The People Have Spoken.
A week ago Music Editor Yasmin Brown offered up her Top Albums of 2016 but I wanted to see how your favourite albums compared. After putting a call out on social media, I pulled together your diverse and deserving collection, picked a few of my favourite comments, and ranked them. I’ve also added my two cents to each.
You Said: “I love the 80’s feel to it. A feel-good album that will get you off your feet and dancing.”
We Said: Few albums designed to sound like a party actually play like one, but with 24K Magic, Bruno Mars has pulled it off with style.
You Said: “A Perfect combination of blues and rock. Each song is unique which makes the album so diverse.”
We Said: Kaleo hail from Mosfellsbær, Iceland, but their sound is more delta-blues. A / B covers a lot of sonic territory and is one of the finest debuts that you’ll hear all year.
You Said: “Flume’s sound is so far ahead as to almost be it’s own genre. With Skin he’s doing things that other EDM producers are either too afraid or unable to do.”
We Said: The breakout producer’s sophomore album reveals an artist beginning to hit his stride. It’s more mature, more memorable, and repeatedly walks between worlds – balancing hitmaking with experimentation.
You Said: “A lean and very listenable album for PJ Harvey but unlike anything else you’ll hear in 2016.”
We Said: The Hope Six Demolition Project sees Harvey sweeping up sonic history and weaving it into a pattern of her own making. This deeply melodic album is both more relaxed and more raucous that it’s predecessor.
You Said: “This record feels so human and relatable. The most complete statement Mitkski has given us so far.”
We Said: Puberty 2 is an album that reflects on Mitski Miyawaki’s difficulties in navigating young adulthood. Mitski’s talent for unapologetic lyrical honesty ensures that this emotionally wrought and visceral work leaves a lasting impression.
You Said: “This album is not just beautiful, but also powerful.”
We Said: Plush pop melodies meet abrasive avant-garde electronica in this epic, potentially epoch-making release. In a tumultuous year, this release will resonate with the sort of legacy few protest albums have attained.
You Said: “The most energised that Iggy Pop has sounded in years.”
We Said: Post Pop Depression is one of Iggy Pop’s most fully realised albums yet. Lean, mean, sexy, and fun – the album is a vindication of the instinct that less is more.
You Said: “This album certainly lived up to the hype. Loved the flow, lyrics, and raw energy.”
We Said: Gloriously and unrepentantly ‘street‘, Blank Face LP is an album disinterested in crossover or concession. Shadowy, sinister, and starkly soulful, it dips low and knocks hard.
You Said: “Anderson weaves Soul, Funk, Blues, and Hip-Hop together incredibly well to make an uplifting album and full of spirit.”
We Said: Musically beautiful, lyrically poignant and thematically consistent, .Paak goes for broke on Malibu, delivering a rich and dazzling album. Anderson.Paak has truly found his voice.
You Said: “One of the best albums of the year. Such raw emotion, such beautiful vocals.”
We Said: Over seventeen tracks Ocean sets out his vision for the future through this soulful, intense, and enigmatic record that is intoxicating in its depth and emotion.
You Said: “I am addicted to this album. Her voice and lyrics are so unique.”
We Said: Contradictory, complex, and worthy of endless re-listens, Angel Olsen has crafted her most compelling, and most ambitious, record to date.
You Said: “Immense beautiful. A stunning album that gets better with each listen.”
We Said: A strange, beautiful, willfully obtuse album that offers listers a string of mature, thoughtful songs that emerging from their concealment, gradually revealing a little more of themselves with each play. You’ll want to live with this album for a very long time.
You Said: “This is Solange’s best work to date. The songs and interludes flow seemlessly together, her vocals are soft and brilliant.”
We Said: Indebted to both vintage soul and contemporary indie rock, Seat at the Table has a gorgeous sense of flow. In this album, Solange proved her voice to be just as vital as her superstar sibling’s on this spectacular neo-soul and R&B masterpiece.
You Said: “It’s an exhilaratingly joyful album that is impossible to hate.”
We Said: Chance the Rapper’s third mix-tape combines radical politics and heavenly uplift to create life-affirming music that refuses to shy away from harsh realities. It’s a soaring gospel inflected hip-hop album that gives spirituality and partying equal credence.
You Said: “A real masterpiece. This is what the world needs right now.”
We Said: A breathtakingly broad work, this soul-on-fire masterpiece sees Beyoncé testify about love, rage and betrayal. A brilliant call to arms and a bold artistic statement.
You Said: “Tribe Called Quest’s album is their angriest and most politically charged yet. It’s incredibly fresh and best played loud.”
We Said: At once nostalgic and forward thinking, mournful and radical, it’s a multi-hued album with a sharp intelligence. In what will be their final work, Tribe have retaken their throne as hip-hop’s greatest band.
You Said: “I can’t think of any album that surpasses David Bowie’s magnum opus Blackstar. It’s a courageous, monumental gift.”
We Said: There’s never been a musical farewell anything like Blackstar: The Cracked Actor saved his bravest and boldest performance for the final curtain. It’s hard to escape the gravity of an album that offers up an artist’s farewell. But when listening to David Bowie’s final studio set, it’s important to avoid letting the singer’s death dominate your thoughts entirely — if only because Blackstar is so creatively alive.
You Said: “Their finest work since Kid A, simply said this album is a somber masterpiece.”
We Said: This may not be Radiohead’s most experimental album, but it’s without a doubt their most sonically pleasing, elegant, and acoustically immaculate offering to date – and it just might be their best, too. A Moon Shaped Pool offers Radiohead’s deepest, darkest pool of devotion and doubt in a career marked by almost nothing but.
You Said: “The album is a real masterpiece, so intense and ostensibly dark.”
We Said: Recorded in the final months of Leonard Cohen’s life, You Want It Darker finds one of the world’s greatest poets putting his house in order. Stark, haunting, and beautiful, the album is a powerful final chapter in a career full of surprising left turns and achingly beautiful songs.
You Said: “Heartbreaking, emotional album. It’s one of his most finest creations, if not his best one so far.”
We Said: Great art, born of suffering, Skeleton Tree was recorded while Nick Cave was still reeling from the death of his 15-year-old son. The album sees the singer and his worn, world-weary voice plunge emotional depths through songs haunted by loss, confusion and the questioning of God. It’s a record of unusual rawness, honesty and intensity. If this isn’t a masterpiece… I don’t know what it is.
- Kayne West – The Life of Pablo
- KAYTRANADA – 99.9%
- Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love
- The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
- Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
- James Blake – The Colour in Anything