There have been so many great albums produced last year, that unfortunately it is impossible to listen to them all. The following records made their way on my playlist and still haven't left even into the new year. Each have their own distinct colors and some have even made their way to be nominated for a Grammy Award. Without further ado, the top 5 list of albums for 2016:
5.Sugar Symphony- Chloe X Halle
Technically an extended play (EP), the debut record of the singing sisters stand strong with only 5 songs to share. Inspired and mentored by Beyoncé, the girls certainly have her influences in their music but also make each track their own. Off the bat they can be classified as a R&B duo, but also experiment with EDM on tracks such as ‘“Thunder”. Debuting with such a mature sound at 16/17 years old bodes well for the long career these two sisters are sure to have.
4. Hamilton Mixtape- Various Artists
This album of 23 tracks features the talents of multiple artists, both well known and unfamiliar, from around the world. It includes remixes of songs from the original Broadway soundtrack,demos that didn't make the final cut, and entirely new songs inspired by the founding father. There is something for everyone on this album. From Kelly Clarkson’s power ballad version of “It's Quiet Uptown” to Wiz Kalifah’s modern twist to “Washington On Your Side”, even those who never quite got into the Hamilton hype can find something for them here.
The Korean boy group's October release is a quite unusual one in the fact that 7 out of 15 of the tracks featured on the album are solo songs for each member. This is an unprecedented move as far as idol albums go, but a feat the boys accomplished effortlessly. Each member took part in crafting their songs so they reflected their group’s signature sounds along with revealing their colors as solo artists. The record marked a coming of age for the 7 men, and provided a peek into the talents they have yet to show as individuals and as a group.
2.Coloring Book- Chance The Rapper
This is the only album on the list that relied solely on streaming for profit and released by an artist not affiliated with a record label. Peaking at 8 after its May 12 release the album was critically acclaimed by critics. A fusion of hip hop and gospel, the mixtape features various talents like Justin Bieber and Kirk Franklin to release a positive praise album that refrained from isolating itself as either gospel or hip hop. It is deservedly up for 7 Grammys including a spot in the Best Rap Album category.
1.A Seat at the Table- Solange
With the rising tension between black americans and law enforcement coming to a head in 2016, many felt frustration. Frustration with police officers, the local and federal government, and a system that seems to always sell them short. By using Lilting vocals, experimental synth sounds, and heavy bass lines Solange succeeds in spreading a message that might not be so easy to swallow for many Americans. The concepts of “identity, empowerment, independence, grief, and healing” are portrayed by not only music but with chats with her parents, and spoken word verses. The struggle for equality is still a struggle, and Ms. Knowles let’s the world know she won’t keep quiet.