As 2016 is drawing to a close, it is time to look back on the best albums released this year. In the age of electronic and pop music dominating the charts, 2016 was a solid year for rock music, too. Here are my picks for the five best rock albums of the year. Here’s hoping 2017 brings more good music and vibes!
Before he went out for good, Ziggy Stardust wanted to leave us with one last album. Released on his 69th birthday, the album is classic David Bowie. It surprises listeners at every turn, likely because of its inspiration drawn from contemporary music. Perhaps the most chilling record is the space-jazz ballad “Lazarus,” where Bowie portrays a dead man and comes back to life in the video. Ironic does not begin to describe the fact that Bowie actually passed two days after the album’s release…
2) Rolling Stones-Blue and Lonesome
Twenty-five albums and 50 years later, the Rolling Stones are still going hard. In their first record in over a decade, the Stones decide to explore their Blues roots, covering artists from the likes of Buddy Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter. Most noteworthy on this album are Keith Richards’ long, chill guitar jams such as those in “All of Your Love”. It’s nice that the Stones are paying tribute to their blues influences, especially in an age when that type of music is often overlooked by fans.
3) Red Hot Chili Peppers-The Getaway
The Chili Peppers are back with their first album in five years! While not vintage RHCP, the band takes on more of an improvisational jam sound, and California is given tons of shout outs, as always. New lead guitar player, Josh Klinghoffe, is just finding his place in the band, but is featured on almost every single track. Lead single “Dark Necessities” features an awesome bass solo by the one and only Flea.
4) Green Day-Revolution Radio
Green Day picked the perfect year to make their comeback! 2016 has been a year full of chaos, surprise, and political and social unrest. Similar how to Green Day touched upon these themes twelve years ago with American Idiot, their latest album can be considered somewhat of a sequel. Beyond these themes, the music just rocks. “Bang Bang” takes us back to early 90’s Green Day. “Still Breathing” and “Outlaws” tell stories through lyrics, differing tempos, and volumes. Finally, “Ordinary World” is a beautiful acoustic guitar ballad that can’t help but remind you of “Good Riddance”.
5) Radiohead-A Moon Shaped Pool
After a five year break, Radiohead is back with one of their most intriguing albums yet. The extensive use of strings, bass, and other irregular effects, like those on lead track “Burn the Witch,” makes their sound progressive, mysterious, and unique. Very few of the songs follow a regular rock structure. Listening to this album from front to back will give you a completely new perspective on music.
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