2016 was fucking terrible. Let’s be realistic here.
Despite this torturous and seemingly never ending excuse of a year, some pretty incredible and life changing music came out. I am grateful for every artist that decided to bless us with some songs for suffering.
To celebrate this magical year in music, I’m going to make a list of my top 10 fav albums of the year. So here goes it:
# 10. The Sun’s Tirade – Isaiah Rashad
I am assuming that a lot of people do not know who Isaiah Rashad is, and neither did, I except from the SZA song that came out in 2014. When I saw that this album had come out, on a whim I decided to give it a listen, and I was genuinely mesmerized by how good it is. Isaiah Rashad is super cool, innovative, and he looks like 21 Savage’s more stable and refined twin brother. Is that appropriate to say? Whatever, I don’t care. Go listen to the song “Stuck in the Mud”, “4r Da Squaw”, and “Wat’s Wrong” right now.
9. Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino
I am so in love with this whole album and I love how #polarizing it is. There is not a drip drop of rap on it and the sound is so obscure and eclectic. When the song “Me and your Mama” came out I knew that the whole album was going to be life changing, and I was RIGHT. It is so fun, uplifting, and for the 48 minutes that it plays it feels like my depression is put on pause. Everyone needs to go listen to the songs “Terrified”, “Riot”, and for when you are feeling like the world has lost all hope, “Have Some Love”.
8. Lemonade- Beyonce
Don’t @ me for not putting this closer to #1. I love this album. The fucking feature length film that went along with it is oscar worthy and it was better than Bradley Cooper’s entire career. Fuck Bradley Cooper. This album was so important, especially given our current social and political climate. I wrote an essay series in one of my classes about this album, and I did get an A on each of them. I also did some pretty punny titles that my professor really appreciated (humble brag). So shoutout to Bey for the educational assist. My fav songs from this are “Hold Up” as well as “All Night”. Most importantly though is “Don’t Hurt Yourself” a song that you should all add to your “songs to listen to while I kill a man” playlist.
7. The Altar – Banks
This album is so ethereal and avant-garde. Banks has been a favorite of mine since 2014, and I think she captures the most perfect balance of intensity and delicacy. She is really brave in what she puts out, and so much of it speaks to mental health struggles, relationship struggles, and an overall sense of being in limbo. Although she acknowledges these struggles, she does it in such a way that incites a sense of empowerment and retribution. In a way, a lot of her work is very Gone Girl-esque. Every bitch has gotta give this album a listen and be prepared to experience the entire spectrum of human emotion. My favorite songs are “Weaker Girl”, “Trainwreck”, “Gemini Feed” and “27 Hours”.
6. The Life of Pablo- Kanye West
LISTEN, I KNOW. Kanye is currently having a bit of a mental break and he has come out in support of the devil himself. #unbiased. However, I feel like it would be a lie to say that his music is bad. You may dislike him (personally I quite enjoy him, I find him to be very authentic) but it cannot be argued that he makes some good music. Just because Kanye is having a mental break, and needed to take a little vacay at his local mental hospital, (very #chic might I add) that does not mean that we all have to suffer too! Embrace a good thing when it presents itself! Listening to Ultralight Beam is like a nonconsensual baptism. It makes me feel like I got doused in holy water. And let me tell you, I am so here for it. I am not religious but that does not mean I don’t feel #blessed every time I listen to it. So everyone, take care of yourself. If you don’t want to end up like Kanye, you gotta listen to Kanye. In a way it’s like he scarified his own sanity so that we could all have ours. A true martyr. Thanks Yeezus.
5. Joanne- Lady Gaga
I personally think that Lady Gaga is very authentic, caring, and she gives me strong mother vibes. She speaks out on social issues that are important like sexual assault and LGBTQ issues, and she does it in a way that feels very genuine, organic, touching in a way that the contrived agenda of most celebrities just isn’t. That being said, this album is really beautiful, fun, uplifting, and there are so many strange and unexpected elements to it. The song “John Wayne” which could alternatively be called “It could be fun to fuck a republican” is one of my favorite songs of the year. “Dancin’ in Circles” connected with me on a spiritual level, and “Ay-Yo” is a favorite to obnoxiously sing in the car. People that refuse to listen to Gaga based on preconceived notions should get the fuck over themselves and give peace a chance. I’m reclaiming that phrase from the racist and misogynistic ass-wipe John Lennon because he doesn’t deserve it. Don’t @ me.
