Thursday, December 22, 2016

Year In Review 2016 - Top 10 Albums Part 3

Another great year is finishing up for @RockBodElec and we wouldn't be a proper music site if we didn't end the year with a "Best Of" list, so RtBE Presents the Best of 2016 Top Ten Albums numbers 5-1:

In the instance that RtBE has reviewed the album either on the site or somewhere else we will link to that review and just give a quick summation, just click on the name and title and you can read our full opinion. RtBE worked with the Glide Team to give input on the their Top 20 so you can expect some overlap if you already have seen that list.

Again the focus here is on full albums, not singles, but full releases you can slap on and listen all the way through. We know these are a dying breed, but it still is the way we consume music, no shuffle or singles for us.

Today we start our top ten, in retrospect it was a year with a lot of good albums but few great ones, sorta like 2011 which overall was the weakest year of releases since we started this site. This year just may beat that one when it comes to just OK albums as opposed to all-time greats, time will tell. Click that Read More button to get started with numbers 5-1 today. 
This was a hell of a year for the ladies and Americana albums. Our Top 10 is chock full of powerful and artistic females of all ages along with lots of real country/Americana. On the flip side 2016 certainly was a down year for hip hop and rock in our book. Let's dive in with...

5. Bleached - Welcome The Worms
This is a simple straight ahead burst of pop punk with some inner looking lyrics as the band Bleached moves from catchy to really catchy/must hear. Their single (video below) didn't leave our ears for months and the overall album is direct and damn good. In the vein of Ex-Hex or The Donna's, this is fun rock and roll with darkness at the edge of the pop punk edges.

4. Bombino - Azel
The Tuareg guitarist is finding his groove more and more as he experiments with new producers, sounds and influences. Already a major talent Bombino sounds as relaxed as he ever has on his newest Azel, incorporating a bunch of Caribbean sounds and punching some Reggae up with dynamic guitar work. While he may be the least known on this list, don't sleep on Azel.

3. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Sea Of Noise
We wrote a lot about this album and band in our original review of this disk, so we won't rehash those thoughts, but we will point out again in a year that has few standouts we will gravitate towards bands that try something new and succeed at that. If StP&TBB's had put out a standard retro-R&B disk people would have loved it, yet they experimented with sounds, styles and lyrics, filtering things through their style, yet never afraid to try. They do a damn good job on almost everything, they touch here a confidently striving yet still transitional album for an up and coming band. Oh yeah and the production is god damn great.

2. Beyonce - Lemonade
Guessing that this album will show up on a lot of top ten lists for 2016, but we are god damn surprised it showed up on ours...and it almost took the top spot. If our theme is "Artists who experimented and succeeded" in 2016 than how can you look past this album? It is the best of her career by far, it has a passion and desire (especially over the first half) that rarely (if ever) shows up in pop today. The over aching message and theme is carried out across a full album...this never happens in pop these days! It isn't too much of a stretch that for the millennial age this could be the pop version of Blood On The Tracks (this coming from a mega Dylan fan) except for that whole "take you back" thing compared to something like "Idiot Wind".

All this wouldn't mean shit if the music/singing/lyrics sucked, thankfully they are great; aggressive with sonic's and verbally the album kicks hard. The only downside we can see is that a lot of people just haven't heard the whole thing thanks to a Tidal release, but we can assure you, if you are a fan of adventurous pop music you should throw down your money and buy Beyonce's newest album...and that is a sentence we never thought would appear on this site.

1. Drive-By Truckers - American Band
We wrote a lot about this one in our original review as well, but that was before the US 2016 Presidential Election and we think we need to revisit this. For the band to feel so strongly about issues, a southern group of white men who were clearly fed up with ignorance, bigotry, mass shootings, police brutality, flag worship (confederate) and the overall state of hatred towards each other that they needed to write a full album to address it, the album carries added weight. Gone were the cartoon covers, in its place a cross flagpole and a waving flag in color, off set by less than sunny skies.

It is almost as if the DBT's knew something before the rest of us (or at least us at RtBE did) and were trying to put their musical stamp out there to adjust the curve for November. It didn't work, but what did were the songs here. This isn't the best DBT album, but the urgency which they address topics, directly ("What It Means" addressing Police Brutality) artistically ("Baggage" Depression) and historically ("Ramon Casiano" the NRA). It is an album that is growing in stature and importance as 2016 draws to a close...and that isn't necessarily a good thing for the country.

We are going to tackle this next year, but in the ranking of all DBT's albums this is probably somewhere in the middle but if art is a product of it's time, American Band is our pick for the album of the year.

There you have it, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments, please support all the artists on our list. See you in 2017!

1. Drive-By Truckers - American Band
2. Beyonce - Lemonade
3. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Sea Of Noise
4. Bombino - Azel
5. Bleached - Welcome The Worms
6. Shovels and Rope - Little Seeds
Tie for 7th: Loretta Lynn - Full Circle and Margo Price - Midwest Farmers Daughter
9. Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide To Earth
10. The SeratonesGet Gone

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