Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Best Sounds of 2016's First Half


Well, the first half of the year is over, and while life got in the way of the blog and my ability to keep up with Tuesday Tunes Tastings, life didn't prohibit me from actually listening to almost every new album that came out.  In fact, I've ingested well over 100 albums this year (128 to be exact, not including the countless EP's I've listened to) and so I wanted to give a quick rundown on the 30 albums at the top of my list so far.  These 30 albums are made up of my current ballots in the six categories that I have for the Mouthis (Pop, Urban Contemporary, Alternative, Country, Rock, Dance/Electronica).  I did not include my favorite EP's in the actual list, but I'll give them to you now:



05
us [gnash]
04
Trance Frendz [Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm]
03
untitled unmasterd. [Kendrick Lamar]
02
low kii savage [Kiiara]
01
EP [Lewis Del Mar]

And now for my current ranking of the 30 albums on my Mouthi ballots.  Besides, Miley's tongue has been restlessly awaiting her it's chance to lap these albums up!


30

Conscious [Broods]

Pop driven dance music that pulses with club inspired life, tracks like Free and Heartlines are full of life, while the vocal heights on Worth the Fight are breathtaking.

Current Mouthi Nominations  
Dance/Electronica Album of the Year

29
All I Need [Foxes]

This album is just pop deliciousness.  Her voice is full of such earnest emotion, and the way she plays with beats and lyrics is mesmerizing.  From bouncy club pop to breathtaking ballads, the album has it all.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Pop Album of the Year
Pop Song of the Year - Cruel
Best Female Vocal - If You Leave Me Now

28
BLOODSWEAT [Plague Vendor]

There's an almost dirty quality to the aggression here, an honest grunge that makes each of these songs feel weighted in reality and not for once like a show.  I can dig that.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Rock Album of the Year
Rock Song of the Year - Jezebel
Best Rock Performance - Ox Blood

27
Carolina Ghost [Caleb Caudle]

I've been a fan of Caudle since I listened to his 2014 masterpiece, Paint Another Layer on My Heart (which won him the Mouthi for Country Album of the Year), and his follow up doesn't disappoint.  This album isn't as earthy and honest in tone, but it is so easy on the ears that it's hard to fault him.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Country Album of the Year
Best Male Vocal of the Year - Uphill Battle

26
I AKA I [Ash Koosha]

I'm not even sure how to classify this other than this is what sound sounds like, and these sounds sound incredible.  It's like someone experimented with what music should sound like and they created a sound that no music has ever had before.  It's the sound of living if living had a sound.  Maybe this should rank higher.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Dance/Electronica Album of the Year

25
ACT ONE [Marian Hill]

Sassy as HELL, this club ready pop album is so rich with R&B texture that I can't help but relish in every swanky track.  This album has such easy swag.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Pop Album of the Year

24
A/B [Kaleo]

When I heard the bluesy start to Way Down We Go, I was hooked.  The album HAD me...with the low bellow of the chorus to the grunted honesty of the delivery, I was just gripped so tightly.  It doesn't disappoint from that point forward.  These guys are ones to look out for!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Rock Album of the Year
Rock Song of the Year - Way Down We Go

23
A Sailor's Guide to Earth [Sturgill Simpson]

Simpson is a remarkable storyteller, and his albums never fail to find a place in my soul.  His latest is no exception.  If you allow him to take you away, you won't regret it.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Country Album of the Year
Best Cover Song - In Bloom

22
In My Mind [BJ the Chicago Kid]

Good GOD this album is all over the place, and in the best way possible.  Sick beats, heartfelt lyrics, slick vocals and influences that range from R&B to Gospel to Hip-Hop and every track lands on it's feet magically.  This is artistry right here.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Urban Contemporary Album of the Year

21
United Crushers [Polica]

I love when Electronica understands how to diversify it's sound with so many different influences, whether it be rock or hip hop or pop or whatever, and Polica has done this and will continue to do it so, so well!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Dance/Electronica Album of the Year

20
Who Will Be Next? [Joe Purdy]

One review of this album noted that it was about time music meant something again, and boy does this album mean something.  With songs that get right into the heart of racism, politics, prejudice and unity, Who Will Be Next gives the listener a LOT to think about.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Country Album of the Year
Country Song of the Year - Who Will Be Next?

19
In Search of Harperfield [Emma Pollock]

There is such drama within this album, an operatic soul that swirls through each track with this intensity that won't let you go.  I love that drama.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Alternative Album of the Year
Alternative Song of the Year - Intermission

18
Teens of Denial [Car Seat Headrest]

Punk Rock with an earthy heart that defies the genre, giving it this special quality that elevates every track on the album.  It's loud, it's chaotic but it's also composed, sincere and surprisingly poignant.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Rock Album of the Year

17
Don't You [Wet]

There is such delicacy to this album, an album that feels almost too personal, like an invasion of privacy as we indulge in each and every fluid track.  Fluid is such a great way to describe this beautiful debut.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Pop Album of the Year
Pop Song of the Year - All In Vain
Best New Artist

16
Lemonade [Beyonce]

I know that I'm supposed to rank this album higher, and it's REALLY good, but this year is too strong for this to be considered the best of the year.  Still, it's her most poignant work...not her strongest (her 2013 album was FLAWLESS) but her most mature, and that says a lot.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Urban Contemporary Album of the Year
Urban Contemporary Song of the Year - Freedom


15
Skin [Flume]

With guest vocals out the a**, Flume had every chance in the world to find himself upstaged and instead he created a cohesive and fluid album that just pops from start to finish.  Just incredible chemistry throughout.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Dance/Electronica Album of the Year
Dance/Electronica Song of the Year - Never Be Like You

14
The Very Last Day [Parker Millsap]

Take me to church!  I feel like this album if Parker's gospel, and songs like Morning Blues, Jealous Sun and the BRILLIANT Heaven Sent (about a preacher denouncing his gay son) have such earthy heart and honesty that I can't help but bow in the church of Parker Millsap.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Country Album of the Year
Country Song of the Year - Heaven Sent
Best Songwriting - Heaven Sent

12
In the Magic Hour [Aoife O'Donovan]

There is such beautiful heart here, like a lullaby sung by a dear friend who just wants you to know her better.  I feel like I know her so much better.  

Current Mouthi Nominations
Alternative Album of the Year

13
Ron Pope and the Nighthawks [Ron Pope]

I go back and forth between this album and Millsap's as the best Country Album of the year, but I give Ron the slight edge for giving me a smokey soul that rested so effortlessly over tracks like Lies and Cigarettes and Hotel Room.  There is just an intimacy here that makes me feel like I'm sitting in the living room with Ron as he pours out his soul.  

Current Mouthi Nominations
Country Album of the Year
Country Song of the Year - Hotel Room
Best Songwriting - Lies and Cigarettes

11

Ology [Gallant]

There is a modern 'age' about this album.  It already feels like a classic sound even though it feels almost progressive, if that makes sense.  In fact, it's such a richly experimented album (that works so well) that I almost want to rank this even higher.  It feels like something R. Kelly or even Babyface SHOULD have done, you know, if they started making music ten years from now.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Urban Contemporary Album of the Year

10
Phase [Jack Garratt]

Every song has it's own identity, it's own soul and it's own reason to LOVE this album from start to finish.  It's just perfect.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Song of the Year - Weathered
Dance/Electronica Album of the Year
Dance/Electronica Song of the Year - Weathered
Best New Artist

09
You'll Pay For This [Bear Hands]

I feel like I crashed a college party and got completely wasted and then taken advantage of and woke up in some back alley somewhere completely broke and naked and had to walk home with my d*ck in my hands and yet it was so, so worth it.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Alternative Album of the Year
Alternative Song of the Year - 2AM
Best Songwriting - 2AM

08
Beautiful Lies [Birdy]

I freaking love Birdy.  She's so honest.  I feel this intense throbbing of genuine heartache when I listen to her music, and this album is her most perfect offering.  It doesn't hurt that the album is her most musically mature, with diverse beats that feel inspired by other cultures and musical styles and just all embracing.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Pop Album of the Year
Best Remixed Track - Keeping Your Head Up (Topic Remix)

07
Nothing But Thieves [Nothing But Thieves]

I can't remember the last time I had such an 'ah-ha' moment while listening to an album.  I was utterly blown away with how entirely perfect this album was, and I am still reminded of that every time I listen to it.  Not only is it hard hitting, it master melody with ease and that voice...THAT VOICE!!!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Song of the Year - Lover, Please Stay
Rock Album of the Year
Rock Song of the Year - Lover, Please Stay
Best Male Vocal - Lover, Please Stay
Best New Artist

06
Long Way Home [Lapsley]

My heart...my aching, aching heart...it just bleeds all over this album...all over it!!!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Song of the Year - Hurt Me
Alternative Album of the Year
Alternative Song of the Year - Hurt Me
Best Female Vocal - Hurt Me
Best New Artist

05
A Moon Shaped Pool [Radiohead]

Yeah, this is perfect.  It flows with such internal ease that picking it apart to decide which works best is just impossible.  The whole thing works, from start to finish...just stunning work.

