Lucy Dacus – Strange Torpedo
I think Lucy Dacus’ album No Burden was one of the best of 2016. The best song off it, “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” was the best track, but it also came out on an EP in 2015 and made my list last year. The album has four or five legitimately great songs. Great lyrics, fun guitar lines, and a warm voice that makes listening to the album just a bit more fun.
“Strange Torpedo” is the second best song on the album, and it’s a rollicking little rock song, that just starts chugging along up into it’s sing-along bridge. If you just heard it playing in the background of some TV show, you could easily be mistaken that it’s just another good indie rock song. Sit and listen to the lyrics, though and you’ll get surprised by the depth of the song.
Sunflower Bean – I Was Home
One of many tracks I think I heard on KEXP’s podcasts this year, I would have bet you a million dollars this was The Subways when I first heard it. The guitars, dueling male/female vocals. Coming in at four minutes, it’s a bit lengthy given the content, but chop 60 seconds off this song (the prog rock jam at the end), and this thing is a little punk-pop masterpiece. Slackers talking about not doing anything over driving rock riffs is a winner every time.
Ra Ra Riot – Bad Times
This is probably the one I went back and forth on the most. (Makes sense, since it’s at the ten spot. Not the old MTV 10 Spot, but remember those days?)
This song just works for me. The lyrics are goofy, but easily to sing along with, and who doesn’t love singing “Barbasol”. It incorporates enough strings so that you know it’s a Ra Ra Riot song, but it’s got a nice little synth kicking it along.
I really dig the tempo changes too. I don’t think I loved this song when the album first came out, but it just grew on me, and now I get a little spring in my step whenever it kicks in when I’m running.
It’s been a challenging end to 2016 (both on the geopolitical front and on the home front), but here we are, 5 days from 2017. Plenty of time to get my year end list of my favorite music out.
I’ve still got some work to do over the next day or so to finish up (a couple of albums I need to listen to), but I think I’ve got the skeleton of the list figured out.
As always, there’s some rules:
* Album/single came out in 2016
* One song per artist
I make some exceptions. An artist who was on in 2015 for a single gets on in 2016 (probably … ) for a track off the full length album that single eventually ended up on.
With so much new music, I didn’t have time to revisit a lot of things this year. So if an album didn’t catch me the first time through (for example, Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!”), it probably won’t be here, even if it ends up being a favorite of mine in a couple of weeks or months. I’ve been running about a year behind on a lot of my hip hop (though there’s a couple of albums I intend to listen to in the next 24 hours). This year’s list has been the hardest for me, but it’s coming into focus.
In the meantime, as always, links to the previous lists: