By Michael Obrecki
2016 was a very interesting year. It was filled with some ups and a lot of downs. Regardless there were many amazing albums released this year. Now, of course, I couldn’t listen to every single album released in 2016 but I tried to listen to everything I could. The list below is in no order except for…..
Jeff Rosenstock – WORRY. (Album Of The Year)
In the trailer for Never Get Tired: The Bomb the Music Industry! Story a fan says “I didn’t see Black Flag in 1980…but I got to see Bomb The Music Industry.” I think that perfectly sums up what BTMI! and Jeff Rosenstock mean to punk in 2016. WORRY. is very much an album about growing up and change. In the opening track “We Begged 2 Explode” Rosenstock sings “Laura said to me, “This decade’s gonna be fucked. Friends will disappear after they fall in love and get married. Isn’t that shit like crazy?” WORRY. doesn’t let up at all but just continues to hit your emotions song after song whether it’s in “I Did Something Weird Last Night” where Rosenstock sings “Fuck. Oh, I did something weird last night. I made out in the van with a girl I like. We were kinda drunk, but it seemed alright, so we made out for the entire ride” or in “The Fuzz Song” where Rosenstock sings “I can’t stand feeling violent but it’s hard not to sometimes when the innocent get slaughtered and the guilty get a fine…All I want to do is hold you, but I’m afraid I’ll squeeze too tight”.
Jeff Rosenstock is the most important artist in punk in 2016. His set of ethics has inspired countless people to start a blog, pick up an instrument or maybe most importantly just be themselves.
Recommended tracks: The Fuzz, We Begged 2 Explode, Rainbow
Joyce Manor – Cody
In an interview with CLRVYNT frontman, Barry Johnson said he was somewhat surprised there wasn’t more of a backlash from fans regarding the more poppy sound of Never Hungover Again. As far as the more poppy sounding Cody Johnson said “as I continued to write songs, they just kept getting poppier and poppier. I thought that might turn the people off who wanted something angrier, harsher or [more] dissonant…So, yeah, I thought Cody might be too mid-tempo or grown-up-sounding, but it hasn’t. I’m thankful people aren’t turned off by it, but I was definitely prepared for that.”
Joyce Manor is one of my favorite bands and I was counting down the days until Cody was released. When release day finally arrived I put in my headphones and listened to the record from start to finish. It was everything I was hoping for and more. Joyce Manor has a nag for writing short anthem-like songs. When listening to Cody you can’t help singing along and nodding your head.
Recommended Tracks: Fake I.D, Angel In The Snow, This Song Is A Mess And So Am I
Pup – The Dream Is Over
When Pup’s self-titled album was released in 2014 I didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else around me did. It was a record I listened to a few times but never came back to it. Pup’s second album The Dream Is Over was a different story. This record grabs your attention and never lets it go. The Dream Is Over is punk rock at it’s finest fast, loud and catchy. My favorite track on the album is “My Life Is Over And I Couldn’t Be Happier” which as frontman Stefan Babcock tell’s us in a track by track is a song about getting caught masturbating.
Recommended Tracks: My Life Is Over And I Couldn’t Be Happier, Sleep In The Heat, Familiar Patterns
NOFX – First Ditch Effort
The best way to listen to this record is to have the accompanying commentary by Fat Mike. Fat Mike’s commentary truly makes listening to First Ditch Effort more enjoyable. From songs about Fat Mike’s father, getting sober, The late great Tony Sly and so much more. It’s NOFX and that their best.
Recommended Tracks: I’m So Sorry Tony, Oxy Moronic, Generation Z
Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart
I listened to this album just a few days ago. I came across it while reading someone’s end of the year list. Martha is like a mix between Chumped and Mixtapes. Both bands who I love and miss. I mean how can you not love an album with a song about falling in love in a supermarket. Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart sounds like the first the day of spring. It’s an upbeat, fun and catchy album. One of the best pop punk album of the year without question.
Recommended Tracks: Precarious (Supermarket Song), Goldman’s Detective Agency, Curly & Raquel
As far as non-punk albums Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper and Stereo Hype by VHS Collection were both very fun to listen to. Some other songs in 2016 I enjoyed were both the singles released from The Mezningers upcoming album. I know it’s still 2016 but After The Party is already my pick for one of the best albums in 2017. Ben Phipps’ song “I Don’t Think So” is an emotional pop song done right. I was also very happy to see the Crucial Dudes return.
That’s it! Enjoy the rest of the year and enjoy the holidays!