Steve's Favorite Music of 2016
Instead of trying to defend my own favorite music this year, which is almost entirely different than any major music publication's year end 2016 lists, I'd like to take a moment to make you mad: Lemonade was not very good. Whew, that felt nice. And while I'm at it: Coloring Book is mostly a bunch of church camp counselor baloney, Black Star wouldn't crack anybody's top 20 if Bowie was still alive, Radiohead was still better in the 90s, and I never even bothered to listen to The Life of Pablo, but I bet it stinks. On with the list!
1. Walter Martin - Arts + Leisure
2. Moon Tooth - Chromoparagon
3. Okkervil River - Away
4. Cate Le Bon - Crab Day
5. Mammal Hands - Floa
6. Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts
7. Trust Fund - We Have Always Lived in the Harolds
8. Opeth - Sorceress
9. Hamilton + Rostam - Had A Dream That You Were Mine
10. Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
11. VRTRA - My Bones Hold A Stillness
12. Japanese Breakfast - Psychopomp
13. Laura Mvula - The Dreaming Room
14. Starling Electric - Electric Company
15. Ian William Craig - Centres
16. The Avalanches - Wildflower
17. Devendra Banhart - Ape In Pink Marble
18. Angel Olsen - My Woman
19. Pinegrove - Cardinal
20. Solange - A Seat at the Table
21. Kendrick Lamar - Untitled Unmastered*
1. Japanese Breakfast - “Everybody Wants To Love You”
2. Walter Martin - Every single song on Arts + Leisure**
3. Devendra Banhart - “Saturday Night”
4. Ian William Craig - “Contain (Cedar Version)”
5. David Bowie - “Blackstar”
6. Beyonce - “Formation”, but just the part where she says “…bama!”
7. Cate Le Bon - “Love Is Not Love”
8. Astronoid - “Up and Atom”
9. Opeth - “Chrysalis”
10. Leapling - “Alabaster Snow”
11. Maxwell - “1990x”
12. Radiohead - “Decks Dark”
13. Grumbling Fur - "Heavy Days"
14. Michael Kiwanuka - “Cold Little Heart"
15. The Saxophones - “If You’re On The Water”
16. NAO - “Bad Blood”
17. Hope Sandoval - “Let Me Get There”
18. case/lang/veirs - “Atomic Number”
19. Pinegrove - "Old Friends"
20. Moon Tooth - "White Stag"
* I feel like I have an asterisk every time a Kendrick Lamar album is on one of my lists, so let this be no exception. Point is, I worry Untitled Unmastered doesn't really count as an "album", since it's essentially an outtake collection from his last album. So that keeps it from being higher on the list. I'd leave it off entirely if it wasn't of such impeccable quality that it demands to be on.
**This is not really a joke. Every song on this album, on its own, could easily be in my top 10, at least, songs of the year. It's amazing. And then the face that all these wonderful individual songs actually do follow a certain thread, both thematically and aesthetically, and it really wasn't even a contest in my mind for what was the best album of the year. Sadly I've seen it on nobody's Best Of lists. Maybe if he got Kanye and Bon Iver to appear on it...