These are my top five albums of the year. For me I’m ranking these by how much I listened to them throughout this year. For the past few years I decided to stop making my favorite lists through production, and lyrics and all that jazz. But rather, “what did I listen to the most this year? What did I keep going back over and over again?” I feel like that’s a difference between fans of music and very critical publications.
Though 2016 was a rough year for most. It was a great year for music fans in every genre. Now I could’ve done a top ten list but I didn’t want to go on an endless nerd out on how great all of these were. So are some honorable mentions/recommendations that I thought were fantastic.
Ka – Honor killed the Samurai
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Thrice – To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere
Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
Avalanches – Wildflower
Childish Gambino – Awaken My Love
Check these out! now on to the top five.
5 David Bowie – Black Star
A beautiful farewell record from one of the greats. amazing record and unique for several reasons. Mainly because passed away shortly after the record. And the record itself is about the reflection of his career, life and his eventual death. That’s the scariest thing about this record too. Bowie was on the brink of death knowing that he was going to die soon and decided to create this incredible album. The album is really creepy and powerful. Even though this is a poppy/glam album there are jazz and hip hop influences in this record. Its an intense, challenging listen especially for Bowie fans. Bowie really went out on a bang.
4 Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
A Moon Shaped Pool is a celebration of subtlety. In it, Radiohead continued to create incredible song writing, production and arrangement. Radiohead is great in reinventing themselves throughout there career and this time Radiohead feels more mature. they took a strong step towards beauty arranging haunting/beautiful melodies which shows itself through the album. An inspirational journey that breathes emotion and suspense and reaches to a bitter sweet conclusion. A dreary, emotional, soft album that gives you an emotional experience.
3 Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
This album is fucking crazy. If Joker from Batman Lore and B-Real from Cypress hill had a baby this would be the product of that child. There were times I question how this album existed. Rappers write a lot of albums about drugs. But this is the first time an album made me feel like i’m on drugs. This is the ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ put into music. It’s insane. With as much experimental music I’ve listen to so far, I still haven’t heard anything like this. Look up ‘Ain’t it Funny’ off this album because its the perfect representation of the project. It make you wonder who the hell could rap over this because no other rapper would touch these beats. His flow and the crazy beats go perfectly together and again I don’t know who else could rap over this. I’m someone who respected Danny Brown in the past, but never got into the hype. Now I have officially been converted. This album will go down in history as a game changer.
If I had to sum this album up in two words I would say that its peacefully chaotic. It’s a monumental experience in every sense. Built on the same foundations on there last album where it was chaotic and ambitious. This new one is more spacey, and a tad bit calmer, compared to there last record. No lie this is a very dense listen, over an hour in length. But if you have the time I urge you to sit down or drive somewhere and listen to this album all the way through and then listen to their previous two albums because I think the three albums are loosely connected to each other. Still if you don’t have the time (which is understandable) I still recommend this album for its a very heavy, mind-altering listen.
1 Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
Aesop Rock is an acquired taste even for most hip hop fans. His complex lyrical structure and vocabulary either pushes people away people from his music or draws them closer. If you don’t believe me check this OUT. The guy has more lyrics then anybody else in the game, hell even more then some of Shakespeare’s works. With this project however he has made this album more accessible through his brilliant producing. It’s an album that many can enjoy, even if they don’t understand the underlying themes he’s carefully placed in his lyrics. But what really made me fall in love with this album was how personal it was. ‘Rings’, talks about his regret in giving up drawing which he was really passionate about and regrets drifting away from that art form. Songs like this and ‘Blood Sandwich’ really connected with me and my personal experiences . Then there’s ‘Dorks’ and ‘Shrunk’ which take more personal notes on Aesop himself. The last third of the album continues a theme of seclusion, with nomadic topics and non-conformism thrown in. You could tell that Aesop gave his all on this. Again while Aesop Rock may not be every hip-hop fan’s cup of tea, you must respect the man’s effort. All-in-all “The Impossible Kid” is like and in some ways unlike any Aesop Rock release. Sick underground beats along with a lyrical prowess that brings more rewards each time I listen.