Happy New Year! What were the best albums of last year? Well, these topped the list for me.
The somewhat startling cover is a warning for a powerful, teeth-baring electro record that somehow catches all the chaos this year displayed. There was a lot of early buzz about this record upon its release, and for good reason. It’s a stunning piece of synthwave, dark wave, and psychedelic fever dreams.
This psychedelic blues-rock was pretty much a lock for my favorite rock record of the year as soon as I heard it. ATW brew up haunting tracks that range in subjects from being stuck in purgatory to internet addiction (which are pretty much the same thing).
Their reunion was possibly the most anticipated of the year, and they proved they hadn’t lost a thing on this great record. Front man James Murphy‘s lyrics are as searing as ever as he confronts aging, love, social media, partying, and Millennials. One of the singles, “Tonite” (one of my favorites of the year) is a great example. It’s a song about songs, but it’s also about the fears and joys of aging.
#2 – WALL – Untitled
This is a bittersweet choice because one of the best post-punk records, and best records in any genre, of the year is by a band who broke up before it was released or even named. WALL‘s only full-length record is shrouded in mysterious lyrics about the current political landscape and the band itself. It’s also full of sharp guitar hooks and sass that is sorely missed. Consider yourself blessed if you caught one of their too few live shows.
I read a review of this album that described it as “a breath of fresh air.” I’m not sure I can beat that description because this stunning debut is the most beautiful record I heard all year. Ms. Owens’ synth soundscapes immediately seem to lighten gravity around you. It’s a tonic for the toxic atmosphere we’re living in right now (both in the real world and in the one that blitzes us from cyberspace every day). If 2017 got you down, listen to this album today and you will have a much better outlook on the year to come.
Keep your mind open.
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