five favorite albums of 2016: as told by my friends and me.

Each year, I try to collect a list of my 10–20 favorite albums of the year. For the last two years, I’ve become stuck because 10–20 paragraphs is an absurd amount of writing for something so trivial. Unfortunately (or, fortunately), 2016 has been one of the better years for music in my recent memory. And yet, I still didn’t want to write that much. I challenged myself to narrow it down to five albums, which was much harder than I thought it would be.

One of the best things about music, in my opinion, is the ability to enjoy it with others. In light of this, I’ve asked some of my favorite people to write about their favorite albums of 2016 as well.

And so — without further ado:


Beyond Control — King’s Kaleidoscope

This happens to be the only worship album that made my list this year. Beyond Control is interesting, however, because it doesn’t play like a corporate worship album. I’ve been a fan of King’s Kaleidoscope since their Mars Hill worship days, but this album is much different — it’s their first time doing an album of completely original compositions, and it may be the album that I played the most this year. There’s a very soulful sound on this album — due partially to the 10-piece team being stocked with string players, brass players, and two freaking drummers. This is one of those albums that presents large questions of faith and doubt — especially on A Prayer and Sabotage — and answers them with a resounding “Jesus.”

Misadventures-Pierce The Veil

I’m not sure if it’s due mostly to getting older, or if it’s mostly correlated with the crowd I hang out with nowadays, but I’ve listened to way less hardcore music this year than I have in years past. This album stood out to me because I wasn’t expecting it to be this good. The genre that these guys live in has disappointed me quite a bit over the years as bands change their sound into something that none of us really asked for. This album defied that trend, and ended up being probably the best album Pierce The Veil has ever written. They managed to successfully take on a more pop-filled sound without sacrificing the incredible musicianship they’ve shown over their first three albums. I also really appreciate opening tracks that are the longest tracks on the album.

Let Me Be Clear (EP) — Gang Of Youths

I wish more people outside of Australia knew about these guys. Gang Of Youths is probably one of the most emotive bands I’ve listened to in the last couple of years, and this EP continues to build on that. The words are deeply personal — sometimes uncomfortably so. Add an incredible sonic experience on top (with some beautiful string & synth arrangements by one of Hillsong’s main keys players) and you get what I’ve only been able to describe as the most exciting angsty album of 2016.

Coloring Book — Chance The Rapper

I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a hip-hop album in years. Almost every end of the year album list I’ve seen this year online includes this album — and for a good reason. It’s happy. It’s probably the happiest hip-hop album I’ve heard in a long time. Equal parts Gospel and Street, with enough guest features to fill a room. Plus, it was free! Completely free. If you want to have a good time, go listen to How Great like ten times and wonder if you ever imagined a Chris Tomlin song would end up on a mainstream rap album. Spoiler alert: you never imagined it.

i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it- The 1975

Ridiculous title aside (seriously, this is the most ridiculous album title ever), The 1975 blew me away with this album. Combined with one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen, this album was everything I could have hoped a follow-up to their first could be. It’s long, pretentious, and huge, and I loved every moment of it.

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