Bringing a new segment to Viberant, every Thursday will be a throwback list, whether it’s 2016 or 1973, we’ll be looking at the best and worst of the past. First off, the top 10 albums of 2016.
In a year that saw releases from KAYTRANADA, Rihanna, Post Malone, The Weeknd and Solange, all of which didn’t make the list, so who did?
10. David Bowie- Blackstar
David Bowie’s swansong farewell not only to the music industry but to life itself is a heart-wrenching yet awe-inspiring listen, tipping it’s hat to the great life lived by the equally great man. It is an album which challenged the perception of death and how we fear it, the weakness of old age and the overwhelming feeling of depression that hits home as death creeps up on us. It truly is Bowie’s best release since his late 70s to early 80s domination and it was the perfect way for a legend to say goodbye on his own terms.
9. Beyoncé- Lemonade
Arguably the best Beyoncé album to date, a stunning piece. It garnered a mass amount of attention for some of it’s lyrics and it’s cultural influence, but aside from that it’s just a classic album. Every song holds it’s own place on the album. It cemented Beyoncé’s place at the top of the music industry, leading the female charge in the music industries often outdated ways. It feels like Beyoncé will never slow down, she continues to evolve constantly, her passion for music and her own improvement is ridiculous, it’s clear that she has several quality albums left in her.
8. Skepta- Konnichiwa
One critique of Skepta in recent times is that people have said “he’s sold out”, which is a ridiculous statement. If evolving, making the grime album of the year, and starting to conquer America, then sign me up. It does show glimpses of an American style, particularly on Numbers, but it doesn’t ever sway away from being a Skepta masterclass. He’s slowly but surly starting to gain notoriety in America along with Stormzy, and the more that happens the more that grime as a whole will be bigger and better than ever.
7. Chance The Rapper- Coloring Book
“I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy.” Something that all changed when Chance dropped Coloring Book and scooped up three Grammy’s. It’s an incredible accomplishment, one that if anyone deserved, it’s Chance. The work he has done with free music cannot be ignored. It’s a fantastic mixtape, it’s packed to the rafters with fun features, and it’s beyond feel good. It’s the greatest Gospel-rap album of all time, that should be something that’s celebrated a lot more than it is.
6. Kanye West- The Life Of Pablo
It’s an album we’ve discussed a lot of in the past, with Viberant having a Kanye week in the past. It’s a really great album, one I would argue is underrated in Ye’s discography. Kanye lets his features do big work on this album as they often steal the limelight. It’s worth mentioning that the album evolved overtime, with tracks being added and slight tweaks to some songs, and a complete overhaul of Wolves. The final version is by far it’s best version.
5. Radiohead- A Moon Shaped Pool
Coming back in 2016 with their ninth studio album, Radiohead proved to us all why they are one of the truly great bands of not just our time, but music as a whole. Thom Yorke and co. continued to do what they are so incredible at, and that is evolve and be daring enough to try new concepts with their songwriting. Tracks like Daydreaming make the album feel like a dramatic piece of art rather than a 2016 album and the end result is simply beautiful. Nine albums, nine new sounds, nine fantastic displays of work.
4. Childish Gambino- “Awaken, My Love!”
And so the evolution of Childish Gambino continued all the way until the end. Gambino has gotten better and better in the music game, transforming from a corny rapper in the early 2010’s into soul and funk God. The album opener, Me And Your Mama, is unlike anything you’ve ever heard from Gambino, so instantly you’re grasped, and from there on out you cannot escape it’s power. Every track hits it’s mark, with Redbone being the highlight, arguably the best song of 2016. Gambino just scooped up some Grammy’s for his performance on this album which is beyond well deserved, and if this is the end of Gambino as we know it, then it’s an honour to have been a part of the fan base.
3. Danny Brown- Atrocity Exhibition
What an absolutely bonkers album this is. You get invested instantly through it’s wackiness and it’s darkness. Danny Brown is one of the most unique rappers of all time in his style, so whenever he has a release like this you can’t help but love it. It’s the pinnacle of the Danny Brown career, he’s reached a new high through this album, some might say it’s too heavy, but for me it’s easily the rap album of 2016. Plus, Really Doe has to have some of the best features of any rap song ever, no exaggeration.
2. The 1975- I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It
One of my personal favourite albums by a band for quite some time. The 1975 are one of the freshest bands on the market, and they have a very solid argument that they are the most relevant, and best band in the world. The album is heavily 80’s inspired, and heavily featured syth-pop vibes alongside the bands indie rock status. Along with the fun and funky tracks such as Love Me, She’s American and The Sound, the band found an equilibrium with deep tracks such as the phenomenal Somebody Else and the very personal She Lays Down.
1. Frank Ocean- Blonde
An obvious choice. This is much more than an album, it’s a piece of art. One of the most masterful pieces of work of all time. It’s yet to stand the test of time simply due to the fact it’s only two years old this year, but in ten years time I’m certain it’ll be regarded as one of the best albums of all time. I don’t want to get too much into it because Viberant will be doing a full review of the album on it’s anniversary, but that’s all you need to know.