Michael Lane’s Top 10 Films of 2016

Don’t even try to tell me that 2016 was a bad year for film. I found myself falling in love with new films week after week from the beginning of the year until its final days. Be it the year’s biggest blockbusters, the indie-est of horror flicks, or those found in between, the output from filmmakers in 2016 was absolutely remarkable.

I ended up condensing this down from a lengthy list of 35, and it wasn’t easy. Actually, ranking these films could’ve been an even harder task, but I sadly didn’t get to see every film I wanted to in 2016 — the most unfortunate among them being Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and Jackie, which I’m sure would have all been strong contenders. And before I get to the actual list, below you will find a number of standouts that just barely missed the cut for the top 10.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Captain America: Civil War – Dir. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo (streaming on Netflix)
  • The Witch – Dir. Robert Eggers (streaming on Amazon Prime)
  • Zootopia – Dir. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush (streaming on Netflix)
  • Hacksaw Ridge – Dir. Mel Gibson
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane – Dir. Dan Trachtenberg

Like I said before, there were plenty of films I loved this year. Here are the best of the best:

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Jake and Michael’s Top 10 Albums of 2016

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Banner credited to Jake Johnson

With the year quickly coming to a close, we here at the Jet Fuel Review Blog have been hard at work crafting some year round-up lists for both your enjoyment and contemplation! Just in these past few weeks, Jake and I updated the Jukebox playlist with our least favorite and most favorite tracks of 2016, and fellow music blogger Dan Fiorio has recently written a two-part series on his 25 favorite albums of the past year (Part 1; Part 2). Now, it’s time for Jake and I to reveal to you our respective top ten album lists.

Jake2016…honestly, such a bad year in terms of, well, everything. Actually, music was probably the only redeeming factor in what was otherwise a bleak year. Especially as an avid fan of pop music, 2016 delivered some of the most consistent works in nearly a decade. When it came down to narrowing over 20 albums to just ten, it felt wrong — but here I am. And with nine of the ten albums being from female artists, it seems that women just got pop music right this year. Also, keep in mind that this list has changed about five times within the past week, so this is an ever-changing list. But for the purposes of this post, this is my definitive top ten albums of 2016…as of December 16.

Michael: Whether it’s groundbreaking and experimental, simply a lot of fun, a music legend’s harrowing farewell, or a new artist’s welcoming debut, there were dozens of albums I genuinely loved from this year. Many of the albums I adored this year came from either first-time artists or those I’d never heard of before, making 2016 an exciting year of musical discovery for me. I went back and forth on many of these albums, but I feel good about the list I’ve ended up with. Let’s celebrate the music of 2016, because let’s be honest, there wasn’t much else this year to be excited about. (Also, shout-out to Jake for making that awesome header image at the top of this post!)

Before we present you with our actual lists, we will begin with a quick list honoring the albums that were oh-so close to breaking into the top tens. The lists will be in order from number ten to number one, beginning with Jake’s number ten, then my number ten, then Jake’s number nine, and so on and so forth.

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Basement Dwelling: The Top 25 Albums of 2016 (Part 2)

Here we are, folks — the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The creme de la creme; the best of the best. Through streaming services, compact discs, vinyl records, and cassettes (lol), I listened to a countless number of albums this year.

Below you will find my top ten favorites. The ten LPs that made my music nerd heart flutter, made me reevaluate my life, made me do a dance, made me cry, or simply made me say, “Damn, that was really good.” The ten records you should have been listening to instead of complaining about how “music isn’t good anymore” or downloading Tidal (c’mon, you knew [insert “Tidal exclusive” album] was going to be available elsewhere eventually).

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the first part of this list, which ranked my favorite albums of 2016 from #25 to #11.

These are my top 10 records of 2016:

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Jet Fuel Jukebox’s Top 50 Songs of 2016!

