Friday, December 9, 2016

Adam's 10 Favorite Albums from this Year

It is customary, at the end of the year, for people to list their ten favorite albums that were released in the previous year. I enjoy this custom, but prefer to revise it slightly. I'm going to be listing my ten favorite albums that I listened to the most this past year. These albums could be from this year (most are, actually) but they could also be from another time as well.

Without further ado...

10. The Dig Soundtrack, by Michael Land
Nobody knows about this. It was the soundtrack to a computer game that came out when I was a teenager that I fell in love with. Earlier this year I discovered that someone posted an MP3 of the soundtrack on an obscure website and have rejoiced endlessly. I know hipsters like to share obscure music. I'm not sure you get much more obscure than this. So there...take that!

This album isn't just obscure. There's more to it than that. It's a beautiful electronic soundtrack that is ambient and at the same time otherworldly. I cannot listen to this album without feeling like another world may be just outside my study window.

9. Everything and Nothing, by Hammock [Apple Music]
This is an album that is very beloved by me. I love Hammock and have listened to Marc Byrd's music even back when he was in the Christian band Common Children. Now that he is making beautiful ambient/orchestral music, I listen to everything this band puts out..

8. The Wilderness, by Explosions in the Sky [Apple Music]
I never get tired of the music these guys produce. To me, this album is just different enough from what has come before that it feels like growth without alienating me.

7. Integrity Blues, by Jimmy Eat World [Apple Music]
This is a great comeback album for a band that I haven't listened to for years. This strikes me as unexpectedly mature music from a band that I had written off a decade ago.

6. Blade Runner Soundtrack (25th Anniversary), by Vangelis [Apple Music]
Ever since I first heard this soundtrack and got my hands on it, I've never stopped listening to it.

5. Every Open Eye, by CHVRCHES [Apple Music]
If you're looking for crystalline electro-pop music perfection, I'm not sure there's a better place to look than CHVRCHES. This new album is exactly what I had hoped a sophomore album from this band would be.

4. No Man's Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe (Soundtrack) by 65daysofstatic [Apple Music]
The game No Man's Sky may have been a massive disappointment, but that doesn't mean that the soundtrack was a dud. As a matter of fact, it turned out to be the best part of the game, as well as one of the best parts of 2016.

3. God's Highway, by Sandra McCracken [Apple Music]
This is among my favorite albums from 2016. A collection of Scripturally based songs that I have found tremendously good for my soul. I have found rest by listening to "Be Still My Soul." I have found great joy in being reminded that God is "Steadfast" while listening to this album.

2. Skeleton Tree, by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds [Apple Music]
This is an album that was forged in the depth of great pain as Nick Cave wrote it in the aftermath of his own son's tragic death. It is clear that Cave has struggled over questions of the goodness of God and the immortality of the soul. "I called out, I called out/Right across the sea/But the echo comes back empty." This is mourning of the first and most honest order.

1. Westworld: Season 1 Soundtrack, by Ramin Djawadi [Apple Music]
I am not recommending the TV series. I am, however, HIGHLY recommending this soundtrack. As someone who is always looking for interesting, quasi-ambient music to play while I work on sermons, this soundtrack is quite the treat. String quartet and piano renditions from artists such as Radiohead, The Cure, Radiohead, Amy Winehouse, Soundgarden, and Radiohead delight the senses and bring pleasure to the soul. Yes, this soundtrack is filled to the brim with Radiohead covers.

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