This poll, Critics Poll 27 on the Tris McCall site, has been around
for 27 years, and while I haven’t done all 27, I have been
taking part in it for several years. A lot of fun, with the difference
between my earlier top ten post and this,
is that I had to rank albums and singles. Enjoyed them all, and
the catagories. They were also a lot of fun to do.
Album of the Year Nice As Fuck S/T
#2 Tegan and Sara Love You To Death
#3 Mitski Puberty 2
#4 Darlingside Birds Say*
#5 Game Theory - Big Shot Chronicles
#6 Angel Olsen My Women
#7 Margret Glaspy Emotions And Math
#8 Esme Patterson We Were Wild
#9 Game Theory Lolita Nation
#10 Whitney Light Upon The Lake
Album honorable mention(s) Case/Lang/Vires, Warpaint Heads Up, Joesph I’m Alone, No You’re Not, Sad13 Slugger, Mavis Staples Livin On A High Note, Speedy Ortiz Death Note, Moth Chairlift, Tacocat Lost Times, Shaky Graves, And The War Came*, Colleen Green, I Want To Grow Up.
Song of the Year - Special Teams SunFire
#2 Nice As Fuck Door
#3 Game Theory - Erica’s Word
#4 Tegan & Sara U Turn
#5 No Matter Where We Go Whitney
#6 Tacocat The Internet
#7 Darlingside Go Back*
#8 Game Theory Slip
#9 You and I Margret Glaspy
#10 Angel Olsen Shut Up Kiss Me
Single honorable mention(s) Sad 13 Get A Yes, Joesph White Flag, and SOS (Overboard), Angel Olsen Give It Up, NAF Cookie Lips, Warpaint New Song, Mitsuki, A Loving Feeling & Your Best American Girl, Daws When the Tequila Runs Out, Roll With The Punches, Miniature Tigers Crying In The Sunshine, Tacocat I Hate The Weekend, Case/Lang/Viers Atomic Number, The Shins Dead/Alive, Courtney Barnett Three Packs A Day, Mavis Staples High Note, Bonnie Raitt, Gypsy In Me, No Such Thing As Illusion Chairlift, Margret Glaspy Emotions And Math, Colleen Green Pay Attention, Tegan and Sara Boyfriend, Shaky Graves Dearly Departed*, Quilt Roller, Tancred Bed Case.
Best singing Darlingside - the whole band harmonizing.*
Best rapping The cast of Hamilton.*
Best songwriting Jenny Lewis (Nice As Fuck)
Best lyrics Tegan and Sara.
Best album cover Darlingside Birds Say
Best album title Angel Olsen My Woman
Most welcome surprise Whitney Light Upon The Lake
Biggest disappointment Mavis Staples Living On A High Note
Best production: Special Teams SunFire
Best live show(s) you saw in 2016 Rikki Lee Jones solo at World
2016 album that wore out most quickly Case/Lang/Veirs
Most overrated artist/album Frank Ocean Blonde.
Crummy album you listened to a bunch anyway The Lumineers Cleopatra
Album that turned out to be a hell of a lot better than you first thought: Mitski Puberty 2. Taylor Swift
Album that felt most like an obligation to get through and enjoy Daws We’re All Gonna Die
Thing you feel cheapest about liking: songs about horrible relationships, a dime-a-dozen, but when done right, irresistible.
Most sympathetic or likeable perspective Lake Street Dive, Call Off Your Dogs.
Most alienating perspective: Trump anything
Artist you respect, but don't like Taylor Swift
Worst song of the year Foals Mountain At My Gates
Song that would drive you craziest on infinite repeat The Record Company Off The Ground.
Hoary old bastard who should spare us all and retire Bob Weir
Young upstart who should be sent down to the minors for more seasoning Car Seat Headrest
Good artist most in need of some fresh ideas Bonnie Raitt
Will still be making good records in 2026 The Pretenders
Prevailing theme or trend of 2016: Everyone waking up politically, even as the great protest songs will be in 2017.
Coming musical trend of 2017 Everyone continues to get political and write lots of protest songs, most of them wonderful.
Additional comments? Your own wiseguy questions?
Special Teams: Kelley Deal and friends, experimental rock, and it works like anything. It’s also why this song
is the Best Production. It sounds great, especially the vocals.
The Game Theory songs and albums are in the main lists as they stack up favorably now, just they did when they were originally out in the 80s.
Whitney, not associated with Houston. Two guys, one from Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the other from the Smith Westerns. And sound a little like the Mac, maybe a good song Lindsey or Christine would have written.
*Albums released in 2015, but didn’t hear until 2016. Of the three, Darlingside, a great neo-90s folk group. That is updated just the way musicians like Dar Williams did in the 90s. Heard on the radio.
Shaky Graves, not goth, an Austin singer/songwriter, but Dearly Departed is a ghost story. Is one of the lovers in the song dead, but haunting his/her house anyway, and still finding love. Or are both dead, still in love, and haunt their own house? Indie folk music. Esme Patterson is the other voice, wonderful on her own album, too. If you like the folky side of power pop, you’ll like her. These two I also heard on the radio.
Hamilton you know. A great history/civics lessson, and what rap should be 24/7. It was seeing excerpts of the musical on the Tony Awards that sold me on this one.
Lastly, the honorable mentions are unranked. They’re all good, just some more than others.