Hits & Misses: Some albums that I really wanted to review but I'm a slacker so . . .

Linkin Park - One More Light

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Everyone freaked out when Linkin Park decided to go mainstream pop with their first single, 'Heavy,' from their new album, One More Light.  I'll be honest, the change in sound made them unrecognizable and I rolled my eyes at the desperate attempt for relevancy. 

I liked Hybrid Theory; loved Meteora; and  still believe that Minutes to Midnight is one of the most underrated rock album of the 2000's. I didn't understand what the big deal of them going 'pop' was - to me, they had always been a pop band or at least embraced their pop sensibilities. Sure, hiring Justin Bieber's writers isn't the most 'rock' thing to do - but there's no need for all of the homophobic slurs being shouted at them by their 'fans.' 

I anticipated One More Light because I trust Linkin Park - I've enjoyed all of their albums (except for The Hunting Party - which I totally forgot existed).  One More Light is lighter pop version of Minutes to Midnight minus the immediate memorable performances. I don't think this album will be considered underrated nor do I think that anything on it will be considered a classic in 5 years for their army. But I have to say that I am on board for whatever this little 'experiment' is for them - as long as it doesn't last more than one album cycle. Because, while the album is littered with Top 10 studio gimmicks, Linkin Park is at the heart of each song.

My biggest critique is that there should have been no need to collaborate with Pusha T or Stormzy on 'Good Goodbye' when they have Mike Shinoda. 

Also, they were smart clocking the album at 35 minutes.

Check out: 'Nobody Can Save Me,' 'Heavy,' 'One More Light'

Grade: B+

Father John Misty "Pure Comedy"

I joined the Father John Misty bandwagon really late - at least 9 months after I Love You, Honeybear was released. It made my top albums list of 2015 and I stand by that. However, I really haven't been able to connect with Pure Comedy much at all. 

I like the 'we're too connected to entertainment and that's how Donald Trump got elected President and we're all going to hell' idea, I dig his take on being Elton John  - but Misty also happens to be an asshole who makes good music. Too much of his own narcissism fills the last half of the album and I haven't returned to Pure Comedy since.

I respect the challenge of knowing that everything we know is wrong - but I just don't feel like being lectured for an hour and fourteen minutes nor do I find diving into Tillman's psyche for thirteen minutes that interesting.

Check out: "Pure Comedy," "Total Entertainment Forever," and "Ballad of a Dying Man." 

GRADE: D-

Blondie - Pollinator

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Blondie's new album, Pollinator, should have instantly made my top albums list. First single, "Fun," was pretty pleasing and buzz singles, "Long Time" and "My Monster" were just as good. I liked the idea that Debbie and company had a lot of help from newer acts because honestly - they needed it. The days of Blondie releasing albums like Parallel Lines and Eat to the Beat are long gone and while there are awkward moments ('Already Naked') the album is harmless fun. 

First track, "Doom or Destiny," perfectly blends Debbie Harry and Joan Jett's vocals and starts the album off with a bang that continues for roughly five songs ('Long Time', 'Already Naked,' 'Fun,' 'My Monster').

So what could possibly kill an entire album, you may ask? Mmmmmmm . . . how about vocals that completely out of tune with the music. I don't know exactly who didn't let Blondie know that her vocals were off key throughout the whole song, but they should be fired and blacklisted from the music industry. Part of me also wonders if they accidentally released the wrong version of the song. And for the life of me, I have no idea why this wasn't pointed out by critics across the board. 'Best Day Ever' is un-listenable and kind of ruins the rest of the album which is full of mixed results. 

Check out: The first 4 songs.

GRADE: D

 

Harry Styles - Harry Styles

I was never a fan of One Direction but I was a little intrigued to hear Harry Styles' self-titled debut album.  I mean, honestly out of all of the members putting out solo efforts, he was the only one who seemed remotely able to pull of an entire solo album.

I think releasing 'Sign of the Times' as the first solo single was pretty risky. Not only is it a ballad but it also shares the same title of a beloved Prince album/single - and I just thought that was a ballsy move. I didn't love 'Sign of the Times' - it had the same two melody lines during its five minute length - but I was a little bit more intrigued to hear the whole album.

