Best of 2016: Paul's Take

Whatever you want to say about 2016 (and we’ve said plenty), it was a great year for music and Chunky Glasses covered the hell out of it. Well, it was a great year for musical output at least. We lost far too many of our favorite artists but, by fortune or design, we gained some truly extraordinary albums before they passed. More than that, those that remained took up the mantles of the fallen to produce a bounty of sharply observed, deeply felt works. To call it a changing of the guard would be overly simplistic; an artificial narrative created to instill some sense of order on a chaotic year. But, be that as it may, it appears that as the world lurches into an uncertain 2017, at least we’ll still have plenty of exemplary musicians to help us make sense of whatever happens next.

Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2016

  1. Blackstar - David Bowie (listen)
  2. A Man Alive - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (listen)
  3. Teens Of Denial - Car Seat Headrest (listen
  4. Paradise - White Lung (listen
  5. Blood Bitch - Jenny Hval (listen
  6. Telefone - Noname (listen
  7. Puberty 2 - Mitski (listen
  8. No Burden  - Lucy Dacus (listen)
  9. Patch The Sky - Bob Mould (listen
  10. Blankface LP - Schoolboy Q (listen

Some Words on Albums That We Didn’t Cover

Despite our best efforts, sometimes albums slip through the cracks. To partially rectify those oversights, here are some words on my favorite albums that we didn’t cover.

  • Blood Bitch - Jenny Hval: An unabashedly cinematic, profoundly feminist concept album about vampirism and the power of menstrual blood from the artist behind Apocalypse, Girl? Yeah, I’m all in.
  • Blank Face LP - Schoolboy Q: Not a throwback. Not old school. Just legit, street level storytelling from an artist who knows what he is talking about. Q is always the star but Kendrick, Kanye, and Vince Staples make their presence known on a handful of the album’s best tracks.
  • Islah - Kevin Gates: All the integrity of an indie release with all of the polish you expect from a major label debut. Gates managed to create one of the best (and best selling) rap albums of the year without compromising his vision, giving up the pen (or the producer’s chair), or leaning on a bevy of guest stars. In today’s music industry, that is pretty damned impressive.
  • No One Deserves Happiness - The Body: The Body mixes the best of post-rock, noise, and metal with more than a touch of pop in this dense, heady album. A perfect album for the long cold winter ahead. 
  • Prima Donna EP - Vince Staples : This is Staples at his sharpest and most incisive (so far). All of the ideas, vision, and storytelling of Summertime ’06 concentrated and distilled into a sub-30 minute mini-masterpiece. 

Honorable Mentions

Sorrow - Colin Stetson; Blonde - Frank Ocean; A Seat At The Table - Solange; We Got it From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service - A Tribe Called Quest ; Islah - Kevin Gates; You Want It Darker - Leonard Cohen; Shapeshift with Me - Against Me!; No One Deserves Happiness - The Body; A Moon Shaped Pool - Radiohead; Prima Donna EP - Vince Staples; The Bird and the Rifle - Lori McKenna