Mr. Paul’s Top 5 Albums of 2016
Car Seat Headrest — Teens of Denial. Car Seat Headrest is an indie band fronted by 24 year old Will Toledo. Already a prolific musician (they’ve released 10 albums in 6 years), the band has finally released their “debut” album. After releasing all lo-fi albums until now, Teens of Denial, is the first professionally recorded album the band has released which features all new music on it. The songs all have a rock feel to them, and include a cover of The Cars’ classic song “Just What You Needed.” The lyrics also shine especially on songs like “Destroyed By Hippie Powers” which feature an insecure and anxious Toledo singing about being paranoid at a house party.
Top Song — “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”
Carly Rae Jepsen — E•MO•TION: Side B. Carly Rae Jepsen may be known for her 2012 song “Call Me Maybe” (a certified bop), but following her hit single she has really found her own lane in pop music. This release, an EP featuring tracks left on the cutting floor from her perfect album E•MO•TION with more bubblegum synth-pop songs. Sitting at 8 songs, the EP is short and extra sweet, sometimes the songs are so poppy it makes you feel like you might get cavities listening to them.
Top Song — “First Time”
Blood Orange — Freetown Sound. Devonte Hynes, a London native who now calls New York City home, released his third album as Blood Orange this year. Following his immaculate 2013 release Cupid Deluxe, his new album Freetown Sound follows a similar theme: a mix between alternative R&B & pop. The lyrics feature narratives from typically underrepresented groups. A highlight of the album includes a powerful spoken word poem from Ashlee Haze on the opening track, “By Ourselves.” The album effortlessly moves through a variety of musical genres, with several guest performances on the 17 song album, while also having a consistent and well-crafted feeling to it.
Top Song — “Best To You”
21 Savage & Metro Boomin — Savage Mode. Rapper 21 Savage and producer Metro Boomin, both products of the New Atlanta music scene, team up for this 9 track release. The production perfectly fits the vocals, with the backgrounds forming a relatively spacey and minimalistic environment which allow 21 Savage’s laid back delivery to shine.
Top Song — “X (feat. Future)”
Kanye West — The Life of Pablo. Boy oh boy what a beautiful mess of an album. Sometimes it seems like the album may not even be finished yet (the last song on the album, Saint Pablo, wasn’t added until four months after the album’s initial release). Sitting at 20 tracks the album might be slightly too long, but the highs of the album overcome the monumental length of it (over an hour long). Kanye plays the concertmaster of the album, orchestrating a workshop of producers, writers, and featured artists on his songs. It is hard to deny the musical mastery of Kanye, especially on The Life of Pablo, even if his public personality is so disliked.
Top Song — “Fade (feat. Post Malone)”
Honorable Mentions: Young Thug — Jeffery, Solange — Seat at the Table, Ariana Grande — Dangerous Woman, Tribe Called Quest — Thank you 4 Your Service, Joyce Manor — Cody