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It’s a grand celebration!  The SMA’s are back for the third and possibly final time, and quite frankly even that’s a miracle.  But I forced myself to have time to host one more of these god forsaken best-of-Barnes & Nobles (I upgraded from buying all my CD’s at Target, bitches) and we find ourselves at the end of this storied trilogy.  Pop-Punk Strikes Back, if you will.  Oh wait, that’s the second one – oh well, you catch my drift.

Anyway, if you have an amazing enough life to remember every detail of your 2014 sputnikmusic.com profile, you’ll likely recall commenting on, hearing the buzz about, or otherwise discussing – possibly over a Christmas ham with your extended family – that Low Roar’s 0 took home the 2014 SMA AOTY Seriously Cool Shit Trophy.  Then last year it was obviously Sufjan Stevens for his brilliant work with Carrie & Lowell.  For some reason whatever web article I originally swiped that trophy pic from in the past has been deleted, so let’s just say for now that the new award looks something like this:

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Music, fuck yeah!

Ironically, and just in time for that  shiny new trophy, I have no actual idea what my album of the year is going to be.  Even as I sit here writing this, I’m torn between about five different records.   I can’t help it, I rated like thirty some odd releases over a 4.0 this year.  Maybe I’ll figure it out as I go.

Judio! called dibs on hosting this event indefinitely, but he is clearly too good for us now (last review: 4/24/15), so I’ll be representing myself here which is quite horrifying because many of you will consider the below songs/albums to be downright horrid.  Just remember to submit your complaints so that I can review them and utilize them to improve next year’s experience.  I don’t think you’ll be too bored this year though.  In addition to the cornerstone categories, I’ve added a couple new ones to keep your interest piqued.  So, without further ado, shall we begin?

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Category I: Best New Artist

– The Nominees –

Image result for dne these semi

dné: for These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere

dné truly came out of nowhere, but the brainchild of Ondrej Holy has also made one of the biggest splashes in electronic/classical music for the latter portion of 2016.  These Semi Feelings, They Are Everywhere is incredibly serene, relying primarily on stunning pianos and textured electronics to concoct its unique atmosphere.  Holy makes sure to abide by the “less is more” philosophy, choosing one or two centerpieces to build each song around before carefully accenting them in ways that bring out the best in each note and every idea.  Clocking in at a mere thirty minutes, it’s an album that you simply must make time to listen to.   This debut positions dné to become one of the most accessible yet under-the-radar electronic artists on the future’s near horizon.

Wildhart: for Shine

One of Sweden’s best kept secrets may be no longer veiled.  Wildhart dropped the gorgeous Shine late this year, and it is hands down one of the most picturesque and sonically experimental pop records we’ve seen in years – or at least since FKA Twigs dropped M3LL155X.  Shine is a beautiful, gradual decline into disorder, and the longer the albums goes on the less organized it becomes.  It’s rare to encounter a pop artist this willing to sacrifice structure in the name of testing boundaries; yet despite all of the fervent experimentalism, Wildhart remains readily accessible and melodically pleasing most of the time.  The vocals may take some getting used to, but it’s a small investment to make when you consider the massive return.

Racing Glaciers: for Caught In The Strange

They may not be fresh off the presser the way some of these other artists are (they have EPs dating back to 2012), but any artist releasing their debut full-length has always been fair game for this category.  Racing Glaciers’ sound is a brilliant fusion of Dredg’s spacial atmospheric rock and Jimmy Eat World’s emotional alt-rock.  Caught In The Strange wavers to-and-fro between that beautifully gentle side and a harder alternative line, creating a debut that is listenable and appreciable on many different levels.  There’s a sense of sonic boundlessness, as if the band has climbed aboard the balloons illustrated in the album cover and are merely describing the feelings to us musically as they float off towards the horizon. Don’t be left on the ground.

And the winner is…

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Racing Glaciers

While the other nominees took more commendable risks, nobody else crafted music as beautiful, emotionally hard-hitting, or downright good as what Racing Glaciers did.

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Category II: Song Of The Year

– The Nominees –

Image result for david bowie blackstar

David Bowie: for “Blackstar

I purchased Bowie’s final album the day before he passed.  Words cannot describe how bittersweet it was listening to that album on my way to work after hearing the news, but it hit me even harder than it probably would have without the unfortunate circumstance of his death.  While there are songs from Blackstar that practically reduce me to tears in that regard (“Lazarus”, “I Can’t Give Everything Away”), the title track is undeniably the best cut.  Opening with slower, almost tortured-sounding vocals (which make a whole hell of a lot more sense after the fact), it builds and builds to one of the most rewarding, synthy, jazzy breakdowns of the year – complete with Bowie’s spacey wails of “I’m a blackstar.” Lines like “something happened on the day he died” still punch you right in the gut.  David Bowie was a true artist in life, and remains one in death.  Rest in peace to an absolute legend.

