3. Lindsey Stirling – Brave Enough
Chartrun: *1*-1-1-3-3-2-6-7-6-9-11-10-8-11-14-9-7-8- / 18w
Violinist Lindsey Stirling became one of my most favorite artists very quickly, as she only started her career four years ago, when she released her self-titled debut album “Lindsey Stirling”, which ended up at #1 on my Year-End Charts 2013, followed by the second studio album “Shatter Me”, which ended up at #3 on my Year-End Charts 2014. Her third set “Brave Enough”, which was released in mid 2016, makes it to #3 on this years Year-End Charts as well, making her the first artist ever to get three different studio albums with a Top3 result.
“Brave Enough” wasn’t a typical release for her at first, as there are eight songs with guest singers on, while “Shatter Me” only had two, her debut even none, so she was more known for her instrumental songs. She was also known for her mash ups of her violin play and a dubstep beat, but with “Brave Enough” she explored some other genres as well such as country or folk. Of course, most tracks can still be labeled as dance music, and she still has some tracks with dubstep on it, but I feel like she’s slowly starting to lose something that made her so special four years ago. And as much as I love this record, I still think it’s her weakest to date. But that’s not because this is a weak album, but because the other two are even stronger.
My favorite songs:
2. Carrie Underwood – Storyteller
Chartrun in 2015: 2-*1*-2-7-9-20-17-14-16- / 9w
Chartrun in 2016: 18-16-20-Out-RE 16-13-11-5-2-3-2-*1*-2-3-6-12-15-14-Out-RE 13-11-8-12-7-8-14-14-18-17-16-11-12-18-15-Out / 32w
Certification: 2x PLATINUM
Ranking in the YEC 2015: #35
Who would have expected that? US country-superstar Carrie Underwood actually ends up at number two on my Year-End Charts with her fifth studio album “Storyteller”, which was already released in 2015 and also made the Top40 on last years list. It’s her first album ever with such an impact on my charts, however “Blown Away” already did a very good result back in 2012 (#11).
It’s really hard for me to describe why this album made such an impact on me, but somehow I always ended up listening to this when I didn’t know what to listen to. I also listened to this while I studied for my exams in early 2016, so this basically accompanied me through the whole exam process. Personally I think Carrie has one of the strongest voices of the market right now, and also has some fantastic lyrics. I mean, the lyrics from “Church Bells” alone are better than the lyrics of some whole albums. I’m even going that far and say that this became one of my most favorite albums ever, because I still listen to it every now and then, and it still sounds so fresh, especially the highlights from me (see below). It obviously also helped that she kept on releasing singles from this, however I really have to say that “Smoke Break”, “Heartbeat” and “Dirty Laundry” are all none of my favorite songs, which is also why the album performance was much stronger than the single performances.
My favorite songs:
1. Tarja – The Shadow Self
Chartrun: *1*-1-1-2-3-3-4-1-1-4-3-2-4-7-8-4-7-7-11-9-13- / 21w
With 345 points, the number one album of this year has the lowest score by far since I extended the weekly album charts from a Top10 to a Top20 in 2013. Even the number one album from 2012 – Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die” – had a higher score with just a weekly Top10 going on back then. This is most likely due to the fact that I’ve been checking out way more albums than I did in previous years, which is also the reason why albums fell faster on my charts and therefore didn’t score that much points. It’s also due to the fact that there wasn’t a blockbuster album release during the first half of the year, while most of the previous year-end number ones got released earlier in the year, meaning that they were able to score more points through the year. The lead to Carrie wasn’t that big with 26 points, her lead to Lindsey was a big one though with 84 points.
“The Shadow Self” was released as Tarja’s fourth rock album in august 2016, followed by “The Brightest Void”, which served as a prequel album two months prior “The Shadow Self”’s release. It’s the first album on top of my Year-End Charts for the former Nightwish frontwoman, but not her first Top10 position, as the previous rock album “Colours In The Dark” made it to #8 on the Year-End Charts 2013. With five weeks on top of my weekly album charts, “The Shadow Self” is the longest running number one album of 2016, and also the third longest charting album of the year with 21 weeks on the charts, only behind Selena Gomez’ “Revival” with 26 weeks and Carrie Underwood’s “Storyteller” with 32 weeks.
I think it’s a typical Tansike album, and I’m sure not many people will like this style, as Tarja’s music can be described as symphonic metal. She’s got an operatic voice, and combines it with hard rock music, sometimes it’s also quite pop (“No Bitter End”), sometimes it’s very theatric (“Innocence”, “Diva”), sometimes it’s also harder than usual (“Demons In You”). With her stellar voice, it’s obvious that she’s very good at ballads, unfortunately there’s just one real ballad on “The Shadow Self”, and that’s “The Living End”, which is one of the obvious standouts. She also did a fantastic cover of Muse’s “Supremacy”. Overall a deserved #1 as this had a huge impact on me during the second half of 2016 when it came out, and it’s also her strongest release since her solo debut “My Winter Storm” from 2007.
My favorite songs: