THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER' FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2016

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As I do every year I pick my favorite records from the year. This year was another tough year to narrow down to just ten. So I named other records I listened to quite a bit plus a intro playlist! But my top ten I went in depth. Please discuss,tell me your faves or even why you disagree my list in the comments. And don't forget to share! Thank you! :)

1. BASTILLE // Wild World — Okay so where do I start with this album. This album for me is a complete “I CAN’T EVEN” (that’s a good thing for those that don’t know). Dan’s voice and his subject matter despite how weird it is (I like weird … a lot) are EVERYTHING. It’s what makes this band. The addition of Will’s guitars (yay for Will!!) have added a fantastic element to this record. Still while keeping the core of BASTILLE which is the synths. To be honest the first single Good Grief had to grow on me. But after hearing the rest of Wild World. It was all just fascinating to me that my love of Good Grief kicked. (I told things grow). What really changed everything and kicked it all into high gear was seeing the band live for the first time at KROQ’s Red Soundspace back in October. Ever since then I have listened to this album daily. Which is not an easy feat for a band or artist when it comes to me. My fave tracks would have to be “Send Them Off!!” “Warmth” “Fake It” “Campus” and “Lethargy”. Definitive Vibes with those. Such a fantastic follow up from the “ Pompeii” guys …

2. The Weeknd // Starboy — This another “I CAN’T EVEN” record (I might wind up saying this phrase a lot). But with the addition of Daft Punk. One of my favorite artists already truly has stepped it up more than a couple notches. (I’m still not over Beauty Behind The Madness. As “The Hills” and “I Can’t Feel My Face” is still stuck in my head.) So when The Weeknd & Daft Punk hit us with Starboy (The Single) my expectations were high for the rest of the album. Starboy (The Single) is an absolute club banger! STARBOY (The Album) is a Pop Masterclass. With so many old and new school influences strewn throughout. I was definitely not disappointed. This entire record is Vibes. I suggest you start with these and go from there… “Party Monster”, “Nothing Without Yoy” “Reminder”, “I Feel It Coming” “Attention” and “Rockin”.

3. Blaqk Audio // Material — This album is the perfect Electronica album to me. It’s danceable, it’s dark and gloomy and beautiful all once. It truly showcases the growth Davey and Jade have had in this genre. They added more adventurous elements and started using Ableton Live. Material is firing on all cylinders here. The lyrics though are what standout the most. They are haunting and tragic. All seem to be about forlorn or lost love. All set to a much updated and incredible 80s and early 90s Synth Dance-Pop beat so infectious one might forget the sad lyrics you’re dancing to. So the added goth vibe is a bonus. If you couldn’t tell by now I adore Blaqk Audio.

4. Panic! At The Disco // Death of a Bachelor — Okay so I will immediately state that I am a long time P!ATD fan. From A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out days. That type of fan that still uses the Panic!exclamation point. But now back to the task at hand. This record to me is that rare Pop-Rock Synth record where practically every song on it is single worthy and radio ready. Plus hearing all of the influences that Brendon Urie had in mind throughout the recording process is insane. The many genres mixed into the record from Big Band to R&B/Hip-Hop or even Frank Sinatra on the song “Death Of a Bachelor”. But his biggest influence of all is his wife Sarah. Hence where the album title came from. I would suggest you check out “Death Of a Bachelor” “Hallelujah” and “Emperor’s New Clothes” (Especially the video for “Emperor’s New Clothes” you’ll thank me…)

5. Marian Hill // ACT ONE — This may not be a band you know of but you have probably heard them. Especially if you caught the Calvin Klein fragrance commercial with Margot Robbie. It’s a duo comprised of long time friends Samantha Gongol & Jeremy Lloyd. ACT ONE has been a killer record for me with the mixing of old and new. Live and recorded. Analog and digital. All blending beautifully with singer Samantha’s voice. Let’s not forget they frequently collaborate with a saxophonist live and on the album which adds another layer that can be dated but here it’s so cool. If you want to hear something new and refreshing then this it. It’s sexy and sweet but with a kick which is the definition of Pop music. I suggest starting "Talk to Me" then "Wild" "Bout You" and "I Want You". Plus they just released a new single "Back to Me" with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jaugerui. They are definitely ones to watch in 2017!

