2016 Favorites: Album

My top 20 albums of 2016, in no particular order, are:

If I had to pick one album as “Karan’s Album of the Year” for 2016 I would say that would have to be Magma by Gojira.

When Gojira announced that they were releasing a new album in 2016 the Internet was abuzz with excitement. Me? Not so much; at that point in time I liked maybe 1-2 Gojira songs. However, given the excitement I sensed online I decided to give Gojira (just like I’d given Deafheaven) another chance.

I’m so glad I did.

Gojira’s music blew my mind. The guitar and bass riffs were groovy, dark, and crushing. Joe’s vocals were perfect for the tone of the music. Mario quickly became one of my favorite drummers. The musical atmosphere they created with each album was unparalleled.

In the months leading up to Magma‘s release I listened to Gojira almost every other day.

When Magma finally came out I listened to it on repeat for several days. I fell in love with this record. It was very different from Gojira’s previous releases — it was less heavy, featured clean(er) vocals, and was shorter and more straightforward (in terms of musical composition). But it was still a fantastic, beautiful record. It dealt with love and loss in a way only Gojira could. The picture it painted with its music was sublime. Each song is powerful and evocative on its own, and together they mesh together to create a aural masterpiece.

Island

“If you were stuck on an island and had to pick three songs to listen to for the rest of your life, what would you choose?”

Well. I’m glad you asked. Here’s what I would pick.

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen: This is (in my humble opinion) the greatest song ever made. Freddie Mercury’s mesmerizing vocals, Brian May’s incredible guitar work, the changing sections and tempos — all combine to form a masterpiece. This is also my favorite karaoke song.

Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin: The guitar solo is gorgeous.

Master of Puppets by Metallica: This song defines heavy metal music for me. It was the first Metallica song I ever heard and I fell in love instantly. When I started playing guitar this was the first Metallica song I tried to learn. And no, that didn’t end too well for me unfortunately.

What would you pick?

 

100

I’ve been tracking all the artists I’ve seen live since 2013, and a few weeks ago (at my third Outside Lands festival) this tally reached 100.


The first artist I saw live was Chevelle at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA on July 8th 2014. I remember standing on the fringes of the mosh pit and being extremely scared that I would be sucked in (I didn’t). I also remember being amazed by how good the band sounded live, and how talented each and every member was. Needless to say I had a fantastic time — I was blown away by the whole experience, and by the time Chevelle came back on stage for their encore I’d already decided that I would try and see as many concerts as possible.


It’s really hard to pick a favorite show of the 100+ I’ve seen. A top 5 list (in no particular order) would probably feature Tame Impala (at Coachella 2016), AC/DC, Metallica, TesseracT, Deafheaven. Not only do Tame Impala sound sublime live (I’m so excited to see them again on September 3rd), but the lights and videos they use during their live sets elevate their music to another level. AC/DC and Metallica hold huge sentimental value for me since they were the bands I grew up listening to, and seeing them live was an emotional experience. TesseracT is my (current) favorite band and the first progressive metal band I enjoyed listening to, and they were awesome live (very excited to see them again with Gojira on October 7th). Plus I got to meet the band before the show which was very cool! Deafheaven was easily the most intense show I’ve been to. Though given the type of music they play this is to be expected.


The bands I’ve seen the most times live are Tennis and Mastodon. The last time I saw Mastodon was when they played the night before my 25th birthday. It was a great birthday gift (yes, I do know it was a day early).


The Chevelle show ignited a love for live music within me that still shines brightly today.

Sunrise

I got to see Haitus Kaiyote at Outside Lands 2016 last weekend. They were one of the best bands I’ve seen live so far. Seeing them live gave me a newfound love and appreciation for their music and I’ve been listening to their songs all of last week. Not only is their music beautiful, but the pictures they paint with their lyrics are gorgeous as well, and some of them seem to appeal to my current state of mind.