Songs of 2016

2016 was another great year of music, but unlike the last two years, there wasn’t a single album that I found compelling. A number of albums were on my iPhone for months at a time, but nothing really stood out. Nevertheless, I had a long list of albums to review, and those that were the most memorable made it onto my list.

As I review the long list of favorite albums and songs that I’ve compiled over the course of the year, there’s often a theme that emerges. This year more than a few had an Eighties influence, so those of you who grew up in that timeframe may find some of these unfamiliar bands appealing. As always, I hope you find something you like.

1. Take Me To The Alley, by Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter’s voice could warm your house and mine through May 2017. His singing is as effortless as any of the greats (think Frank Sinatra). Everyone should know about Porter.

2. Love Affair, by Copeland

A beautiful song that hits all the right spots.

3. Divide, by The Amazing

The first song with echoes from the 80s. You might hear something akin to the Thompson Twins here in the layered synths from this Swedish bands.

4. Not Allowed, by Gazebos

Over the last few years I’ve come to enjoy artists and bands that have a unique, unmistakable sound. This affinity for the unusual compelled me to choose a song from Deleted Scenes in 2014, and Seattle band Gazebos is the standout for me this year.

5. Sunday Mornin' Comin’ Down, by Buddy Miller and Kris Kristofferson

In fairness, this isn’t a new song. Kris Kristofferson wrote it back in 1969, and it became a number one hit for Johnny Cash. Buddy Miller’s interpretation is as raw and sincere.

6. We The People, by A Tribe Called Quest

I’m a middle-aged white man, so I can’t really identify with the plight of black men in our country, but this year’s album from A Tribe Called Quest feels like an important expression of the black experience in 2016.

7. If You Want Me To, by The Grascals

The Grascals are a favorite bluegrass band, and this song among the best on the band’s 2016 album, and the most sentimental.

8. Blues of Desperation, by Joe Bonamassa

There’s nothing pretentious about Joe Bonamassa’s music. It’s just hard rocking blues. Blues of Desperation is more than six minutes of Joe’s best work.

9. Young & Unafraid, by The Moth & the Flame

From the opening riff through the entire song, this is as catchy as indie music gets. If you like Muse, The Moth & the Flame may find their way into your playlists.

10. As I Walk Away, by Yuck

Yuck is a favorite shoe gazing band, so I can’t help but include this track from their 2016 release among my favorites.

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