind of a layup seeing as pop punk is my #1 guilty pleasure and if the hooks are catchy enough and I can pretend I know the guitar parts then I’ll play it every time I enter the shower.
Best Tracks: “Honey,” “Sulk,” Cheek.”
7. saintmotelevision – Saint Motel
If their music got any weirder they’d be I Fight Dragons, and they’re only some Gameboy noises away from it. But shit like this is their bread & butter. Everyone (especially if you have me on Snapchat) remembers My Type, and it’s a shame that was only on an EP because they pick up right where they put down on this album. Plenty of brass instruments and quirky keyboards melodies to go around.
Best Tracks: “Move,” “Destroyer,” “Sweet Talk.”
6. California – blink-182
And it’s not just a glorified Mark Hoppus solo album. Admittedly, it is easily their poppiest album to date, and it’s really not even close. Song titles like “She’s Out Of Her Mind” and “Home Is Such A Lonely Place” were dead giveaways before the album even came out. But there are some absolute anthems on this album that are like Ryan Tannehill: just waiting to breakout. And the addition of Matt Skiba works perfectly: his voice, songwriting, and guitar playing fit the mold (especially live).
Best Tracks: “Kings Of The Weekend,” “Teenage Satellites,” “San Diego.”
5. Weezer (The White Album) – Weezer
When they announced this I legitimately thought it was a joke. I’m still not 100% on board with this album having the same name as a very famous album. That’s like naming your kid after your father; completely asinine and never happens.
But as it turned out it wasn’t a joke and this album turned out to kick ass. Even some of the folks that couldn’t get on board with EWBAITE hopped on the White train. Releasing it in April right before summer was perfect too because at heart it’s a summer album, and honestly I’m pretty upset with myself that I didn’t listen to it more often. It’s clear that the 4-album span of Weezer sucking ass is more then over. And hopefully this means the fabled Black Album is next and we can all throw our hats at music.
Best Tracks: “Wind In Our Sail,” “King Of The World,” “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori.”
4. 22, A Million – Bon Iver
I’m not going to be one of the people who pretends they’ve got any clue what’s going on here.
I don’t even know how to recommend some of these songs to people.
“Hey man, you should check out the new Bon Iver song ‘666 upside down cross,’ hail Satan and then we can head down to Louisiana and join one of those cults that sacrifice children and drink goat blood like in True Detective.”
All I do know is that there are a lot of Bon Iver fans that hated this album because it isn’t indie folk and doesn’t have girls’ names and the word “love” strewn everywhere. While I also like those albums, I’m not going to be like the dad that flips out when his kid decides to sing instead of play football. It might be folktronica but at least it executes The Kid A Shuffle impeccably: simultaneously pushing away and pulling your audience in one cluster fuck of folks that still go to record shops (guilty) just trying to go about their day.
*ALERT, THIS ALBUM IS A GREAT NAP ALBUM*
Best Tracks: You know, the whole thing is just one big experience so just hit play and make sure you don’t accidentally leave it on shuffle because it pisses me off when I do that.
3. A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead
It’s true, Thom Yorke could eat a light bulb and shit out bloody glass into a mason jar, record the sound of that and put the image of said mason jar on the cover of an album and even do a deluxe edition that comes with a shard of bloody glass or two and NME would give it a 9/10 and they’d get a couple Grammy nods and all of the U.K. would dub it “brilliant.” So what, outlets like to suck them off, but I just like some of their albums and of course gave this one a listen when it came out. Again *NAP ALBUM ALERT* but also just classic vibey Radiohead here, a front-to-back experience.
Best Tracks: “Burn The Witch,” “Ful Stop,” “The Numbers,” “True Love Waits.”
2. Revolution Radio – Green Day
In a year when Billie Joe Armstrong predicted the death of pop punk (2016 man), Green Day rose from the ashes with easily their best album that isn’t Dookie or American Idiot. While we do mostly get social commentaries about turning shooters into celebrities and protest anthems, this isn’t another crack at a concept album about young dreamers trying to make it this modern world despite hating their parents. Musically some may consider it a slightly poppier American Idiot, but that’s a good thing if you ask me.
This is the only album on the list that I really struggle to point to three/four songs and say “if you’re only going to listen to three or four, pick these,” although its hard for me to do that for any album since I subscribe to the belief that an album is an album and you should listen to it all the way through because that’s how it was intended. So these four are my favorites, but I really think RevRad should be given the front-to-back treatment.
Best Tracks: “Somewhere Now,” “Bouncing of The Walls,” “Too Dumb To Die,” ***”Forever Now.”***
Singles: “Bang Bang,” “Revolution Radio,” “Still Breathing.”
There are two kinds of folks in this world: folks who didn’t see this coming and liars.
Joining Weezer’s Everything Will Be Alright In The End and New Politics’ Vikings atop the summit that houses the unparalleled award that is known as the Podcast AF (formerly Stitched Up FM) ALBUM OF THE YEAR AWARD IS::::;;
1. Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball
I had a feeling this album was going to be something great when it was announced. But then when it came I had a hard time getting into the second half of it in particular, mainly because I couldn’t get past Brendan Lukens’ style of singing, as I had on their previous two albums. I was and still am in love with Jake Ewald’s first half of the album, but Brendan’s half took me awhile. But finally I’m into it and can see the perfection of this album. I’m a sucker for personal tales of perseverance and what artists use making music to overcome… well themselves mainly (in Lukens’ case, Ewald’s half mainly focuses on the passing of his grandfather).
This year was a close one. Holy Ghost and RevRad truly are 1A and 1B, but I opt for the further because it’s more relatable on a wide scale: everyone has had people die and everyone struggles with personal demons. It’s a tale that hails the listener and could truly be about anyone. It’s real though, not like modern pop music when they drop lyrics like
“Oooo girl you in the club with your friends I hope the night never ends your finger prints are like no other and DNA isn’t even like your mother’s.”
Literally could be construed to be about me right now.
Best Tracks: “Wedding Singer,” “Note To Self,” “Everyday,” “Just Another Face.”
I’ll list the albums I liked but didn’t make the cut too:
The 1975 – Long-Ass Album Title That Girls Think Is Beautiful But Is Actual Really Creepy And Fucked Up
The Lumineers – Cleopatra
The Head and the Heart – Signs of Life
STRFKR – Being No One, Going Nowhere
Panic! at the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
Sum 41 – 13 Voices