FM96 Top 10 Records of 2016
- #1 Metallica Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
- #2 July Talk Touch
- #3 The Tragically Hip Man Machine Poem
- #4 Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
- #5 Green Day Revolution Radio
- #6 Blink 182 California
- #7 Kings of Leon We Are Like Love Songs
- #8 Jimmy Eat World Integrity Blues
- #9 Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway
- #10 Arkells Morning Report
#1 Metallica- Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
Metallica Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Released November 18th, 2016
Eight years waiting for a new album…how painful for Metallica fans!
Most say it’s a true return to early form on a two-disc released. Interestingly, the writing scenario changed a bit on this record. Kirk Hammett has NO songwriting credits. He did lose an iphone containing 250 riffs during the writing process…his guitar skills on the record are superb and better than ever, though. Some might say this record is their best since 1991’s self-titled…agree? All I can tell you is this record has stepped up my cardio sessions at the gym, thanks guys.
Metallica played an intimate show in November and caught up with Josie Dye from our brother station, 102.1 The Edge. Hear James Hetfield explain the song Moth Into Flame here:
#2 July Talk - Touch
July Talk Touch
Released September 2016
This record has been on repeat for me and I am happy to support this band in anything that they do – they are some of the hardest-working and coolest people I’ve met in the music industry. Some songs are stripped down while some songs are catchy as all hell. I can’t get enough of Picturing Love, as Leah & co hope to expose the generation that’s obsessed with an IMAGE of love that might not be very real. The songwriting is superb. The live show in support of this record (which I was lucky enough to catch twice this year) was even friggin better. If you haven’t seen Leah prance all over a stage while Peter almost eats his microphone, you haven’t truly discovered this band yet. The hands on this album cover belong to Peter & Leah, hear more about that below.
Leah & Danny told me about their new album after their show at Osheaga in Montreal this summer:
#3 The Tragically Hip - Man Machine Poem
The Tragically Hip Man Machine Poem
Released June 2017
This one is tough because it’s an emotional record for an entire generation of music fans. We were crippled when we discovered Gord Downie was battling terminal brain cancer. The news broke May 24th, 2016 with a note from the band on their website:
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE BAND
May 24, 2016
We have some very tough news to share with you today, and we wish it wasn’t so.
A few months ago, in December, Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Since then, obviously, he’s endured a lot of difficult times, and he has been fighting hard. In privacy along with his family, and through all of this, we’ve been standing by him.
So after 30-some years together as The Tragically Hip, thousands of shows, and hundreds of tours…
We’ve decided to do another one.
This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us.
What we in The Hip receive, each time we play together, is a connection; with each other; with music and it’s magic; and during the shows, a special connection with all of you, our incredible fans.
So, we’re going to dig deep, and try to make this our best tour yet.
We hope you can come out and join us this summer – details and dates will be coming this week.
And we sincerely thank all of you, for your continued love and support,
Paul, GordD, Johnny, Rob, GordS
We were overjoyed when we learned there was a new album that would bring on another tour; another summer of sing-a-longs in the tune of Gord. I sang so hard. I cried so hard.
The title of the new record Man Machine Poem actually came from a song on their last album, Now for Plan A:
Learn more about his earlier experience with his wife’s cancer:
Here’s the full sit-down Gord Downie agreed to do with Peter Mansbridge on The National this fall:
#4 Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
Released May 2016
Their follow-up to 2011’s The King of Limbs arrived as a surprise…and at a slower pace than most were used to for 2016. They sent SNAIL MAIL! UK fans were lucky enough to recieve leaflets by mail complete with the lyrics for what would become the first single, Burn the Witch. During this time, band erased their Facebook and Twitter accounts as fans tried to figure it all out.
A note on Burn the Witch…
The lyrics first appeared on 2003’s Hail to the Thief album. Consider some of the imagery in the lyrics for Burn the Witch, from Rolling Stone:
The idea isn’t just about art consumption, it seems, but about how to stay human. The band begins their first proper LP since The King Of Limbs – which occasioned the millennium’s inaugural surprise-release media frenzy in 2011 – with a song about lynch mobbing. “Burn The Witch” fits many scenarios: pile-on internet shaming, anti-immigration brutality, North Carolina bathroom hysteria. “Sing the song on the jukebox that goes/burn the witch” instructs Thom Yorke wryly, conjuring a falsetto Rudee Vallee crooning through a 21st-century Leni Reifenstahl reel. (The song’s video, animated in 20th-century stop-motion, in fact nods to the 1973 film The Wicker Man, where off-the-grid-leaning pagans have the fiery final word). Dude remains a locus for the collective fears and nightsweats of a generation of rock fans; the fact that the rock genre itself is verging on artisanal anti-pop only makes his work seem more vital.
