Hello, and welcome to an experiment. Thousands of primates banging away on thousands of keyboards have provided content for this list as if it were the works of William Shakespeare himself, and I’d like to let everyone know that only one gorilla was harmed in the process of this experiment, and it wasn’t our fault. His name was Harambe, and he died in a cruel firearms accident in Cincinnati after he was bussed back home, a common occurrence here in these post-apocalyptic times. People loved him so much, they pulled their genitals out in celebration when he died. And just like other predictable consequences of the state of things, here comes another worthless product of this plot created by the pounding of the fists of monkeys, the list of my favorite songs and albums of 2016. Because here’s to another goddamn year, so grab a beer, stretch out, whip those dicks and vaginas out of those pants and get ready for the biggest climax you’ll ever experience, the anticlimactic list about music that I heard…
16 SONGS TO LISTEN TO OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN
16. Nine Inch Nails – “Burning Bright (Field On Fire)” from the EP “Not the Actual Events
Squeaking in at the last second possible, its Nine Inch Nails and a welcome return to actual industrial and dare I hint at industrial metal? This is quite good stuff, it’s very very new and a last minute entry into the list, but this is much preferable to the majority of Hesitation Marks material. This song has a slow, sludgy pace and weird, auctioneer like vocal delivery. Most of this new Nine Inch Nails EP follows suit in a very abrupt sound change to a more industrial rock and industrial metal style that sounds more like With Teeth or The Slip than anything else in their discography. This song has Dave Navarro on it too, so congratulations Dave for appearing on something that doesn’t suck for the first time in a long time.
15. The Cell by Gorjira from the album “Magma”
So, apparently disliking the new Gojira album is an unpopular opinion to have, but I just did not feel the same way about Magma as I have about Gojira’s spectacular work in past albums aside from the first couple, it seemed to lack the impact of old stuff. And maybe that’s on me, but the second half of Magma was largely boring in my opinion. “The Cell” finds Gojira playing to their strengths in a quick 3 minutes, which is pretty concise for Gojira whom I usually enjoy when they get to spread their wealth. But this song is probably the heaviest on the whole album and that might also gravitate me toward it. “Silvera” was cool too and I guess it’s funny to see them nominated for a Grammy award for this album, but it was largely a disappointment from one of the best metal bands since the turn of the millenium.
14. Break Into Your Heart by Iggy Pop and Queens of the Stone Age from the album “Post Pop Depression”
Again, we’re going to enter a song in from an album that isn’t making the top 16 albums list, but I have to put the scope of this into the simplest, plainest statement in the English language that I can: Iggy Pop outlived David Bowie and Lou Reed. He was the one to live longest. For fuck’s sake, let’s listen to a tune the man cranked out at 70 fucking years of age and can still go out there on stage shirtless and kill it on. Queens of the Stone Age, and by that, let’s not pretend Josh Homme featuring “X” doesn’t mean Queens of the Stone Age also make a great effort here, with a classic stoner rock riff reminiscent of who else but Queens of the Stone Age-mire. This song was a very nice summation of why Iggy Pop being the singer of Queens of the Stone Age for a song was cool. Hope they can get more Mark Lanegan in the mix with their rumored 2017 work.
13. Houdini by Death Grips from the album “Bottomless Pit”
I actually enjoyed the newest Death Grips, which saw them go further toward a sound more reminiscent of digital hardcore. Digital hardcore is one of my favorite genres of electronic and industrial music, and one very much maligned by people whom I’ve introduced it to. This song is very much not oriented toward that sound of Death Grips, but this song just has such an intense and banging beat that you can’t help but fucking love it. Ride sounds like, well, how the fuck you think Ride should sound. Death Grips should be certified club bangers at this point and I don’t get why they haven’t been embraced, though the whole fake breakup tour thing probably didn’t help matters. I actually made these dudes dinner one time, so I can say they are great people unlike what their image would project, and they put on a fucking great live show that you should see, since they stopped the fake breakup suicide note bullshit years ago and don’t deserve all the shit they still get for it. Their new album is cool and this song will fuck your eardrums like a Q tip on a drill.
12. Inner Assassins by Animals As Leaders from the album “The Madness of Many”
This instrumental song just manages to paint a very sweet landscape, and Animals as Leaders are definitely one of my favorite instrumental acts in this day and age. I know a lot of people would just outright dismiss this sort of stuff as progressive rock masturbation sessions, but this band really does make some awesome sounding instrumental work that I just get into. Especially if I’m stoned and drunk like when I wrote this. This song also covers a lot of different approaches this band takes, while highlighting the technicality of the instrumentation. That was a lot of big words for a phoned in sentence that unfairly simplifies any accommodation I just gave the song.
