Abbie McCarthy's Best Albums of 2016 (so far)
Abbie McCarthy's Best Albums of 2016…... So Far
Can you actually believe we're half way through this year?! I swear 2016 is running double time!
I thought now would be a good time for us to look back at the music goods we've had delivered to us so far, so here's my list of the 10 Best Albums of 2016, so far:
Skepta - Konnichiwa
This is a landmark grime album, a record that encapsulates the exciting rise of UK grime both here and across the pond. Eight of the twelve songs have been produced by Skepta himself, he's keeping true to his love for the DIY approach, and the lyrics are what we have come to expect from Skepta - fast, clever and direct - criticising the media, the police and the government.
2. Beyoncé - Lemonade
Easily one of the best surprise albums of 2016! Also, quite possibly the best album the mega babe has done to date. The writing and production credits boast some huge and interesting names from the industry, including Father John Misty, James Blake, Jack White, Kendrick Lamar and Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig.
The whole record is thrillingly honest about her relationship with Jay Z, it's also incredibly varied and above all is a true statement of why she is, without question, still one of the most creative and awesome popstars on the planet.
- Kaytranada - 99.9%Montreal based producer Kaytranada's debut album was eagerly anticipated by many, especially people like me who have been obsessed with the ace edits and remixes he often scattered on his Soundcloud page. The list of collaborators on this record is MIGHTY - Craig David, Anderson Paak, GoldLink, SYD, AlunaGeorge and Little Dragon. They've all come together to create a rich fusion of genres, you can hear elements of soul, funk, R & B and dance. Stand out tracks are 'Glowed Up', 'Drive Me Crazy' and 'Together'.
- James Blake - The Colour in AnythingJames Blake has yet again managed to create a truly distinct and magical sounding album. And, I guess his third LP was always going to be nothing short of sublime, with seven of the seventeen tracks being produced by the legend that is Rick Rubin. Frank Ocean and Justin Vernon also lent a hand on writing and production duties.This album is long at 76 minutes but I guarantee it's worth your time.
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool I of course can't write about the best albums of 2016 without swooning over the latest Radiohead record. 'A Moon Shaped Pool' is their ninth studio album and it just cements their status as one of the best bands in the world - they consistently manage to stay exciting and break the mould. The lead single from the album 'Burn The Witch' sounds simultaneously eerie and glorious with the arrangement of the cellos. The highlight on the album for many fans though is 'True Love Waits', which has been a live favourite for a long long time. It brings the album to a perfectly beautiful close.
6. Fatherson - Open Book
Scottish band Fatherson have been steadily on the rise since they released their debut album 'I Am An Island' in 2014 and this second record of theirs is simply brilliant - it is pushing them ever closer to becoming the household rock band they should and deserve to be. Right from the off the record draws the listener in, opener 'Just Past The Point Of Breaking' is a fantastic pop song. The other notably standout tunes are 'Always', 'Lost Little Boys' (both made to be sung at festivals) and the dainty and delicate 'Joanna'.
7. Spring King - Tell Me If You Like To
This is a punchy and exciting debut album, full to the brim with sing-a-long festival anthems. The Mancunian band have really lived up to all the hype and expectation and delivered excellence with this rift riddled record. Even bigger things are to come for Spring King.
8. Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo
The twitter rants from Kanye in the lead up to the release of this were pure lols. The album is actually very very good – it doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it’s strong from fast to finish with a superb line-up of guests: Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, Sampha and Rihanna to pick just a few. The most killer tracks are ‘Real Friends’, ‘Wolves’ and ‘No More Parties in LA’.
9. David Bowie - Blackstar
A truly wonderful surprise album, which was to be Bowie’s 27th and last studio album. It highlighted Bowie’s constant creativity – he explored a different sound once again with this record, fragmented beats mixed with a lush jazzy melody. The lyrics, of course, have taken on a whole different meaning since this passing – you realise he was trying to warn the listener in the single ‘Lazarus’ – “look up here, I’m in heaven/I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”.
10. The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
The most ludicrously titled album of 2016, without question. Thank God it’s actually good! It’s a very eclectic album with big pop songs, gospel choirs, rocky instrumentals and slow acoustic jams that will make you well up.The best track on the record, the one that never seems to tire and features a flipping glorious guitar solo is the amazing ‘The Sound’.
Albums to keep an ear out for later this year:
Will Joseph Cook’s debut album
Moose Blood - Blush
Slaves’ second album
Beaty Heart – Til The Tomb
Bastille’s second album
Bear’s Den - Red Earth & Pouring Rain