MOVE’s top 10 albums of 2016
2016 was a legendary year for music. With releases ranging from Chance the Rapper to the Rolling Stones, this list has something for everyone.
1) Chance the Rapper — Coloring Book
Some could say this is a predictable number one album, but it is predictable for a reason. Chance the Rapper is an artist who never disappoints. From #10day to Acid Rap to Coloring Book, Chance got better and better and continued to develop his sound as an artist. Coloring Book is his best release yet, seamlessly combining elements of soul, jazz and rap all into one masterpiece of a mixtape. The record is inspiring, uplifting and empowering, and perfectly represents 2016 as a whole.
2) Anderson .Paak — Malibu
Malibu, the second release from California-based artist Anderson .Paak, brings the soul and never stops. From track to track, .Paak's sweet, soulful vocals paired with a driving bassline and funky beats create a sound that combines the new with the old. Possibly marking the start of his commercial breakthrough, this album is one that will never fade in the background. Singles "Am I Wrong" and "Room in Here" offer a taste of Anderson .Paak and what he is bringing to the music scene.
3) Rolling Stones — Blue and Lonesome
The Rolling Stones are one of the most iconic rock-and-roll bands in history and are my personal-favorite band of all time. The Stones have been releasing music since the mid-1960s and have had one of the most successful careers in history, but they are not willing to stop yet. Their latest release, Blue and Lonesome, confirmed my belief that the Stones are timeless. Their sound never wavered and the quality of their music is as good as it has ever been. After hearing that the Stones were putting out a new release after a 10-year hiatus, I was a little skeptical. I love that I was proved wrong.
4) Solange — A Seat at the Table
Solange, known by many as the sister of Beyoncé, has been a part of the neo-soul scene for over a decade, but her music never completely reached the mainstream. I do not consider this to be a bad thing, because it keeps her music fresh and keeps her true to her music. A Seat at the Table is her third release, and my favorite release so far. Singles "Cranes in the Sky" and "Don't Touch My Hair" showcase the strength of her vocals and the interesting elements of electronic, soul and pop that she incorporates into her music.
5) The 1975 — I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of it
British alternative-pop band The 1975 made a name for themselves back in 2013 with the release of its debut album The 1975, but their latest release I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of it has put them into the spotlight. They’ve created a fanbase that adores the airy vocals and charisma of lead singer Matt Healy and the synth-pop sound that drives every track. Each song creates a different mood, which is very unique and rare to find within a single album. “Somebody Else” is a lovey-dovey ballad that immediately leads into “Love Me,” a track that contains many elements of the ‘80s, including a synth-y guitar and driving chorus. No matter the occasion, this album will never be a bad choice.
6) Frank Ocean — Blonde
Frank Ocean's Blonde was one of the most highly-anticipated records of the year, being his first release after his wildly successful debut album Channel Orange. Blonde is different from his previous releases in that this album is extremely intimate, vulnerable and full of raw emotion. Ocean’s words throughout the album are so powerful and meaningful, encouraging people to find solace among all of the hatred. Blonde is a safe haven for anyone who needs a small escape, or maybe just the opposite: a place where the truth is exposed and nothing is held back. When listening to this album, take it all in and listen for the deeper meaning within tracks such as “Novacane," a song about the numbness of our generation. The album is flawlessly produced by Ocean himself and contains everything you knew and loved about him and more.
7) James Blake — The Colour in Anything
James Blake is an artist who cannot be completely defined. Blake's vocals on this album are a large part of what puts it in my top 10, because they are absolutely flawless and incredibly beautiful. The sound of this album is a slight shift from his past work, but still maintains the same spacy, melancholy mood his music tends to create. Considering the theme of the entire album is lost love, this album definitely needs to be listened to when the time is right. The Colour in Anything is an album that should be appreciated for the variety of layers present within the tracks and the beauty of the lyrics and vocals.
8) Kaytranada — 99.9%
Haitian-Canadian DJ and record producer Louis Kevin Celestin, commonly known by his stage name “Kaytranada,” released his debut studio album 99.9% in May. 99.9% contains 15 tracks with features by many other incredible artists, such as Anderson .Paak, Vic Mensa and AlunaGeorge, which really help to shape the sound of the album and bring it the recognition it deserves. The album really does not fit into the category of any one genre, having aspects of funk, R&B, soul and dance music embedded into each track. If you have never heard of Kaytranada, give him a listen because his sound is unlike any other.
9) A Tribe Called Quest — We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
The latest release from legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest is one that was very unexpected, making it that much better. After their last release in 1998, The Love Movement, the group split up, and for years they denied any suspicions of a reunion. Little did we know, the Tribe had been recording this album in secrecy, and the release did not disappoint. The group really brought their sound back to their roots, having the familiar elements of East Coast hip-hop, jazz and many others. A Tribe Called Quest is the real deal, and this album proves that their influence on the world of rap will live on.
10) Blood Orange — Freetown Sound
Freetown Sound, British singer/songwriter Dev Hynes’ third album as Blood Orange, encompasses many of the struggles and hardships that were faced in 2016. Released amidst the height of several acts of injustice, Hynes’ album expresses his views on black culture, incorporating sound bytes and spoken word poetry through various tracks. Freetown Sound is full of heart and soul, and that comes across with every word that is sung. Hynes somehow manages to bring funk and ‘80s R&B together to create a sound that is genuine and true to who he is as an artist.
Edited by Katherine White | firstname.lastname@example.org