11. Governed by Contaigions by At the Drive In from an unreleased 2017 album that we know nothing about yet
Well, we haven’t given a charting away to a band making it on because of legacy, author favoritism and barely squeaking in at the last possible second for a while, right? Another December 2016 latecomer to the list, Governed by Contagions is the first At the Drive In song since 2000, with the all time classic Relationship of Command record. Following up that album is a big fucking deal, since it still demolishes any of the records of The Mars Volta, let alone jokes like Sparta and Omar Rodriguez’s hundred plus albums deep solo career. And funny enough, Jim Ward didn’t reunite with At the Drive In on this second reunion tour, leading to his replacement with the other guy from Sparta that wasn’t originally from At the Drive In. Time’s a flat circle. But this song certainly exhibits more excitement and enticing instrumentation than anything I’ve heard out of Antemasque, The Mars Volta in a real long time, or any of the Cedric and Omar Experience #9383 albums I’ve ever heard.
10. Deathbed by Agoraphobic Nosebleed from the album “Arc”
So what happens when a grindcore band that mostly releases songs ranging from under a minute to under 2 minutes releases an album of 3 doom metal songs that’s a half an hour long? Find out when you listen to this. Agoraphobic Nosebleed has been gone for quite some time, and this album was the work of new vocalist Kat Katz… yes, that’s her name I suppose. Kat Katz. Well Kat Katz is going to scream at you like a raging bitch I suppose because she fucking kills it on this song and record. This very odd turn into a sludgy, droney doom metal sound that I can’t figure out which of those it would fit into is a welcome turn from this band, Kat Katz is far better than her name would suggest as a vocalist, and this just legitimately kicks ass. There’s even a badass Black Sabbath style stoner metal riff in there. Electric Wizard didn’t put out an album in 2016, that’ll do, uh… Agoraphobic Nosebleed?! Nice end sample of a creepy guy who probably killed himself after the recording.
9. Memory Of by De La Soul featuring Estelle and Pete Rock, from the album “And the Anonymous Nobody”
It’s a great thing to have De La Soul back, they were one of the late 80’s and early 90’s best hip hop groups and deserved their sudden resurgence in 2016. I would also suggest watching this actual music video I linked since it’s actually pretty great. A song that starts with a minute plus of R&B hook, what the fuck is that doing in my list? Well listen to it motherfucker, it’s awesome. Great verses from the goofy looking old dudes in the video; by that I mean some absolutely great throwbacks to when these dudes were three feet high and rising over 99% of rap that wasn’t N.W.A. or Public Enemy back in 1989 before I was born or even knew what rap music was. I think this their best shit in decades, awesome stuff, more people need to know they were more than “Feel Good Inc.”.
8. Hearts/Wires by Deftones from the album “Gore”
Gore was certainly a divisive album in the Deftones catalog once again, an album that will go down with the self titled and Saturday Night Wrist as one accepted with very polarizing reception. But there were some great songs in there. My top picks would be “LMIRL” and “Phantom Bride” along with this, the great “Hearts/Wires” which goes down as a brutalizing and crushing Deftones classic with all the depressing bombast and walls of melancholy riffs. I was at a a local bar called Winking Lizard recently and this song actually came on the sound system (along with songs by William DuVall era Alice in Chains and recent era Clutch, so not exactly unexpected) and was pleasantly surprised as I chugged down beer and chicken wings, as it’s not exactly the sort of song that usually gets play time in there. Anyway, this song really has some awesome atmosphere to the guitars, especially in the intro on the actual song which isn’t in that live version I linked up there.
7. Black Honey by Thrice from the album “To Be Everywhere is to Be Nowhere”
Well while were on the subject of heavier sounding alternative rock bands, Thrice had really carried on in that style well quietly and outside of the mainstream’s attention for a very long time. While their new album isn’t their greatest, it was a solid entry after a 5 year hiatus. When they announced a reunion album, I had barely even remembered that they were broken up, but this was the first main single from the album and for my money this should have been like the #1 mainstream hard rock hit song of the year along with that new Ghost single. Thrice has not exactly been the post-hardcorish scream-y band of The Artist in the Ambulance in a long time, but upon hearing this new album I checked out their album Major/Minor that flew under my radar too and found it to be much more in a, well, conventional heavy rock way? Which I actually enjoyed, and again Thrice is a band with a wide range of sounds which morphed throughout the years, which is a lot more positive than you can say about a lot of bands of their time. This album has some other really good songs in it with “Hurricane”, “Death from Above”, “Blood on the Sand” and “Whistleblower” kind of bring an older Thrice vibe too, but “Black Honey” is that song, and it’s insanely catchy in a miserable and “we’re all so fucked right now” way. It’s great to have them back, they struck the reunion mania iron while it was hot.
