I listened to quite a bit of music this year, so I’m gonna break this post into two parts: part 1 has albums from before 2016 and honorable mentions (albums outside my top five), plus a bunch of songs I’ve enjoyed this year, and then next week part 2 will have my top five albums of the year.
Albums from Before 2016
Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara
This album is from 2013 but I didn’t get to it until this year when T&S’ new album caught my attention. I actually think this album is the better of the two, mixing the duo’s alt-rock past with a new electronic pop sound in a way that works really well.
25 by Adele
Adele has yet to reach the tipping point where I really enjoy more than half the songs off of one of her albums, but 25 got pretty close. At this rate I’ll be a huge Adele fan in 2026!
Every Open Eye by Chvrches
I didn’t feel strongly enough about this album to buy it when it released last year, but I gave it a go when it hit Amazon streaming this year and it probably would have made last year’s list had I gotten to it then. “Leave a Trace” is one of my top songs of 2015 and while none of the other songs on the album hit its high, there are some solid jams and nothing really sticks out as bad.
A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay
I get the impression that Coldplay lost a lot of their cred by their last two albums, but they’re my favorite of the band’s discography so w/e. One of the first things that struck me about this album is how effortless it all feels, like each song was written completely by instinct in a few minutes. I wasn’t sure at first whether that was a good thing, but on further reflection I’ve decided it’s a strength. There’s a vibrancy to the songs on this album and I really enjoy how optimistic it is.
Home of the Strange by Young the Giant
I don’t really care for most of the songs on this album (I think the band’s previous two were more consistent), but the highlights–“Titus Was Born,” “Elsewhere”–are some of Young the Giant’s best.
Love You to Death by Tegan and Sara
This album is pretty much pure pop in comparison to the duo’s past work and ultimately I think that’s to its detriment. There are a lot of catchy melodies and good beats on this album, but there’s a slight feeling to it, like there’s nothing under the surface, that gave it a short life for me.
Emotion Side B by Carly Rae Jepsen
Because this is technically an EP and is comprised of outtakes from CRJ’s previous album, I don’t feel right putting it in my top five, but if I counted it it would probably be second or first there. Carly Rae Jepsen has become one of my favorite artists and this is a fantastic collection of songs.
Beautiful Lies by Birdy
“Keeping Your Head Up” is one of my top songs of 2016, but this album as a whole doesn’t grab me as much. It’s a lot of slow piano ballads that, while fine, make for a kind of languid tone.
Miscellaneous Songs I Listened to This Year
Under the cut for length . . .