Five album releases to get excited about in 2016

HAIM, image source:

HAIM, image source:

If you don’t think 2015 was a good year for music, maybe you are deaf. Or perhaps, you pride yourself in being super underground and are therefore too enlightened to listen to Adele. In that case, you probably hated the month of December, because it was impossible to take in any medium of media without hearing her say, “Hello.” It’s true. By most standards, including my own, 2015 gave us so many repeat-worthy albums. And I will not lie to you. Adele’s 25 is in my car’s CD player right now. It’s currently in rotation with Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams and Ellie Goulding’s Delirium. All three of these admittedly hyper-mainstream albums were not released until November or December, but were well worth the wait.

“So, what do we have to look forward to in 2016?” You may ask. “Will we have to wait until the end of the year again? Is there even anything I have to live for?” Don’t start rioting yet.
2016 has hope for some hot, fresh tunes. Here is my personal list of anticipated albums that I’m biting my fingernails over. In some cases, there are definite titles and release dates. Others are highly suspected. Here’s a grain of salt, friends, read with it in mind.

  1. The Head and The HeartTitle Unreleased

The Head and The Heart came onto the Americana/indie/folk scene in 2011 with a self-titled debut that was Sub Pop’s best selling album in years. Their flawless harmonies and upbeat nature is addictive. To me, they are a perfect example of what’s come out of the folk revival. They gained a significant following touring with Dave Matthews in amphitheaters across the nation. In 2013, they released Let’s Be Still, an experimental to the left of their debut. Last year, they promised a 2016 release via Twitter. They have a couple of summer shows lined up, a confirmation of new material. What’s most frustrating is that’s all they’ve revealed.

  1. The 1975I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It

It’s a title that’s been deemed “pretentious” by Billboard, and well, who can argue? However, I think that the conspicuous name is rather telling of what this album is going to be about: exaggeration, excess, and flash-ery. Even more revealing is the fact that three singles have been released into the public, and we are still six weeks out from the Feb. 26 release. “Love Me,” “UGH!” and “The Sound” are all upbeat tunes, which hint toward a definite pop sound to be expected from the album, a slight turn from the “alternative” label bestowed upon their previous 2013 debut. Consequence Of Sound writes, “In a few weeks, we’ll see if they aspire to save pop music, or merely join its rank and follow.”

  1. BeckTitle Unreleased

The first single from Beck’s new project, “Dreams,” was released on June 15 last year. Having won the album of the year Grammy in 2014, one might think that Beck would consider sticking with what works. This single is airy, electric, and exciting; 2014’s Morning Phase is often described as somber and has a definite “chill” factor. Not that we can expect consistency per se from Beck, professional genre hopper. Maybe that’s why everyone freaks out when he has something new for us—we just don’t know what we’re in for.

  1. HAIMTitle Unreleased

            Having spent a large chunk of 2015 touring with Taylor Swift’s biggest album yet, the three sisters of HAIM have secured a nation-sized audience for their sophomore album in the works. That’s not to say they’re freshmen in music. They previously toured with acts like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Kesha. One of the sisters was even a part of CeeLo Green’s touring back up band called “Scarlet Fever.” It’s no wonder Swift wanted them to preface her show. HAIM sounds like they would have been fire in the year 1989. Their staccato vocals are backed with synth-laced dance-able beats, a fresh sound that nods to pop queens of the 1980s. It’s been almost three years since their last release and they told BBC Radio 1 in October: “The oven is pre-heated and the oven door is open.”

  1. Bon IverTitle Unreleased

“Ugh, Bon Iver is so depressing.” I know you’ve said it because I have too. But I need more music for my sad days. Bon Iver just gets it—the meaningless and the meanness that life seems to have sometimes. And he writes awesome songs about it so we can think about it and cry, because it’s actually really healthy to cry, so come on, Bon Iver, our health is now at stake! It’s been eight years since “Skinny Love.” EIGHT YEARS. Justin Vernon, the actual man behind the pseudonym, actually walked away from his Bon Iver project in 2012, stating to Rolling Stone, “There’s so much attention on the band, it can be distracting at times.” He has since been musically involved with Volcano Choir, an equally hipster folk-y endeavor with a heavier sound. However, he is currently touring in Asia as Bon Iver and premiered two unnamed songs at Eax Claires Festival in July 2015, in Vernon’s hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I think we can expect something new and inevitably heartfelt before the end of the year.