Over the last several weeks, I’ve compiled submissions for the best records of 2016 from seventeen different participants in the Gawrker Music Pole.
The results were varied and strange. There were several records I’ve never heard of submitted, which is good!
Only a single point separated each of the top four records! Oh wow!
86 records received votes.
Here’s the list—it’s probably worth checking these records out—according to a majority of 17 people with very varied tastes, these are good records!
25. M83 - Junk
This record received generally mixed reviews upon its arrival in Spring. But really what the fuck was Anthony supposed to do? The previous 3 M83 records became more and more cinematic to the point where it seemed like the only left for this poor bastard to do was make something weird and unusual and entirely different. He succeeded, if that’s how you measure success. Not me. I measure success by how many smoking hot, totally bodacious babes are wearing lingerie, walking down a catwalk at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show while my music is pummeling the hundreds in attendance and the millions watching around the world.
24. Chainsmokers - Collage EP
I don’t know what this is. Apparently the Chainsmokers are a DJ duo, sort of like that four man duo who did DJ stuff for P.O.D. Remember P.O.D.? I do.
23. David Bowie - Blackstar
I find this record genuinely moving, though I’ve never been a Bowie guy and don’t know much of his music aside from the twenty-five-or-so hits.
It’s good. People liked this. He’s dead now, you know.
22. Band of Horses - why are you ok
I heard a few of these songs on modern rock radio this year. I’m glad Band of Horses is still doing stuff. When Everything All The Time came out, I was a huge fan and listened to it almost exclusively for several months, and then I sort of lost touch with them for whatever reason. They still seem to be doing the same stuff, though, and that’s probably good. They’re good at that stuff. People like them.
21. Wilco - Schmilco
I like this record. It’s good. I loved Star Wars last year. This is similar. I don’t know. Late period Wilco has been Wilco for over a decade now and that’s fine. They’re consistently good. I’m not going to spend much time writing about the bands that everyone knows, because who needs a primer on Wilco at this point? You? Fuck off, fuckface.
20. Joyce Manor - Cody
Here’s a record most people have probably never heard of! This record was on 4 different lists, if you can believe that!
Joyce Manor are a melodic punk band from California. I saw them live this year. Kids go fucking crazy for this band. They seem to really want to be Jawbreaker, but they don’t really sound like Jawbreaker.
This record is probably destined to be considered their breakout, which is fine and correct, but it’s probably not quite as good as Never Hungover Again from 2014. But, the first track on the record includes lyrics that mock notable dipshit, Kanye West, so that’s good.
19. Solange - A Seat at the Tablet
This record is good and I think fairly well-placed on this list, since the people who sent me their rankings weren’t contrarian assholes who felt like they needed to bump a very good, maybe even great record above 2-3 other much greater records to make a splash at the top of their year-end lists. What I’m saying is, year-end lists are for shitheels.
18. Jimmy Eat World - Integrity Blues
There is no reason why this record should be good. I loved Jimmy Eat World when I was 15-18 and they toured all the time and they made great emo records such as Clarity and Bleed American. Then I just never really got into Futures and assumed they were doing the “we’re still selling records so let’s make more of them even though we’re out of ideas and it almost seems like we’re parodying ourselves”-routine that bands of a similar era (Saves the Day and Death Cab for Cutie come to mind) are still doing. And maybe they were—I don’t know. I’m not gonna fucking listen to Chase This Light. But anyway, this record got some buzz when it came out eight or so weeks ago, and for good reason—it’s legitimately great. It’s like they figured out how to make a spiritual sequel to the second half of Bleed American a mere 15 years later. Congrats, bros.
17. Angel Olsen - My Woman
If you don’t know Angel Olsen, she’s sort of a little bit country and a little bit rock n’ roll hahahahahahahahhashHAIUHSHGhusahiusahashaShiuShEW 9R34YHFRG LKR3IKILL ME/.
16. Jeff Rosenstock - Worry
What a surprise this record was. I’ve never listened to Rosenstock at any point prior to 2016 (though we may have briefly attended the same elemntary school). I had heard of him but never checked him out. This record is great. It’s all over the place in the punk-influenced singer/songwriter field, but it has great choruses and great lyrics and it’s sad but also fun and angry but also happy, like all of the best rock music if you have the sam specific taste I have (and apparently 4 other readers also have).
15. Dinosaur Jr. - Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not
All of the recent Dinosaur Jr. records have been very good. This one is also good.
14. Deftones - Gore
I don’t get this band and I never will, but people seem pumped about this record, so it’s probably good if you like this band.
13. Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
12. Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost
A great but sort of uneven record by an exciting young band. These kids are still only like 23.
11. American Football - American Football
A sequel to an incredibly beloved record that came out 17 years ago. Without comparing the bands sonically—if you don’t know American Football but DO know Neutral Milk Hotel—imagine if a sequel to In The Aeroplane Over The Sea came out in 2017 and sounded 67% like the old band and 33% different. That’s what this is/was and people were equally unfit to process it.
10. PUP - The Dream is Over
This is a Canadian band that fucking owns. The whole record is pretty much perfect. It’s loud rock that is great. Allegedly an amazing live band as well. Listen to this. This was in my personal top-5.
9. Kevin Devine - Instigator
Kevin Devine has been making records for like 20 fucking years now and there’s probably still only 50,000 people who know who he is. That sucks and is lame. Listen to this record. He’s a great songwriter—someone who a lot of people will claim to have been a fan of in like 50 years when he dies.
8. Crying - Beyond The Fleeting Gales
This record people either love or are annoyed by. Guess which one I am.
7. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
See above but the opposite.
6. The Hotelier - Goodness
This was my personal #1. I find new things to love about this every time I listen to it.
5. Beyonce - Lemonade
Seeing Beyonce live on the Lemonade tour was legitimately a top-5 concert I’ve ever been to. She’s unreal live. If you’re sort of not a fan or on the fence or don’t really get it, I implore you to see her live (if you have like $100 you don’t need), because you’ll get it. She’s immensely talented.
Lemonade is a really great record the whole way through.If you haven’t listened to it because it’s behind a dumb paywall, when it is available, give it a listen. You’ll be surprised.
4. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years
I enjoyed this record a lot. It probably has a couple of the band’s best songs, but I’d argue (much like Joyce Manor) that their previous record (LOSE in this case) was a stronger record all the way through.
Either way, this band is also immensely talented and incredible live. Go see them. It’ll only cost you like $10. Just fucking try it, fuckface.
3. Frank Ocean - Blonde
This was my personal #2. I can’t get enough of it. I feel like it’s basically a perfect record, in spite of it being super fucking long, there’s no filler here. You could cut the ironic voicemail or whatever, but who cares. That’s what makes it a hip-hop record. I love the whole thing. Every song. Especially Self Control, Ivy, White Ferrari, and Nikes.
If you still haven’t heard this record and you like music, fucking listen to it.
2. Pinegrove - Cardinal
I loved this record and was shocked it got this high on the pole. Imagine a supergroup that’s like A.M./Summerteeth-era-Wilco mixed with Clarity-era-Jimmy Eat World. That’s basically Pinegrove.
1. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
Bunch of fucking cheapskates read this blog. The cheapest record came in #1. GREAT.
Thanks to all of you who participated. The rest of you can eat a mountain of raw eggs.