A minute of silence in honour of the legendary artists that went with 2016 – Prince, George Michael, David Bowie et al….
As usual, my disclaimer –
Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of rap. In as much as I love to explore music and try not to confine myself to particular genres/sounds, like my friend Paschal said – art is to be enjoyed, not endured.
Kindly note that the absence of Drake’s widely acclaimed album (Views) or Chance the rapper’s Coloring book album in this post doesn’t mean I’m saying they weren’t good albums. I just I don’t do rap. Though I enjoy one or two rap songs, but generally that genre just doesn’t work for me.
2016 was another great year in music. Without much further ado here are my top 10 best albums of the 2016 starting from the best.
1. Lemonade by Beyonce
This album is a masterpiece. What makes it stand out is that all the songs that make up the album are of different genres, all beautifully put together to tell a story. The theme of the album wasn’t lost on anyone. In this album you get to appreciate Beyonce holding down different genres – R&B, Reggae, Folk rock, Pop, Country, Hip hop, Trap music. This album is the total package.
2. The Human Condition by Jon Bellion
I got to know about this album via a referral from Ayodele. Fresh sound! Very different from what’s out there. I love that it also has a clear theme and how he infused gospel into the lyrics of some of the tracks even though he doesn’t consider himself a gospel artist.
2016 was the year I heard of Jon Bellion. As I always do, I searched google for more information on him and discovered he had previously released albums. Well, turns out the sound wasn’t really all that new, though unique to him. The Human Condition lost few points because it sounded like a continuation of his previous album – The Definition. The songs sounded alike. This was the major issue I had with Adele’s 25, sounded like a continuation of 21 album.
I have stated it before, that I am all for an artist growing. I love it when an artist’s changes their sound, it shows growth and versatility. One shouldn’t stay safe and keep doing same old stuff all the time, it gets quite boring. Notwithstanding, The Human Condition is still one of my best albums of 2016
3. Oh My My by One Republic
This album almost went the way of Justin Bieber’s Purpose album. Too many tracks in one album (16 tracks in the first release, 21 tracks in the deluxe edition) Common!
That’s just way too much songs in one album. Along the line one tends to get distracted and probably stop listening all together.
Still it was nice hearing One Republic explore new sounds, especially the incorporation of electronic beats while still being able to deliver something amazing. Kids and Choke are the stand out tracks on the album.
4. Boxes by Goo Goo Dolls
It’s been a while I heard something new from the band. Linda asked I check out their song – boxes. When I heard it I had to know which album it was from only to discover they had released a new album! After listening to a few more tracks, I knew I had to get the album.
New sound and direction from them, but you can still hear the all familiar coarse voice of the frontman – John Rzeznik. This is officially my best rock album of 2016. What I love most about the album is the deep lyrics of the songs. Words that I can relate to.
5. Anti by Rihanna
This was like the most anticipated album of the year. We had all gotten used to Rihanna releasing an album every year, so when the follow up to her 2012 Unapologetic album wasn’t forth coming things didn’t seem okay. The build-up over the years… Was it worth the wait?
Anti boasts of several well produced songs with deeper themes than her previous pop happy songs. I love that she tried to venture into something different. Listening to Anti, you can’t miss the growth in her craft over the years. This is not a quickly put together album with fillers. This time you actually feel the artistic part of her, like you have an idea of the direction she was going with this album but not exactly still. Though not my best album from her, Anti definitely ranks high up there amongst my favs from Rihanna.
6. Soup by Sebastian Kole
I got to know about Kole from his feature on Alessia Cara’s Stone track. One day I was surfing the net when I came across this amazing song from him featuring Alessia Cara still – Remember home. I was all over the song and needed to hear more of his work. That’s how I found out his debut album released in 2016 – Soup. Next thing, I heard about two of the songs from the album on Grey’s anatomy. That feeling when you hear songs you know used as soundtrack in a TV series or movie…
7. This is acting by Sia
This is one of the albums I really wanted to listen to in 2016 and it didn’t disappoint. In 2015, Sia stated she was going to release an album of songs she felt would be hits but got rejected by the top artists she wrote them for. Cheap thrills still went to number one despite Rihanna not being the one who released it. I guess her experiment worked out fine, ‘cus the idea was how well will the seemingly rejected songs perform without the A-list start power behind them?
8. Nine Track Mind by Charlie Puth
This is basically a feel good album. No heavy production or plenty drama going on. It has this easy flow from tract to track and before I knew it, I could sing along to almost every song on the album. So imagine my shock, when I realized it was heavily panned by critics. Well, their loss.
9. Road Less Traveled by Boyce Avenue
I got to know about Boyce Avenue when I heard their cover of Fun’s We are young on a radio show. I downloaded more songs from them, though mostly covers. I realized they also have original albums. Road less traveled was released in 2016. Totally worth the megabytes used in downloading it. Songs like Queen of hearts, Anchor and Biggest fan made the album for me though they gave me reminiscence Westlife’s songs.
10. Back from the Edge by James Arthur
The second track on the album – Say you won’t let go was my daily anthem for about three weeks. Other songs like – The Truth, Finally, I am and If only bring out that rich voice of James Arthur. His vocals are amazing. Hopefully this album would help save his career he almost ruined with his loose utterances back in the day. Part of the album deals with this and how he has moved past his addictions and destructive ways. One thing about the album is the sincerity in the lyrics.
