Pin It

Pop These on your Record Player 

The Sources' top 10 albums of 2016


The year in music seems likely to be remembered for its major losses. This was a year when we lost artists who were not merely stars, but icons whose albums helped shape entire genres of music.

A couple of them, even as death approached, managed to make the Sources' top albums of 2016 list.

1 Beyonce "Lemonade" No artist made more of a stir in 2016 than Beyonce. "Lemonade"—with its additional video content—had a lot to say about resilience, self-pride and self-determination, echoing such themes in songs like "Don't Hurt Yourself," "Daddy Lessons" and "Freedom." The music is as strong and focused as the lyrics; "Lemonade" contains some of Beyonce's most addictive songs yet.

2 David Bowie "Blackstar" An innovator right until the end, "Blackstar" is tough to categorize, but easy to enjoy. Its songs feel almost free form, their skittering rhythms pushing them through moments that range from striking beauty to gritty dissonance. Somehow it all coalesces into a focused and forceful album. The often-cryptic lyrics make several allusions to Bowie's impending death. In some ways, "Blackstar" mirrors its creator—enigmatic, shape-shifting, yet emotionally resonant and powerful all at the same time.

3 Car Seat Headrest "Teens of Denial" At age 23, Will Toledo has now released 13 albums under the Car Seat Headrest moniker, and with "Teens of Denial" he's made one of the year's best indie rock albums. Stocked with concise rockers and a trio of epic tracks, "Teens of Denial" is a multi-faceted, but also a frequently-bracing work.

4 Chance The Rapper "Coloring Book" This third mixtape from the Chicago native shines with its musical range and ambition, bending hip-hop boundaries with songs that incorporate elements of jazz ("All We Got"), New Orleans reverie ("Blessings"), gospel ("How Great") and more.

click to enlarge screen_shot_2016-12-28_at_2.09.58_pm.png

5 Drive-By Truckers: "American Band" No album this year captured the political/social climate of the country better than "American Band." Frequently angry and always thought provoking, the Truckers address racial tensions and hostilities between police and minorities, the rise of the National Rifle Association and much more on a set of taut mid-tempo tracks that are as musically powerful as the lyrics.

6 Dawes "We're All Gonna Die" On their fifth album, Dawes expands their sound while retaining their country-pop core. The group brings an electronic vibe to "One Of Us" and "When The Tequila Runs Out." At the other end of the spectrum, the delightful "As If By Design" feels jazzy with its freewheeling piano fills and horns. The new elements may challenge long-time fans, but stick with this album and its quality and inventiveness really shine.

7 Rolling Stones "Blue & Lonesome" Fifty-plus years ago, the Stones helped introduce the pop world to blues music by covering some of their favorite blues songs. Now the Stones have made their first true blues album, and this time, they bring a passion and authenticity to these covers that only talent and years of exploring and experience can produce.

8 Kanye West "Life of Pablo" West's recent albums have seemed a bit too convoluted. "Life Of Pablo" remains ambitious, but its songs are more sharply drawn, a little more economical in their production—but still creative and unpredictable. A couple of tracks fall flat, but "Life of Pablo" is a step in the right direction for the seemingly tortured, but undeniably creative West.

9 Radiohead "A Moon Shaped Pool" With this album, Radiohead has made one of its prettiest, most soothing albums, but one whose musical layers allow the songs to grow more potent with additional plays. By Radiohead standards, "A Moon Shaped Pool" might qualify as an easy listen, but it's also unique and bold—qualities we've come to expect from Radiohead.

10 Leonard Cohen "You Want It Darker" Sounding like he knew "You Want It Darker" would be his final album, Cohen is his usual articulate and poetic self as he frequently ponders the regrets of life and relationships within songs that balance the lyrics with considerable beauty. The famously dour Cohen also gets in a last laugh with the zinger of an album title. In all seriousness, though, our world has become a bit darker with the loss of this masterful songwriter.

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Trending in the Alternative Press

Newsletter Signup

Cascades Reader Logo Cascades Reader

Get your daily dose of news for Central Oregon and beyond, delivered to your inbox five days a week. Powered by the Source Weekly.

Latest in Sound Stories & Interviews

  • It's in Their Blood

    • Jun 19, 2019
    Ahead of their show at 4 Peaks, Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers talks about growing up in a musical family More »
  • Four Picks for 4 Peaks

    • Jun 19, 2019
    The Source's music writer calls out some acts you need to see More »
  • AUSTN Coming Home

    • Jun 12, 2019
    The 16-year-old singer is fresh off his debut EP and ready for Bendites to hear his music More »
  • More »

More by Alan Sculley

  • Sublime Blessings

    Sublime Blessings

    Sublime with Rome's new album drops right before the band's show in Bend
    • May 22, 2019
  • On His Own Planet

    On His Own Planet

    Tech N9ne's new album gives listeners an escape from the frustrations of Earth
    • Oct 17, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Universally Shared

    Universally Shared

    Cloverdayle, a Nashville duo with Bend roots, shares its latest single, "Scars."
    • Nov 30, 2017
  • Statewide Cred

    Statewide Cred

    Joe Rohrbacher of Just Joe's Music and Jazz at Joe's receives the Oregon Music Educators Association's Outstanding Contributor Award
    • Jan 24, 2018

© 2019 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation