I hope you enjoyed The Golden West and that you’ve been thinking about your 2016 in music. The year-end list is a true tradition for me. There's a process, a proper way of doing things. So before I put together my year-end list, I think about what I missed when I made last year’s list. I stand by my 2015 list; I still listen to everything on there. Yet, if I knew then what I know now, it would have looked a little different. This post is an appreciation of what I learned about 2015 in 2016.
Here are five albums that would have made my list:
Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color. I'd heard this album, and my friends dug it, but it just hadn’t clicked with me. And then, for reasons unknown, it did sometime in early January. Now, I think the Alabama Shakes might be the last innovative band in rock. Really stunning, and all the praise heaped on it in 2015 was deserved. Check out the title track.
Anderson East’s Delilah popped up on some year-end lists, so I checked it out. Great record. I dig the Memphis sound. While this is a little less critically praised than some of Dave Cobb’s other production gems from 2015, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, Delilah is just as good. Check out "Devil In Me."
Carly Rae Jepsen’s EMOTION is a satisfying pop album. It joyfully revels in the form. Its long-lasting appeal to me though is that it’s not over-the-top. There are hooks galore and identifiable singles, but it’s not one of those overstuffed, everything-is-an-anthem albums. It’s sleek with depth. "Warm Blood" is a highlight. Check out the pop-glory of "Run Away With Me."
Coldplay, A Head Full of Dreams. I wrote a review of the album last December. It was too soon to know if it had any place on my 2015 list. In the end, it belongs there. I'm not going to argue this album is great, but I did play it more than just about anything in 2016. I credit it its strengths and forgive it its demerits. Check out the title track.
John Moreland’s High on Tulsa Heat is another find from among the 2015 year-end lists. Moreland’s songwriting is powerful. He has a poet’s turn of phrase, and communicates real emotion in his words, voice, and guitar. I haven’t put this album down all year. Check out a live version of "Heart's Too Heavy."
Next: The 2016 Year in Music List