Editor's Pick: Tom's Top 10 Albums of 2016
2016 has been a difficult and complex year politically, but it's been a vintage one for music, I know, because of the albums I left out of this year's Top 10. If you'd told me at the start of the year that new albums from Frank Ocean, Blink-182, Deftones, The Weeknd, Kanye West and BANKS wouldn't haven't made it into my Top 10 for the year then I'd have probably snorted and shook my head vigorously, but here we are. These are the albums that have made it...
10. Warpaint - Heads Up
The California foursome removed a little of the smoke and mirrors that made their self-titled album so hypnotic in favour of a clearer sound, but they still came back with an excellent record.
9. Letlive - If I'm the Devil...
The soul punks’ follow-up to The Blackest Beautiful was something of a left turn, embracing more electronics and grooves, but it’s still a great record, full of invention, guile and Jason Butler’s insightful and fiery words.
8. The 1975 - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
Though it didn’t quite grab me as much as their debut did, this album is a flawless guide to modern pop rock. It meanders, it grooves, it flicks seamlessly between cocky and deeply insecure and it’s also got some absolutely enormous choruses. I’m excited to see what they do next…
7. Bat For Lashes - The Bride
Natasha Khan is a national treasure, no one does childlike wonder mixed with utter melancholy so well. This album, a concept LP about a bride whose husband is killed on the way to their wedding, is her saddest to date, but just as bewitching.
6. Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
A brilliant record now tinged with sadness after the death of the Brighton metallers’ key songwriter and guitarist Tom Searle. As well as packing the band’s usual unflinching power and drive, this album also has some incredible slower moments. If this is the band’s last recorded output then it’s a worthy full stop.
5. Honeyblood - Babes Never Die
The Glaswegian power pop duo followed up their firebrand self-titled debut album with an even more impressive collection. Their second album is more coherent, direct and full of incredible melodies. 2017 will see them go from strength to strength.
4. Beyoncé - Lemonade
If there’s one album this year that needs no more analysis than it is this one, but that’s because there are so many things to recommend it. Beyonce proved she can take on just about any genre while weaving a compelling and powerful narrative. It also showed that even at the very top of the game some artists still love telling a story across a traditional album structure.
3. White Lung - Paradise
The Canadian punks have never been anything less than brilliant since their 2010 debut album, but they hit all new levels of brilliance with Paradise. Visceral, punishing, but with some incredibly tender moments too, this is a wonderful album.
2. Tove Lo - Lady Wood
The smartest pop album released in 2016. Boundless ambition, icy synths and remarkable consistency from beginning to end.
1. Bleached - Welcome The Worms
Of all the albums that were released across the year the one that I’ve come back to the most is this one. Bleached are four California slacker punks, driven by the co-vocals of sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, they play a shonky, but utterly captivating brand of rock and roll and this album is totally flawless.