Cameron LP: Top Albums of 2016

Manhattan, KS

Even before Brexit and this year’s election, the music suggested an urgent, anxious, and troubling world. It also felt like a really sad year for music, losing Prince and Bowie and Leonard Cohen, two of whom released great albums this year.

top ten albums

10Bon Iver: 22, A Million

I have a bootleg of the album premiere performance at the Eaux Claires festival, and I like that more. It feels less processed.

Standout Track(s): 8 (circle)

09Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker

Better than his last two (good) albums. A great final statement.

Standout Track(s): You Want it Darker

08ANOHNI: HOPELESSNESS

Not easy to listen to, but I love the weirdness of the production and the directness of the lyrics.

Standout Track(s): Drone Bomb Me

07Anderson .Paak: MALIBU

Go watch the clip of Come Down on the Tonight Show. That’s some funky shit right there.

Standout Track(s): Come Down

06Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

The moment where the opening track transitions from countrypolitan to Daptone horns driven country soul is one of my favorite moments on any record this year.

Standout Track(s): Welcome to Earth

05Kaytranada: 0.999

Standout Track(s): Glowed Up

04Pinegrove: Cardinal

Amazing one-two punch, and great the rest of the album.

Standout Track(s): Old Friends

03Solange: A Seat at the Table

Despite aspersions, I actually like a lot of Beyonce’s Lemonade, but Solange’s album is much better.

Standout Track(s): Mad

02Car Seat Headrest: Teens Of Denial

Remarkably consistent for a long rock album

Standout Track(s): Hard to pick one.

01Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book

Beautifully balances joy and pain. This is what a fully realized gospel rap album sounds like.

Standout Track(s): Summer Friends, Same Drugs

honorable mentions

Not on the list, but I do want to shout out of my favorite albums of the year (would probably be number 3 or 4): Kamaiyah’s A Good Night in the Ghetto. It is one of the best representations of my hometown area in years. I also enjoyed: Frank Ocean, Blond(e); Lucy Dacus, No Burden; Kevin Morby, Singing Saw; A Tribe Called Quest, We Got it from Here.

Overall, a strong year for music, with some messy and great albums released this year. It was especially great to see a lot of new and young artists at the top of the end of the year lists. Bodes well for subsequent years.

similarity to overall top ten: 44.67%, 5 matches

top songs

Not much to add to the above, since most of my favorite songs came from my favorite albums. I will say that it was another great year for hip hop. Because I was teaching a class on hip hop, my listening the first half the year was somewhat distorted, but the genre felt especially urgent, political, and lyrical this year, while producers from Kaytranada to Mike Will Made It and Kanye West pushed the sound in new directions.

10Vince Staples, “War Ready”Best use of Andre 3000 this year, closely beating out Frank Ocean’s Solo (reprise) and Kanye West having him sing along with Arthur Russell on 30 Hours.

09Leonard Cohen, “You Want it Darker”

08Car Seat Headrest, “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”

07Bon Iver, “8 (circle)”Soft rock in the best sense.

06D.R.A.M., “Broccoli”Catchy as fuck

05Kamaiyah, “How Does it Feel”A relentlessly funky striver’s anthem for Oakland.

04Chance the Rapper, “Summer Friends”Summer school get to losing students/ But the CPD getting new recruitment–an amazing balancing of innocence and violence.

03Pinegrove, “Old Friends”I should call my parents when I think of them/I should tell my friends that I love them

02Beyonce, “Formation”

01Kanye West (ft. Chance the Rapper), “Ultralight Beam”The song I’ve repeated most this year, and the one that still gives me chills.

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