2016 has been an incredible year for music, in pretty much every genre, but especially for punk and metal. There are a lot of lists out there of the year’s best albums (and I’ll be creating mine soon, but probably not before year’s end), but it feels unfair to focus solely on the albums when there were some mind-blowing songs stuck on otherwise forgettable albums. Granted, there are also many albums packed full of great tunes, and some amazing albums that didn’t actually have any individual songs among the year’s absolute best. Because of the sometimes dramatic difference between the best albums and the best songs, my yearly tradition is to give a shout out to the 25 best songs of the year as well. Here’s how I felt about 2016!
Thrice’s comeback album actually seriously disappointed me. I felt like only 4 of the 11 songs were any good, but of those 4 songs, *3* of them made my top 25 list (2 of them in the top 10!). They open up the album with a brave choice: the fairly soft, slow-burning, epic-finale sounding Hurricane. And the gamble pays off because this grips your attention IMMEDIATELY. Dustin’s voice has never been better, and the music is gorgeous even when it gets dark. Plus those lyrics. Wow.
Direct Hit! put the pun back in Punk this year with Wasted Mind, a concept album about doing All The Drugs. It ends with “Do The Sick”, a 2-minute, fatalistic burst of rag-time hardcore. If you’ve ever wanted Keith Buckley to do a song with Andrew W.K., this is your next best bet.
The White Noise place their emphasis on noise, and Bloom, the second track from their debut EP, is both familiar and fresh. Their hooks are equal parts melodic metalcore, grunge, and snotty punk (like The Used if they grew up on Attila), and the result is one of the wildest, hungriest sounding bands to hit the scene this decade. Bloom is a crash course on their brand of sweet aggression, and it’s tasty indeed.
I almost didn’t even listen to Solas. In fact, it took reading the review by my fellow writer Gareth Franklin to give it a chance. I’m glad I did, because Left Me Standing is a timeless track and I get the feeling it will age extremely well. It’s certainly out of character for The Answer, abandoning their bluesy classic rock for a more Tom Petty inspired punk tune that is the year’s best windows-down driving song. Crank it as loud as you can stand and hope there’s no speed traps waiting.
#21: “My Friends Are Enemies” by SERVERS (from the album Everything Is OK)
I can’t even recall how I stumbled across SERVERS, but their album is an incredibly solid dose of just-barely-too-heavy-for-mass-airplay industrial tinged rock. “My Friends Are Enemies” is their strongest track, with a dark but swaggering riff and a paranoid 80s new wave monotone vocal delivery swirling together to create post-hardcore Depeche Mode. It’s better than it sounds.