Check out our Top 50 favorite songs from 2016.Read More
2016 is off to an extremely strong start. Here’s just a list of all of the new albums I’ve listened to from January to March and links to reviews, if applicable.
Doing it a bit different this time, doing it by rating, from greatest to worst. Alphabetical just seemed trivial.
5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend: 10
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor: 9.5
- Deftones - Gore: 9.5
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing: 9
- Foxes - All I Need: 9
- Daughter - Not To Disappear: 9
- Lacey Sturm - Life Screams: 8.5
- HÆLOS - Full Circle: 8.5
- Weezer - Weezer (White Album): 8.5
- LIGHTS - Midnight Machines: 8.5
- The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You've Come To Expect: 8.5
4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)
- David Bowie - ★: 8
- BANNERS - BANNERS: 8
- Savages - Adore Life: 8
- Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo: 8
- Jack Garratt - Phase: 8
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - This Unruly Mess I've Made: 8
- Sia - This Is Acting: 7.5
- Grizfolk - Waking Up The Giants: 7.5
- The Drones - Feelin Kinda Free: 7.5
- Yeasayer - Amen & Goodbye: 7.5
- Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.: 7.5
- Textures - Phenotype: 7.5
- Rihanna - ANTI: 7
- Megadeth - Dystopia: 7
- Hands Like Houses - Dissonants: 7
- Miike Snow - iii: 7
- BABYMETAL - Metal Resistance: 7
- The Jezabels - Synthia: 7
- Amy Lee - Recover, Vol. 1: 7
- Steven Wilson - 4 ½: 6.5
- Chairlift - Moth: 6.5
- Porches - Pool: 6.5
- Polyphia - Renaissance: 6.5
3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)
- ZAYN - Mind Of Mine: 6
- Mogwai - Atomic: 6
- Låpsley - Long Way Home: 6
- Baauer - Aa: 5.5
- Asking Alexandria - The Black: 5.5
- The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It: 5
- Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness: 5
- School Of Seven Bells - SVIIB: 5
- Krallice - Hyperion: 4.5
- Future - EVOL: 4.5
- Anderson .Paak - Malibu: 4.5
- Wiz Khalifa - Khalifa: 4.5
2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)
- Killswitch Engage - Incarnate: 4
- Cozz - Nothin Personal: 3.5
1-Star Albums (0 - 2)
- None! :D
Top Albums Of 2016 (so far)
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
- Deftones - Gore
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing
- Foxes - All I Need
- Daughter - Not To Disappear
- Lacey Sturm - Life Screams
- HÆLOS - Full Circle
- Weezer - Weezer (White Album)
- LIGHTS - Midnight Machines
Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)
- AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
- Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
- Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
- Foxes - 'Better Love'
- Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
- AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
- Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
- Dream Theater - 'Moment Of Betrayal'
- Daughter - 'New Ways'
- Jack Garratt - 'My House Is Your Home'
Debut albums should be triumphant and forever a standard to live up to and progress from. Hyped up underground singer/songwriter Jack Garratt’s debut album, Phase, is exactly that. Channeling The Weeknd and a soulful blues sound, Garratt’s debut is an explosion of color and sexuality that’s bound to blow up.
The most notable part of the record is Garratt’s vocals. There’s something haunting in his disposition, with a hint of sensuality deep within each meaning. The closure track, ‘My House Is Your Home’ is raw and unprocessed, featuring only his vocals and a piano. The track is unpolished and very much raw, but there was possibly no other way to end an album all about the sentiments of all things relationship. Other songs with notable vocals include ‘Weathered’ with a huge gospel, making Garratt’s soul sound even bigger, and ‘Worry’ which has some lovely R&B-esque harmonies. ‘Chemical’ has some folk chanting in its intro making it feel like Gaelic traditional song before becoming a disjointed electronic ballad. ‘The Love You’re Given’ has a chilling background vocal that serves as more of a sampled instrument than anything else. The hauntingness of the sample compliments Garratt’s pure vocals in the song, too. This album’s lyrics are perhaps some of the best this year has seen so far; songs like ‘Water’ on the deluxe edition and ‘I Know All What I Do’ have some particularly visual lyrics, and are pure poetry.
The album is largely composed of waves of synths, and when raw instruments are used, it’s more often than not piano, while some guitars are used from time to time. The intro track, ‘Coalesce’, has pulsating synths and a certain glitchiness to it in the outro that is reminiscent of Clarence Clarity. ‘Surprise Yourself’ also has a big pulsating synth, though this one has potential to be a ballad rather than a glitchy electronic wall. The album’s most popular song, ‘Fire’, starts off quiet and sensual, but explodes into a massive track by its conclusion.
Jack Garratt’s debut isn’t a revolution by any means, but it is a confident recollection of being in love. He sings with the disposition of a tortured lover, begging for more but fearing it all at the same time. His powerful lyrics soar over epic electronic instrumentals, which makes Phase one of the strongest electronic albums of the year. There is so much emotion resonating from this album that its hard not to feel it. Garratt’s hype didn’t die down, and for good reason. He’s 2016′s iteration of The Weeknd.
Favorite Songs: My House Is Your Home, Water, The Love You’re Given, Fire
Least Favorite Songs: Lonesome Valley