Top 10 Albums of 2016

One of my favorite parts of every year is creating my Top 10 Albums list and hearing about other people’s favorite albums as well.

So…here we go.

10 . PUP – The Dream Is Over

Although this is #10 on my list, The Dream Is Over (may contain explicit language) is simultaneously my favorite Album Cover and Album Name of the year. After having vocal issues, lead vocalist Stefan Babcock was told by his doctor that “The Dream Is Over” when it came to his band PUP. Babcock figuratively spit back in his face by naming the punk record those very words and, with the help of group vocals and Babcock’s determination, The Dream Is Over has become one of the most fun and exciting records to listen to in 2016.

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9. Mothers – When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired

What I have to give is small but at least I can admit it. Mothers’ frontwoman—Kristine Leschper—approaches everything in tentative humility on their debut record When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired. She admits her fears with reserved hope—wishing love is real and subsequently that she can trust in it. You can hear the struggle and doubt in her voice. This record is all too relatable and all too beautiful to let pass by.

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8. Everything Everything – Get to Heaven

Yes, this was technically released last year, but that was in the UK. Get to Heaven was released on Feb. 26th in the US so I’m gonna count it due to its lack of accessibility until this year. This record is crazy creative pop. It would be higher if I gravitated towards this style more fervently than I currently do because there are very few things wrong with this record. It might hit you as weird (I mean, just look at the album artwork) the first time through, but give it a few listens and its greatness and groove will eventually take over.

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7. Touché Amoré – Stage Four

You’ll notice this reoccurring theme while talking with me about music—I tend to find albums that deal with death extremely interesting and impactful. Don’t take that as sadistic, but albums about death tend to be more raw and revealing. Stage Four intimately portrays the thoughts, feelings, and memories that lead vocalist Jeremy Bolm is processing surrounding the loss of his mother to stage four cancer. The record is post-rock with a bit of post-hardcore and is full of questions that Bolm may never find the answer to. But he is asking them and is using the time to reflect upon the impact his mother had on his life.

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6. Pinegrove – Cardinal

Cardinal (may contain explicit language) was released the day before Tory and I got engaged and serves as a reminder to me that trusting in potential and committing to it helps love grow. Evan Stephens Hall has stretched my vocabulary while wrapping me in the intimate moments and stories of his life which culminated into the creation of this record. Hall both reminds me of the times we totally screw everything up and also the times we have the chance to make things new which I find is a healthy balance and perspective to have.

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5. From Indian Lakes – Everything Feels Better Now

This record was a slight disappointment for me. From Indian Lakes is arguably my favorite band and for this record to be #5 on my list displays how it failed my expectations and is also a testament to how good of a band they are that the record is still in the top 5. And despite all this, I am sure I will realize in the future how I was wrong about this record and it will become one of my favorites. Sorry for the rant, but, at the very least, check out Everything Feels Better Now and I promise you won’t regret it.

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4. Animal Flag – LP

Animal Flag is my favorite new band. This debut record is a combination of their past two EP’s (labeled EP and EP-2, hence LP) from 2014 and 2015 which will soon be followed up by another full-length next year. On LP (may contain explicit language), Animal Flag consistently finds ways to create simultaneously aggressive and catchy post-rock. LP has only one flaw, the track “Mercy.” Without it, it would be a Five Star album. The record, filled with religious imagery and the struggle of faith and belief, hits its highest points with honestly one of my favorite songs of all time in “Cathedrals.”

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3. Norma Jean – Polar Similar

This is the surprise record of the year for me. The metal genius of Norma Jean has been something I have always heard about, but their records were always way too over my head and hard to understand. Yet Polar Similar (may contain explicit content) made sense one listen through and I have been on board ever since. This is the heaviest album I have ever loved and is one of my top 5 metal records of all time. If you like intense drums, driving riffs, and dramatic screaming, you know where this is going. Listen to the record.

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2. David Bazan – Blanco

Bazan, the former frontman of Pedro the Lion, has released the most theraputic record of the year with Blanco. From the synths to the pad drum beats and the acoustic additions, Bazan’s experimentations have become a calming comfort attached with his profoundly timely song-writing. I admit, this record took a while, and I mean a while, to sink in. But once it did it hasn’t left repeat in my car. I believe that if it wasn’t for the overwhelming nostalgia of the #1 record on this list, Blanco would take the cake.

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1. Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost

Holy Ghost (may contain explicit lyrics) represents my graduation. It represents my summer/trip to Germany.It represents missing Tory and enjoying the time we did spend together. It represents visiting friends. It represents my new job. It holds together so many memories from such a great year when it comes to the people I’ve had the privilege to get to know and call my friends. This record is an ode to them and a reminder to myself that I need them in the thick and thin. I am looking forward to next summer, blasting Holy Ghost and remembering all the good memories we shared.

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For all those who read my blog this year or even just this one, thank you so much for doing so. I appreciate the support writing and am looking forward to what’s in store for next year.

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