You've seen the best, now check out our least favorite albums of 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'
Making a debut record is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks for an artist. After that first record, there’s room for growth. But first, you have to establish yourself. Låpsley’s debut record Long Way Home delivers an underwhelming electronic pop that centers around one sound rather than showing off her capabilities.
As with any new-wave electropop artist, a lot of the music is minimalistic. The problem here is that Låpsley’s minimalism lacks any substance that makes up for the huge space that needs to be filled. Opening track ‘Heartless’ is empty and minimal to begin with before building into a pop beat that carries the chorus. That’s not to say there aren’t any good moments on the record; ‘Hurt Me’ and ‘Cliff’ are both pop bangers that hold a lot of ground. Lyrically, though, this album has some very weak points that anchor it down. The song ‘Tell Me The Truth’ chooses to punctuate the otherwise meaningful chorus lyrics with “I guess,” as if she’s an edge teenager who doesn’t want to open up to an annoyed parent. ‘Station’ is just downright confusing... you can’t really understand what it is she’s saying, and what could be a sampled dog doesn’t help elevate it. The song ‘Operator’ takes you back in time, bringing soul, R&B, and funk and adding a pop flair to it, which while by itself is a pretty cliché track, it does add a splash of color to the album. The only gem of a song on this album is found towards the end: ‘Silverlake’. It’s an enchanting symphonic pop piece with gorgeous harmonies and the visualization of a lakeshore at night. It’s tantalizing and what the rest of the album should’ve sounded like.
Låpsley’s debut wasn’t too well put together, but it only means her sophomore record can only go up from here. By themselves, the songs are tolerable and most have a fun fire to them. The problem that as a whole, the album is largely incohesive and lacks any punch to keep it interesting. Hopefully she can put together a more powerful second record in the future. This time, with closure and substance.
Favorite Track: Silverlake
Least Favorite Tracks: Station, Operator (He Doesn’t Call Me)