Harry Styles is kind of a miss for me although I think it is an enjoyable album.  It sounds like absolutely nothing that is being played on the radio today and also sheds any Top 40 sounds. What it does sound like is Pink Floyd, Elton John, John Lennon, U2 and Oasis. I'm kind of surprised that Pink Floyd hasn't filed a suit for 'Meet Me in the Hallway' ripping off 'Breathe (In The Air)'. 

It's not just that if I want to listen to Pink Floyd, I'll listen to Pink Floyd or if I wanted to listen to John Lennon, I'll listen to John Lennon - it's that the lyrical depth of those artist and Harry Styles is just so drastic - and at the end of Harry Styles I've not learned anything about him beyond his musical influences - and that's a missed opportunity to really disclose who he really is. 

Check out: 'Sign of the Times'

GRADE: C

Paramore - After Laughter

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Paramore's new album, After Laughter, came out of nowhere. Four years after their self-titled fourth album, first single 'Hard Times' showed up and After Laughter was released a little over a month later - it all seemed a bit rushed and I was convinced that After Laughter was nothing more than an obligation to their record label in order to fulfill their contract . . . well . . . for Hailey anyway.

It's sad - but Paramore has a rocky history regarding the comings and goings of their lineup and while it's easy to point the finger at Williams for basically the entire original lineup to walk away from a band at its peak - it kind of feels like Williams is truly the one who has sacrificed. I mean, she technically could have gone solo after Paramore's debut, All We Know is Falling and kept the fame and fortune to herself - but she didn't.

I initially passed on After Laughter. If another band claims evolution by ripping off the '80s, I'm gonna scream. But what is fascinating about After Laughter is its stark contrast of sunny beats and sullen lyrics. Williams truly seems to be over being the jolly frontman and isn't trying to hide behind orange hair and a smile. Instead, she gets pretty fucking honest that she's exhausted by the drama and seemed downright sad during the band's Beats1 interview with Zane Lowe. 

In order to really appreciate After Laughter, you have to really know the history of Paramore . . . pretty much the same as hearing the self-titled third album. On its surface, it's about ten tracks of 'Ain't It Fun' and a few 'The Only Exception.' But if you peel back production, there's a lot going on with Williams that she's trying to work out through the only therapy she knows - songwriting. 

There are a few missteps. 'Rose-Colored Boy' is kind of annoying and 'No Friend' really isn't a great idea at all.

Check out: 'Fake Happy,' 'Told You So,' '26,' 'Pool'

GRADE: A-

 

Dreamcar - Dreamcar

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For those who don't know - the guys from No Doubt and AFI's Davey Havok got together and formed a supergroup for all the emo kids in their 30s. Dreamcar is a fun ride and probably an album you could blast all summer long and not get bored with it.  

The album's first single, 'Kill For Candy,' is a sugar-induced bop that could very well be a sleeper hit and the rest of the album follows suit. There isn't a bad song on Dreamcar, although there are references to 'candy,' 'candy girls,' 'girls on the charts,' 'dead girls,' and . . . 'gum boys'. I'm not sure what any of that means. 

But the reason that Dreamcar works so well is that it's a low stakes album. Davey and the boys have made their names and their money. Dreamcar is pure adoration and tribute to '80s influences - most notably Duran Duran.  And it's an album that my kids can stomach and ask to listen to constantly. 

Check out: all of it.

GRADE: B

LP - Lost on You

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Thank the Lord! LP has finally blown up in everywhere but the US. Lost on You has been released overseas since fall of 2016 and finally making its way stateside albeit with absolutely no promotion from Vagrant Records. 

I love LP's music. Her last album, Forever for Now, was a top contender for the #1 spot of my top albums list in 2014. I've followed her since and know that the song, 'Lost On You' is a few years old. But, a Greek radio station started playing the song and all of a sudden LP was a bonafide star! 

The U.S. version of Lost On You has added some tracks and is a cohesive set that proves how much of an underrated talent LP truly is. We (the States) really need to get on the ball and give this artist the recognition LP deserves because it is high time 'Lost on You' saturated our radio stations.

And Vagrant needs to release this gem on vinyl, pronto!

Check out: 'Lost On You', 'Muddy Waters', 'Other People'

GRADE: A

Incubus - 8

I feel like 2017 is the year for all of my favorite early 2000's bands to make comeback albums. 

