At the beginning of 2016, I told my best friend that this would be the best year for music we’ve seen in years. As this rollercoaster comes to a close, I can say, despite all the other nonsense that happened this year, good music saved all of us. I can’t stress the importance of synchronized sound and silence in our lives; but I will attempt to with this list. Below are thirty albums that made their way into my life this year, and healed/helped in an unique manner. I’m going to avoid big name ones such as TLOP, Starboy, Birds in the Trap etc., because you’ll probably read enough reviews about them. Instead, I plan to focus on artist and names you may or may have never heard about, previously before this list. Without further ado, I give you my Top Thirty Tapes of 2016 (in no particular order).
Also, below the list a playlist (Spotify) with one song from each of the albums. Enjoy.
Princess – Abra
- A sexually-charged disco wonderland courtesy of the first lady of Awful Records.
House of Diamonds – Angelo Mota
- Poetry in real time sprinkled over fresh beats.
The Altar – BANKS
- A self-expression of darkness and the hope that resides within it.
Freetown Sound – Blood Orange
- The sounds of New York City during the summer.
22, A Million – Bon Iver
- The croons of a man living in harmony with nature.
CDW – Charlotte Day Wilson
- The passionate voice of a fresh face coming up for air.
“Awaken, My Love!” – Childish Gambino
- Modern existential funk.
*Pilgrim’s Paradise – Daniel Caesar
- *This album actually came out in ’15 but it was so good that it deserved an honorary spot on this list.
The Getaway – Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Legendary Rock & Roll. Nuff said
Blonde – Frank Ocean
- Love letters written on a tab.
Ology – Gallant
- Best Tape of 2016.
Energia – J Balvin
- Dat fuego reggaeton.
The Colour In Anything – James Blake
- Mechanized sonnets written by lost astronauts.
It Is. – JMSN
- The jazz that you’ve been missing.
Witchcraft – Lord Narf
- Chants and hexes from Awful Records’ Sorceress.
The Divine Feminine – Mac Miller
- Sexy bubblegum beats and romantic raps.
Game of Thrones Season 6 – Ramin Djawdi
- The Medieval Apocalypse.
Westworld Soundtrack – Ramin Djawdi
- The REM recordings of robotic dreams.
Secrets – Rendzevous At Two
- The musings of millenial lovers.
Monday – StarRo
- A fantastic smattering of Soundcloud legends
Thierry Disko – Sunni Colon
- Miami Vice in the morning.
(m)edian – Ta-Ku & Waifa
- Five songs to help you fall in love.
There’s Alot Going On – Vic Mensa
- The private confession of a pro-black artist.
The Everlasting Wave – Xavier Omar
- That “you don’t know nothing about this” R&B
Chapters – Yuna
- A storybook with pop-up emotions.
*Good to Love – FKA Twigs
- Only a single, but well worth it.
I’m a Piece of Shit – Father
- American Grime.
Reflections in Real Time – Kilo Kish
- Timeless thoughts translated over tunes.
Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan
- The first mixtape you sent to your first girlfriend.
Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin – Kid Cudi