Favorite Albums of 2016

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hi, hello. It has been a hot minute since I've been around here. 
I don't really have an excuse or a reason for my prolonged absence from my own blog - school work, my capstone, writer's block, not really caring, no one really reading - and I don't really feel that I need to explain myself, but I do want to come back. I hadn't really had any ideas for posts until just about 20 minutes ago, sitting on my bed watching the ten thousand "best beauty products of 2016" videos that had popped up in my Youtube subscription box. I was thinking about how boring and repetitive those videos have gotten, especially considering the fact that most of them include the same products, and wondering what content creators could do to make them more interesting when I had the thought of making my own. Bored of makeup lists, though, I thought about the things that really narrated my 2016 and landed, instead, on music. 
Music, obviously, has defined my entire life for as long as I can remember. I can't make it, but I love it with my entire being. I started off my writing career wanting to be a music writer, and most of the passion and excitement in my life extends, in some way, from my love for music and the people who make it. The music I listen to defines my life, so I thought it would be worthwhile to look back at 2016 through my favorite albums. Thus, what follows is a list of my favorite albums of 2016, and how they've fit into my life. 
I've chosen to list albums that were released in 2016, rather than just compile a list of my most listened to of 2016, because that one would be much too long. Honestly, almost all my favorite bands released albums in 2015 (see: Sounds Good Feels Good, Future Hearts, Life's Not Out to Get You, 25, etc), so I spent most of the year listening to music from the year before. This hopefully means that I have a lot to look forward to musically in 2017. Until then, though, here are my top 4 favorite albums from 2016, with a song of choice for each one. Happy listening, and happy 2017.

4. California - blink-182

California takes 5th place simply because I think it's the most popular album on this list and needs the least introduction. I'll also preface this with the fact that Neighborhoods is my favorite Blink album, and I know that's a very controversial opinion. Anyway, I love Blink and I love Matt Skiba and I love this album. I have said a million times before that I truly believe Blink makes the best driving music in the world, and this album is no exception. My friend Nicole and I took a lot of drives this summer, and I distinctly remember rolling down the highway with the windows down and Bored to Death blasting, screaming along to the bridge and just thinking to myself "this is exactly what this album was made for." Blink just does it every damn time.

If You Only Listen to One Song: Bored to Death. Sorry.

3. Better Weather - With Confidence

I'd been meaning to listen to With Confidence since the beginning of the summer. They were at Warped this summer, and I had literally every intention of catching their set - but I found myself at a State Champs signing at the exact same time, getting my best friend's birthday present autographed instead. I was bummed out, but it quickly slipped my mind, and I kind of forgot about how badly I wanted to get into this band until about three weeks ago, when I bought tickets to State Champs' spring tour, with With Con as a support. After buying the tickets, I went straight to With Confidence on Spotify - I knew I would like them, and I'd been putting their music off for far too long. The time to get obsessed had come. 
Better Weather is everything I want it to be, and everything a debut album from a band like With Confidence should be. It is exactly the kind of pop punk I love, and has personality and an Australian accent to boot. It's been on repeat lately - in my car, in my room, while I'm in the shower. It's a brand new album but I'm already excited to hear more from With Con; I can tell that they're in the early stages of their career and I'm super stoked to see what's to come for them. Even though it's a late addition to my year, Better Weather is hands down one of my favorites of 2016. I just want more from With Con, but this will have to do for now.

If You Only Listen to One Song: Voldemort (or Waterfall)

2. In Our Bones - Against the Current

Back in October I was actively looking for more female fronted pop punk music. Spotify lead me to Against the Current, and I haven't looked back since. I especially feel a connection to bands who hail from Long Island or upstate New York (see: State Champs), so I immediately latched onto Against the Current, with roots in Poughkeepsie - the band members are my age and from near me and even if I didn't love their music I would love them for that alone. 
Luckily, I absolutely adore this album. Against the Current are definitely on the poppy side of the pop punk, but I love pop music anyway, and this album is so feel good, and so easy listening. I can't help but love it and sing along to it. 

If You Only Listen to One Song: One More Weekend

1. Stories for Monday - The Summer Set

Honestly, I almost have too much to say about The Summer Set. I've loved this band since I was a freshman in high school - maybe even since I was in middle school, but I can't remember - but I sort of stopped listening when their third album Legendary came out. I was out of the loop until April of this year, when they dropped Stories For Monday after an incredibly long hiatus. The Summer Set had almost broken up before the release of this album, and it's been described as a sort of look back at all they'd done as a band - the band being the weekend, the stories, and life afterward as Monday. 
Although this album features some songs I don't love - and some that give me existential crises - Stories for Monday is the feel good, nostalgic, life is going to be okay album that I need. It reminded me why I love The Summer Set and why I love music. This album saved my skin. 
In May my best friend came to visit me in Scotland, and I dragged her straight off the plane to Glasgow to see TSS live. I can honestly say it was one of the best concerts of my life, and she fell in love with them that night as well. We saw them again in November in New Jersey, and I'm already saving my money to see them at their rumored spring tour in 2017. I love this album. I love this band. I love how they make me feel like I'm in love even when I'm not. I am so thankful they did not give up. 
That being said, I'm going to take The Summer Set as a metaphor for 2016 going in to 2017. I know this year has been so hard for so many, and I know it has included some of the scariest moments of our lifetimes - but I like to think (I have to think) that we will be okay. Let's be like TSS this year - let's take a moment for ourselves, regroup, and then come back kicking and screaming and better than ever. Happy New Year. Let's fucking go.

If You Only Listen to One Song: Change Your Mind... or All In... or All My Friends... or Missin' You... or just listen to the whole album because it's so damn good

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