Rob Sheffield's Top 20 Albums of 2016

Beyoncé, 'Blackstar' and other favorites from a trying year

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Car Seat Headrest, 'Teens of Denial'

8. Car Seat Headrest, 'Teens of Denial'

Something I tried giving up for Lent this year was ridiculous Pavement comparisons, but that kind of strength I just don't have – I didn't even make it it to sundown on Ash Wednesday before I was saying things like "This is the Pacific Trim of grilled cheese sandwiches." Yet there really is something jubilant about how Will Toledo takes that Pavement style of indie slop to such anthemic levels here. It's almost like the guy went from a home-taping Bandcamp solo geek to, like, an actual rock star or something. On Teens of Denial he's part Dashboard Confessional, part "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," running off at the mouth with a head full of drugs and porn and books and lyrics of popular rock ballads. "What happened to that chubby little kid who smiled so much and loved the Beach Boys? What happened is I killed that fucker and I took his name and I got new glasses."

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