My Favorite Articles and Albums of 2016

I spend hours each day listening to music and reading articles. I created this list of my favorite reads and listens of 2016 for myself, but perhaps you will find something new.

In short, 2016 was a year of travel, faith, friends, family, journaling, Patagonia, watching Mike Kinsella YouTube videos, burning wood wick candles, thoughts about building a cabin, buying an electric guitar, growing a beard, fly fishing, wanting to get into the syrup business, emo revival, purchasing hiking supplies, spending all of my vacation time in Colorado, Hornets heartbreak, Spotify, reading too many books at a time, Copa America Centenario, Bon Iver at Hollywood Bowl, Tycho at Red Rocks, Owen at Chicago Athletic Association, American Football at The Vic, S. Carey at the Oxbow Hotel, thoughts about building a network of cabins, finally getting an iPhone with too much storage space, Eau Claire, sampling far too many Reese’s and using One Second Everyday to chronicle all of it.

Note: Here is my list from 2015.

Favorite Albums

  1. 22, A Million — Bon Iver: My perspective on this album changes, but it has remained number one throughout.
  2. The Life of Pablo — Kanye West: There are many strong tracks (Ultralight Beam is the song of the year), but too many unlistenable tracks to keep it from the top spot.
  3. American Football (LP2) — American Football: This took far too long. But it was worth it.
  4. Coloring Book — Chance the Rapper: This was and is great.
  5. King of Whys — Owen: I listened to this on vinyl more than any album this year. This was my soundtrack of late summer.
  6. Blonde — Frank Ocean: It’s too long, but packs a strong punch. The ending harmonies of Self Control are everything.
  7. Sunlit Youth — Local Natives: This lyrics are what they are, but this album is so easy to listen to.
  8. Standards — Into It. Over It.: I love Evan Weiss.
  9. Cardinal — Pinegrove: This could make the list on Old Friends alone.
  10. Goodness — The Hotelier: I wish I saw them at Pitchfork. But I’m not cool enough to attend Pitchfork.
  11. Holy Ghost — Modern Baseball: Four emo-ish albums in a row. Why not?
  12. Views — Drake: I’ve listened to this Drake album fewer than any before it, but it had some hits.
  13. The Wilderness — Explosions in the Sky: I spent a lot of time with this in the spring and really enjoyed it.
  14. Long Way Home — Lapsley: Lorde Pt. 2.
  15. Church Clothes 3 — Lecrae: This came out so long ago, it seems like last year. But I remember listening to it a lot last January.

Favorite Reads

Non-Sports Reads

Rich Cohen detailed the FPAQ’s syrup monopoly and how a group of bandits stole millions of dollars worth of supply. Who wants to join the syrup business with me?

Eli Saslow wrote about Derek Black leaving the white nationalism movement led by his father.

The New Yorker shares Patagonia founder Yvon Chounard’s story and values.

Geoff Edger’s profile about Norm Macdonald made me laugh out loud multiple times.

Deadspin wrote about the heartbreaking demise and death of former journalism superstar Jennifer Frey.

Patton Oswalt explains why he’ll never be 100% again after losing his wife.

Noisey explained why so many fans flock to Ubana, Ill. to take pictures of the American Football house, which looks just like any other.

Grayson Schaffer profiled Lhakpa Sherpa — the most successful female climber in Mount Everest history — who works as a housekeeper in Connecticut. Schaffer also detailed the tragic story of seven hikers who lost their lives in Zion National Park.

The Chicago Sun-Times shared the sad story of a suicide jumper in the West Loop.

The LA Times did a great job with this feature about one PTA mom framing another PTA mom for something petty.

Chris Arnade shared how McDonalds knits communities together. The Boston Globe wrote about a special needs fry cook who retired after 32 years.

The New York times profiled the world’s greatest living rock climber, Alex Honnold.

The couple converted a sprinter into a home and traveled from Canada to Argentina.

The Washington Post goes into great detail to show how the resources are collected to make smart phone batteries.

Paul Cantor explained why you should get off the internet. Andrew Sullivan wrote about how he used to be a human.

Sports Reads

Jordan Brenner wrote about Sam Hinkie’s fascinating departure from the Philadelphia 76ers. Later this year, Chris Ballard profiled the new Sam Hinkie. Ballard also chronicled Robert Swift’s battle with addiction and ensuing road to recovery.

Wright Thompson did a great job detailing the life and times of Theo Epstein. He also wrote about all things Tiger Woods, including his fascination with Navy SEALs.

Lars Anderson shared the story of Philip Lutzenkirchen’s final day on earth and how his father, Mike, has used the tragedy to help others.

John Branch profiled Steve Kerr’s perspective beyond sports for the New York Times.

Gwendolyn Oxenham wrote about the special relationship between U.S. Paralympic National Soccer team members and Army veterans Joshua Brunais and Seth Jahn.

SI’s Pete Thamel makes us feel like we wasted our college careers with this profile of former Notre Dame wideout Corey Robinson.

Derek Terry wrote about former Auburn recruit Zeke Pike overcoming addiction to start his own ministry.

Mark Cuban and Chandler Parsons were best friends. Then money got involved.

Mike Wise looked back on Bryan Burwell’s life with the help of friends and family.

Jeff Passan chronicles the final night of Jose Fernandez’s life for Yahoo!.

Wayne Drehs wrote about postponing open-heart surgery to watch the Cubs win the World Series.

Cam Ward shared his perspective on parenting his deaf son.

ESPN’s Chris Jones penned a column about parenting his children: one who loves sports and the other who loves anything but sports.

One of the NBA’s all-time great shooters and people, Ray Allen, retired. He also wrote about his career from his perspective.

Jed Ortmeyer shared his story of returning to hockey — regardless of the team or league— despite doctor’s suggestions to retire. John Scott also wrote this excellent retirement letter.

Allison Scmitt opened up to ESPN about her struggle with depression.

Tim Rohan wrote about New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s shift from aeronautical engineer to football coach.

Daniel Norris packed up and drove the van he lives in across the country after finding out he has cancer.

GQ provided perspective on the shooting death of former Saints defensive star Will Smith.

Kevin Arnovitz shares the story of the NBA’s first openly gay referee.

Props to this guy for securing credentials to Braves games without working for an outlet.

ESPN published this interesting profile in 42-year-old Ichiro Suzuki.

Keith Olbermann wrote one of my favorite Vin Scully pieces.

America’s favorite author, Shea Serrano, tried to make sense of Antonio Brown’s fine for twerking.

Other Things

NPR filmed one of Bon Iver’s shows at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn and it’s amazing.

The New York Times made this cool video about the making of Where Are U Now.

The best music video of the year: Friends by Francis and the Lights, feat. Kanye West and Bon Iver

The time Chris Long appeared on the local news as a hopeful Powerball winner.

TNT gave Ernie Johnson a platform to share his post-election thoughts.

Living the dream.

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