Current Mouthi Nominations
Album of the Year
Rock Album of the Year

04
Love You To Death [Tegan and Sara]

Possibly the most perfect pop album I've heard in years, this duo's latest offering is, in a word, delicious.  Nostalgically inspired by an almost jukebox pop, the dated sounds are elevated into such a modern place by these crisp vocals and those synth beats.  It's like the 80's exploded...and we WELCOMED IT BACK!!!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Album of the Year
Pop Album of the Year
Pop Song of the Year - Dying to Know
Best Collaborative Vocal - Stop Desire

03
The Colour in Anything [James Blake]

I wasn't prepared for this.  I had listened to and liked James Blake's albums before...but I didn't expect this.  All of his constant genre twisting and experimenting and tonal shifting and playing comes together in the most perfect of ways on this masterpiece of an album...MASTERPIECE!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Album of the Year
Alternative Album of the Year

02
Dangerous Woman [Ariana Grande]

Suck it haters, this album is EVERYTHING!!!  This is the comeback album we all wish Mariah Carey would release, and you know it.  Let Me Love You, Dangerous Woman, Into You, Leave Me Lonely, Touch It, Moonlight...the hits are endless here.  This is her Bangerz, her 1989, her MOMENT when she becomes a real artist.  Good GOD I love this album so much!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Album of the Year
Urban Contemporary Album of the Year
Urban Contemporary Song of the Year - Let Me Love You
Best Collaborative Vocal - Leave Me Lonely (feat. Macy Gray)
Best Female Vocal - Dangerous Woman

01
ANTI [Rihanna]
This is it...the album of the first half of the year, and quite frankly I called it way back when and I continue to call it...the album of the year.  This is the best R&B album I've heard in, like, since the 90's and it just gets better and better with every listen...EVERY LISTEN!

Current Mouthi Nominations
Album of the Year
Song of the Year - Kiss It Better
Urban Contemporary Album of the Year
Urban Contemporary Song of the Year - Kiss It Better
Best Female Vocal - Love On the Brain
Best Cover Song - Same 'Ol Mistakes
Best Remixed Track - Work (BURNS' Late Night Rollin' Remix)

26 comments:

  1. Ariana Grande? Waaaaaat? lol

    I haven't listened to a lot of these. I've been really bad at listening to new music lately (except that I'm buying Blink 182's new album today)

    I haven't listened to Lemonade yet. That's a bit embarrassing.

    Post more, I miss you. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gurl, Grande's album is the s***! Like, I've listened to it at least 50 times already. LOVE!

      So, what did you think of Blink's new album? I listened to it last week and liked it, I guess...but it just sounded like a watered down rehash of what they used to be, sadly.

      Delete
  2. I've never been very up to date with music at all, but since I've started walking to work I've been desperate for some new music to listen to on my way. I'll be starting with this list!
    - Allie

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so out of date but I'm so happy that you have listened to so much music. Music can often soothe the soul and more people need to listen to music whatever that may be. I am actually impressed with that little gal Arianna Grande - she has such a powerhouse of a voice plus great with mimicry. I know you can't but I think you would like the Battle of the Bands. This is where people post 2 songs, usually the same song, and you have to decide which artist did it better. Sometimes you are listening to songs you would never listen to but that's what I like. If you want to check it out here is the link http://stmccpresentsbattleofthebands.blogspot.ca/2016/07/2016-july-1-battle-of-bands-or-pirates.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grande's voice is pretty impeccable, like a young Mariah, so I'm glad that she's finally delivered a mature album worthy of her talents.

      Delete
  4. No Bowie....? *runs away and cries*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bowie's album was very good and one I admittedly need to listen to again.

