I really enjoyed last year’s version of this thread (at least I think it was 2015); both talking about my own favourite albums from this year but also sampling those listed by others.
This year I wanted to lead by example – not only would it be good to see you detail your top 5 albums released in the last year but also, if at all possible, link to your favourite song from each, that way others can check them out without having to do much legwork.
Here are my picks:
5th – Original Machines, Conrad Keely
I found it hard to pick a fifth album this year. Several artists I traditionally love released albums this year that I didn’t actually enjoy (in particular David Bowie’s Blackstar, Lady GaGa’s Joanne, and P.J. Harvey’s Hope Six Demolition Project), and the gap wasn’t really filled by any newcomers.
Conrad Keely is from one of my favourite bands of all time (Trail of Dead), and this is his first solo album. It’s not as good as Trail of Dead – nowhere close in fact – but it’s very experimental, full of short snippets of songs, and some of them are good.
My favourite track is ‘In Words Of A Not So Famous Man’, which you can hear above.
4th – Not the Actual Events, Nine Inch Nails
NIN is my favourite band and my most played band of all time too, but for me NIN hasn’t been amazing for several albums now, and the latest EP – Not the Actual Events – is no different. As with every NIN release since 2002 it’s a mix of great, middling, and crap. Here’s what I consider the best song on the EP, ‘The Idea of You’:
3rd – The Bride, Bat for Lashes
This was the first great album of the year for me. I hadn’t really given Bat for Lashes much listening time before despite having all of her albums, but at the time this particular one released I was looking for some new music and so gave it a shot. After being taken in by the album I revisited her earlier work and found a new appreciation for it.
This particular album is probably the best concept album I’ve discovered in a very long time – telling the story of a woman whose fiancé dies on their wedding day. The stand-out track for me is ‘Sunday Love’.
2nd – California, Blink-182
I like Blink a lot – enough for even a mediocre album by them (which is what I’d class this as; their weakest since Dude Ranch) to be on pretty much any of my albums of the year list. Tom DeLonge’s absence isn’t really my issue with it either – his replacement does a decent enough job.
The real problem is it’s just full of filler; the first 7 tracks are ‘eh, ok’ at best. You have to grind all the way to the 8th track to get a decent song – why?? I’d honestly be curious to listen to the songs they scrapped, I have a feeling they’re actually better.
Favourite song is a tough call. I’ve gone with ‘Home Is Such a Lonely Place’, but ‘San Diego’ and ‘California’ are just as good I think.
1st – Strange Little Birds, Garbage
A good but not amazing album from Garbage – their first since 2012’s Not Your Kind of People, which imo was a better album. One particularly superb song, ‘Even Though Our Love is Doomed’ (linked below), and several good songs is enough this year for it to top my list of favourite new albums though.
So those are my picks, feel free to share yours below, and like I said at the start please try to link to your favourite song from each album you list so that others can get a taste for it as well.