At the close of 2015, I made the decision to stick it to single-hit based mainstream media by only taking notice of the long-player format (albums). In doing that I missed out on referencing some special tunes that made that year whole for me. So this time around, I’d like to give credit where it is due–to both the albums and singles that played a big role this year.
To close 2016, I am honoring the top 10 albums, top 10 tracks and a few special mentions that impacted our most recent revolution of Earth.
Here are my most impressionable albums and tracks of a year that really needed it:
Top 10 Albums:
- Lemonade – Beyonce
- i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it – The 1975
- Cleopatra – The Lumineers
- Coloring Book – Chance The Rapper
- 22, a million – Bon Iver
- Anti – Rihanna
- The Life Of Pablo – Kanye West
- For All We Know – Nao
- Skin – Flume
- “Awaken, My Love” – Childish Gambino
- Oh My My – One Republic
- Junk – M83
- Signs Of Light – The Head and The Heart
- Mind Of Mine – Zayn
Top 10 Songs:
(apart from Top Albums)
- “Alaska” – Maggie Rogers
- “Show Me Love” (feat. Chance The Rapper, Moses Sumney, and Robin Hannibal) – Skrillex Remix
- “Monsoon” (feat. Mia Mark) – Amber Mark
- “Friends” (feat. Bon Iver) – Francis and the Lights
- “Dog Years“- Maggie Rogers
- “Real Love Baby” – Father John Misty
- “Ocean Eyes” (Astronomyy edit) – Billie Eilish
- “Cruel” – SnakeShips, ZAYN
- “Flame” (Roosevelt Remix) – Sundara Karma
- “Friends” – Empire of the Sun
No matter the year in review in other chunks of life, music stood as a constant for euphoric release. I am thankful for the artists that produced, wrote and inspired this past year, whilst speaking against any strife society was/is facing (*cough* Beyonce *cough*) And on the other hand, I am thankful for artists that also provided light melodies that kept spirits alive.
Chance The Rapper seemed to fuse the two in harmonic releases. What solidified this was his feature on the Skrillex remix–”Show Me Love“, a song that addresses fighting the “evil” of society with love to a melancholy melody, yet when Chance hits the track his verse is light and upbeat. His release of the Coloring Book seemed to continue that back and forth with “Blessings” and “How Great” slowing down the upbeat theme to deliver religious notes, while tracks like “No Problem” and “All Night” remind us to dance through it all. Chance The Rapper released Coloring Book after gaining a large fan base with his endless EPs and features, thus proving his stance in the modernisation of rap. He mixes gospel and poetry with trumpets and his signature “ahhs” that emphasize his addictively captivating voice. A voice you get lost in fluctuations and onomatopoeias, a voice you could listen to recite the dictionary on repeat. It is hard to grasp that Chance The Rapper is only a few months younger than me with his hold on the industry.
Chance The Rapper was born to make music!
A band that I was unaware was music born is The 1975. They hold the biggest shock I can personally accredit this year, with my connection to their 2016 album–i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it. After you get passed the longest album title ever, you are greeted with a gospel intro that mimics an almost rocket launch. Their first track,”The 1975“, consists of long abrupt pauses joined by a build up that leaves you anticipating the rest of the album. And, yes, the rest of the album IS well-deserving of the rhythmic rocket launch. Matthew Healy calls out to God in the heart-wrenching “If I Believe You” (that I am almost positive I’ve cried to) and he kills a guitar solo on “The Sound”–probably the most lively song I came across in 2016. i like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it would win the superlative, after Longest Title Known To Mankind, for “Album Most Likely To Be Played In Full On a Long Drive”, which I’ve done and highly recommend. It is an album that facilitates introspection on religion, self-acceptance, tough love, and, surprisingly, the relationship with our Grandmothers. My favorite track on the entire album would no doubt be “Somebody Else“, a single that leaves me slow-twisting to guitar and synth sounds on confused love. Their visual recording of the song is something to appreciate as well, after being thoroughly creeped out Ring-style as a part II to their music video”Change Of Heart“, we get drunk with Matt –Somebody Else music vid.
I cannot speak of music videos and not mention how much I connect to Maggie Rogers after watching her video to “Alaska“. She is the newest artists on my roster, and if she’d release an album in 2016, she would have been at the top. I remember when I first heard Alaska on my Spotify recommendations, I repeated it hundreds of times and still did not tire it. (I HAD to find out all about this girl with killer vocals and an approach to modern music that was off the beaten path.) Shortly after my discovery, she released her music video and I was sure she was my spirit animal–for if I made a music video it would certainly be how she presented “Alaska“. “Alaska” is a single shot of Maggie dancing through nature as she is joined by feminine companions that builds to a dance party. I love her unfiltered displays and metaphoric lyrics that encompass all her releases thus far.
2017 is going to be a huge year for Maggie Rogers, I know it and am looking forward to it.
In conclusion, my 2016 was rich in head bops with NAO, falsettos with Rihanna, dances with Beyonce, chants with Bon Iver, shower-sings with The Lumineers, and alter-ego moments with Kanye. Overall it was a year of hip-hop and electronics, with Beyonce, The 1975, Chance The Rapper, Bon Iver, and Maggie Rogers at the forefront.
If you want to dive deep and get lost in my chosen 2016 jams, check the Spotify playlist I crafted below.