2016 :: TOP ALBUMS – 30 THROUGH 02

It seemed like the musical landscape was reflecting a year littered with moments of difficult trial, deep loss and strange triumph. A weird year deserves a weird list, so I am doing something different with this one. Each album review is in the form of a haiku (the classic 5,7,5 syllable arrangement). I attempted to capture the essence of each release in feeling, significance or message. I don’t know how many of these actually work as successful haikus, evoking sense images, but what the heck… These are where I ended up.

30

The 1975 

I LIKE IT WHEN YOU SLEEP, FOR YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL YET SO UNAWARE OF IT

The Seventy-Five
Struts, preens, rocks, slaps, turns, shimmies
In shiny velour. 

. . . . .

29

Margot Price 

MIDWEST FARMER’S DAUGHTER

Sweet honeysuckle.
Lost farms. Hard jobs. Defiance.
Country redemption. 

. . . . .

28

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

SEA OF NOISE

Funky gospel fir
Slaked in the chill of cool blues.
This is soul cooking. 

. . . . .

27

Lucius

GOOD GRIEF

Lucius makes luscious
Pop as blunt as their razor
Sharp bob cuts. Forceful.

 . . . . . 

26

Hinds

LEAVE ME ALONE

Lo-fi perfection
From The Velvets’ old garage.
A nostalgic grin.

. . . . .

25

Solange

A SEAT AT THE TABLE

A black woman works
Through pain, joy, sorrow… struggle.
A declaration.

. . . . .

24

Kaytranada

99.9%

Warm blood of Haiti
Pumps through pop, hip-hop, space jazz.
Assured and refined.

. . . . .

23

The Anchoress

CONFESSIONS OF A ROMANCE NOVELIST

Lace draped over steel.
Baroque visions of Broadway
Behind a rose crown.

. . . . .

22

Anderson. Paak

MALIBU

Jittery, languid, 
Autobiographical, 
Radiant, shrewd rap.

. . . . .

21

Jenny Hvala

BLOOD BITCH

A pale vampire stalks
Through the still of 3AM
And considers art.

. . . . .

20

Blood Orange

FREETOWN SOUND

Modern man wrestling
With self, race, sex, diffidence.
Joy and fears equate.

. . . . .

19

Bon Iver

22, A MILLION

Angularity
And e-spirits, soaring high,
Meet in warm comfort.

. . . . .

18

Margaret Glaspy

EMOTIONS AND MATH

Smith, Mitchell, Phair, Young,
Echoed in introspective
Songs of dirty gold.

. . . . .

17

River Tiber

INDIGO

A rich layer cake.
Pooled, dark and haunting as blood
On an iced sidewalk.

. . . . .

16

Swans

THE GLOWING MAN

Razor-edged whispers.
A black orchid slowly blooms.
Gothic rock reborn.

. . . . .

15

Whitney

LIGHT UPON THE LAKE

Fine summer nights scored.
Gram Parsons with a good buzz
Dancing to Stax soul.

. . . . .

14

Lucy Dacus

NO BURDEN

Polaroid candids
Narrated with wit and guile.
Sun insists through clouds.

. . . . .

13

Pinegrove

CARDINAL

Honesty matters.
Evolution makes friends flex.
Pretense sucks. Be real.

. . . . .

12

Case/Lang/Viers

CASE/LANG/VEIRS

Lightfoot echoed in
Poised songs of weary heartache.
Dignity in art.

. . . . .

11

Radiohead

A MOON SHAPED POOL

Lush tendrils climb through
The cyclic dance of signal.
Dream faces nightmare.

. . . . .

10

Vijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith

A COSMIC RHYTHM WITH EACH STROKE

Time, space transcended.
Passages of the soul mapped.
Jazz conversation.

. . . . .

09

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

SKELETON TREE

Trauma meets swagger
In the swell and sway of hurt.
Endurance restores.

. . . . .

08

Car Seat Headrest

TEENS OF DENIAL

Anthemic, indie,
Syncopated, straight soundscapes
Drive, buck, march and weave.

. . . . .

07

Angel Olsen

MY WOMAN

Plumbing the depths of
The frail heart through sparkling, frank
And spare rock poems.

. . . . .

06

Leonard Cohen

YOU WANT IT DARKER

The last anthem of
An inky poet-minstrel.
A stately goodbye.

. . . . .

05

A Tribe Called Quest

WE GOT IT FROM HERE… THANK YOU 4 YOUR SERVICE

Realness has returned.
An analog masterwork.
Biters take notice.

. . . . .

04

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

A MAN ALIVE

Garbus produces
And a new voice emerges.
Pure, divergent gold.

. . . . .

03

Savages

ADORE LIFE

Love is imperfect
Open wounds blossom hemic.
Life should be adored. 

. . . . .

02

Sturgill Simpson

A SAILOR’S GUIDE TO EARTH

Screw expectations.
Sturgill cuts a bold new path.
Life affirmations.

======

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