S.C.I.E.N.C.E., Make Yourself and Morning View all have their places in my Favorite Albums of All-Time list, but their last three releases have really left a lot to be desired. There seemed to have been a hunger that just kind of died down in them and their last album, If Not Now, When pretty much put me to sleep. 

I wasn't impressed by first single, 'Nimble Bastard', at all. It reminded me of anything Alanis Morissette released after Jagged Little Pill - trying way too hard and never ever reaching the same kind of genius. Thankfully (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Skrillex got his hands on the album and beefed it up a bit. The first few bars of first track, 'No Fun' actually sound like Incubus from their S.C.I.E.N.C.E. days.  Whether the album had a drastic change from Skrillex's collaborative effort, I don't know but 8 is a welcome return from a band I've been waiting to light a fire under their ass. 

There's nothing too surprising here - no political statements - Incubus plays it pretty safe. But, I think that's okay because 8 sounds like a band that has finally rediscovered that passion, confidence and drive (HA!) that once made them a great band. 

Check out: 'State of the Art,' 'Loneliest,' 'Throw Out The Map'

GRADE: B+

 

Top 30 Albums of 2016

I would be lying if I said that compiling this year's list wasn't a struggle. I liked a lot of music this year - I didn't love a lot of it. Usually my top ten consists of the albums that I loved - and I'm usually unapologetic about it - but I felt that by only focusing on the albums that I loved, completely ignored some of the most important albums of this year - and honestly, it kind of was an important year in music. So, I decided to meet in the middle. 

Hope you enjoy!

30. Fitz & the Tantrums - Fitz & the Tantrums

'Handclap' was a big enough smash to make me anticipate the rest of the group's third album. Although Fitz and company channeled their inner Maroon 5 - I still think that this was a great end of summer album. 
Check out: 'Burn It Down'

29. Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth

I was a pretty big fan of 2014's Metamodern Sounds in Country Music because I was so sick of the same old Nashville machine-sounding crap. A Sailor's Guide to Earth takes what was so refreshing on Metamodern and pushes it forward as a love letter to his wife and newborn son. 
Check out: 'All Around You'

28. Big Smoke - Time is Golden

I read a story at Vinyl Me Please about a band whose album was planning on releasing their debut album even though their lead singer had died of cancer earlier in the year. The album, Time is Golden was written and recorded after lead singer, Adrian Slattery learned that he was dying from oesophageal cancer and the last guitar overdub was finished two weeks before he died. Time is Golden is moving from beginning to end and a testament to Big Smoke's commitment to the lessons learned from Slattery's passing.
Check out: 'Time is Golden'

 

27. Anderson .Paak - Malibu

If the biggest hip-hop breakout star of 2016 was Chance The Rapper, then Anderson .Paak was its biggest best kept secret. On Malibu, .Paak shares life stories that aren't as light and colorful as the album cover - yet he keeps things lighter than Lamar's Butterfly and just as inspiring as Chance's Coloring Book
Check out: 'Heart Don't Stand a Chance'

 

26. Miranda Lambert - The Weight of These Wings

The Weight of These Wings begins with Lambert driving southbound with her vices and demons riding shotgun and the song ending with the line 'Happiness ain't prison but there's freedom in a broken heart' that pretty much sets up the rest of the album. Obviously using Emmylou Harris' 1995 album, Wrecking Ball, as a template, Lambert decides to take the high road on her first post-Blake split effort and delivers a double album that doesn't waste a single note or lyric. On a smaller scale, Weight acknowledges the end of Lambert's highly publicized split from Shelton, yet its bigger aspirations ultimately shine through as one of the most well-rounded country albums of 2016 and the best of Lambert's career.
Check out: 'Tin Man'

25. Glass Animals - How to Be a Human Being

There are so many sounds stuffed into Glass Animals' sophomore album, How to Be a Human Being. The concept album tells the stories of each character that you see on its album cover. While it may not be as hit-packed as their breakout album, Zaba, it was still one of the most unique and interesting sounding albums of the year.
Check out - 'Youth'

24. Nothing But Thieves - Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But Thieves sounds nothing like its breakout single, 'Trip Switch' and it wasn't until the release of single, 'Excuse Me' and lead singer, Conor Mason's, Buckley-esque  vocals that I even turned my head. The debut album (which was internationally released in 2015, but made its way to the US in February of this year - so that's why it can make this list!) from this English alternative band is one of the most engaging albums from all the other thousands of up-and-coming alt-rock bands. 
Check out: 'Wake Up Call'

23. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein - Stranger Things Soundtrack

I was silently a huge fan of the soundtrack of the movie, 'The Guest' and from the first moment I heard the opening credits to 'Stranger Things,' I knew that the same people had a hand in scoring it. 'Stranger Things' was like one of the biggest surprises of 2016 - I felt like it was made for me. The soundtrack is probably the first scores that I've ever loved all the way through - let alone even listened to. 
Check out: 'The Upside Down'

22. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - I Had a Dream That You Were Mine

While the rest of the music world was marveling at Bon Iver's use of a graphic calculator, I was listening to a better album to make me feel old. I Had a Dream . . . is one of my favorite collaborative efforts of 2016. I'm a huge fan of Rostam and what he can bring to the table. 
Check out: 'Rough Going (I Don't Give Up).

21. Porches - Pool

In the same vein as the 'Stanger Things' soundtrack, Porches relies on '80s synth so heavily to tell dark tales. Band leader, Aaron Maine uses the synths to tell tales about isolation and introspection and on lead-single, 'Be Apart' you don't know whether or not he want to 'be a part' or 'be apart' of/from the crowd. 
Check out: 'Underwater'

20. Weezer - Weezer (The White Album)

I'll be honest - living in Seattle can be pretty depressing in the winter. Weezer came out at just the right time to lighten my mood in April. After the last Weezer albums, I did not expect to like this album as much as I did and I've come to the conclusion that I only like color albums from Weezer.
Check out: '(Girl We Got A) Good Thing

19. BANKS - The Altar

The Altar is very similar in blueprint to Banks' debut album, Goddess. While maybe not as memorable as Goddess' best tracks, Altar is a bit more cohesive and confident and the alt -R&B singer/songwriter's vocals are at the center the entire time. I was a little nervous when first single, 'Fuck With Myself' was released, but upon hearing, 'Gemini Feed,' I was ALL IN!
Check out: 'Gemini Feed'

18. The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep . . .

Eating major crow with this one. 

I gave The 1975's sophomore album, I Like It When You Sleep For You Are Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It a F-grading because I thought that it was way too ambitious and not executed very well - and I still feel that way. However, with a little bit of playlist editing, I started listening to it and found myself loving it. And while the band members and their egos still make me want to puke - that kind of what it means to be a rock star even if you're the 2016 answer to INXS.
Check out: 'The Sound'

17. Ray LaMontagne - Ouroboros

Why is this album not making any 'Top Albums' lists? After giving us his 'Astral Weeks' with 2014's Supernova, Ray LaMontagne shares his 'Dark Side of the Moon' with Ouroboros - the complete opposite of what Supernova was building upon. Consisted of only 8 songs, LaMontagne, again, looks to the past and gives an engaging album from start to finish. Don't overlook this one.
Check out: 'Hey, No Pressure'

16. Anthony Green - Pixie Queen

If you follow Anthony Green on Instagram, you can tell that he is a devoted husband and father and his music is no different. I've always felt that Green's solo efforts were decent - yet I always felt that there was a reigning in that needed to be done. After a stint in rehab and being completely clean, Green took to the studio and wrote an entire album dedicated to his wife, Meredith. Pixie Queen is probably the most honest album about what love is after being with someone for so long and coming to terms with how our inner demons can affect that foundation.  . . . I hope they never stop having kids.
Check out: 'Will It Be'

15. KONGOS - Egomaniac

There was a week full of huge summer releases with consisted of a lot of albums that I had been anticipating. Unfortunately, most of those albums turned out to be huge disappointments. Egomaniac was really one of the only albums that I was impressed with - and I hadn't even been anticipating it. 
Check out: 'Take It from Me'

14. Young The Giant - Home of the Strange

Home of the Strange came at the right time. Immigration was such a hot topic this year, and Young The Giant kind of slipped this album through the backdoor about what it means to be an immigrant in America (each member has an immigrant background). The wrinkles found on their last effort, Mind Over Matter, have been ironed-out resulting in a more engaging and hook-laden album all around. While it won't catapult them into the stratosphere, Home of the Strange is a phenomenal third outing while most of their peers are still trying to hold it together.
Check out: 'Titus Was Born'