4. Dangerous Women- Ariana Grande
QUEEN! I love Ariana so much. I loved her when she was Cat on Victorious, I love her despite some of her tragic outfit and makeup decisions, and I even loved her when she licked the donut and declared that she hated America (actually I probably loved her more then but I didn’t want to be #controversial so I keep that on the DL). Anyways, this album is a masterpiece and I truly recommend it for all my ladies out there. It will make you feel powerful. We also cannot ignore the lyrical gem “wrist icicle, ride dick bicycle” #thanksnicki. I mean if that’s not one of the most profound statements you’ve ever heard, then what is. My fav songs on this musical art piece are “dangerous woman” (obvi), “greedy”, “know better/forever boy”, and “touch it”. PSA: get the deluxe edition so you can listen to “Jason’s song (give it away)” IT’S MAGICAL.
3. In My Mind – BJ the Chicago Kid
LIFE CHANGING. The song “Jeremiah/World Needs More Love” is honest to god one of the most amazing songs you will ever hear in your entire life. BJ is already super underrated, but even amongst his listeners I feel like this song is not talked about enough.. If you love yourself you will go listen right now. I sing this song in my car while I’m driving and people will stare at me like I am having some sort of mental episode. The songs “Church”, “The New Cupid”, and “Woman’s World” are also breathtakingly amazing. Please go listen to this album right now. You will literally feel like you just awakened from a coma with a whole new perspective on life.
2. Blonde- Frank Ocean
The man. The myth. The legend. I’m not even going to make any jokes about how long it took for him to put this out. Everyone on the Internet did that enough, and it’s kinda overdone at this point, also God put a really good passage in the Bible about it, which is pretty much how long ago Channel Orange came out.#fakeocean. What came first, The Bible or Channel Orange? Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? (do Christians even think God wrote the bible???…….fuck idk). I actually really appreciate that Frank Ocean doesn’t just meaninglessly throw out an excess amount of music into the world. Some artists do this (drake), and just hope that people will be receptive to some of it (drake) and then pray they we forget the bad because we are so inundated with music (drake). Anyways, this album is beautiful and brings me an immense amount of joy. “Pink + White” is one of my favorite songs ever and just thinking about it makes even a bitch as cold as me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. “YOU SHOWED ME LOVE!!!!! GLORY FROM ABOVE!!!” So amazing. “Ivy”, “Solo”, and “Nights” are also #ICONIC. Thank you so much for this album Franklin. I love you. Even when it takes you 50 years to put an album out. It sucks that JFK doesn’t get to hear Blonde, I heard he really liked Channel Orange and it got him through some tough times #cubanmissilecrisis. I think that’s what he was listening to in the car in Dallas. I bet Lee Harvey Oswald would have loved 21 Savage. #savagemode
1. Coloring Book- Chance the Rapper
Technically this is a mixtape, not an album, but I don’t fucking care. Not to be a dramatic bitch but I would give my fucking kidney to Chance if he needed it. I would jump in front of a car for him. Take a bullet. ANYTHING. This is probably my favorite collection of songs that has ever been released into the universe. The song “Angels” has been one of my favorite songs since it was released in 2015 and it will actually change your life I promise you. “Blessings” ft. BJ, Anderson Paak and some other people will literally grant you automatic entrance into heaven just for listening to it. It literally counteracts all of your sins. The song “Finish Line / Drown” is my actual favorite song in the world. This song will literally make you feel like the best version of yourself. Chance has #blessed us in so many ways this year. He did “Ultralight Beam” and “Waves” on Kanye’s album, and he gave us the greatest gift with Coloring Book. I remember that it came out shortly after Drake’s album did, and I was like wow this literally just ended Drake’s career. Drake who? You mean that wheelchair kid from Degrassi? Chance is a gift to this Earth and I feel better participating in this hellish existence knowing that I can look forward to everything that his beautiful spirit has to offer.
THAT WAS SO LONG, I AM SO SORRY. 2016 was truly the best year in music that I have witnessed in my years of existence. Also no Taylor Swift album. #blessed. It was so hard to even narrow this down to 10. The original list I made had like 25 names on it.
Honorable mentions: This is Acting- Sia, Anti- Rihanna, There’s A Lot Going On- Vic Mensa, Starboy- The Weeknd, Nightride- Tinashe, A Seat at the Table – Solange, Do What Thou Wilt- Ab-Soul, 24K Magic – Bruno Mars, Don’t You- Wet, Glory Days- Little Mix, Views- Drake (lol)