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Ridley’s Favorite Records of 2016

I realized last year when I was drafting my Top 10 list that I just wasn’t prepared to do it right. There’s no way I was going to feel good about naming the “best” albums of that year like a big music blog or magazine. I just hadn’t heard them all. So I made a list of new records to me that were released in 2015 or earlier. And then I realized that the famous end-of-year lists are written by whole companies in which lots of people contribute. Of course I wasn’t going to put out a fair and unbiased list, I’m just one dude. Duh.

So anyway, I’m doing a few things this year. I made the following list of my favorite records that were released this year, each with a three-word review. And there’s a cute little list at the end of ones that I REALLY REALLY WISH CAME OUT THIS YEAR BECAUSE I HEARD THEM THIS YEAR AND THEY ARE SO GOOD AND I WANT TO PUT THEM AT THE TOP OF THE 2016 LIST BUT I CAN’T. I JUST CAN’T. I am making a tiny little zine run of drawings of these album covers with the reviews and my favorite songs. Check out my website in a few days to get one of those if you’d like. I’m also making a zine of important songs. Every week or so there’s that one song that I put on whenever I have my headphones on. I kept a running list of these and added their title to a drawing on my phone until it became a squiggly mess of letters. The zine’s will also have some pictures from the year and drawings I made, sorted by month. It’s kind of cool I think. Check that out on my website also. And I’m making a list of my friends’ music that was released this year. For that, I guess friend me on Facebook.

Thanks for reading! I hope my list interests you and you check out something you haven’t heard before or re-listen to the ones you have.

(Click on any of the album covers to buy a copy.)

10. Twin Peaks – “Down In Heaven”


Gotta love it.
Favorite songs: Holding Roses, Butterfly, Heavenly Showers

9. Humanshapes – “Fabulous Actors”


“Punch a dog.”
Favorite songs: Black Leather Jackets, I.W.P.A.D., Are You Bored Yet

8. Danny Brown – “Atrocity Exhibition”


Real and new.
Favorite songs: Downward Spiral, Ain’t it Funny, Golddust, Hell For It

7. David Bowie – “Blackstar”


Secret death, Guiliana.
Favorite songs: Sue (Or In a Season of Crime), Blackstar, Girl Loves Me

6. Kanye West – “The Life of Pablo”


Ultra light beam.
Favorite songs: Ultralight Beam, Feedback, Freestyle 4

5. LVL UP – “Return To Love”


Grew on me.
Favorite songs: Cut From the Vine, Spirit Was, Hidden Driver, Five Men on the Ridge

4. clipping. – “Splendor & Misery”


Nothing like Hamilton.
Favorite songs: Baby Don’t Sleep, Wake Up, Story 5, The Breach, True Believer

3. PUP – “The Dream is Over”


Catchy and angry.
Favorite songs: The Coast, Old Wounds, If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will, Sleep In The Heat

2. Behavior – “375 Images of Angels”


Testing your mind.
Favorite songs: North, For Contempt, Dry Swift Horse, 78

1. Pinegrove – “Cardinal”

Pinegrove -
“Walking outside labyrinthian.”
Favorite songs: New Friends, Old Friends, Cadmium, Visiting, Then Again

Honorable Mention

A$AP Ferg – “Always Strive and Prosper”

Rap about Grandma.

Albums I WISH came out this year:

The Hotelier – “Home, Like Noplace Is There”


Favorite songs: Dendron, An Introduction To The Album, Among the Wildflowers, In Framing

Alex G – “DSU”


Favorite songs: After Ur Gone, Sorry, Harvey, Icehead

LVL UP – “Hoodwink’d”


Favorite songs: Soft Power, DBTS, Annie’s A Witch, Primordial Heat

Roy Wood – “Boulders”


Favorite songs: Wake Up, Songs of Praise, Nancy Sing Me A Song, Dear Elaine

Elliott Smith – “Either/Or”


Favorite songs: Angeles, Say Yes, Between the Bars, Cupid’s Trick