A lot of very interesting things happened this year, but among all the craziness, wonderful music was released. Let’s take a look back at top 5 best albums of 2016 and a few honorable mentions to round out the list.
1.Vulfpeck: The Beautiful Game
I’m biased putting this as my number one album because Vulfpeck is one of my favorite bands but seriously this album is so good. If you are a music lover or a musician yourself you will LOVE it. Funk is alive and strong all throughout The Beautiful Game. Head over to my review here to see what makes this album so amazing. Listen to one of the best tracks below.
2. Sia: This is Acting
Just like Vulfpeck, I reviewed this album earlier this year and discussed how absolutely electric it is. Sia has brought new life into her artistry by the visual interpretations that accompany her music. I had the privilege of seeing her live this past October and it’s difficult to put into words what that show was like. There were beautiful choreographed segments alongside her music all the while video representations of those same pieces played simultaneously. Sia is a force to be reckoned with I can’t wait to see what she brings in the new year. Listen below to one of my favorite tracks from This is Acting.
3. The Hamilton Mixtape
You could really say that 2016 was THE year for Lin Manuel Miranda. Hamilton is still high in demand and Miranda only added to that fanfare by comprising an amazing mixtape that mixes genres and celebrated artists from Ben Folds to Alicia Keys. The Mixtape isn’t just an album of covers, it’s an opportunity to hear some of your favorite artist re-imaging Miranda masterpiece. Take for example the repurposing of “History Has Its Eyes on You” by John Legend. He makes this such a soulful experience and strips the song to its core. Check out it below. The edited entire album is available on Spotify.
4. Childish Gambino: “Awaken, My Love!”
Speaking of people having a stellar year, the same can be said of Donald Glover. Not only does he have a hit show on cable, he released an album so far away from his nerd-rap genre that it was a bit puzzling upon first listen. Awaken My Love is primarily soul and funk album. The Sly and the Family Stone along with the Parliament influences dance all through the album especially on “Boogieman”, and “Have Some Love”. One of the standouts on the album, “The Night Me and Your Mama Met” features a beautiful chorus and guitar strumming in unison to the sounds of their harmonious melodies.
La La Land (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I’ve already seen this film twice and will definitely be buying it when it’s released. Composer Justin Hurwitz has channeled contemporary jazz along with 95 piece orchestra into something unique and fun. The music in La La Land is flat out gorgeous. The film opens with a standard music number that swells and hits all the right crescendos. The film also has a persistent theme peppered throughout that glides seamlessly into the rest of the musical numbers. There’s a reason this is the best film of the year and has one of the best soundtracks as well. Check out “Someone in the Crowd” below.
Honorable Mentions are from other fantastic artists and albums of 2016:
Ray Lamontagne: Ourobors
Field Music: Commontime
Hot Hot Heat: Hot Hot Heat
Ra Ra Riot: Need Your Light
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam: I Had Dream That You Were Mine