The most anticipated albums list is a yearly tradition around these parts—and a year exercise in futility. Last year I was fairly on point, actually, correctly naming seven bands who released albums. But my top two (Kanye and Run The Jewels) were fairly quiet in 2015, unless you count the Meow The Jewels mixtape. I also whiffed on Frank Ocean, but who didn’t? That’s all to say that these ten seem fairly definite. Kanye has to drop SWISH in 2016, right? And Mike and El were posting cuts from the studio on Instagram earlier this week. Here are the records I can’t wait for in 2016:
Alvvay’s 2014 debut was an underrated slice of indie pop perfection. Singles like “Archie, Marry Me” ruled the day, but it’s a deep album. I’m curious to see how their sound evolves on their sophomore effort.
M83 remains one of the more interesting musical projects out there, equal parts cinematic and emotionally stirring. I’d like to see Gonzalez take a more pop approach with this latest effort and tone down the rousing crescendos a bit. Possibly a tall order.
Lorde has ceased to exist for about a year now. Does that mean she’s working on some new tunes? Hopefully. She’s a unique musical voice and is still only nineteen (!) years old. The strides should could make on this album could be massive.
7. Grizzly Bear
And where have these guys been? While they maybe haven’t gotten better with each album, they have gotten different, taking their music in exciting, rewarding directions. I’d like to see a bit of that Veckatimest precision on this latest effort, but more pressingly I just want some new Grizzly Bear music in my life.
6. Sleigh Bells
Sure, their first single was kind of rough. I don’t care. I’m a Sleigh Bells apologist, even if that means I might be stuck in some 2011 time warp. I still believe this band has another great album in them.
5. Vampire Weekend
This is maybe the least definite of any of the albums listed here, but my enthusiasm is nonetheless high. Vampire Weekend is in a pretty crazy spot with this album. After three really strong releases, each setting the expectations higher than the last, VW has a shot at “Best Current American Band” status if they nail this fourth LP.
God only knows what this album will sound like. It’s Radiohead. They’re maybe a little past their prime, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still some of most innovative musicians working today.
3. Kanye West
You can pretty much apply what was said about Radiohead to this blurb. Who knows where Kanye will go with this album? The rap landscape was insane in 2015. Kendrick. Drake. Future. Kanye has to find a way to stand out. He needs to set the direction for rap’s next step.
2. Run The Jewels
RTJ and RTJII are among my favorite albums of this decade, and I can’t wait for RTJIII, an album that will likely be 10 great songs about cats and Bernie Sanders. It will probably be my favorite album of the year.
1. Animal Collective
“Floridada” is a killer single that has set expectations sky-high for AnCo’s return. It appears to be a more stripped-down, reverb-light collection of pop songs. Say no more, boys. I am 100% ready.