11. Something worth saving by Gavin Degraw
12. Mad love by Jojo
13. Flash backby Jamestown Story
These are the albums I expected so much from, either due to the past track record of the artist when it comes to churning out great albums or due to the hype around the album. The most under performing of all has got to be Frank Ocean’s Blonde. Yes, there were some great songs on the album, but that wasn’t enough to distract me from the disappointing compilation of songs. And what was that Endless crap he released two days earlier before releasing the actual album?
Has Lady Gaga lost her edge or is she now actually being the true artist she really wanted to be? You can tell she is moving towards doing songs that reflects her person and not her initial chart topping singles that came with all the drama and crazy costumes. Sadly, it’s just not working.
The Weeknd’s Starboy album is a mediocre album compared to his first album or is he suffering the curse of having an amazing first album? Same goes for Bastille. Well, I did diss The Weeknd’s first album last year but it later grew on me, maybe same would happen with Starboy.
Possibly I have outgrown 3 doors down or maybe I am stuck in the past with their old style of music. I didn’t feel this their new album at all, too ‘hard rocky’ for me. Colbie Caillat broke my heart, I just can’t with this her new album. Nothing remarkable about it.
Someone said maybe Zayn Malik is the Kelly Rowland of One Direction and Pillow talk is his Dilemma. We all know that story all too well. Waiting on you Harry Styles…
I have never trusted Bruno Mars albums, his first two albums were dope but over time I quickly realized he is more of a hit singles kinda guy.
1. Wild world by Bastille
2. The Malibu Sessions by Colbie Caillat
3. Mind of mine by Zayn
4. Blonde by Frank Ocean
5. Joanne by Lady Gaga
6. 24k Magic by Bruno Mars
7. Starboy by The Weekend
8. Us and the Night by 3 Doors Down
WORTHY MENTIONS FROM 2015
These are great albums I discovered in 2016 but were actually released in 2015. These albums gave me life during the course of the year, and I highly recommend them.
1. The hill by Travis Greene
2. Know it all by Alessia Cara
3. Chaos and the calm by James Bay
4. Blue Neighbourhood by Troye Sivan
TOP SONGS THAT SAW ME THROUGH 2016 (irrespective of year of release)
These are songs that at one time or the other I played over and over on repeat. Songs that got me through difficult times, or times when I felt numb.
1. Stone – Alessia Cara
2. Unsteady – X Ambassadors
3. Made a way – Travis Greene
4. Intentional – Travis Greene
5. The Hill – Travis Greene
6. River of tears – Alessia Cara
7. Waiting game – Parson James
8. Say you love me – Jessie Ware
9. Running – James Bay
10. Stars – Alessia Cara
11. Close to you – Rihanna
12. Sandcastles – Beyonce
13. Chasing cars – Sleeping at last (Snow Patrol cover)
14. Pray you catch me – Beyonce
15. Onise Iyanu – Nathaniel Bassey ft Micah Stampley
16. Talk me down – Troye Sivan
17. Silhouettes – Aquilo
18. Remember home – Sebastian Kole ft Alessia Cara
19. I don’t want to love somebody else – A great big worlds
20. Yours – Ella Handerson
21. I won’t give up – Jason Mraz
22. Wonder (spontaneous) – Bethel Mausie $ Amanda Cook
23. My world needs you – Kirk Franklin et al
24. Halo – Kris Orlowski (Beyonce cover)
25. Rise – Boyce Avenue (Katy Perry cover)
26. Thick skin – Leona Lewis
27. Where’s my love – Syml
28. Say you won’t let go – James Arthur
29. Loving me – Jonathan McReynolds
30. Your love – Allman Brown
Top singles I recommend in case you want to update your music playlist
1. Scars to your beautiful – Alessia Cara
2. If only – James Arthur
3. Alkaline – Timeflies
4. The truth – James Arthur
5. Another love – Odell
6. The Anthem – Planet Shakers
7. Waiting – Aquilo
8. You were supposed to be different – Aron Wright
9. Don’t question my love – Aron Wright
10. Get along – Guy Sebastian
11. Carry your throne – Jon Bellion
12. Clarity – Zedd
13. Crush – Yuna ft Usher
14. Youth – Troye Sivan
15. Craving – James Bay
16. Fragile – Kygo ft Labrinth
17. Fast car – Jasmine Thompson (Tracy Chapman cover)
18. Someday maybe – Harry Styles ft Meghan Trainor
19. Age to age (His Glory appears) – Hillsong
20. Hold back the river – James Bay
21. Human – Jon Bellion
22. I call, you answer – Hillsong
23. I don’t want to live forever – Zayn & Taylor Swift
24. Closer – The Chainsmokers
25. Don’t let me down – The Chainsmokers ft Hasley
26. I’ll keep you safe – Sleeping at last
27. In the name of love – Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha
28. Scars – James Bay
29. Like I’m gonna lose you – Jasmine Thompson (Kelly Clarkson cover)
30. Shatter me – Lindsey Stirling
31. 7 years – Lukas Graham
32. Mad over you – Runtown
33. Pana – Tekno
34. Connect – Phyno
35. Soldier – Falz ft Simi
36. Friendzone – Adekunle Gold
37. Make me cry – Noah Cyrus ft Labrinth
38. Mama – Kiss Daniel
39. Amazing – Matt Cardle
40. My beautiful love – Johnny Drille
41. Weekend – Priory
42. I feel it coming – The Weekend ft Daft Punk
43. My song – Alessia Cara
44. Till the end – Jessie Ware
45. Can’t stop the feeling – Justin Timberlake
46. This is what you came for – Clavin Harris & Rihanna
47. Wait – M83
48. Heathens- Twenty one pilot
49. Sucker for pain – Lil Wayne et al
50. Ohio – Jacob Whitesides