13. The Weeknd - Starboy

 To be completely honest - The Weeknd kind of shot and missed with Starboy. This album should have made my top ten. However, it's an admirable miss. At eighteen tracks, the album is a bit long-winded and over-indulgent for no reason - yet, the good outweighs the bad. Starboy required multiple listens to discover charms that are not as obvious the first time around.
Check out: 'Rockin'

12. Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

I was really looking forward to Tegan and Sara's take on 1982 judging from the cover of their album, Love You to Death. On its surface, the album seems like Heartthrob 2.0 - but it's really a bit more mature and less commercially compromising. Love You to Death only cements the pop genius of the twin songwriters and why they haven't faded since breaking out with 2004's So JealousLove You to Death was one of the most enjoyable albums of 2016.
Check out: 'Stop Desire'

11. Jeff Buckley - You and I

You and I felt like coming home or catching up with one of your oldest friends. It was an emotional listening experience for me - which makes me laugh when I think about everyone having their 'Adele cry' last year. Buckley takes his time with these covers and lone fleshed-out original ('Grace'). It was cool to hear Buckley talking his way through what would eventually become one of his most haunting pieces, 'You and I' - almost like he was trying to make sense of what it all meant. Like I said in my review, this was like the intimate jam session Buckley fans have only dreamed about and is probably one of the best posthumous releases since his death in 1997.
Check out: 'Calling You'

 10. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper was probably the biggest breakout artist of 2016 - and for good reason. On Coloring Book, the 23 year-old Chicago native uses a gospel choir as the foundation of the record and seamlessly blends hip-hop, jazz and gospel. It's the groundbreaking album that The Life of Pablo wishes it was. Coloring Book is the most uplifting and grounded album of 2016 - and it's only a mixtape.
Check out: 'All We Got'

9. Rihanna - Anti

2016 was the year that major artists tried to do things a little differently - and make artistic statements. I think Rihanna was the only one to really make anyone say, "What The Fuck?" - and still succeed. Anti was one of the most anticipated releases for more than a year and when it was released (messily by streaming service TIDAL accidentally leaking it) - it was a huge disappointment. Gone were the club bangers that catapulted and carried Rihanna's career. But after everyone's initial shock, it was clear that Anti was the creative statement that Rihanna needed to make in order to ensure longevity and be seen as a serious artist. Her performance of 'Love On the Brain' at this year's Billboard Music Awards was reminiscent of any number of famous Whitney Houston performances - which inspired us all to still keep rooting for her.  My top ten usually consists of albums that I've come back to throughout the year - and this is definitely one of those albums.
Check out: "Love on The Brain"

8. Local Natives - Sunlit Youth

Sunlit Youth begins with the line, "I want to start again . . ." - and by September, I was saying the same damn thing about 2016. Appartently, I'm the last person to know about Local Natives, as this was a hugely anticipated release for us thirty-somethings. I instantly related to this album because of its themes - aging, change and where life has led you. I don't think any other album has made me feel more happy, sad and proud of who I've become more than Sunlit Youth. Although most critics felt that it was a step down from their last effort, I absolutely loved it and 'Fountain of Youth' - even though it's a few chords from being .Fun's 'We Are Young' - is one of the best songs of this year.
Check out: "Fountain of Youth"

7. Britney Spears - Glory

Although its relevancy is closer to Madonna's last effort, Rebel Heart - it was nice to see that someone finally showed up for work on Glory. While Blackout will always be considered the singer's masterpiece - albeit an accidental one - Glory finally felt like Britney was present again in her work. There's nothing deep on Glory - but it was a great distraction from some of the other realities of the world. It's an album to finally be a proud Spears fan and it was 'cool' to hear her stretch out a bit from her comfort zone. Also, there's no filler. 
Check out: 'Liar' 

6. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

While not as much of a challenging or uncomfortable listen as To Pimp a Butterfly or Black Messiah - Blood Orange's third album, Freetown Sound, deals with a lot of the same issues.  The album was released days after the officer who was driving the van that fatally injured Freddie Gray was found not guilty - and Freetown Sound dives deep into black culture and the conflict of being black in America today - yet it is not polarizing in any way. Dev Hynes has stated that Freetown Sound is an album "for everyone told they're not black enough, too black, too queer, not queer in the right way" - making it the most relevant album - as well as enjoyable - album of the year.
Check out: "Hadron Collider"

