Top Albums of 2016 – Picked By A Priest

Nearly 900 titles make up Wikipedia’s (undoubtedly non-exhaustive) List of 2016 Albums. Out of all that new music, Fr. Damian Ference picked his ten favorite albums in a great write up on the Word On Fire blog.

We at Benevore are going high school yearbook on the list and present you our Top Albums of 2016 Superlatives. For your listening pleasure, we’ve put together two Spotify Playlists: one of all the albums (well, the 8/10 that are on Spotify) and another features select tracks that Father mentions in his 2016 list or individual album reviews.

We now present our Best of the Best of Superlatives:

Best Example of “Both/And” Catholicism
Audrey Assad’s Inheritance

Inheritance is mostly a cover album. Nine of the eleven tracks are traditional hymns that Audrey Assad produced in her impeccable modern style. As mentioned in Father’s review of the album, by presenting old hymns in a new style, Assad has her Catholic cake and eats it too. This act embodies two main movements of Vatican II –  ressourcement – returning to original sources to discover ancient wisdom – and aggiornamento – modernizing Catholic practice to make it more accessible to modern man.

Best Reminder to Love Others Well
Parker Millsap’s The Very Last Day

This “former Pentecostal” earned a spot on the list because of his storytelling and singing ability, but was (rightly) commended by Father for his ability to sing from another’s perspective on the track “Heaven Sent.” And that’s why we’re awarding it the “Best Reminder to Love Others Well” award. “Heaven Sent” takes the perspective of a young Christian man with same sex attraction who’s been rejected by his father because of his choices regarding that. It does a great job communicating the real and confusing hurt that’s experienced when good Christian people do a poor job explaining the truth of nuptial love/traditional marriage and drop the ball on reflecting the love of The Father to their friends, and especially their family.

Album Least Expected to Be on a Priest’s Top Albums List
Lady Gaga’s Joanne

Yup. That Lady Gaga. This album is a departure from her usual stuff, and it seems to have caught Father’s ear. He gives her the benefit of the doubt on the song “A-YO,” which has a good beat but “morally offensive” lyrics which he hopes “[aren’t] autobiographical or that, at the very least, [are] satirical.” Gaga earned some points for her honesty both on and off the album:

Gaga was engaged to be married, but that relationship ended and so there’s some serious heartache on this record, especially on “Million Reasons.” In an interview with Sunday Morning on CBS, Gaga said, “Women love very hard… sometimes that love isn’t met with the type of dignity we wish it were met with.” Christopher West will be quoting her soon if he isn’t already. Gaga also has some great things to say about ‘fathers’ and ‘real success’ on that Sunday Morning interview that might surprise you. In February Lady Gaga will play the Super Bowl halftime show. Let’s keep her in prayer.

So we go from Lady Gaga’s on this list?” To praying for her. Boom. Great work, Father.

Listen to the albums and/or selected songs using the Spotify playlists below, and head on over to the Word on Fire Blog to read Father’s comments on all ten albums.

Full Albums

Selected Tracks

*Absent on Picture Day
Two albums on Father’s list – Alanna Boudreau’s Champion and Lucinda Williams’ The Ghosts of Highway 20 – are not available on Spotify and are not included in the playlists below.

A Priest’s Top 10 Albums of 2016 | Word On Fire

List of 2016 Albums | Wikipedia