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Paul’s Picks

My Top 5 albums of 2016

Senior Paul Jacobson lists his favorite albums of 2016. (Provided by Paul Jacobson)

Senior Paul Jacobson lists his favorite albums of 2016. (Provided by Paul Jacobson)

By Paul Jacobson | Contributor  

5. “Preoccupations” Preoccupations

Preoccupations follows up their fantastic 2015 release with another very strong album. The band continues to dole out tight, well-written post-punk tunes. Though the album does falter a bit in the middle with the shorter songs “Sense” and “Forbidden,” things pick back up for the last two tracks, with the finale “Fever” being one of the best album closers I heard last year.

FAVORITE TRACKS:Anxiety,” “Zodiac,” “Memory,” “Degraded,” “Stimulation,” “Fever”

LEAST FAVORITE TRACKS:Forbidden”

4. “Marked For Death”– Emma Ruth Rundle

Soul-crushing and brooding; endlessly murky and sludgy. There are hundreds of similar adjectives that I could use to describe “Marked For Death.” Songs are atmospheric and vast, as if they could fill the sanctuary of a gothic cathedral, with Rundle lurking in the shadows, waiting to burst forth. Then the chorus hits—and the songs come to life, like some sort of reanimated corpse. Convoluted and potentially incoherent similes aside, “Marked For Death” is a dreary and visceral experience not to be missed.

FAVORITE TRACKS:Marked For Death,” “Protection,” “Heaven”, “Real Big Sky”

LEAST FAVORITE TRACKS: none

3. “Synthia”– The Jezabels

If I had to sum up this album in one word, it’d be euphoric. Each track has an undeniably catchy and exhilarating chorus and displays a ferocity unlike anything else I heard in the past year. The album is dynamic and expansive, completely filling whatever space you’re listening in. Though this is only number three, it’s the one album on this list I’d strongly urge everyone to listen to. “Synthia” is maximalist pop music at its absolute finest.

FAVORITE TRACKS:Stand and Deliver,” “My Love is My Disease,” “Smile,” “Unnatural,” “Come Alive,” “Pleasure Drive,” “Flowers in the Attic,” “If Ya Want Me,” “Stamina”

LEAST FAVORITE TRACKS: none

2. “Wishlist EP” – Lina Tullgren

There’s a sense of longing embedded in each track on “Wishlist.” “I wish I didn’t have to grow up so fast,” Tullgren sings on “Older,” a sentiment that everyone has felt at some point. Tullgren’s music and lyrics are probably best described as raw; exploring themes such as why we love, why we hurt others and many others. The music itself is sparse and lo-fi, as Tullgren experiments with different chord progressions and arpeggios. Her vocals are twangy at times and incredibly evocative and emotional at others. I’d highly recommend this EP.

FAVORITE TRACKS:Watchdog,” “Older,” “Wash,” “Grace,” “Home”

LEAST FAVORITE TRACKS: none

1. “Nostalgia for Infinity”– Sound of Ceres

I first heard this album back in February, and it’s been on repeat ever since then. The singles are great as standalone tracks, but the album is at its strongest when taken as a whole. Many of the songs seamlessly flow into one another, smoothly gliding the listener around a dreamy, wintery soundscape. The synths shimmer, the melodies soothe and the vocals feel weightless, as if they’d get blown away by a stiff wind. Though it’s a fairly slow-moving album, the music is hardly ever boring, as the band constantly explores new ideas and themes in each song. The album closes with the outlier “Dagger Only Run,” which exhibits a danceable, albeit sleepy, beat. I could envision hearing it in a dance hall–if that dance hall had breaks for nap time with cozy blankets and warm milk.

FAVORITE TRACKS:Pursuer,” “Ember Age,” “Hand of Winter,” “Kingfisher,” “Dagger Only Run”

LEAST FAVORITE TRACKS: none

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