5. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
Yes, all of the songs on this record are too long. Yes, there are way too many songs on this record. Yes, the guitar solos and refrains go on way too long. But you know what? I DON’T CARE! I love this record. I love Pinkerton-era guitars over mumble-y lyrics about teenage angst. The song “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” is perfect even if it’s 2 minutes too long. You know what I want more of in 2016? Songs about Killer Whales! Bring me all of your early-Weezer inspired albums! I will drink them up!
4. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
I go back and forth with this record. When it’s good, it’s some of my favorite music of the year (“Wolves”, “No more parties in LA”, “30 Hours”). When it’s bad, it’s “facts”. From a pure sonic perspective, this may be Kanye’s best record. Lyrically? It’s mid-table. Everything you need to know about this record is contained in “Father Stretch my Hands Pt. 1”. The opening 30 seconds make you feel like an invincible Eagle/Viking. And then Kanye starts rapping about models, t-shirts, bleach, and well, you know. Sometimes the record feels unfinished (I’m looking at you “Fade” and “Waves”), and sometimes I wonder if I’d like these songs if they weren’t Kanye songs (“Feedback”, “Famous”). But they are Kanye songs. No one does what he does. He creates a feast for my ears. I’m never sure what I think of Kanye records. On any given day I might tell you that Yeezus is the best record of all time, or that it’s garbage. Still, every time Kanye makes something, it demands real attention and real thought. That puts him above most people.
3. Rogue Wave – Delusions of Grand Fur
It’s taken two albums, a side project, and Zach Rogue slipping a disk in his back, but Rogue Wave finally sound like themselves again. Now yes, I am aware that the world has changed since 2004, and we no longer need dozens of alt-rock bands combining acoustic elements, earnest lyrics, and fuzz box sounds. I am aware that the culture has moved on. But I still like that kind of music and I’m still happy when more of it comes out. Rogue Wave isn’t an important band, but they are a band that I always enjoy listening to. This is their best record since “Asleep at Heaven’s Gate”.
2. Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered
Some artists (I’m looking at you Kanye!) need dozens of guests, producers, samples, beats and a team of people around them to make an album. Kendrick throws together 8 outtakes from his last record and reminds everybody why he’s the best. And he is the best. K Dot’s word play is far and away better than everyone else that it isn’t even a fight anymore. It sounds so effortless. This whole record is just Kendrick and a jazz band crushing it. He’s not even trying and he’s still better than everyone else. The drums on untitled 5? And when Kendrick comes in with his first verse? Don’t talk to me while that’s happening, I’m too excited to think.
1. Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
I want to live inside of this record for the rest of my life.