So, I thought I’d do something I TRY to do most years—my “Best of” lists here on Tumblr. But, I’m calling this more my Favorites, rather than BEST. Because that’s what this really is. Just the stuff I’ve enjoyed the most throughout the year. Some years I can’t quite muster the effort, whether from poor choices or being overwhelmed by choices or being lazy. But this year I’m going to TRY. 🙂 This will be a Top 10. But I found out you can only embed 5 videos at a time in Tumblr so I have to split it up.
1. Metric – Pagans in Vegas
It’s hard for any other band or performer to make number 1 in a year that Metric release a new album. But they haven’t let me down yet. Pagans is such a complete and alive album. It seems like maybe it’s not every Metric fan’s cup of tea, but I think it’s a great sound, combining more electronics with their usual sound and even (especially on the final track) experimenting more with the techniques they used in their fascinating Reflections EP. Beyond just the sound, the lyrics and Emily Haine’s voice are as laser-focused as ever. My favorite track is Fortunes. The best news? They are coming out with ANOTHER album with a totally different feel next year!
2. Rhodes – Wishes
Rhodes became a quick favorite of mine from a series of EP releases that seemed to just build upon the last with beautiful, lyrical songs that were also really catchy. The album is kind of HUGE. Tons of tracks. But there’s not a bad one in the bunch. I can listen to it from beginning to end.
3. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Florence Welch grabbed me by the ears from the first song I heard of hers. I’m happy to say she hasn’t let go of them yet. This album was a bit of a grower for me, to be honest. It took me just a little time to get into it, and I will say I’m not sure it reaches the heights of Ceremonials quite so consistently. But it’s still a fantastic album from the glorious soaring vocals of tracks like What Kind of Man to the quieter moments like St. Jude, I’m still under F+TM’s spell. For my highlight track, I’ve picked Third Eye, which I can’t stop listening to.
4. Enya – Dark Sky Island
Enya is Enya. And Enya remains Enya with all her Enya-ness on every album. I’ve seen some people get frustrated with this on Dark Sky Island. I can understand it, but at the same time it’s so expected by me at this point, I don’t mind that she hasn’t really evolved her sound in decades. But that’s because I really love what she does. Listening to the album on vinyl I really appreciated the depth of the arrangements even more. The truth is, it’s a lovely, soothing record, and that’s a beautiful thing to have in the record collection mix.
5. Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color
Alabama Shakes built upon an impressive debut and made this record which I think is, frankly, an instant classic. Their soulful roots-rock sound combined with Brittany Howard’s unmistakable voice is such a hard-hitting combination. Though their sound feels like a throwback to classic rock bands in some ways, there’s something incredibly immediate about the music. It feels so alive and in the moment that it’s nothing approaching retro. I had a hard time between deciding between the title track or Future People, as both fight for title of my favorite tracks. But I went for Future People in the end.