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: for “Girl In Amber

This category turned depressing as fuck, am I right?  “Girl In Amber” is perhaps the most downturned, morose song on an album that is all about the death of Nick Cave’s son.  It’s the most tragic track on a tragedy…no parent should ever live to bury their child.  On “Girl In Amber”,  everything is so bare and forsaken-sounding, which is perfect in the worst way for what he’s setting out to do.  “The phone it rings, it rings, it rings no more” and “I knew the world it would stop spinning now since you’ve been gone” are crushing lines.  You can almost feel him curled up in the corner, enduring so much agony that it doesn’t matter what the song sounds like.  This is way more important than a fucking song.  This is Nick Cave bearing his soul from the most rock-bottom moment of his whole life.

 

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Yellowcard: for “Fields & Fences

2016 saw pop-punk legends Yellowcard, after two decades, finally hang up the mic.  Yellowcard is an emotional parting album, full of heartfelt goodbyes to their fans while piecing together resolutions to themes that have been woven into their fabric since Ocean Avenue.  As the closing track on their final record, “Fields & Fences” bears tremendous responsibility to deliver, and it does more than that.  Commencing as a simply strummed, vocal-centric ballad, it slowly evolves into something more. Violins chime in midway through, joined by stunning acoustic picking, and as the track begins to wind and turn – almost like a long retrospective walk through the band’s past – it finally erupts into a crescendo of electric guitars, purposeful and echoing drums, and the band’s emotional parting words:  I don’t have much that I can give to you /But I love the way you make me feel / Like I’m at home and I am not alone.  It’s a befitting and worthwhile finale to one of the most incredible, memorable rides in the history of the pop-punk genre.

Racing Glaciers: for “Samahdi (So Far Away)

“Samahdi” is one of those tracks that you don’t expect to hear within the album on which it resides.  Racing Glaciers’ debut record is a combination of many beautiful alt-rock styles, but “Samahdi” is something else entirely – complete with early acoustic strums, verses composed entirely of slow riffs, and a falsetto pinnacle that sounds like the band’s answer to The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under The Bridge.”  The way the song winds and progresses over its five minute length feels totally natural and unforced, making the aforementioned vocal peak all the more rewarding.  Its wistful cries of unrequited love – “so far away I miss you / gotta find a way to kiss you” – are repeated until just how much it means to the vocalist really sinks in.  For being on this band’s debut, it sounds like Racing Glaciers spent years on this one track alone.

Image result for drive-by truckers what it means

Drive-by Truckers: for “What It Means

Few albums captured the political importance of 2016 as much as American Band, and “What It Means” is by far the most important song on it.  “What It Means” delves into the racial tension in America, beginning with the line “He was running down the street when they shot him in his tracks” before expounding upon police shootings and media coverage: “It happened last weekend and it will happen again next week…they’ll spin it for the anchors on the television screen, so we can shrug and let it happen without asking what it means.” As Hood states in the album foreword, “there are conversations that my friends with black children have to have that the rest of us can take for granted and leave unsaid.” It’s ugly realizations like this that make “What It Means” one of the most relevant – if decidedly uncomfortable – songs of the year.

And the winner is…

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“Blackstar” by David Bowie

Every year thousands of excellent songs are released, and 2016 was no different.  What separates “Blackstar” is that it will forever be tied to the death of David Bowie and his unforgettable legacy.

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Category III: Best Mainstream Pop Song

Foreword: This is a new category as of 2016.  Every year great individual pop songs get overlooked because they’re either worn out by national radio or they get lost among poor supporting material within the record itself.  This category seeks to plead ignorance to those inherent genre downfalls, and recognize excellent additions to the modern mainstream pop canon.

– The Nominees –

Image result for justin timberlake can't stop the feeling

Justin Timberlake: for “Can’t Stop The Feeling

From the Dreamworks animation Trolls, “Can’t Stop The Feeling transcended its original purpose and took the world by storm this past summer.  It’s more of a formulaic song for Timberlake when you consider the many ways that The 20/20 Experience branched out, but when you get right down to it, this song is just a really fucking good time.  It’s a party anthem, a feel-good riding with the windows down song, and an overall uplifting experience.  Like every song nominated it probably got murdered by radio stations just about everywhere, but I’m not going to let that put a damper on what is an excellent pop composition – they can’t stop the feeling.

