I realize November is jumping the gun for a year-end list, but now that I’ve listened to Metallica’s new album on their site, which was ok, there basically isn’t anything else in music I’m personally anticipating for the rest of 2016. I can always update this post, if there is a surprise release.
Below I’m only counting albums I actually listened to from start to finish. Included are albums that either were hyped, or I was familiar with the artists previous work. In no particular order:
Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown
I don’t understand the love for this album. Granted some of his writing is brilliant(“Bought a nightmare, sold a dream”, ”Don’t know opposite of sin”, ”Bought hope, can’t get change”, “Thought process so immature, can’t make it up, up out the sewer” , “Sin is such a work of art”)
Although I find it tiresome so many of the songs concern themselves with hip hop clichés: drugs, fame, hookers and sex.
There are beats which I liked, for example on Hell For It. Unfortunately Danny Brown’s whiny vocals ruin it for me.
The words are spoken at such a frantic pace, making it difficult to keep up, unless the lyric sheet is in front of me. Ain’t It Funny and Golddust are examples from the album which are incomprehensible. Is he just showing off that his delivery is super fast? I guess I learned speed rap is not my thing.
Remember Us to Life by Regina Spektor
The singles “Bleeding Heart”, “Small Bill$” & “Older and Taller” have some enjoyable melodies.
The non-singles didn’t hold my attention, I found my mind constantly wandering due to boredom. I prefer her earlier work.
The Hope Six Demolition Project by PJ Harvey
I respect her for shining a light on pressing issues rather than just singing about herself. Unfortunately the album itself I didn’t want to listen to more than a couple of times. I didn’t have an emotional connection. In fact I was a little bored and wouldn’t go back to except the opening track The Community of Hope. Not yet listened to PJ Harvey’s other work, I imagine there are far better albums in her discography.
Love You to Death by Tegan and Sara
For fans of radio-friendly electropop, just wasn’t for me. The single “Boyfriend” is moderately good, but most of the songs sound the same and the autotune strips away personality and emotion from their vocals. “100x” tries a different approach using piano instead of synths. “BWU” has a beautiful intro and reminded me of the synthwave band College. “Stop Desire” starts well in its opening 60 seconds, even though I find the song too repetitive. I didn’t love their last album Heartthrob either, although “Closer” was pretty catchy.
Stranger to Stranger by Paul Simon
I love Paul Simon’s music and he has reached great heights both with Garfunkel and as a solo artist. To me, his latest is just very average and the songs sound like B-side leftovers. If he still enjoys making music then he should keep doing it, although I would prefer concerts of his old hits. Cool Papa Bell is the only new song I kinda liked. The enthusiastic reviews in the press are baffling. I’ll stick to the classic stuff.
The Bride by Bat for Lashes
A couple of good singles, In God’s House and Sunday Love. The rest of the album had a minimalistic approach which failed to captivate me. I was bored and it left me emotionally cold.
Let It Be You by Joan as Police Woman / Benjamin Lazar
I’m a fan of Joan and I admire her willingness to change sound and collaborators, but I don’t particularly like the direction she took with this record.
Admittedly the first half has a few ok moments (Broke Me In Two, Magic Lamp). However these are hardly as good as her previous material.
I didn’t like the production choices quite a lot of the time, lacking beauty, cheap-sounding, as if homemade.
Two Vines by Empire of the Sun
First Crush is pretty good, but the album is weak. A step backwards compared to the vibrant Ice on the Dune (2013)
Oh No by Jessy Lanza
I really liked the hyped single It Means I Love You. Sadly I couldn’t find any other tracks I responded to. With all the autotuning and effects, the music became too impersonal. The second single VV Violence sounds like a Grimes impersonation.
The Getaway by Red Hot Chili Peppers
It’s listenable, but I didn’t expect the album to be bland and forgettable. Only highlights for me are Encore and The Longest Wave, which at least are a little memorable. I hope they return to rock. They can do better.
Other 2016 albums that had one song I liked but otherwise underwhelmed me:
Adore Life by Savages
Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now by Niki & the Dove
Not to Disappear by Daughter
Malibu by Anderson .Paak
X-Communicate by Kristin Kontrol
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson
The Lexicon of Love II by ABC
This is just an opinion and I’m sure there will be people who disagree with me. I welcome a defence of an album in the comments. I’m also curious which album(s) disappointed YOU this year? In my next post, I promise to be more positive!