6. Clockworks by Meshuggah from the album “The Violent Sleep of Reason”
A big old fucking 75 car pile up of violent yet complicated work that’s guaranteed to fend off sleep. Meshuggah is back and well, they’re still Meshuggah, so if you like them you’ll really, really like their new album and if you don’t, you’re just a tasteless softy who won’t ever get it. This sort of song is really just a great fucking time to me, its unabashedly proggy and heavy and it doesn’t bother to let up or change anything significantly for 7 minutes, and unlike Metallica, Meshuggah can justify both repetition and constant near or over 7 minute songs on their new album. Long live Meshuggah.
5. Nobody Speak by DJ Shadow and Run the Jewels from the album “The Mountain Will Fall”
You know, as I speak, I have 12 minutes left in my download of Run The Jewels’ third album, which was surprise released at 12 o’clock midnight on Christmas, and I could easily just throw this whole fucking list out the window and reorder things in another 5 days like always, but you forget that I had hired a gang of primates to bang keyboards for 8 consecutive hours a day. So unless they didn’t alert me to this release, then they didn’t know about it. I’ll save it for 2017’s list I guess. Anyway, a collaboration from DJ Shadow and Run the Jewels is like fucking click bait, a very much sort of thing that I will fanboy the fuckboy over. And as usual, the album it came from is yet another entry into the post-Endtroducing DJ Shadow catalog of underwhelming and largely boring albums that all go on for too long. But this song is a fucking business as usual banger from Run the Jewels with the added bonus of DJ Shadow pretty much. It might even be on Run the Jewels 3 for all I know too, I haven’t had the chance to hear it yet. You also have to love a rap song that just has blatant lyricism like this one, it starts out with putting bags of dicks to your lips, the best one has to be “flame you faster than Trump fucks his youngest” for sure, the chorus, they’re being very over the top vulgar and hard in this song but it’s fucking awesome.
4. Stormbending by the Devin Townsend Project from the album “Transcendence”
Now Devin Townsend, always the prolific one that there is, was quiet for Devin Townsend in the last year and didn’t put anything new out, until recently with Transcendence. The thing about Transcendence is I finally got to see Devin live the same week that the album was released. And I also think Transcendence is Devin’s best album since Deconstruction or Addiction, this was much, much preferable to Ziltoid 2 or Sky Blue or Epicloud or other recent Devin Townsend Projects projects. Anyway, here’s a song that had a music video for it from the album, there was a lot of good stuff to choose from on the whole album.
3. The Space Program by A Tribe Called Quest from the album “We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service”
There isn’t a video to link. I wish I was joking but the DMCA has wiped this album off Youtube right now. That is the first time I’ve ever seen that happen.
Well, uh, all that really does is cut to the chase when in 6 months half of this list is a Youtube graveyard of inactive videos. But anyway, my pick for the third best of the year is the introductory track off of a surprisingly released final album from hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest. Now while I wasn’t expecting a whole lot other than demos and half finished Phife verses left over from when he died, the album really did exceed what I expected a lot. It’s definitely more interesting than The Love Movement at least, and I’m still somewhat surprised at its actual existence, for all the bands and artists out there pulling the “sudden release even if it’s at 3 A.M. on Christmas day (I’m looking at you, EL P and Killer Mike)” card, A Tribe Called Quest still feels like the most unexpected one. A Tribe Called Quest, whom you must refer to as A Tribe Called Quest like A Pimp Named Slickback, really did lose one of the unsung legends in Phife Dawg earlier this year, how is Q Tip gonna know who’s on point now?