#5 Green Day - Bang Bang
Green Day Revolution Radio
Released October 2016
Green Day got their mojo back – that’s the only way to word it. This is their first album in four years, and it’s so much better than Uno! Dos! & Tre! combined. I hear The Clash. I hear Dookie. I hear Kerplunk. The guys, however, have matured in songwriting, covering topics that call for their fans to do better. Here’s Billie Joe Armstrong talking about some of the lyrics on the new album:
#6 Blink 182 - California
As if Blink 182 and Green Day both released records in the same year (thank you!!). This Blink 182 record is typical and catchy, goofy and filled with those pop-punk riffs that I love. Of course, it’s not a true Blink 182 record without Tom Delonge but I’m choosing not to dwell on the past because I still really enjoyed it. The world needs Blink 182 to remind it not to take things so seriously.
With songs like Bored to Death, King of the Weekend and Brohemian Rhapsody you can tell that the guys are still just boys at heart:
#7 Kings of Leon - We Are Like Love Songs
Kings of Leon We Are Like Love Songs (WALLS for Short)
Released October 2016
To start, that’s a creepy album cover. Here’s how it was made:
Kings of Leon released their first record since Mechanical Bull in 2013 this fall. Fun fact, all Kings of Leon albums have a five-syllable-title.
They’ve been writing in Nashville for the last few records, this album saw them return to LA, the home for recording their first two albums (which I LOVED). This is an honest album following Caleb’s battle with alcohol addiction and his super hot wife Lily Aldridge. They worked with Coldplay producer Markus Dravs on this one.
#8 Jimmy Eat World - Integrity Blues
Jimmy Eat World Integrity Blues
Released October 2016
I’ve been in a fairly steady relationship with Jimmy Eat World since Bleed American and I’m happy to report we’re still going strong. Producer Meldal-Johnsen is both a producer and bassist for M83. The band recorded their last few albums in home studios but went to L.A. for this one to shake things up. They may have moved on a bit from their familiar “emo” sound
I love the message behind most of these songs…
Rolling Stone asked frontman Jim Adkins What inspired the title track?
“Integrity Blues” is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written. Sometimes doing everything you can, in the best way you know how, that can feel like lonely work. But the only way out of that is action, and “Integrity Blues” is a song about coming to terms with all the things that you’ve decided are going to do it for you in life. It’s a common theme in the record, which is why it’s the title track.
#9 Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway
Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway
Released June 2016
I’m thankful the Red Hot Chili Peppers released a record this year for two reasons! 1. They are AMAZING live. It’s hard to imagine guys over 50 jumping around on stage like they’re still 20! I saw them live at Osheaga this year and they were amazing! The new album is FUNKY! The bass always stands out for me because Flea is an absolute master of his instrument…but I like how they aren’t stuck in the 90s. They still find a way to update their sound, even with immense pressure from those fans nostalgic from their earlier work. Perhaps that’s why they went with a different producer than Rick Rubin, who launched them into the rock spotlight 25 years ago.
Danger Mouse played producer on this record and managed to layer each song beautifully, at times, even with sweet piano and other orchestral instruments. Nigel Godrich of Radiohead fame was involved too.
2. Carpool Kareoke. Need I say more:
#10 Arkells - Morning Report
Arkells Morning Report
Released August 2016
Can you believe Jackson Square came out eight years ago!?!
This record, record #4 for Arkells, shows us just how much the band can pull off. A song about Drake’s Dad. A love song. Cool keys and gospel singers. I’d like to thank them for the back-up talent I caught live on-stage with them during their album release party, they were AMAZING!
About Drake’s Dad…It’s been called, “An uplifting song about mischeif, missing home, and meeting the right kind of strangers.”
According to Arkells frontman Max Kerman, “The following is based on a true story…last summer I was on a road trip with my best friends through the American South…and in the middle of the night, we happened to meet Drake’s dad — Dennis Graham — in a Memphis bar.”
The best part of this Canadian story unravelling in the American South is it leads to Drake’s dad actually being cast in the music video!