Sunday, December 25, 2016

the Top 10 Pop / Electronic Albums of 2016

We have a column called "Report to the Dance Floor" so the more twerked out nature of this list should not come as a huge surprise. There are a couple albums that are somewhat more organic than  others, then at the other end of the spectrum we are throwing hip-hop in with this since it's certainly not organic music. So here's to the guilty pleasures of booty shakin that rocked the iPod in 2016.

10- Jane in Space - "s/t" On this projects debut the vocals are very moody, they remind me of a more low key version of Stabbing Westward. The vocals are the center piece with the beats wobbling and clicking around them, Sometimes they have more effects on them. Sometimes they are more up front than other times. By the second song Night Riots was coming to mind, though this project is much darker. This is much more ebm than industrial. It is a very hazy narcotic dance floor that these songs dance upon.

 8-  Night Riots- "Love Gloom"

Just speaking of these guys ...right from the first song "Nothing Personal" it's obvious we are going a more Gotye pop route with this. There might be a little more gain on the guitars, but don't fool yourself if you want to make this more rock than it is. I love pop music. This might come as a surprise, but after I have been sitting in front of a computer listening to death metal all day that is the last thing I want to hear on my walk to the gym. With that stand their is some excellent song writing at work here and vocal hooks galore.

7- Body of Light- "Let Me Go "

These two brothers from Arizona sound like they are Euro-trash. They look like a couple of kids from the straight edge scene rather than pumping out the up tempo new wave tinged dance found on this album. With the second list the song's groove began to sink in. While there are some of the quirky plastic coated staples from the earlier of new wave that spawned artists like Depeche Mode, these sounds move and flow in a very modern manner. If you listen close enough you can here the retro mood is deeply intertwined with a modern dance feel, leaving the croon of the vocals that steps out further in the mix by the time you get to the third song.

6- Gucci Mane - "Everybody Looking"

So never reviewed this album. This is big dumb fun that I listen to when riding the train into the hood.

5- Dalek-"Asphalt For Eden"

Here is the 7th album by this hip-hop duo, I would call them experimental, but they are doing it right and everyone else is lazy.They come on strong with a dark dense sound, that might be argued to offer a shoe gaze take on hip- hop, but Massive Attack already does that. They continue to get darker on "Guaranteed Struggle". The Mc has skills, but unlike mainstream hip hop where the backing track is often uninteresting the lyrics sit back in the music in a manner that has more in common with punk or metal production that pop music.

4- Bat For Lashes -"the Bride" Natasha Khan's voice is just as impressive as it was on "the Haunted Man". She sticks close to the shadows and continues to pick up where Sinead O'Connor left off in her hey day.
. I'm fine with her becoming more of an ethereal torch singer. I think she might have a edge of Lana Del Ray here because her pipes slightly outclass Ms. Del Ray. Not sure if lyrically she carries the same edge and that might be where Lana edges her out. I can say this album takes less chances than "the Haunted Man". I would say perhaps this is just a phase, but it feels more like a cause of her maturity taking her in a different direction that might not be where I prefer her to go. She has a great voice and this album is pretty damn good, for me it really depends on if I am in the mood for this sort of thing.

3- Aesop Rock - the Impossible Kid"

 This is one of my favorite new school MCs. Right from the first song the new album hits like hip hop should. There is a dark under current to the electronic whirl. His voice is front and center with his dizzying flow schooling the inferior MCs that the masses follow out of ignorance. I was a little worried because his verse on the new Atmosphere felt dialed in, but the first song on this album pretty much blew away Atmosphere's whole album. He slows down a little on "Rings". Then midway into the second song the wheel in my ahead begin to spin and I find myself asking "Is this as good as "None Shall Pass?".There are no awkward dips into r&b or anything with pop aspirations just bad ass verses that can't be stopped. Yes it holds up to his other work.

2- Future-"Evol"

 ... Aesop can rp better than Future there is no question and the duet with the Weeknd "Low Life" got me in the door no question, but it's a fun album with stupid but effective hooks that made me come back to it's trap attitude take on maoinstrean rap that erned so many listens from me.

1- the Weeknd- Star Boy

 The tone of this album is much different and embracing more of a dance vibe with strong ties to house music. With the amount of drugs is supposedly does this is no surprise. The Micheal Jackson influence can be still felt on songs like "Rockin" though musically it is much more like Euro dance

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