2. The Numbers by Radiohead from the album “A Moon Shaped Pool”
As if nobody saw this coming, here’s your token Radiohead song from a new album which also pulled the “oh hey it’s Friday and this comes out Sunday at 7:00 PM in the UK time zone” or whatever, as if Radiohead weren’t going to make a lofty position on my end of the year rankings. It’s not payola, or favoritism, or simply being new Radiohead material that makes it up this high on the chart, it’s also being goddamned good Radiohead material that makes it this high up the chart. I know the chant of the people in the streets is “King of Limbs = good” and various poor attempts at spelling that slogan, but really, A Moon Shaped Pool is full of the sort of Radiohead that really shows their strengths. I for one think the increased use of string and orchestral sections is a great thing that adds to this album, something “The Numbers” in particular really pulls off. And once again, the DMCA has taken all the studio versions off Youtube so what I’m linking to above doesn’t even have that part. “The Numbers” sort of reminds me of Pink Floyd in a way, by mixing up the slow, depressing acoustic number with use of orchestral instrumentation and especially the string sections. They sound kinda grandiose, I sound like a music reviewer snob jackass when I talk about Radiohead as my 2011 King of the Hill, I mean Limbs review article will fully attest to, I like this band still and they still have a very strong Great:Shit ratio in 2016 with their new music.
1. Thank God for Girls by Weezer from the album “Weezer (The White Album)”
It’s another installment of lame troll #1 song… Unfortunately, last year we ran into an incident where our old list writer was fired for making a joke with the N word in it while writing the Jared Fogle Award for Song Most Likely to Offer an Underage Teenage Girl Sexual Intercourse in Exchange for a Shitty Sub-par Sandwich Award and I guess our staff of hired-on monkeys banging away at keyboards didn’t know that information, so without further delay here is our pick for best song of 2016…
1. Lazarus by David Bowie from the album “Blackstar”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more fitting eulogy made for themselves. And the music video for this song is just killer, you need to watch that but I’m linking the studio version since it’s a much longer version. This song is the death of David Bowie, in song form. It’s haunting, it’s miserable, and yet oddly liberating. Oh, and it is very depressing. And the new David Bowie album which came out just 2 days before his death was easily the best David Bowie album since the 1970’s, a true final effort worth the endless praise and hype it received. It found David Bowie going back to experimental rock, with jazz musicians accompanying, to make for a very post-rock styled sound. Brilliant stuff, powerful stuff. This song just sounds so fucking significant. Whatever that’s supposed to mean. Just listen to it, this is utterly confounding and moving music that really makes you feel at the end. And that’s the end of this list for songs. But oh wait, there’s a new contender in a new format on the block…
THE GORGUTS AWARD FOR BEST ALBUM LENGTH SONG THAT MIGHT BE AN ALBUM OR EP
And I am practically handing this award to Gorguts, the eponymous band which released this 33 minute long monstrosity on the world this year. “Pleiades’ Dust” is a work of fucking art, and in such a bizarre format that I don’t know whether to rate this as an album, a song, a single, an EP? Whatever the fuck you want to call it, I would call it fucking beautifully crafted and worth every goddamn second. A total Gorguts monument from another band very deep into their careers with the gift that keeps on giving. So the Gorguts Award for Best Album Length Song Which Might Be an Album or EP goes to Gorguts, for “Pleiades’ Dust”, 33 ruthless minutes of avant garde death metal (which is apparently the name for this sort of metal) which must go mentioning in any list of the best music of 2016.
THE HILLARY CLINTON AWARD FOR “WE WERE GOING TO MAKE A DONALD TRUMP SEXUALLY ASSAULTING YOU WOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS SONG” JOKE AWARD BUT INSTEAD HE WON SO WE JUST PHONED THIS AWARD IN HARDER THAN YOUR EMAIL INBOX DID…OR SOMETHING
Well it’s 2016, the year of the sick joke, so we gave up on trying to offend people with this segment of the review. This section of the award show is sponsored by: Donald Trump brand cheap Italian leather skin care solution, Russia; Hail Vlad Putin, and the Gay Nigger Association of America, an actual thing you can type into google and look up yourselves because I’m not linking to it but I assure you it exists. A lot of music sucked as much as reality did, but that’s just how things go. I’m not going to pick out some random horrible pop hit and rant about it, and to be honest the new Weezer album wound up with having better songs than “Thank God for Girls”, and by that I mean every other song on it should have been the first single. What the fuck. I could say pick any song off of the newest Dream Theater album, a totally laughable joke of borderline parody prog metal that even their diehard fans hated and be 100% right with that selection as worst song of the entire year. Donald Trump sticking his tiny, orange, vienna sausage link like fingers into your vagina or anus cavity in a firm grasp would still be preferable to listening to a single song on the newest album from fucking Dream Theater. Same goes for In Flames, or Hellyeah, or whatever other bullshit legacy riding washed up metal band out there are still puking and pissing it out to diminishing returns in 2016. But I did hear one song that I’ll point out for being inexcusably and excessively full of shit, just the way our president elect likes ’em.
