Top 5 Albums Of The Year

By Coleman Patrick Ranahan

Oh god, oh no. It’s that time of year again. EGADs. Run for the hills. Batten down the hatches. Throw steak knives at your loved ones (don’t do that). I don’t really write about music a whole hell of a lot because, let’s face it, I’m an idiot when it comes to the true depths of modern music.

I once asked if someone knew about a popular band (at the time – and no, I’m not telling you jerks what it is) in middle school, like it was sliced bread and the stupefied response like I was just emerging like Rip Van Winkle from a twenty-year bender. But this year I just felt like writing about my top five albums of the year, namely because a few of them aren’t probably going to be in people’s purview, and namely I’m just fascinated by the list.

My taste in music seems to be ever evolving, what I once listened to five years ago is not even close to what I listen to now. And good, I don’t want to get boring (despite being a boring person). I like throwing in something new. So maybe you’ll give one of these a listen, if you’ve never listened to the more obscure artists, maybe you will after. Here ya go, ya bastards.

5. Kendrick Lamar – Damn

Yeah, you’d be kind of an idiot to not include one of the best rap albums of the last few years. I mean, Damn, Damn, Daaaaaamn. (Sorry, the ghost of Gene Shalit is haunting me right now).  But yeah, you know it’s good.

4. ZZ Ward – The Storm

I discovered ZZ Ward just earlier this year while working and became immediately entranced by her combo of blues, rock, and R & B. The album has plenty of fantastic singles and shifts gears when it needs to. It’s a really stellar album that I’m glad came out of left field.

3. Lorde – Melodrama

Lorde has fantastically avoided the sophomore slump with something so eloquent and graceful. Lorde is evolving as an artist and so far it only seems the like the trajectory is up. Green Light, though fantastic, seems a little bit like an oddball on the album, but it still works. It still all gels together. Lorde is my jam. And I’ll listen to whatever the hell she wants to do next.

2. Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother

Honestly, I was an inch away from putting this as my favorite album of the year. The up and comer from Australia has infused Aimee Mann style lyrics to such a fun and thumpin’ tune I was a fan from the first listen. It’s hard to name a single favorite on this, as I pretty much enjoy them all, but some of the lyrics to things like ‘Backpack’ and ‘Awkward Exchange’ and ‘Perth Traumatic Stress Disoder’ tell me we’re in for some great albums from Lahey ahead and I hope she develops a great following. Loved, loved, loved this album.

1. Kesha – Rainbow

Kesha has taken the chains holding her back and shattered them into a thousand pieces. If you wanted an artist to completely break free from her past archetypes while also embracing the pop soul she started out with, it’s all here in ‘Rainbow’. Kesha moves from genre to genre, pop, pop-rock, country, ballads, anything and everything you can think of is there. And she can do it all. There’s absolutely no reason to doubt the talent that Kesha truly has, and having seen her in concert in November, I can tell you, she’s a certified rock-star. The best album of the year is Kesha’s ‘Rainbow’.

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Kesha – The Antithesis

By Coleman Patrick Ranahan

(Photo Credit – Vulture)

I’m not a man who attends a great deal of concerts. I can literally count on one hand how many actual concerts I’ve been too. And no, my siblings middle school choir concerts do not count, YOU CAN’T MAKE ME MOM.

It struck me Wednesday night, through the gap of a gay couple kissing in the audience of a concert at the Palladium in Hollywood, as Kesha commanded the stage, this was the most positive event I have been at all year. Not just simply because of the surrounding circumstances, a terrorist attack in New York, six hundred people shot in Las Vegas, an administration that runs around like a drunk toddler into a batch of legos.

All spectacularly bad photos below this sentence are taken by me.

I was surrounded by what had to be close to three thousand people packed in side by side at the Palladium. Some, were dressed in fancy outfits; custom, some painted, a man passed by me in gold spandex and sequin cape with a top hat, and some donned eye paint and glitter-beards. Anything and everything you could think of, we had it. Kesha’s army was here, her “animals” she lovingly called us. I was in a mere green button-up but I kind of wished I had dressed up.

Likely this will sound hyperbolic, but it had the vibe of the emerging flower power/sexual revolution 1970’s, but in the modern day. Or at least that’s what it struck me like as I was watching everything unfold in front of me from the back of the Palladium.

I didn’t wear anything fancy, though I sported a fancy attitude (some may contest otherwise), but I felt surrounded by the most positive energy I hadn’t felt in quite some time. It was astonishing, singular, and only of that moment. And it registered to me immediately upon stepping into the circular disco style floor of the Palladium.

Kesha’s choice in her opening band, Savoy Motel, a band I had never heard of before, showed an upbeat, fun 1970’s vibe with enough electric guitar solos to make AC/DC blush that seemed to coincide with Kesha’s jailbreak into the artist she’s evolved into.

As Kesha took the stage, she had a confidence, a swagger, a smile. She belonged up there. She loved roaring into the audience, even at one point taking a drink from a flask and “baby-birding” it into the audience. And we all ate it up. And with the presence of a super-star, gave the audience a little bit of everything. She could have asked us all to sucker punch each other in the face and we might have done it.

Without mentioning Donald Trump by name or by occupation, Kesha laid out that all were welcome, all were accepted, and to not let anyone be disparaged by their race, gender, sexual preference etc. The whole room didn’t have to hold their breath to know what she was getting at, we all knew.

The more unshackled Kesha became, the more it emanated into the room.

Whatever the days that come ahead, whatever nonsensical tweet storms our President decides to tear into like a proverbial six-pack that an alcoholic desires, I’ll most definitely remember this night. It wasn’t by any means an absolutely wild night, it was just a stark contrast of what we can be versus what our nation has grinded itself into right now.

And in that small room, that meager slice of life in Los Angeles, that room of people chanting ‘motherfucker’ back to Kesha as she strided around the stage, it felt like happiness, and that Donald J. Trump, is something you can’t roll back.

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