All Insider Posts
January 3, 2017
By Cailey Gleeson
Say what you want about 2016, but it was indisputably one of the best years for music. Artists ranging from Lady Gaga to Frank Ocean returned to the scene with new releases while other new artists like Margo Price rose to fame with debut records. With all of the success experienced by artists in 2016, it’s quite obvious that 2017 has a variety of expectations to exceed一especially in the music industry. Here are the top 10 albums that came out of 2016:
10. Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”
The third album from Bruno Mars is summarized perfectly by the title. It’s pure gold. Mars brings an unrelenting energy to each track that results in timeless songs perfect for any occasion. “24K Magic” takes listeners back to R&B of the ‘80s. All of the songs have a similar feel, but the title track is by far the star of the album.
9. Drake, “Views”
“Views” is a contemplative look into Drake’s life as he reflects on his life experiences and relationships. It still manages to emotional despite being much more upbeat than his 2015 “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” release. The hit singles “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling” find their way into the tracklist, but it’s the lesser known songs that truly make the album what it is. One of these is appropriately named “Too Good” and is one of the best tracks on the album because it’s a conversational piece that touches on common relationship struggles一and Rihanna is featured in it.
8. Zayn, “Mind of Mine”
Fans of the former One Direction member eagerly waited for Malik’s first solo album since his split from the group at the beginning of 2015. With the remainder of the band on hiatus, it was his year to shine. “Mind of Mine” was heavy in R&B tones and allowed Malik to establish himself as as serious solo artist. While “PILLOWTALK” is the most renowned song from the album, every track deserves the same caliber of attention and appreciation一that’s how good they are.
7. Panic! At The Disco, “Death of A Bachelor”
Like many other artists on this list, 2016 marked the three years since the release of Panic! At The Disco’s last album. The tracks vary greatly in subject matter yet somehow blend together perfectly. “LA Devotee” is an ode to Los Angeles while “Emperor’s New Clothes” is a triumphant track about domination. “Victorious” definitely steals the show and is easily one of the band’s best songs to date. The catchy lyrics combined with frontman Brendon Urie’s powerful voice automatically classify the album as the band’s magnum opus.
6. LANY, “kinda”
LANY is one of the most underrated bands in the music industry. Like the band, ‘kinda,’ their third studio release, didn’t receive the attention it deserved. In short, it was phenomenal. The mellow yet upbeat vibes of the album truly set this album apart from other alternative pop releases一and consequently allowed the band to grow their following. Despite only having six songs on the record, each track encapsulates the musical genius of the band in its own way.
5. Beyoncé, “Lemonade”
In what may be one of the most revealing albums from Queen B, “Lemonade” reveals the personal struggles of the superstar while creating iconic songs in the process. The album is a blend of songs that deal with overcoming oppression as well as heartbreak. The emphasis of female empowerment is especially prevalent on tracks like “Formation” and “Sorry.” The utilization of a visual album for “Lemonade” also paved the way for the format to become a mainstream musical presentation in the future.
4. Frank Ocean, “Blonde”
All of the jokes about the whereabouts of Frank Ocean came to an abrupt stop in August when the rapper finally released his heavily anticipated sophomore album. As mellow as the tracks are, they address important societal issues that are more prevalent than ever. Ocean utilizes his music as a platform to express his opinions in hopes of influencing change. What makes this album is so great is that it seems incredibly natural and this is emphasized with the opening track “Nikes” and carries on in later songs like “White Ferrari.” “Blonde” is an album four years in the making that was so worth the wait.
3. Kanye West, “The Life of Pablo”
Despite West’s media presence, ‘The Life of Pablo’ was undoubtedly one of the best rap albums of the year. Not only that, the album is full of A-list collaborations ranging from Rihanna to The Weeknd. Speaking of Rihanna, her part in ‘Famous’ aids in making it the best track on the album. Yeezy reveals a softer side with songs like “FML” and “Wolves” in which he reveals his own insecurities; however, this doesn’t last long. Tracks like “I Love Kayne” are absurd in the best way possible because they poke fun at the persona West has created for himself in the media.
2. Chance the Rapper, “Coloring Book”
‘Coloring Book’ may just be the best rap album of the year. It’s a brilliant mix between rap and gospel due to the spiritual undertones on several of the tracks一”Same Drugs” and “Blessings” to name a few. The mixtape features a variety of guests as well, ranging from Justin Bieber to Lil Wayne. Chance also proudly emphasizes his Chicago roots throughout the entirety of the mixtape. He revels in his appreciation of his hometown and created a masterpiece in doing so.
1. The 1975, “I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it”
After devoted fans patiently awaited new music for nearly three years, the band managed to exceed all expectations with their sophomore album. Upbeat songs like ‘‘Love Me” and “The Sound” quickly became anthems while the ballads of “Nana” and “The Ballad of Me and My Brain” invoked emotional responses among new and old fans alike. Some of the songs even manage to be entirely upbeat but are dark in subject matter, like “UGH!”一which is about frontman Matty Healy’s struggles with cocaine addiction. Although it was a new sound, the synth-pop vibes of the record marked a new era of music that further exposed the brilliance of the Manchester-based band.
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