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Ariana Grande: for “Into You

From the sound of it, Ariana has as firm of a grip as ever on her musical direction. “Into You” is a fun, flirty,  natural jam.  “I’m so into you I can barely breathe” is the breathy utterance that captivates us during the leading seconds of the track, and one can almost feel the sweat beading up on his/her forehead as the club begins to heat up. “Look what you started, the temperature’s rising in here…is this gonna happen?” It’s vintage Ariana, teasing us with her sultry vocals and suggestive lyrics until the upbeat chorus bursts through – “A little less conversation and a little more touch my body” – an excerpt that is capable of dominating clubs and car rides alike. With a thumping, rhythm-driven backbeat, there is no shortage of danceability to the track either.  “Into You” is effortless, and it’s pure pop gold.

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OneRepublic: for “Kids

By now we’re all probably aware of just how big of a letdown Oh My My was, but don’t let that prevent you from hearing one of the band’s best songs to date.  “Kids” would have fit alongside the best that 2013’s Native (a great pop record by the way) had to offer.  The song reminds me of Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” if it were even grander, funner, and more stadium-sized.  Filled to the brim with addictive synths and verses – and not to mention one of the catchiest choruses of the year – “Kids” is one of those songs you can tell OneRepublic meant to build the album around.  I’m not sure what happened the rest of the way, but had every song been as good as this we’d be discussing it in the AOTY category.

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Bruno Mars: for “Too Good To Say Goodbye

I was as skeptical as anyone when the new Bruno Mars album came out, but this and “Chunky” are the two songs that won me over.  “Too Good To Say Goodbye” gets the edge because even though “Chunky” may be catchier, the sincerity and dripping-with-regret chorus are too relatable to ignore.  Just as 24k Magic seems to be Mars’ answer to Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, “Too Good To Say Goodbye” is his answer to “Mirrors.”  While it may fall just short of those lofty standards, it is still the breakup song of the year by far.  “You’re more than my girl, you’re my best friend.”  D’aww.

And the winner is…

Image result for ariana grande dangerous

“Into You” by Ariana Grande

In a year with some exceptionally high quality radio-geared pop, nobody lit things up quite like everyone’s favorite bunny dominatrix.  “Into You” is an absolute banger.

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Category IV: Honorable Mentions (AOTY Runner Ups)

Foreword: Also a new category.  2016 – more so than any other recent year I can remember – had more of an abundance of great records than it did a few top-tier standouts.  I want to make sure I pay tribute to the overall quality and depth that was brought forth over the last 365 days.  This is just a quick flash back of album covers you should recognize if you want to ensure that you’ve heard the best that 2016 has to offer.  Take notes!

– #20 to #6, in no particular order –

 

Image result for dangerous womanWhat It Means

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Category V: Album Of The Year

– The Nominees –

Radiohead: for A Moon Shaped Pool

For the first time in quite a while, we’re hearing Radiohead craft music that isn’t necessarily pushing an experimental limit, but is rather attempting to piece together the best album they could possibly make this deep into their respective careers. In that sense, this record is more of an OK Computer than it is a Kid A or The King of Limbs, and that’s perfectly fine. For many of us, A Moon Shaped Pool is the album we’ve always wanted but never thought we would get: a simple and beautiful post-2010 indie-rock offering from perhaps the greatest bands of our time. Filled to the brim with gorgeous pianos, acoustic guitars, strings – and with but a few unexpected forays into uncharted musical territory – A Moon Shaped Pool provides us with exactly that.  This may not be Radiohead’s most experimental album, but it is without a doubt their most sonically pleasing, elegant, and acoustically immaculate offering to date – and it just might be their best, too.

 

Kevin Morby: for Singing Saw

Singing Saw is one of those albums that immediately captures your interest, but offers enough depth and hidden intricacies to make every subsequent listen just as rewarding.  I am still uncovering new things about it every time.  It might be the smallest little detail, such as a vocal inflection or guitar lick that I hadn’t previously noticed, or an elevated level of emotion during a verse. I think that is what has me so excited about what Singing Saw can become; each time I listen to it I feel something entirely new and equally as profound. It’s already one of the best albums of 2016 and there are plenty of corners that I haven’t even scratched the surface of exploring yet.  It possesses that timeless quality – and it’s the kind of album that is worth physically owning just to have something to put on the shelf and let your children or grandchildren dust off years from now. The only problem is that I’m not sure it will ever be afforded that opportunity because right now it’s too damn good for me to even bother putting back it in the case. This is one of the year’s top-tier folk records, and I’d venture to say it is a must-own for even the most casual fan of the genre.

