Albums of 2016

2017 has seen a hell of a lot of good music come out, and we’re only in March! However, it’s got a lot to live up to as 2016 was the year the music industry stole the world and gave it back ten times bigger. Whilst Brexit shook our little island here in the UK and Trump took over America and broke Hilary Clinton’s heart, and whilst the rain never stopped, and all of our idols passed away, we had the music to keep us going. This initially started off as a clear-cut voted-for (by our writers) list with a hierarchy and everything, however it feels more appropriate as a gateway to some of our favourite cuts from last year. Kicking things off is perhaps a fitting tribute to someone who needs no introduction, and has provided us with many, many albums of notable worth, and that is the not-enough-words-in-the-dictionary-to-fittingly-describe David Bowie, and his lasting legacy, Blackstar….

David Bowie – Blackstar 

“The album is generally mesmerising. It seamlessly connects inspiration from various genres, whilst staying undoubtedly Bowie. Many records describe suffering, smetimes general ‘Weltschmerz’ whilst other artists deal with trauma. But it’s rare that a musician manages to devote his entire life to the art, and that in such a powerful way. It surely moved many people to tears and was a way to say goodbye – like only David Bowie could.” – Read our review here

Solange – A Seat At The Table

“Often enough the third album is the one where artists find their true calling. Solange draws inspirations from every aspect of black music. The influences of blues, soul and R&B are evident on every single track. The instrumentation relies on pianos and bass guitars. Something that was particularly apparent in 2016’s music was neo-soul. ‘A Seat At The Table’ widely bases on that genre, for sure. Talking about neo-soul, other 2016 releases by Childish Gambino,  HONNE or Frank Ocean are also worth mentioning. Another way to describe Solange‘s album is ‘contemporary R&B’ which combines everything mentioned above, throwing in a little bit of dance and hip-hop into the mix. But there is even a little bit of soulful psychedelia on it as well – ‘Don’t Wish Me Well’ being one example.” – Read our review here

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

“The premise of tranquility that the albums tones base themselves on, move away from the sounds of angst and rebellion, which made them a household name back in the 1990’s, allowing nostalgia, and yet when you’re listening to the more eerie pieces like “Present Tense“, you can’t help but feel as if you’re about to drift off into another world. It’s an album that although gives us the vibes of a true lullaby, Yorke’s haunting voice, and the echoed vibes of the guitar and piano, threaten us with nightmares.” – Read our review here

Pup – The Dream Is Over

“Whilst lyrically ‘The Dream Is Over’ reads like a row of epitaphs, a gossip magazine special dedicated to the inner workings of the personal lives of the members of PUP, instrumentally the album plays out like a summers day at the beach for your average twenty-first century hipster – slick, shiny, speedy riffs with a rhythm section far more suited for the alt-rock revolution the radio’s been rolling with than a Canadian punk rock band. ‘My Life Is Over And I Couldn’t Be Happier’ is a sprawling summer anthem sugar-coated in cyanide-like lyrics melting away at the all-too-sunny, all-too-cheery atmosphere Babcock and fellow guitarist Steve Sladkowski have created in the centre of their conflict.” – Read our review here

Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway

“Naturally, this raised expectations for the album – the brilliantly-titled ‘The Getaway’. There’s just something about this title that makes it sound like an instant classic – and the opening title track is honestly pretty close to being just that. The song is restrained but the groove somehow manages to create the feel of an actual heist – there’s a sense of coy urgency that resonates powerfully. The vocals provided by Anna Waronker gel perfectly with Antony Kiedis’ laid back crooning.” – Read our review here

Good Charlotte – Youth Authority

“Stand out tracks of the album include ‘Cars Full of People’; another chilled out nod towards their earlier work, as well as providing a perfect addition to a summer playlist, since the album was released in July. Also, ‘The Outfield’ acts as the ultimate throwback to the band’s second album of 2002 with the lyrics “we were the young and hopeless, we were the broken youth” in the feel good, sing along chorus which once again reflects their reoccurring stories of their childhood and parent’s separation” – Read our review here

The Hunna – 100

“The album itself is soaked in this adrenaline filled rush. A raucous explosion of guitar and drums accompanied by startling vocals from lead singer Ryan Potter whose voice calls to a generation of indie rock disciples” – Read our review here

Moose Blood – Blush

“Highlights from the album are Shimmer and Sway, a beautiful combination of acoustics and lyrical content. Some elements of the album are ultra-sweet and bang on with what you would expect from the four piece from Canterbury” – Read our review here

James Blake – The Colour In Anything

“James Blake’s ability to combine poetic prose with his unique electronic sound in his relaxing album ‘The Colour in Anything’ stamps Blake in complete league of his own, having created perhaps one of the albums of the year with a mighty 17-song-album of captivating tracks.” – Read our review here