Vinyl Hysteria’s Top 25 Albums of 2016

2016 might have been a really horrible, wacky year in most respects, but damn, it was an amazing year for music.  I could have created a top 50 list, but I decided to narrow it down to 25.

Most lists I’ve seen for 2016 include a few of the obvious choices, like Rihanna and Beyonce and Kanye West.  And those artists always end up near or at the top.  But while those albums might have artistic merit, I always find myself drawn to music that isn’t top 40.  The only album with across-the-board acclaim that I also loved was Mitski’s Puberty 2.  That one almost made my #1 spot.

I made a video highlighting my top 25 (and showing off the vinyl for each, though I am missing the vinyl for a few on the list), so check it out.  Or, if you’re short on time, you can find my list of 2016’s best below the vid.

Best Albums of 2016:

25. Florist – The Birds Outside Sang

24. Yohuna – Patientness

23. Flock of Dimes – If You See Me, Say Yes

22. The Julie Ruin – Hit Reset

21. Little Scream – Cult Following

20. Luther Wright & the Wrongs – Hearts & Lonely Hunters

19. Savages – Adore Life

18. Case / Lang / Veirs – self-titled

17. Stranger Things Soundtrack

16. Bellows – Fist & Palm

15. Veda Hille – Love Waves

14. July Talk – Touch

13. Fear of Men – Fall Forever

12. The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem

11. Hannah Georgas – For Evelyn

10. Tacocat – Lost Time

9. Gord Downie – Secret Path

8. DIANA – Familiar Touch

7. Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

6. Venus and the Moon – Brother Son

5. Eskimeaux – Year of the Rabbit

4. Jennifer O’Connor – Surface Noise

3. Christine & The Queens – Chaleur Humaine

2. Mitski – Puberty 2

1. Told Slant – Going By

Holiday Sampler, December 30

holidaysampler

I could write PAGES about the brilliant musical, Rent, but for the purpose of this entry, all you need to know is that the story largely takes place between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.  And because of that, it’s the perfect musical to listen to (or watch, since the final Broadway show was filmed and released, and they made a film version of the musical in 2005) in that span of time between Christmas and New Year’s where you still want to celebrate but are tired of the Bing Crosby.  If you don’t know the musical, please check it out, along with the story of its creator and creation.  Trust me.

December 30: Cast of Rent, “Happy New Year A / B”

Holiday Sampler, December 29

holidaysampler

It’s snowing like hell in my neck of the woods, so this is an obvious pick. Also, White Christmas is my favorite holiday movie, so I kinda had to post something from it, eh?

December 29: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen, “Snow”

Holiday Sampler, December 28

holidaysampler

If you haven’t seen the show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” you’re missing out.  It’s hilarious, it’s filled with Broadway-esque tunes, and it’s insanely addictive.  I can often be found singing or humming the songs from the show as I go about my day.

But did you know that the show’s creator and star, Rachel Bloom, also produced an album of Hanukkah comedy songs?  They’re a bit racy and explicit, so if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, you might want to skip it, but if you don’t mind a humorous take on Jewish culture, give it a whirl.  Trust me — you’ll be humming these tunes for weeks.

December 28: Rachel Bloom, Jack Dolgen, Dan Gregor, “Chanukah Honey”

Holiday Sampler, December 27

holidaysampler

The Barenaked Ladies have a fantastic holiday album filled with a variety of holiday and winter tunes, and I love that it includes a few Hanukkah songs, like this one penned by Steven Page.

December 27: Barenaked Ladies, “Hanukkah Blessings”

Holiday Sampler, December 26

holidaysampler

I can’t believe it’s been six years since The Maccabeats released their Hanukkah song, “Candlelight.”  I loved this group the instant I heard them.  I’m a sucker for a cappella to begin with, but these guys take it to another level with their humor and talent.  And so, on this third night of Hanukkah, let’s celebrate with a little throwback to their 2010 classic.

December 26: The Maccabeats, “Candlelight”

Holiday Sampler, December 25

holidaysampler

Even though neither have ever put out a Christmas album, I always associate the holidays with Sarah Harmer and Luther Wright because I love to attend the annual Holiday Rock Show they put on in Kingston, Ontario to benefit a variety of local charities. It’s always a festive good time and a great way to kick off the holidays.

And to kick off this Christmas day, I’m sharing Sarah and Luther’s lovely cover of “White Christmas.”  Best wishes to all my readers who celebrate; may the day bring you warmth and joy.

December 25: Sarah Harmer and Luther Wright, “White Christmas”

Holiday Sampler, December 24

holidaysampler

I’m not sure this song warrants much explanation.  It’s the Carpenters, it’s gorgeous (if a little sad), and, in my opinion, it’s pretty much the definitive Christmas Eve tune.

Merry Christmas Eve to all my readers who celebrate!

December 24: The Carpenters, “Merry Christmas, Darling”

Holiday Sampler, December 23

holidaysampler

Tomorrow at sundown is the start of Hanukkah.  We’ll be frying up some latkes, and  playing dreidel (with our cats) by the light of the electric menorah (cats are a danger around real candles; we once had a cat burn fur off her tail by whipping it through a flame). You don’t hear much Hanukkah music played on the radio, except for the classic songs that everyone knows.  Even then, it’s just two songs out of thousands and thousands of Christmas tunes.  So a few years ago, I hit up the Hanukkah station on Pandora and discovered the band The LeeVees.  These guys are like Jewish Barenaked Ladies.  Jewish Arrogant Worms (if you don’t know the Arrogant Worms, educate yo’ self).  I immediately bought their album of hilarious Hanukkah songs.  My favorite jam off that album is the one featured below.  Enjoy!

December 23: The LeeVees, “Latke Clan”