 

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Yellowcard: for Yellowcard

With the last seconds ticking away on Yellowcard’s celebrated career, the conclusiveness of it all is overwhelming. Themes of love, loss, and the concept of what home means run throughout the veins of the record, and it feels like a representation of everything that has ever meant anything to both the band and their loyal fans. Yellowcard is a befitting and worthwhile finale to one of the most incredible, memorable rides in the history of pop-punk.  Even with this album marking the band’s definitive end, it’s still difficult to escape that next chapter feeling. After all, as the band members break up to focus on their own lives and families, many of us find ourselves doing the same thing at this exact moment. Who’s to say that just because Yellowcard stopped making music that the story has to end? As we continue our individual journeys through life, we’ll always have moments from this band – throughout our youth and adult life – that tie us together. Whether it is the heartbreak of Ocean Avenue, the renewed hope of Paper Walls, or Southern Air’s sense of letting go – we’ve always kept this band’s summery optimism hidden somewhere inside us. And that’s something that we’ll always have, even as Yellowcard becomes a distant memory.

 

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Bon Iver: for 22, A Million

22, A Million is hands down one of the most important pieces of music you will hear this year. Vernon can take his approach and skew it any which way he wants to, and it somehow takes on even more importance the more he scatters it across various genres and production techniques. Artists like Vernon come along ever so rarely, but when they do, they’re capable of reshaping the landscape of music as we know it. It’s something I think we all suspected when For Emma, Forever Ago hit shelves almost ten years ago, and that feeling was bolstered with the pristine and almost equally brilliant Bon Iver, Bon Iver. However, 22, A Million is an entirely different kind of beast. Not only does it confirm that Vernon is a modern visionary at the forefront of folk, but it sets the new standard for experimentalism in alternative music. We’re just fortunate to hear such progressive beauty unfold right in front of us. Enjoy Bon Iver for the once in a generation project that it is.

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Jimmy Eat World: for Integrity Blues

If Jimmy Eat World looked back at all the fleeting moments that have made up the best times of their career in an effort to piece it all back together, it would sound an awful lot like Integrity Blues. The dreamy sensation and emotional relevance of Futures is apparent here, and the catchier tracks (especially the designated singles) sound as natural as they ever have, at least since Chase This Light. In fact, there’s a line from that album in which Adkins states, “there’s still some living left when your prime comes and goes.” That could easily be about Integrity Blues; an album that has in one fell swoop resurrected the career of Jimmy Eat World long after they’ve already seen their best days. Maybe those memories – or those little moments – never really die. They just become a part of who we are, ready to be brought back whenever we make peace with our surroundings and ourselves.Integrity Blues is proof of that.

And the winner is…

Image result for yellowcard final album lyrics

YELLOWCARD

I have to be honest, this was a virtual five way tie.  In a case where they’re all – in their own unique ways – my AOTY, I have to go with the one I see myself listening to twenty years from now because it just holds that tiny bit of extra special meaning.  That album to me is Yellowcard’s finale.

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Category VI: My 2016 Mixtape

If you’ve read this far, congrats – you’re the reason I actually put effort into these things!  As always, I’d like to leave you all with a representation of the year – it’s not totally inclusive, but basically covers your essential 2016 Sowingcore.  Play it in order, shuffle it, download the songs and make it into a CD, or totally ignore it – the choice is yours!  You’ll need to download Spotify to listen.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this year’s installment of the SMA’s.  Have a happy holiday season and I’ll see you all in a few weeks when I have to help academy defend why Dance Gavin Dance won the staff AOTY…shit – I mean see you next year!

 





SowingSeason
11.29.16
A tad early, but I have a lot of important shit to do over the next month OK?

Beauers
11.29.16
Nice to see Tidal Wave getting in the top 20. Truly probably my joint favourite with Thrice. Seeing Yellowcard's last ever UK show this coming month and I haven't properly listened to the album yet so I need to sort that out.

FullOfSounds
11.29.16
the hyperlink on "submit your complaints" lmao

AsleepInTheBack
11.29.16
Solid read Sowing. Also fuck yes for the Racing Glaciers love on here

FullOfSounds
11.29.16
i'll give this a full read when i get home but it looks great sowing

guitarded_chuck
11.29.16
bad taste, good effort ;)

well done

Jom
11.29.16
I think everybody called your #1 as soon as the new record was announced but it's well-deserved given your intimate connection to the band's music. Thanks also for the Racing Glaciers rec!

