Favorites of 2016
10. Lady Gaga – Joanne
Genre: rock/hip hop infused pop
I think this album is a huge step for Gaga. Million Reasons and Come To Mama are two of the best tracks of the year.
9. Rihanna – ANTI
This is one of the weirdest mainstream albums of the year, yet it kept itself afloat. Though the Tame Impala cover felt too much like karaoke, moments like “Close To You”, “Never Ending” and “Consideration” reminded me why Rihanna is such a heavyweight in modern music.
8. NAO – For All We Know
Electronica with funk influences
NAO’s record shocked me with the sheer force it packed. Her unique style stood out through all the songs, and that’s becoming rare as time goes on. “Bad Blood” and “Girlfriend” are two left field pop/funk gems I adored.
7. Marian Hill – ACT ONE
Marian Hill has such an unusual style that I had to put this record only list. I was engaged from start to finish. The way they incorporate pitched vocals and brass is like nothing else that came out this year. The two best track on this album would be “Down” and “Wild”.
6. The 1975 – i like it when you sleep…
The 1975 are in a league of their own. I was immobilized the first time I heard “Somebody Else”, and immediately purchased the record. Their lyrics are very interesting, and the album is super engaging. It was marvelous.
5. Carly Rae Jepsen – EMOTION: Side B
This was miles around the best pop record of 2016. Mixing Top 40 hooks with girl next door lyrics and an almost 80’s vibe, nothing else stood up to it. In a pop world dominated by sex and desire, Cary takes it back a few notches to craft a top notch album. Highlights are “Higher”, “Cry” and “First Time”.
4. Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
Bruno Mars brought us back to “Uptown Funk” with a bright and energetic album. At a mere nine tracks, “Magic” is impactful, quick to the point, and catchy.
3. Maren Morris – Hero
Country (with pop influences)
Now, I know many may disagree, but I thought Morris’s record was electric. Each song is a journey to be understood and taken. Morris definitely knows her way around a hook, and that is shown on tracks like “80’s Mercedes” and “My Church”. She even name drops Diddy! A great album.
2. David Bowie – Blackstar
“Blackstar” was a real trip for me. As a Bowie fan, I was crushed when he passed away. However, he did leave behind one of the greatest albums of the past 16 years. Kamasi Washington’s frenetic saxophone and the urgent drums and guitars laid under Bowie’s sparse vocals were a monumental moment in music. Nothing else hit as hard this year. Except…
1. Beyoncé – Lemonade
A little bit of everything
Of course Lemonade is number one. B’s grand opus chronicling a marriage in disarray (and the film accompaniment) included a massive amount of different musical genres, yet remained cohesive. I have no critiques at all, Lemonade is a virtually perfect album. Lets hope she takes home the grammy she deserves.