Category: Music, Reviews

These are the albums we couldn’t get enough of this year. The diverse list features chart-topping veterans, a country music legend, a brother-sister duo, a 90’s indie music Queen and a foul mouth comedian with a heart of gold.

Anna Rose, “Strays In The Cut”
Her musical prowess is unparalleled when Anna Rose opens her mouth greatness fills the air. It’s the raw passion she emotes throughout every song especially in album opener, “Force of Nature” that sets the tone for what is sure to be a six track tour de force. A slight growl, a blend of bluesy guitar, Anna Rose knows exactly how to get “Under Your Skin” with fearless rock n roll. This record is simply a taste of what this New York rocker can do. For those reasons and many more “Strays In The Cut” is our pick for Album of the Year.

Nico Padden, “A Light In The Dark”
During the making of Nico Padden’s “A Light In The Dark” she broke her foot. The passion and labor of love that went into this project is evident in each track. Her folksy vocals, although powerful in tracks like, “Hunger” is soothing and playful at times as best showcased in “Fish out of water.” Other stand out tracks includes the furiously soulful up-tempo, “I Get Down” and the heartbreakingly beautiful “2AM.” Nico Padden’s “A Light In The Dark” was a contender for Album of The Year.

Jocelyn & Chris Arndt, “Edges”
Voted Fan Favorite of 2016 on this brother and sister duo, Jocelyn and Chris Ardnt show no signs of slowing down. Their critically acclaimed EP, “Edges” features smoky vocals courtesy of Jocelyn and killer guitar licks from Chris. Their lyrics are smart and fun and may have something to do with their Ivy League education. Standout tracks include, “Shame” and “Hot” which can routinely be heard on Sinister Girlz Live.

Dolly Parton, “Pure & Simple”
2016 provided us with a very diverse and entertaining soundtrack. From a country living legend (Dolly Parton) to an electric child (Anna Rose) the music of 2016 was fresh, insightful and raw and no one did quite as eloquently and beautifully as Dolly Parton. “Pure & Simple” is Dolly Parton’s 43rd solo studio album and became Parton’s seventh No. 1 country album, her first in twenty-five years. The titled track, “Pure & Simple” is perhaps her most beautiful love song to date and that’s saying a lot considering she’s penned some of the most iconic love songs of all time (“I Will Always Love You”). What makes this album special is that it came out at the right time, it’s an album that’s warm, heartfelt and full of storytelling and what more could we ask for in this climate?

Lady Gaga, “Joanne”
Joanne is the album we’ve all been waiting for from Gaga. Gone are the days of over produced dance tunes (although fun and enjoyable the message was often lost behind the pageantry and theatrics that came with the persona). “Joanne” is more stripped down allowing her heartfelt lyrics and powerful vocals to shine. The album, titled after her deceased aunt features the hauntingly beautiful song titled, “Joanne” which begs her to stay and overcome her illness. But the album is more than just a tribute, it features up-tempo tracks like, “Perfect Illusion,” the anthem, “A-YO” and the powerful ballad, “Million Reasons.” We all knew Gaga had it in her and we are so proud that she took this time to showcase her true talents.

Meghan Trainor, “Thank You”
Meghan Trainor’s sophomore album, “Thank You” has been on constant rotation on Sinister Girlz Live since its release in May of this year. Each week we kicked off the show with a track off “Thank You,” and danced along to her catchy pop, retro-R&B inspired tunes. For the second year in a row Meghan Trainor has delivered infectious, introspective, female empowering and body positive anthems while maintaining a sense of humor. The M Train shows no signs of slowing down.

Beyoncé, “Lemonade”
Fearless and undeniably powerful Beyoncé “came to slay, bitch” as she reminds us in her Black Power anthem and album closer, “Formation.” Beyoncé’s sixth solo album, a visual one the second of its kind, “Lemonade” explores the ups and down of a relationship and poses the questions how do you come back from infidelity? Is there redemption? Could there be forgiveness? Explored exquisitely and framed within the five stages of grief Beyoncé juxtaposes her rage and resentment in her salacious track, “Hold Up” with an up-tempo beat. After admitting to scrolling through her lover’s call list she asks, “What’s worse, looking jealous or crazy? Jealous or crazy? Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately…” and she decides she’d “rather be crazy.”

Amy Schumer, “The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo” (audiobook)
In the past we’ve selected audiobooks of celebrity memoirs for our best of list (JLO, Joe Perry, and Kathy Griffin) and this year’s selection features a mouthy comedian who assures listeners that this book is not a memoir; it’s a book of essays. In the audiobook she recounts past life experiences that will either have you laughing out loud or feeling guilty for laughing at her pain. She’s honest and unapologetic and at times brash. Amy Schumer isn’t for everyone her humor may not gel well with mainstream America (she’s hilarious in my opinion) but she is honest and fearless and that should be commended.

Lisa Loeb, “Feel What U Feel”
Released exclusively on Amazon, Lisa Loeb’s children’s album is sophisticated enough for grownups. “Feel What U Feel” is as fun as it is educational. The opening track, “Moon Star Pie (It’s Gonna Be Alright)” talks about making anything you dream into a reality and soothingly reassures, “everything is gonna be alright.” With the help of The Office stars Craig Robinson and Ed Helms Lisa Loeb is able to explore a different side of her songwriting; the tracks with Robinson give a more urban feel while Helms song makes a great use of the banjo. Her songs are never preachy or talks down to the young listeners it simply uplifts and informs its audience.