Storm In A Teacup
11.29.16
awesome read. figured Yellowcard would break the tie though. It just makes sense considering how big of a fan you are and this was the last one. Good job.

dbizzles
11.29.16
Good shit. Lot's of stuff I haven't heard here. Following you on Spotify now so you should feel honored. FEEEEL IT.

SowingSeason
11.29.16
@Beauers: jealous
@FullOfSounds: I felt it was appropriate ;) and thanks!
@AsleepInTheBack: Keep reppin'
@guitarded_chuck: thanks man - different tastes but appreciate the compliment
@Jom: yw, and yeah I knew my #1 would be a shocker!
@Storm In A Teacup: thx man, and you hit the nail on the head it was just that - a tie breaker.
@dbizzles: honored man...nobody followed me since I did this same type of post a year ago!





Willie
11.29.16
Yep. Yellowcard in first place was a no-brainer. Nice write up.

SowingSeason
11.29.16
Thanks Willie!

onionbubs
11.29.16
glared at the playlist to see it has gates - eyes on it

helllllllll yes

3waycrash
11.29.16
Nice end-of-the-year list and write-up! I was looking forward to it, and a lot of these were to be expected considering your ratings and reviews posted prior to this. Nonetheless I'm always interested in hearing your thoughts on albums. I usually take these as recommendations seeing as a lot of the things you like are ones that I tend to like too or end up liking. Going to be checking some of these out for sure.

DoofusWainwright
11.29.16
Good lookin' list and I like some of your song of the year picks too

zakalwe
11.29.16
blackstar single came out in 2015.
I actually share some things in common with sowing when it comes to musical taste.
My self worth has now deflated to such a point I'm going to off myself.

Flugmorph
11.29.16
its not like i like you or anything, BAKAA
tbh tho this is a beautiful article sowing. You can be proud

SowingSeason
11.29.16
@onionbubs: it's one song I kept forgetting about throughout the year because the album was just alright - but yeah that is a great song
@3waycrash: thanks man, much appreciated. I hope you find many of these enjoyable!
@doofus: yeah I knew you'd like seeing DBT and Bowie on there
@zak: it's ok, embrace your mainstream side
@flug: thx man =)

FullOfSounds
11.29.16
Really nice SOTY pick, it's up there for me.

I disagree with all of your top 5 but they're all fine albums in their own right, nice descriptions!

SowingSeason
11.29.16
Thanks FullOfSounds - yeah SOTY was a tough pick for me too but it basically boiled down to that "extra little push" it gets from how much that album and song cements his legacy. MUch in the same way YC got the edge for AOTY because of its importance to their catalog and to me personally.

FullOfSounds
11.29.16
Yellowcard's only been about a 3 for me in the past, decided to skip over the new one

SowingSeason
11.29.16
I don't blame you. If you're not already a YC fan the new/last album won't do anything to change that.

macman76
11.29.16
Your 2014 list has the image

SowingSeason
11.29.16
Well look at that it does

Too late though I already gave the new trophies out to Racing Glaciers, David Bowie (RIP), Ariana Grande, and Yellowcard.

macman76
11.29.16
When Ariana Grande reads this and has to click on second link to print out her real trophy, she's gonna come at you with a whip, Sowing

SowingSeason
11.29.16
please god

ShitsofRain
11.29.16
sowing still sowing

SowingSeason
11.29.16
I'll take that statement of consistency as a compliment =)

ZippaThaRippa
11.29.16
I don't know what I expected

Dewinged
11.29.16
Still haven't checked Yellowcard and Racing Glaciers, no surprise sbout Ariana, your avatar would have turned against you otherwise ;)

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
11.29.16
Chuck be all, "Y iz not Blonde the top albm tho? And Pablo, whabout Pablo?"

AtomicWaste
11.29.16
I think everybody called your #1 as soon as the new record was announced [2]

Didn't realize you were that into Blackstar, though - a pleasant surprise!

theacademy
11.29.16
sad that synthia slipped for you :S

SowingSeason
11.30.16
@Atomic - Yeah, didn't talk about it very much except when it was released early on in the year. It's in my top 10.

@academy - Still in my top 10! But yeah this year was insane so many 5's and 4.5's

SowingSeason
11.30.16
What's most surprising is that Weezer come in at #6 for me and it was a labor to keep them out of my top 5. That album is gold.

