Ryan Gibbs’ Top 5 Mid-Year Albums
1. The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
On their second album, The 1975 crafted a perfect love letter to 80s pop. The album has something for every fan of music from the decade: funky synthpop (“Love Me”), brooding new wave (“The Ballad of Me and My Brain”) and some of the best sophisti-pop since the days of Prefab Sprout and Level 42 (“UGH!”, “This Must Be My Dream”). I Like It When You Sleep is an inventive sophomore album that’s always engaging and entertaining and highly listenable
2. David Bowie – Blackstar
Bowie’s final album is also one of his best. It stands as a triumphant swan song from one of rock’s most influential and innovative musicians. At the end of his career, Bowie still stood at the cutting edge of music and turned in an arty jazz rock set that sounds expansive and weighty even though it clocks in at just seven tracks.
3. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
Car Seat Headrest have recorded 13 albums in five years, and their breakthrough Teens of Denial stands as the crowning achievement in the already prolific career of frontman Will Toledo. His sharp, funny lyrics on songs such as “Destroyed by Hippie Powers” and “Vincent” cast Toledo as their heir apparent to Robert Pollard. Considering how much great music Car Seat Headrest has made in such a short time, you can expect them to have a rewarding career if Teens of Denial is any indication.
4. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
25 years into their career and Radiohead is still full of surprises. Much has been made of A Moon Shaped Pool containing several longtime concert favorites, but the album works so well as a cohesive whole that it’s easy to look past the hype of seeing, for instance, “True Love Waits” on a studio album after all these years.
5. Suede – Night Thoughts
Few reunited bands go on to release new albums that rival the best work from their heydey, but Suede have managed to buck the trend, first with 2013’s Bloodsports and now with Night Thoughts. The album is one of the best they’ve ever recorded and is full of the same vitality and spunk that make their ’90s work so invigorating.
Ryan’s Top 5 Songs of 2016 (So Far)
- David Bowie – “Lazarus”
- KING – “The Greatest”
- Automat – “Turn the Music Up”
- Tacocat – “Talk”
- Kendrick Lamar – “Untitled 08 | 09.06.14”