New Albums to Check Out This Year (part 1)

New Albums to Check Out This Year (part 1)

It’s only the first quarter of 2016 but the list of newly released albums to check out is already long. Here are just some of them.

David Bowie – Blackstar

“Look up here, I’m in heaven….”
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now….”

Inarguably, David Bowie was one of, if not the most, influential artists of all times, from his Space Oddity years in the 1970s on through the final decade of his life. His music and unique sense of fashion continue to cast a spell on countless old and new artists and musicians of different genres. Sadly, Bowie died on January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and after releasing his 25th studio album. Entitled Blackstar, this oeuvre is indeed the final masterstroke from Bowie, a perfect closer for a long, fruitful, and enduring career. Recommended songs include the lyrically prophetic “Lazarus,” the Jazz-flavored “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” and the nostalgic “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” which harks to the sonic coolness of many of Bowie’s ’80s-released songs such as “China Girl,” “Modern Love,” and “This Is Not America.”

Megadeth – Dystopia
“How much pain do you need to feel?
How much shame do you have to conceal?
There is no sunshine, just endless nights….”
In the arena of Metal music, Megadeth is certainly one of the pioneers and prolific musicmakers. In its 30-year existence, it has released 15 studio albums of uncompromising heavy music. Some of its classic hits include “Mary Jane,” “Holy Wars…the Punishment Due,” and “Symphony of Destruction.” Megadeth’s latest album, entitled Dystopia, is yet another highly charged powerhouse of a guitar album that sounds unmistakably Megadeth right on to the first track. In fact, Dystopia may be regarded as a sort of an updating of Megadeth’s classic Thrash Metal sound, as represented by the employment of twin lead-guitar attack; crunchy guitar rhythm; and lots of tempo changes, symphonic shots, and sonic textures. Recommended songs include the galloping Thrash piece “Death from Within,” the Classical-flavored “Poisonous Shadows,” and the march-introed and tempo-changing “Bullet to the Brain.”

Suede – Night Thoughts
“Pale are the snowflakes that fall for us
Pale are the peonies you grew, my love….”
This English band was one of the instigators and forerunners of the Britpop music scene in the 1990s. Along with fellow Britpoppers Pulp, Oasis, Blur, The Boo Radleys, and Elastica, Suede dominated not only the airwaves but also the charts during the genre’s commercial heyday. The band’s classic hits include “Animal Nitrate,” “New Generation,” and “Beautiful Ones.” Now, Suede has just released its latest, seventh studio album; the band’s second offering for the 2010s. Entitled Night Thoughts, it is the followup to 2013’s Bloodsports. To anyone who is familiar with the sound of Suede and who has loved the band because of this, the new album will not disappoint. The grating, saccharine guitar parts of longtime guitarist Richard Oakes as well as the vocal swagger of Brett Anderson remain as ubiquitous as always. Recommended songs from Night Thoughts include the driving and sinister-sounding “Outsiders,” the dark and haunting ballad “I Don’t Know How to Reach You,” the slow and eerie melodic sheen of “Pale Snow,” and the upbeat and poppy “Like Kids.”

Final Note
These are just three of the worthy releases for 2016. In the next issues, expect some more recommendations, which will include new albums by the US-based Barbadian Pop singer Rihanna, the English New Wave band James, the American Progressive Metal band Dream Theater, US-based Greek New Age artist Yanni, and the English Raga Britpop band Kula Shaker.