Drifter
11.30.16
I still can't decide between Dangerous Woman and Views for my AOTY. Both are amazing albums, but I took 7 tracks off Views to make it that good, so.. Dangerous Woman might just be my pick actually. I dont really plan on listening to more 2016 stuff tbh

Drifter
11.30.16
I still can't decide between Dangerous Woman and Views for my AOTY. Both are amazing albums, but I took 7 tracks off Views to make it that good, so.. Dangerous Woman might just be my pick actually. I dont really plan on listening to more 2016 stuff tbh

Drifter
11.30.16
Oops, double post

Artuma
11.30.16
did you make up the "mainstream pop" category simply so that ariana could win something?

dbizzles
11.30.16
Fuck. I guess i slept on Kevin Morby. Never even heard of him, but that song is great and if the album's anything like it, I may have stumbled into exactly what I need this time of year.

klap
11.30.16
nicely done. singing saw def in my top 5 hell maybe 3

TalonsOfFire
11.30.16
Awesome blog Sowing, and like Atomic I'm pleasantly surprised to find out how much you love Blackstar, the song and album.

Totally agree on Landing Cliffs, Stand and Deliver, Daydreaming, and Girl in Amber being among the best songs of the year too. I'll be sure to check out the songs on your playlist I haven't heard yet.

ashcrash9
11.30.16
"What's most surprising is that Weezer come in at #6 for me and it was a labor to keep them out of my top 5. That album is gold."
Pretty sure it's actually white

stupid joke aside, nice writeup, Sowing. Endless thanks for reviewing Racing Glaciers too, that's been a fave of mine this year I likely would've overlooked had you not

Clumseee
11.30.16
Sowing, have you not heard Pinegrove's Cardinal?

Itwasthatwas
11.30.16
just because you typed up so many words, some album is going to come out and make you reconsider your whole list in december

greg84
11.30.16
I'm actually quite surprised how few of these I'm familiar with haha. Top-notch blurbs though, Sowing.

Asdfp277
11.30.16
Ariana Grande's Into You yessssssssssssssss

RadicalEd
11.30.16
I enjoyed reading this. But I don't like most of the music here.

SowingSeason
11.30.16
@Drifter: Didn't hear Views but Dangerous Woman is certainly my pop AOTY
@Artuma: ~or~ to have an excuse to post as many pics of her as possible
@dbizzles: let me know what you think. there are about 2 tracks that are duds but the rest are insanely brilliant
@klap: awesome, will come in at #3 or #4 for me officially, I think
@TalonsOfFire: yeah I seem to remember us agreeing on a lot of songs this year. not too many were keen on landing cliffs / the new explosions' album in general, so flad to see someone else shares my enthusiasm
@ashcrash: I lol'd which speaks to the dryness of my humor at times. yw for racing glaciers, it was one of those records I came across by chance and had to spread the word
@clumsee: nope...should I have? if so link me up a song plz
@itwasthatwas: you're probably right - it happens every year
@greg84: thx man, and yeah the 'new artists' section was pretty underground (or maybe just unfamiliar) so that's prob where you're catching that vibe...hope you enjoy some of these releases though
@Asdfp277: god your username is difficult to remember. but anyway yeah, easy pop SOTY for me plus she's a godsend to the eyes
@radicaled: thx! same difference of opinion as every year but love the mutual respect (i think?) - anyway, I'm sure about half the readers here agree w/ you

Pangea
11.30.16
This was a joy to read as usual. I agree with your song picks

Artuma
11.30.16
"~or~ to have an excuse to post as many pics of her as possible"

i'll allow it

SowingSeason
11.30.16
lol thanks artuma

and thx pangea as well - do you mean the SOTY picks, the pop SOTY picks, the playlist picks, or all of them?

Fort23
11.30.16
good to see sowing season still mobbin, this list lacks a whole lot of G HERBOO THO

guitarded_chuck
11.30.16
fuck hip hop

SowingSeason
11.30.16
I hear a top-25 worthy hip hop album like once every 2-3 years

The most recent ones I can remember making these sorts of lists for me were Kendrick Lamar (good kid, not the totally average t.p.a.b.), The Roots' Undun, and Kanye's Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

So basically, it needs to be like a fucking iconic hip hop or rap album to even get on my radar. I admit it is a big flaw in my music taste, but I am what I am.

guitarded_chuck
11.30.16
its ok, at least you acknowledge gkmc>tpab ;)

Fort23
11.30.16
ahhh yall brazy

SandwichBubble
11.30.16
Good stuff. Almost makes me want to make a best-of 2016 list. Almost.

guitarded_chuck
11.30.16
btw if there's one hh album you should give some attention to this year i'd say try the new a tribe called quest album

SowingSeason
11.30.16
I've heard good things about that all around so I'll def check, thx for the reminder

JWT155
11.30.16
I enjoyed the new Yellowcard but can't say I expected it at the top of any lists.

