2016 Countdown (10-1)

10. Post Pop Depression – Iggy Pop
Post Pop Depression may mark the end of Iggy Pop’s roughly 50-year career. For a last album, it is a fitting farewell to both his long career and his late friend David Bowie. This album with the help of producer Josh Homme, from Queens of the Stone Age, captures the early rock collaborations with Bowie. As a pensive album, Iggy touches on his own musical mortality in the songs “American Valhalla” and “In the Lobby.” However, Iggy Pop balances the darkness with the love song of “Gardenia” and “Sunday.” “Sunday” probably will be a favorite for long-time fans as it channels the highlight of his career: his collaborations with David Bowie. This song includes smooth guitar throughout, a constant hard-hitting drums, and is reminiscent of the true bad boys of the 70’s. Hopefully, Post Pop Depression is not the end of Iggy Pop’s career as we will be missing one founding father of punk and one that can make timeless music no matter what age. (Written by Julia Antonson)

9. Lola – Carrie Rodriguez
This country sparked with Latin folk influence of an album carries a soft and heartfelt sound that is lightly guided by the fiddler’s smooth and sensual violin; substantial with feeling and lyrical depth. The best of two cultural worlds is crossed, resulting in a spanglish creation that is heightened by Rodriguez’s slick vocals; vocals that indeed, Lola Beltran herself would be proud of. Rodriguez makes the moon cry with tracks like “Noche de Ronda” and gets us in our soft feels with “Caricias” making Tex-Mex capable of being successfully pleasing and malleable with folk, all while being touched by oldie Ranchera influence. (Written by Kayla Martinez)

8. A Seat at the Table – Solange
This year it seemed like all eyes were on Beyoncè at once, but little sister Solange came in to swoop the spotlight away with her groundbreaking album A Seat at the Table. Knowles states how this album is about a transitory moment in her life, and the album reflects just that: emotions, struggle, and gratitude. The album has songs that serve for a commentary on black struggles in U.S. culture, like “Rise” and “Don’t Touch My Hair,” as well as many personal tones like “Cranes in the Sky.” Regardless, this funk, psychedelic, and contemporary hip-hop album is a breath of fresh air for many listeners this year. (Written by Emma Kelley)

7. A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead
Thom Yorke confesses “I’m not living/I’m just killing time,” reassuring fans that their trademark cynicism is still very much a part of their music. Radiohead’s ninth studio album, A Moon Shaped Pool, offers longtime fans all the lovable undertones of Kid A alongside a much more personal perspective on certain matters. It’s done with such ease that they layer textures upon textures of different sounds like string and piano accompaniment with some echoing obscure noises that works seamless together create this wonderful masterpiece. From the first moment, the album opens with the relentless “Burn the Witch” to its much soft-spoken “Glass Eyes”, it is as if you are transfixed into the world of Yorke which reminds us that Radiohead is in it for the long run. (Written by Brenda Herrera)

6. Black Star – David Bowie
David Bowies final gift before departing this world was the album Blackstar. In only 41 minutes, through 7 songs, Bowie left us yet another unique and bold statement. His legacy as musician that truly puts himself into a music lives on. This album is Bowie’s classic rock style with a twist of jazz. The inserts of saxophone throughout the songs bring a new sound to the album. The intermittent dissonance created with the animated saxophone give the upbeat songs some contrast. He is high energy as ever and his voice rings in each song. Blackstar will be go down in history not only for being the legend’s last album, but also for the talent that went into it. (Written by Andie García Sheridan)

5. Next Thing – Frankie Cosmos
Greta Kline’s project still has the familiar soft alternative rock sound, full of melodic basslines and jangly guitar strums. This time around the lyrics are a lot more confrontational and in your face, catching some of the painful parts of loneliness. You can tell there is a personal pain when she sings about the embarrassment of being stood up on “Fool”. There is something comforting in her romanticization of what would usually be considered the ugly parts of loneliness. (Written by Mateo Muro)

4. Best Buds – Mom Jeans.
This album had everything a college album needs, including ironically dorky titles like “Edward 40hands” and “Vape Nation”. The band name itself is goofy enough to catch most people’s attention, but what caught me was their sampling of dialogue from adult cartoon Bob’s Burgers. Getting past the weird jokes, you find beautiful music that reminds you how honestly emo music can describe a breakup. Singer/guitarist sounds so defeated, almost every line sounds devastating until you feel the weight of his misery. “Scott Pilgrim V My GPA” may be the most victorious sounding, even though it just celebrates finally being able to sleep alone at night. (Written by Mateo Muro)

3. Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper
Chance has been Chicago’s favorite rapper for a while now, but he finally gained national attention with Coloring Book, and that attention is well-deserved. The attention to detail is important, emphasizing each song’s message, like when he adopts a mumbling style on “Mixtape,” a song meant to showcase how important free music is. The reason the album is great is because of Chance’s unique sound, combining gospel with hip-hop, leading to tracks that are hard not to smile to. (Written by Mateo Muro)

2. Human Ceremony – Sunflower Bean
Indie pop and rock band captivated listeners this year with the trio’s first full-length album, Human Ceremony. The guitar makes for a signature sound throughout the album and the three create a garage-band like atmosphere that makes any fan imagine themselves as teenagers again. Sunflower Bean certainly taps into this overall feeling and anyone won’t be able to get these tunes out of their head. (Written by Emma Kelley)

1. Teens of Denial – Carseat Headrest
Teens of Denial has everything a great indie-rock album should have. It’s good rock and roll full of cool riffs and a rockin’ rhythm section. The production helps them sound bigger without sacrificing the tight sound the band naturally has. Singer Will Toledo sings about failing himself mostly, but the whole time he’s almost laughing at himself, blurring the line between sad music and happy music without sounding fake for a second. (Written by Mateo Muro)

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