6. BANKS // The Altar — Another artist who’ve I’ve listened to forever since first hearing her on her. “FALL OVER” and “LONDON” EPs namely “Before I Ever Met You”. It was and still is a dope track. She subsequently has released two albums; “Goddess” which had me hooked with it’s honestly lyrics and dark tone. And this year “The Altar” in which she ups the ante with much more deeply personal lyrics,experimentation in mixing music genres also upping her music video game which feel like more mini art films. You still have BANKS at her core with darker themes or tones that could be about a romantic relationship. But she’s left that up for you to decide. My fave tracks “Gemini Feed” “F*ck With Myself” “Weaker Girl” and “Trainwreck” her voice is breathing firing. On tracks like “Poltergeist” she has just as much power but in softer tones.

7. Young Guns // Echoes — First off lead singer Gustav Wood’s voice soars and is the best I’ve heard it. The lyrics are the most honest and sincere since Bones but with an added rawness to them. And to the music itself. To be honest I was a bit nervous after hearing the drummer left the band prior to this album. But rest assured this turned out to be one of my favorite albums this year and one of the best by Young Guns. I think a happy medium of Alterna-Pop with good hooks and melodies combined with good old fashioned Brit-Rock. Definitely check out "Bulletproof", "Careful What You Wish For" "Mad World" and "Paranoid".

8. David Bowie // Blackstar — Well why is it brilliant? Let’s state the obvious it’s David Bowie. Let’s also state the other reason why it’s brilliant. The extremely sad and devastating reason. It’s his last work. He put everything he had left in him into Blackstar. It’s dark, morose and harrowing. At times tough to get through yet still beautiful still Bowie. I’ll leave it at that.

9. The 1975 // I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It — Just want to put this out there. But I was so skeptical at first about the band and their music for such stupid reasons. But this the record helped get past such preconceived notions. Because upon hearing "Love Me" I loved it! This song and album was something I needed in my life. It was so so catchy with good hooks and melodies straight from the 80s. Just well updated. Listening to the entire album I discovered more of that updated 80s Synth Pop-Rock goodness that I’ve come to adore, from many of my current favorite bands. I am literally obsessed with "Somebody Else" that song hits my heart like no other on the record. Plus you really go anywhere without hearing not only that song but "The Sound" and "UGH!”. Singer Matty Healy voice and his strange & strangely fascinating lyrics are what brings it all together in one perfect (but very emotional) package.

10. Joseph // I’m Alone, No You’re Not — I found this lovely band made up of sister trio Natalie, Allison, and Meegan Closner through James Bay. They were one of his opening acts on his "Chaos and the Calm" tour. In fact, I saw them open up for James in NYC back in September. They are from Portland and have soaring beautiful melodies and harmonies that blend together so well that I can only assume is it because they’re sisters. Their melodies and harmonies plus simple yet beautiful lyrics/songwriting come together so well on this album. My favorites are "White Flag" "Blood and Tears", "Sweet Dreams", and "Canyon".

BONUS PICK:

ZAYN // MIND OF MINE — Okay so this is a really good album. In fact, it’s a darn good post boyband album. We all know JT had some issues post *N SYNC. But the main reason I listed as my bonus pick was for some reason I have to be reminded to listen to it. Although when I do I remember how good this album is. So for that fact alone it’s a bonus pick for me. The number of standout tracks on it is pretty good though. My faves (besides singles “It’s You and "Pillowtalk") are "She", "Bordersz" "Wrong" and "Rear View" ...

Listed below are more albums from this year that I listen to and enjoyed a lot. Also a playlist featuring some songs from my favorite of 2016 artists including those mentioned in this article:

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER'S FAVORITE MUSIC OF 2016 PLAYLIST - THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER'S ULTIMATE 2016 MIX

* James Bay // Chaos and The Calm (I know this was released last year. But this was my most played album this year and I saw James in concert twice this year I had to give him a mention at the very least!)

* Phantogram // Cruel World

* Adele // 25

* Beyonce // Lemonade

* J-Balvin // Energia

* Margaret Glaspy // Emotions and Math

* Tor Miller // American English

* Deadmau5 // W:/2016Album

* JoJo // Mad Love

* Suicide Squad Soundtrack // Various Artists