5. Ra Ra Riot - Need Your Light

Need Your Light was the first album of 2016 that I fell in love with. For a while, I considered it my top favorite - if that says anything about how pessimistic I felt about music this year. Ra Ra Riot has gone from one extreme to the other in their career and finally, on Need Your Light they seem to have finally gotten to a comfortable place - not that it feels complacent - just balanced. It's not the most ambitious or socially relevant album - but I love all of it.
Check out: "Water"

4. Beyonce - Lemonade

     

 

 

 

Was there a bigger album than Beyonce's Lemonade this year? Even if she's not your cup of tea, you can't deny that Lemonade's surprise release was an epic event. It wasn't my favorite album like it was Rolling Stone magazine's but I can't help but acknowledge that the album turned held a completely different meaning after the election. Rolling Stone's Top 50 Albums of 2016 list says, "it's a whole album of hurt . . . Beyonce speaks on how it feels to get sold out by a lover - or a nation - that fooled you into feeling safe, how it feels to break free of a home built on lies" and I agree 100%. We all know that she's one of the greatest artists of our time - and there's a reason why her 2016 VMA performance (although kinda long) cemented her as one of the best performers as well - but Beyonce truly stretched her music and visual pallet on Lemonade too - and the album cannot be truly appreciated without its visuals. 
Check out: "Freedom (feat. Kendrick Lamar)"

3. Lady Gaga - Joanne

So, I'm getting a little more delusional with my top ten . . . but Joanne was a pretty special album to me. I'm a Gaga fan, although I don't consider myself a Little Monster, and I don't think anyone would have seen this change of sound or direction coming unless you knew the kind of artist she was before 'Just Dance' and 'Poker Face'. Forget the whole pink hat and country-vibe, Joanne is Gaga's Tapestry moment - just a sit down piano jam session meant to heal and get through whatever may be holding you back from happiness. I sat with this album and my raw feelings on November 9th - and at the end of the day, after hearing 'Angel Down' for the thirtieth time, I decided to dust myself off and move forward. Joanne won't make any big top 50 lists and it probably won't sell half of what  The Fame or Born This Way sold, but it's music written and performed for the best of reasons - to connect, to bring people together - done by an artist that had every reason to chase a new huge hit. Instead, Gaga decided to be true to her artistry - and hopefully one day, it will have made a difference.
Check out: "Joanne"

 

2. Tiffany - A Million Miles

Tiffany's 2000 album, The Color of Silence saved my life - one day I'll share that story - and it introduced me to a completely different artist than I had known her as. Over the years, I've been waiting for her to release something that connected to me as much as Silence. I hold expectations for every Tiffany album, but A Million Miles shattered all of them. There's just something so honest in her songwriting, that resonates with me and says, 'Yeah - I've been there too'. A Million Miles is that one record that has stayed with me through the entire year - and not just because it's a Tiffany album. I could compare it to Joanne - an album that feels like it was meant to heal the world; whereas A Million Miles feels like it was meant to heal me - that's the difference here. 
Check out: "History"

 

1. David Bowie - Blackstar

We should have all known how this year would be . . .

Eight days into the new year, David Bowie released his new album, Blackstar, and kind of slipped off into the stars.

Is Blackstar my personal favorite from 2016? No. Do I enjoy it? I don't really know that it's an album that you're supposed to enjoy. Yet, I feel like the albums that I did enjoy this year are indebted to Bowie's art. Would half of these artists be who they are if there had been no David Bowie?

There's a reason why the first album that I listened to in 2016 is the one album that I'm listening to at the end of it. It's almost like he knew that 2016 would be an emotional roller-coaster. We would watch ISIS continue to wreck havoc on our TVs; we would continue to be a divided nation; we would lose a Prince; Trump would be our new President. I'm not saying that there were not glimpses of hope and light, but if 2016 is going to be remembered for anything, these are the things it will be remembered for. So I see Blackstar and 2016 as one and the same -angry, painful, challenging and ugly - all that Bowie must have felt while battling his cancer and all that we have felt trying to get through this year. Yet at the end of it all - there is this underlying peace for unease regarding the unknown. 

David Bowie's passing shocked us all - as only he can do.

I say, What a final performance.