So, who remembers Machine Head’s turn toward coattail riding and mainstream wanna-be nu-metal with The Burning Red and Supercharger albums in the late 1990s? I don’t, thank fuck, I constantly praise the ears that I possess for never enjoying the intake of the shitty, generic, watered down sound of Machine Head. Easily one of the worst and most laughable metal bands out there, they had somewhat of a resurgence by making “real metal” since their initial nu-metal era and gained fans back even though this stuff all sucked too. But now in 2016, they are going back to the nu-metal well for a second helping. Nu-metal. This is what you’re actually going for in 2016? Man, just fuck this band. This is fucking horrible garbage and easily worse than getting a fistful of Trump in your pumper or dumper, or having your emails plastered all across the internet which is apparently worse than being sexually assaulted these days. I don’t know, I’m just the monkey they hired to smash away at a keyboard for a long time and listen to horrifying shit like Machine Head’s “Is there Anybody Out There?”, the worst song of 2016.
We forgot we had to pay for these, so there was a delay in getting this next part of the list out, but unlike last year, there WILL be a top albums list. So let’s get into the thick of it…
16 ALBUMS RELEASED IN ’16 THAT YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO REPEATEDLY
18. TIE: Metallica – Hardwired to Self-Destruct vs. Megadeth – Dystopia
3 Dave Mustaines/4 Lars Ulrichs
Nobody fucking told our editor this was supposed to be 16 albums I guess… we already talked about this shit, go read those articles.
17. Meta by Car Bomb
You know, I really hate to start this off by labeling a band as nothing more than a pale imitator of another band that’s going to end up higher in the list, but despite being Meshuggah Jr., Car Bomb offered up a solid chunk of djent-leaning metal with their new album. I recommend giving them a listen if you’re into that sort of shit. But again, this was supposed to only be 16 albums so what the fuck is going on here? Will someone explain why my list is being flooded with excessive content?
16. Gore by Deftones
77 Prayers/99 Triangles
So, here we have the long awaited album from Deftones, and one that went down with a less than enthusiastic reception. You see, the internet seemed to decide that this was bottom shelf Deftones, and many fans claimed it was the worst Deftones album. On the other hand, I would argue that this album is definitely for the fans of the self titled and Saturday Night Wrist era like myself rather than fans of the Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan era. Koi No Yokan was a monster album, something that would have been difficult to follow up regardless if it took 4 years like it did or not, and that album would rank among my favorite Deftones releases as well. Factor in the weird internal debate between Chino and Stephen regarding this album in the lead up to its release, and it was a perfect storm of confusion and disappointment for many. I actually do like the majority of this album, it’s different enough to not be a retread of any specific era of Deftones and also expands their sound, somewhere away from the metal roots that Diamond Eyes hearkened back towards, or the spacey shoegaze of Koi No Yokan. There’s a real nice trilogy of Deftones classics here in “Hearts/Wires”, “(L)MIRL” and “Phantom Bride” with it’s nerving, metal oriented conclusion assisted by Jerry Cantrell. But there were other solid tunes here too: “Acid Hologram” is a nice jam, “Pittura Infamante” does some new things as does “Xenon” in the Deftones catalog, and “Rubicon” was a very good ending. This album is their most reminiscent of where they were at in the mid 2000’s sound wise, before things went south with Chi Cheng and the band’s revitalization effort, and for those of us who got into them during that period, it was an appreciated effort which we’re glad even exists in the first place.
15. The Synarchy of Molten Bones by Deathspell Omega
78 Molten Bones
So whoever your favorite “mysterious” band or act of choice is, probably isn’t as mysterious as this band is. Deathspell Omega refuse to divulge much information about themselves at all, such as who plays what in their band or when they’re going to release new material. Essentially, this band is as anti-social as they come and the punishingly abrasive, unwelcoming vibe of The Synarchy of Molten bones really reflects that. I don’t really listen to this band much, and the only other album of theirs I’ve ever heard was their last one from 2010, Paracletus, which is also some really high quality product. This album is a half hour spread across 4 tracks, which is a different pace than that album’s 10 tracks over 40 minutes, but as the usual case goes for extremely heavy metal music, it’s best to listen to this in sequence and all the way through in order to digest it and really get yourself into it. This isn’t something I’d generally listen to a song of on random while driving the car, this is one to throw on when you’ve got time to concentrate on it. And this was the French weirdo metal record of the year, Gojira really flopped on that front, so I’m practically handing the award for French metal weirdos of the year to Deathspell Omega, whoever you guys are.