      Delete
  5. So I'm loading up Spotify to start listening to some of this stuff. I've only heard a handful of them.

    I just heard a couple albums for the first time in the last week or so that I really liked. Curious if you have any opinion on them...

    Black Terry Cat by Xenia Rubinos
    Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Spotify is a GODSEND.

      I haven't listened to Black Terry, so I'll add that to my list.

      Chance the Rapper's album was good...but I didn't love it like I wanted to, and against some of the other more challenging and fluid albums of the year, it didn't stand up...but I'll listen to it again for sure.

      Delete
  6. First off, the ANTI poster (cover?) ...thingy, looks awesome! Second off, look! :D https://youtu.be/84nDNwCF6zc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Anti cover art is pretty spectacular.

      Delete
  7. This post is GLORIOUS!!! I haven't heard half of these (yet), but you know I LOVE several of them. It's funny that we're currently 5/10 in the top 10, yet 4/5 in the top 5. Ha, at least we agree on the important ones. Speaking of which, I need to revisit Dangerous Woman before I do my music posts. ;)

    And, again, your #4 is EVERYTHING! #CantStopWontStop

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. REVISIT GRANDE'S MASTERPIECE!

      And yes, I love Love You To Death to death!

      Delete
  8. Love You To Death is fucking PERFECT. Like, I can't even. Not a single skippable track, not a single second wasted. Tegan and Sara are unstoppable right now - a perfect sonic sister to Heartthrob and possibly even better. I can't even pick a favorite song between Dying To Know, Boyfriend, 100x, and U-Turn. And everything else is duking it out for second place. If 2016 produces a better pop album than this, it will have been a most excellent year indeed. This album is everything, YAAAAAS QUEENS, your faves could never, etc. etc. etc.

    I was also really happy to see Broods and Foxes on this list.

    The only thing I can think of that deserves a spot on this list is the soundtrack to Sing Street - unfortunately it also includes all the actual 80s cuts in addition to the songs from the film, so you may not consider it eligible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reminding me that I still haven't seen Sing Street.

      :-(

      But HELLS YES to the Tegan and Sara lovefest. Like, PERFECT album for sure!

      Delete
    2. Sing Street is the most adorable movie of the year, and so far one of the best. And the music is so much fun.

      I'm listening to some of the stuff you have listed here, and.... well, you know how I feel about Lapsley, and I'm loving Flume, too, and some of Jack Garratt's stuff. But Nothing But Thieves. Lover Please Stay. MY. GOD. Heart = BROKEN. Crying at my desk. At work. I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY, DREW!!!

      But really, thank you for that song.

      Delete
    3. Love, Please Stay is like one of the greatest things to happen to my life, and one of the worst. It came to me at possibly the worst time I could ever hear that song and it makes me WEEP every time I hear it, but it's absolute perfection.

      How did you miss this when I LAVISHED it with praise during Tuesday Tunes Tastings? Like, I even posted the video!!!

      Delete
    4. Oh man, coming across that song at the wrong/right time... that could be devastating.

      WHAT?!?!? I do not know. I must have been sleeping that day.

      Delete
    5. LOL, glad you were awake for this post :-D

      Delete
  9. Well, I listen pretty much no new music. I have a few things to say here though:

    1. STURGILL!!! This man is doing more for country music than anybody in the game right now. I am thankful for his work everyday. And this record is nothing short of brilliant. He can take his place next to Isbell and Stapleton as this generation's country music badass greats.

    2. Radiohead, on one single listen the week it was released, felt a bit underwhelming. Needs another listen.

    3. I'll definitely hit up that Tegan and Sara.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. UGH, Sturgill is doing wonders with country music right now. This album is so good...SO GOOD!

      The Radiohead album is just so fluid. It's internal flow will pull you right in.

      Please listen to Love You To Death...it's incredible!

      Delete
  10. Dude, this is awesome. As someone who barely listens to anything that wasn't released in the 90s, I'm blown away by how extensive and f--king badass this post it. Honestly, I don't even know where to begin.

    Think I'm going to go with You'll Pay For This...because, well, that description is straight f--king magic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You won't be disappointed...at least I really hope not (but everyone that I recommend that album to thanks me).

      Delete
    2. Totally checked it out and it's fantastic.

      Dude. Duuuuuuuuude. Great f--king call.

      Delete