2016 has been a pretty insane year for music, from the deaths of many a famous performer, to some of the best records in recent memory being released. Below is a list of my favourite albums from the past year. There is no numbers, just the albums I really loved and the one record that I thought was the best.
The Glowing Man is an awesome album filled with anger, atmosphere, drama and some of the most soul crushing instrumentals that I have ever heard. The whole record has this dark cloud that seems to loom over it whilst the music just beats you to the floor over and over again like a hammer.
For like 3 hours.
This isn't an album for the feint of heart by any means, but Gira and Co have come up with something very interesting here and it's well worth a listen (if you have a whole afternoon to kill, that is).
This year Danny Brown came through with one of the most intriguing and twisted rap albums that I have heard in a very long time.Track after track, Danny shows immense diversity in his performance and the instrumentals.
This is really something cool that other rappers should take a good hard look at.
Chance The Rapper is easily one of the most inspiring people in all of music right now. His attitude and love for music and people in general is like nothing I've ever seen in the industry. Not to mention the fact that his Acid Rap mixtape is one of the best to ever be released (in my opinion).
When I first heard Colouring Book, I really didn't like it. It just seemed like a step in an odd direction, coupled with the fact that the production wasn't as good as I was hoping for, I walked away pretty dissapointed. However, as the year went on, I found myself putting it on more and more, until I really liked it.The gospel vibes and flows that Chance flaunts on these songs is something really cool.
Whenever I feel moody or depressed, I listen to Radiohead.
It's helpful then that they bought out one of the most downtrodden albums that I've heard in a long time.
A Moon Shaped pool defines the word 'texture'. However, there is this really interesting minimalism contrast in some of the instrumentals. Thom York swoons through every line, bringing a ghostly groove into your soul.
I mean, it's Radiohead... They weren't exactly going to bring out a bad album.
If Radiohead defined the word 'texture' in 2016, then Donald Glover defined the word 'talent'; proving to now be a rapper, singer, actor, writer, comedian and whatever else he can do but isn't telling us about.
'Awaken, My Love' is such an awesome change of pace from his previous body of work. The influences are as clear as day, but it doesn't retract from the music at all. Gambino delivers a consise and mature record, with some of the nicest grooves and lines that I've listened to all year.
Yeah, 'California' was a pretty weak song, but everything else on the album was gold.
I've always been a big Butch Walker fan. The man is one of my idols, and puts out great music to boot.
Stay Gold is a Springsteen-esque romp through ideas of running away from the job at the saw mill in small-town America. It's catchy and cool and full of heart. The riffs come thick and fast and the slap delay flirts with you constantly. Then when you add in a couple nice ballads like 'Descending' and 'Record Store', you end up with what I think is the best rock album to come out in 2016.
Bon Iver shocked a lot of people with '22, A Million'.The sad folk croon that they wanted wasn't there and instead they were served up a glitchy, electronic ball of autotune and synths.
And it was fucking awesome.
This is without doubt my favourite group of songs in Justin Vernon's discography. The production is pretty awe inspiring and the autotune, vocoder thing that is going on here is fantastic.'33_GOD_' is just perfection.
Some people were throroughly dissapointed with this album, but I can happily say the opposite.
I refused to listen to this record for most of the year.
In a stubborn refusal to accept the fact that Kanye brought out a stream exclusive album that he kept updating as the year went on, I boycotted 'The Life Of Pablo' for months. Eventually though, I caved and listened to it.
There is everything you need from Kanye West here. You have the only decent thing Kid Cudi was on all year on 'Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1', features from Chance the rapper on 'Ultralight Beam', some meta freakiness on 'I Love Kanye', plus appearences from Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean on 'No More Parties In LA' and 'Frank's Track' respectively.
No matter how frustrated I get about the release of 'The Life Of Pablo', at the end of the day, it got me talking and thinking about music, even when I hadn't heard it yet.
Kanye innovates and sets trends like usual here. Since 'Ultralight Beam', everyone and their Mum has released some gospel inspired hip-hop.
With every LP, Kanye West shows me why he's the most important person in music, and the thing is, I just can't disagree with him.