Every year we have a variety of artists coming up with their music albums. Music albums is an artist way of letting us peek into their own world, see the world through their eyes, share experiences, or just a straight forward collection of tunes to jam too. This year was no different. We had a lot of memorable and smash hits that defined the year. From the record breaking album by Drake, or the run of smash hits that Justin Bieber had on his “second coming” as an artist. The Chainsmokers reminded us to not let them down and also to bring our loved ones “closer”. Beyonce was no slouch either as it’s evident from her eagerness to get us into a “Formation”.
Here, let’s us have a look at what I feel were the best albums of 2016.
I planned a top 5 list to be dropped right after the Grammy’s dropped their nominations for the best album award. But due to some unexpected releases and me getting into some albums later than planned I’ll giving a top 7 of the year.
7.) The Weeknd- Starboy
The Weeknd started as a Drake protege but ended up getting a Billboard Hot 100 before him. “House of balloons” was great and so was “The Beauty behind the madness”. So coming into this album I had really high expectations and they crashed into the roof and went through it upon seeing the involvement of Daft punk on the album. The groove they create on the first and the last track of this album can be almost felt throughout the project. It’s starts with Starboy which was also the lead single but then crashes into false alarm real soon. I won’t say the song is really bad I do get what The Weeknd tried on it but it breaks the flow of the album real hard. Thankfully that doesn’t happen again. We get a lot of gems like Secrets, Sidewalks which is assisted by a hell of a verse from Kendrick Lamar, I feel it coming etc. Maybe the album could have been shortened. For example: he could have tried axing Rockin’ and False alarm. But the vocal work was as good as you may expect from Able although it could have been without autotune because The Weeknd doesn’t need it and the autotune doesn’t add much to the album either. We get punch lines, good verses and a music to jam too.
6.) Childish Gambino- Awaken, My love!
I didn’t expect what I got when I first decided to enter this album. Mr. Donald Grover aka Childish Gambino was already a rapper, producer, TV show actor and writer also a stand up comedian now turns out to be a R&B/Soul singer too. Well, anyone can try any genre but not everyone succeeds but Childish Gambino here has been able to put out an extremely efficient and effective product of art to be remembered. He leaves me in two minds after this. Believe me, it’s really difficult for me to decide whether I enjoyed him more as a rapper or a R&B artist. He has literally put his soul into the album and has constructed an immaculate 11 track album that captivates you. Yeah “California” had some weird vocal performance but it’s great almost everywhere else. The production on this record is amazing and some of the base drops are worth everyone’s time. A very solid project overall, a trip to the 1970’s.
5.) Anderson .Paak- Malibu
One always expects a veteran to deliver a solid project but as someone who loves music nothing makes me happier to get someone new and exciting. Anderson .Paak was that artist recently. I was introduced to him on Dr. Dre’s Compton and then various other features so being already aware of his vocal capabilities I excitedly went into this one wanting to see his abilities to conjure up a complete project. The sixteen track album comes with features from Schoolboy Q, Taliban Kweli, BJ the Chicago Kid and the Game among others. I tell you this guy is not your average R&B crooner. He does way more than that and expresses emotions perfectly. The album has introspective moments, sexual innuendos and a lot things that’ll keep you glued to it. He is very deservedly nominated for the best new Artist award at the Grammy’s and I hope he goes away with it.
4.) Beyonce- Lemonade
Probably the most house hold name that you’ll see on this list and also one of the most universally accessible artist. Her accessibility doesn’t hinder her productivity though. Through out the album she looks emotional but strong, ruffled but not blown. She takes a lot of chances and they pay off. I don’t think anyone expected this record to be this way and moreover I never expected a “Don’t hurt yourself” from her. The album features artists like Jack White, Kendrick Lamar and also The Weeknd and I believe all of them paid off. The album even though personal doesn’t stray away from socio-political issues. It’s also a contender for the Album of the Year award and I would find it’s victory a deserved one although I won’t be surprised or offended if Adele takes the award home.
3.) Chance the Rapper- The Coloring Book
The premium Rap album of the year. The album is the meeting point for the athiest and the spirit. The human harmony meets the instrumentation in this strong release which gives you a memorable journey. An album to be kept in the car and to be jammed during your rides. Features from a lot of artists in this help this 14 track piece escalate to higher levels. I want him to bag all the rap awards he is up for and also the best new artist award will be a deserved one. Although for those who know Chance, they know him well and also that he has been here for sometime and what he is capable of.
2.) Radiohead- A moon shaped pool
Radiohead are one of my favorite artists and also are the force behind one of my favorite albums of all time i.e. Kid A. Their last album received a backlash and now they came back this year with this after a long time. The way Thom Yorke uses his voices all over this album gives a range of emotions. His voice is really heart wrenching at times and soothing at others. The groups instrumentation has improved a lot in this album and even though it’s spacey an album for all times it is something that you’ll love to have with you when introspect. It does more to you than a regular spacey album would and it’s easy to go through. Radiohead’s 9th album gives you a lot and they seem to know what they need to do.
1. Frank Ocean- Blonde
Ever since Channel Orange came out it was evident that next Frank Ocean work will be a hugely anticipated one. The release was damn popular and the album gives you gems to enamour Frank Ocean to construct a song and love him even more. Although there are some low-key moments here but the strong points are in a good number and really high to outweigh them. This is a match of my expectations and gave me a lot of memorable moments. This takes the spot as my favorite album of the year.
- David Bowie- Blackstar
- Kaytranada- 99.9%
- Danny Brown- Atrocity Exhibition