best of

Will Hermes is a writer and contributing editor for Rolling Stone, a frequent contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and author of “Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever.” His upcoming book is a biography of the late Lou Reed.

He joins us this time every year to share his picks for the best music released in the last 12 months.

The list of the songs played here is available on today's Roundtable playlist. You can listen to these songs and others he's chosen from 2017 on Will's year-end Spotify playlist.

Will Hermes is a Contributing Editor and Senior Critic at Rolling Stone and the author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever.

He joins us with his selections for the best music of 2016.

David Bowie - “Blackstar” - Blackstar
Leonard Cohen - “You Want it Darker” - You Want It Darker
Solange - “Cranes in the Sky” - A Seat at the Table
Bon Iver - “33 “GOD”’ - 22, A Million
Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc - “Wrote My Way Out” - The Hamilton MIxtape
Lori McKenna - “Giving up on Your Hometown” - The Bird & the Rifle
Miranda Lambert - “Ugly Lights” - The Weight of These Wings
Blood Orange - “Love Ya” - Blood Orange
Angel Olsen - “Shut Up Kiss Me” - MY WOMAN
Wilco - “Normal American Kids” - Schmilco
The Roots (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) - “Who Tells Your Story” - The Hamilton Mixtape

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

Seen: La La Land


  • Hayes Carll, Allison Moorer - Helsinki Hudson, Hudson, Thursday, 12/29, 8 PM
  • Trading Places - Madison Theater, Albany, Thursday-Saturday, 12/29-31, various times
  • theNEWDEAL, Leila - Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs, Friday, 12/30, 8 PM
  • Songs To Amuse: Byron Nilsson & Malcolm Kogut - Steamer No. 10 Theatre, Albany, Saturday, 12/31, 7 PM
  • Twiddle - Palace Theatre, Albany, Saturday, 12/31, 7:30 PM
  • First Night of Funny: Steve Caouette, Kelly McFarland, Joe Bronzi, Jaye McBride - The Egg, Albany, Saturday, 12/31, 7:30 (clean) and 8 PM (blue)
  • Roxxi Tart’s New Year’s Eve 1920s Speakeasy Burlesque Revue - North Albany Studios (448 N Pearl), Albany, Saturday, 12/31, 9 PM
  • Berkshire Bach Ensemble: Complete Brandenburg Concerti - Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, Sunday, 1/1, 3 PM

Favorite (not top 10) films seen in 2016:
A Bigger Splash
The Bronze
Florence Foster Jenkins
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Miles Ahead
The Nice Guys
Pete’s Dragon

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Black Flags: The Rise Of ISIS by Joby Warrick
So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
The First Bad Man by Miranda July

What were some of your favorite books this year? Share in the comments! 

Will Hermes is a Senior Critic for Rolling Stone and a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered. He joins us at the switch of each season with a list of new music he's digging - and at the end of each year to let us know what was best in music from the last 12 months.  Will is also the author of Love Goes to Buildings on Fire.

List after the break.

BOOKS (selected by Joe Donahue)


1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
2. This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
3. The Round House by Louise Erdrich
4. Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
5. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers


Albany, NY – Music writer Will Hermes joins Sarah LaDuke in studio once again to talk about and listen to some of the best music of the year.