SowingSeason
11.30.16
You had to know it was near the top of my list though lol

JWT155
11.30.16
With the 5 review yes lol just checked out the Racing Glaciers for the first time, good stuff. I feel like you may dig the new Yeasayer album.

SowingSeason
11.30.16
Hmm never heard anything by them so I'll have to peruse a few of their more well known songs

JWT155
11.30.16
O.N.E. is probably their most popular track and I Am Chemistry and Silly Me are both catchy off their newest record.

Pangea
11.30.16
"and thx pangea as well - do you mean the SOTY picks, the pop SOTY picks, the playlist picks, or all of them?"

Both the soty and the pop soty picks

RadicalEd
11.30.16
"thx! same difference of opinion as every year but love the mutual respect (i think?)"

bruh I joined the site because one of your reviews, so sure. ;)

MH18
11.30.16
Thanks Sowing! Not just for this list or all of your amazing reviews but also for turning me onto so much music over the years. Some of the music I found through you helped me through some dark times. Thanks!

dbizzles
11.30.16
Yeah, Sowing, check O.N.E. and Ambling Alp from Odd Blood (my favorite), Forgiveness from All Hour Cymbals and Henrietta from Fragrant World.
Checked that full Kevin Morby album, btw and it is pretty solid. Gonna have to listen more to settle on a rating, but it's a 4 at the very least for me.

klap
11.30.16
second the pinegrove rec. check out "old friends"

theBoneyKing
11.30.16
Pinegrove rules

TVC15
11.30.16
Idk why I found the results of this anticlimactic

Still quality but maybe it's cos it's not close to the end of the year that it's not quite hitting me lol

neekafat
11.30.16
We all know AOTY is The Stage guys

pjquinones747
11.30.16
Heard an interview with Yellowcard, got me interested in hearing this. I enjoyed this read, btw.

SowingSeason
11.30.16
@JWT: thanks, I'll start with those tracks =)
@pangea: sweet...wasn't sure how well people would receive a whole category of pop, but for as bad as albums usually are and for as much as radio usually murders singles, I feel the best ones still deserved recognition
@radicaled: awesome I had no idea. wish I knew which review now.
@MH18: my pleasure dude, I love reviewing music and it's rewarding to know that people read them and go on to enjoy the albums
@klap/boney: not sure where I was when tha album was released, but it sounds pretty nice. really enjoyed old friends so I'll probably locate the whole record somewhere and give it a full go.
@TVC: yeah I can see this being too early...I just needed to get it in before December hit because it's going to be a busier month for me IRL
@neekafat: if I did a metal category that actually would have made it sheerly on the basis that I listen to such little metal nowadays
@pjquinones: which interview? and thx!


pjquinones747
11.30.16
It was on ESPN Music radio or something like that.

SowingSeason
11.30.16
ESPN music? Is that a thing?

pjquinones747
11.30.16
That's what I said.

SowingSeason
11.30.16
lol I just looked it up, thanks

didn't seem like something that would be, umm, something.

pjquinones747
11.30.16
I was listening to ESPN radio on Sunday to satiate my masochistic fandom of my horrible local football team and heard something about Yellowcard. It made my day a little less shitty.

SowingSeason
12.01.16
I've always been a huge panthers fan (since the year after their inception, actually) which was awesome in 2003 and 2015 but outside of that has been mostly rough. This year is just downright depressing.

Slex
12.01.16
Thanks to this list, I gave Racing Glaciers another shot, and my rating went from a 3.5 to a 4.5. Also really liked the dne album.
Most thankful that this convinced me to check out Singing Saw tho, might just have to 5 it

RadicalEd
12.01.16
@ Sowing: Republic of Wolves - Varuna.^^

SowingSeason
12.01.16
@Freddie: it always delights me when people take heed of the albums that make my list and end up enjoying them. Racing Glaciers is one of my new favorite artists, dne is beautiful, and Kevin Morby, as you stated, is a borderline classic.

@RadEd: oh wow really? Wouldn't have guessed that one because it's a really old review (right before they made me a contrib) and it was only moderately popular here (there was definite interest, but it didn't take off the way Tigers On Trains did for example). Either way, that's awesome and I appreciate that you've enjoyed the pieces I've written over the years. Also always fun to reminisce to the good old sput days.

RadicalEd
12.01.16
Yeah I was registered on another account and did some less active posting with that between 2010 (the year that you reviewed that album) and 2013 (where I made RadEd account). But I forgot the password of that account^^.

That review is good (although you've written much better since then), but what really got me was how much I enjoyed the album after checking it out because of your review. I just had to get more of those sweet recs for band's I've never even heard of.

Archelirion
12.01.16
Great write-up :] I don't think I've heard a single thing off here beyond Blackstar, so I'm gonna download that playlist and educate myself.

I always seem to associate Lazarus more with Bowie's passing than the t/t. It's got a finality to it that's incredibly moving.

SowingSeason
12.01.16
@RadEd: no idea you were around back then, wonder if I talked to you via your other account and just didn't know it?
@Archelerion: I associate that more with his death too, but for the sake of SOTY contenders the t/t is far better IMO. Let me know how you like the playlist!

RadicalEd
12.01.16
Nah I don't think so, I was not very active.

Atari
12.01.16
good shit Sowing. You guys are making me want to get off my lazy ass and submit something

SowingSeason
12.02.16
@Atari: I'd love to see a year-end blog from you, we usually overlap - esp. in the pop-punk arena

Atari
12.02.16
We'll see ;] There are definitely some albums I'd have to revisit though. Guess I need to take a break from jamming records from the '60s and '70s and start thinking about my favorites from this year haha

SowingSeason
12.02.16
Nah nothing wrong with those decades

I need to cool it on new releases and go back every now and then. I grew up on classic rock and 70s prog and have strayed very far from my roots

NorwichScene
12.02.16
Guess I better check out Racing Glaciers.

One for you: The Pattern Forms - Peel Away the Ivy

Rowan5215
12.02.16
hey, Sowing. You need All Human - Teenagers, You Don't Have to Die in your life. thank me later

SowingSeason
12.03.16
Thanks guys, I'll check them both out

DaveyBoy
12.03.16
Guys, guys, guys, don't you know that Sowing is busy & has already posted his year-end list... Stop rec'ing him stuff here.

PS: I shoutboxed you something you might like.

NorwichScene
12.03.16
Haha, you're a legend Davey

SowingSeason
12.03.16
Haha ilu bb < 3

Danred97
12.03.16
Well written as usual Sowing. I admit I haven't listened to many of these, but as usual you make a good case. I'll check out the playlist later I guess.

dbizzles
12.03.16
Just listened to THAT TBS song in the playlist and.. just... what the fuck? Where did that sound come from?

dbizzles
12.03.16
Oops, CAPS!

SowingSeason
12.04.16
@DanRed: thanks dude much appreciated. yeah the playlist is a decent synopsis of my 2016 year musically, although I'd of course recommend listening to the albums the songs are from as my favorite individual tracks may not provide the best overall reflection of the artist

@dbizzles: I actually think it works better in caps lol. That song was hard to leave off my list because it's incredibly catchy (although obviously derivative), but if you like TBS in general I'd definitely recommend spinning the whole album. It was a top 10 this year for me personally.

grandfather
12.06.16
Good read, very excited to check out Racing Glaciers. I don't pay attention to which users like what but I'm stoked as fuck to not have seen Danny Brown

SmileNerd
12.06.16
Disagreed with a large majority of the list but eh whatevs good read boi

SowingSeason
12.06.16
@grandfather: let me know what you think!
@smilenerd: thanks! to each his own...

FullOfSounds
12.06.16
Ay Atari post something so you can rep Regina!

Feather
12.07.16
What a year its been. I enjoyed most of what you enjoyed :-)
Nice mixtape

SowingSeason
12.08.16
Thanks Feather. Agreed, it's been a phenomenal year.

Atari
12.08.16
@FullOfSounds, haha. I know I'll be posting something eventually. May not be in a shiny blog post like this due to time restraints and my lack of skills in that area, but I'll be posting a 2016 list at the very least.

Metalstyles
12.11.16
Nice job on the list as always Sowing. I will listen to that Yellowcard record in hope that maybe I can gather a fracture of what you did out of it.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.11.16
Sowings 2016 soundtrack to being a 16 year old girl

Lord(e)Po)))ts
12.11.16
why take HRT when you can just listen to sowing seasons yearly music awards

Sikes789
12.17.16
Google

KevinKC
12.22.16
Thank you sowingseason for this list of great stuff !

MasterSplinter
12.23.16
Do you not listen to metal/hardcore? To each their own, and a good read nonetheless.

SowingSeason
12.23.16
Not too much. I don't have anything against those genres, they're just not really my thing. It usually takes a game changing metal album to register with me and make my year end list.

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