Jukebox_picWell, if last week’s Jukebox is any indication, it seems that people really love to know the songs that Jake and I abhor rather than those we adore. Our 20 Worst Songs of 2016 list was one of the most popular posts we’ve ever had since starting the playlist over a year ago.

This week we’re giving you the complete opposite! Our latest Jukebox highlights the absolute best of the best from the artists we loved in 2016 (sans the songs from Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which surely would be featured here if that album were available on Spotify). This includes 25 picks each from Jake and I, making for an incredible list of the 50 songs that captured our attention the most in 2016. The songs are not in ranked in order from #50 to #1. Instead, the first half of the playlist are my 25 picks, and the second half of the list belongs to Jake.

This playlist will run for the rest of the year. Enjoy it!

And be sure to come back on Friday when Jake and I reveal our top 10 albums of 2016!

— Michael Lane, Blog Editor

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Basement Dwelling: The Top 25 Albums of 2016 (Part 1)

It’s over. It’s finally over (well, almost). I’m ready to say goodbye to you, 2016. You were a cruel year. You killed many of our greatest musicians, actors, and artists, completely derailed our government both here in the US and across the pond, and saw the goddamn deaths of both David Bowie and Prince. Hate has been encouraged in our society at a sickeningly high level, Batman v Superman kind of sucked, and Pokemon Go was popular for like two weeks (which was two weeks too long). Just so many disappointments.

But even through all of that, there was a lot of good music. Music that is not only good on its own, but which also provided an escape to help ease the pain of what has been an absolute shitstorm of a year — something that the best art of any medium you love — film, literature, etc. — should succeed in doing.

There were so many amazing albums that I loved over the past 12 months, but sadly I’ve had to narrow those down to a mere 25. My hope is that as you read my list, you can find some new music to dig into and become just as much of a fan of as I am, because recommending music to people is something that makes me feel good inside. It’s something I love to do because I care so deeply about the medium. So, I introduce you to my top 25 albums of the year — a list of sounds and visuals that give us life, something we all need now more than ever.

Below are my picks for #25-11. Be sure to check back in the near future for my top 10 list.

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Jake and Michael’s Top 5 Albums of 2016 (So Far)

Top 5 Albums!The end of June is somehow already upon us. We’ve survived half of 2016. Congratulations, everyone! Have you been enjoying the year’s music releases as much as we have? Whether you’ve kept up with the music scene this year or not, Jake and I want to look back on the first half of this year and present to you the albums (5 from each of us) that you definitely should have been listening to, along with some honorable mentions and what we’re anticipating for the rest of the year. In case you missed it, make sure to also take a look at our top 30 songs from 2016, and maybe take a peek back at our favorite albums in 2015 as well.

Jake: 2016 has easily been one of the most exciting years in music this decade for a number of reasons. With my music taste being rooted in pop music, this year saw some of my favorite artists returning to release what could arguably be their best works. Not only that, but many artists across all genres are experimenting with their sounds and expanding what fans expect from them. With such an already incredible year, it’s hard to narrow it all down to my favorite 5 albums — I had difficulty even picking the honorable mentions! But here is where I have been musically for the past six months.

Michael: What I’ve loved so much about music this year is that almost every album I’ve really enjoyed has caught me off guard. My top 5, represented below, is composed entirely of albums from artists I had no prior knowledge of or interest in. Even my honorable mentions list only contains one record I was looking forward to (Kanye, of course), so this year has been great for discovering amazing talents in music, and that’s especially exciting.

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Jet Fuel Jukebox’s Top 30 Songs of 2016 (So Far)

Jukebox_picWe’re steadily approaching the halfway point of 2016. With that, Jake and I have decided to create a playlist that celebrates the best songs of the past six months!

We’ve bumped up the track-listing to 30 this week (15 choices from each of us), simply because there’s been so many amazing songs thus far in 2016.

Enjoy our favorite tracks from this year, and then join us again later this week when we share with you our respective lists chronicling our top five albums so far this year.

— Michael Lane, Blog Editor

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