We can all agree that 2016 wasn’t the greatest year. However, if there was one medium that got me through all the chaos, it was music. Nothing shortened the agonizing metro rides more than the sounds of MZShaidu and Casey Williams. There were three albums in particular this year that rose above the rest, proving that this decade has still got it when it comes to music. Here are my top 3 albums of 2015:
#3- RWBY Volume 3: The Original Soundtrack
Artist: Jeff & Casey Williams
RWBY has the hands down greatest soundtracks of any piece of visual media. Not only does the music compliment the show perfectly, but each volume’s soundtrack stands alone as a fantastic album in its own right. Although RWBY Volume 1 still holds up as my favorite album of the trio, Volume 3 is a close contender. This album covers the gamut of genre and tone, ranging from upbeat pop tracks to somber orchestral pieces. Variety isn’t its only impressive feat. Each individual song is some of the best its genre has to offer. Divide is one of my all time favorite metal songs. Cold, with its beautiful orchestral backing, manages to make me tear up with each listening. Whichever genre of music you prefer, this album has it all, and at top quality for that matter.
#2- Bedroom Bedrock
Artist: MZShaidu (Vocals by Digibro and Endless Jess)
When I found out that Digibro and Endless Jess, my two all time favorite YouTubers and some of my biggest creative inspirations, were making a rap album together, I was ecstatic. This hype was only amplified when I learned that MZShaidu (Digibro’s brother), one of the best electronic musicians working today, was producing the beats. Despite my anticipation, Bedroom Bedrock did not disappoint. It quickly became my most listened to album of the year; I’ve probably heard it about 30 times all the way through. However, what stands out about Bedroom Bedrock to me the most is that it managed to make me appreciate a genre of music that I formerly hated- rap. The masterful writing of both Digibro and Endless Jess was extremely evident in the lyrics of every single track. It made me understand that rap wasn’t simply an outlet for artists to talk about all the sex and money that they have; rap can be poetry. Songs like Get Action! and ROTTEN are some of the most clever, well-written, and relatable “poems” I’ve ever heard. Listening to this album brought me back to the days where I was obsessed with poetry, reading legends like Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman for the first time. If you don’t like rap based on the same assumptions I had, you should definitely give this album a listen.
#1- Sunset Memories
Genre: Synth Wave & Vocaloid
Sunset Memories is an album that was meant for 2016. In a year full of stark pessimism, we needed this. The short, but masterful record transports listeners into a future of optimism. This is a world of sprawling metropolis, flying cars, and humans coexisting seamlessly and peacefully with robots. The biggest worry the album’s protagonist has to face is falling in love with her best friend. The fact that he is a robot isn’t even an afterthought. The best part about Sunset Memories is that everything I just mentioned isn’t even expressed through lyrics. The genius world building is all ingrained in the aesthetic of the music. This is especially made apparent in the fantastic music video for This Feeling is a Cliche, which is a must watch, regardless if you are planning to listen to the album in its entirety. That’s what makes Sunset Memories so genius; it builds an entire world without even saying a single word about it. I know this expression is thrown around alot, but sitting back and closing your eyes while listening to this album will transport you. You will forget about all of the stress and worry of your daily life, and, just like Retro Gumi and Chromo 2000, focus on love in a beautiful future. If that isn’t something that people need this year, then I don’t know what is.