ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2016
As well as writing my own blog, I'm also a contributing writer for RockShot - a popular UK based online music photography magazine that features live gig reviews, festival coverage, interviews and portraits.
My fellow writers and photographers really know their stuff, and together we have compiled a list of the Albums of The Year 2016 which you can find here.
My personal Top Ten Albums of the Year are below (in no apparent order).
The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
Even The 1975’s frontman Matt Healy said “I’m challenging people to sit through an hour and 15 minutes and 17 songs that all sound completely different from each other. It’s quite an emotional investment”. Challenge accepted, it’s teeming with clever, brilliant tracks (and one of the most memorable album titles of the year even it if was too interminable for some people).
Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate
Following the success of gold-selling Home Again, which contains one of the most haunting tracks ever produced, Bones - the follow up doesn't disappoint. It’s complex and at times beautifully tormented and fragile, but overall a powerful collection of soulful music.
Justice - Woman
You don’t have to be an electro-head to appreciate French duo Justice. The explosive blend of disco, dance, rock, funk and more is a delicious antidote to a year that most of us would rather forget.
Beyoncé - Lemonade
Beyoncé's Lemonade featured on most of the 'best of' compilations of the year, and it's easy to see why. A politically charged, confident powerhouse of a record tackling a number of important themes including female identity, black empowerment and infidelity, Beyonce continues to dominate. Becky with the good hair needs to be worried.
Azymuth - Fênix
The kings of Brazilian jazz-funk Azymuth, are back after a five-year break (and sadly the passing of keyboard prodigy Jose Roberto Bertrami in 2012) to regain their crowns. A heady blend of bass, synths, percussion and vocals radiate a wave of energy of warmth.
Kadhja Bonet - The Visitor
Kadhja Bonet has been described as sounding “like someone who fell to Earth from heaven” - and she does. The Visitor is beautiful, mysterious and ethereal and touches upon a spectrum of genres including soul, jazz, and R’n’B. It is smooth and clear but it sizzles too.
Christine and the Queens - Chaleur Humaine
Chaleur Humaine spent the majority of the last two years in the French Top 40 and it’s easy to see why. It’s rich and rewarding electro-pop and very cool, just like Héloïse Letissier herself who secured the global-recognition she deserved this year.
Gallant - Ology
Ology is one of those albums that attaches itself to you on one single listen, in a really good way. Sultry R&B grooves recall the ‘80s and ‘90s but Gallant offers a modern, poetic take and an impressively broad vocal range. Skipping Stones is exquisite.
William Poyer - Born Lucky
Born Lucky, written by Poyer during his time in Mexico, is an impressive, 7-track collection of acoustic music that demonstrates a genuine attention to his craft and the sounds of driving, melodic Americana.
Solange - A Seat at The Table
A Seat at The Table had a lot of people very, very excited on release, and deservedly so. It reflects Solange’s evolution and represents empowerment and strength, proving she is an artist to be taken seriously, just like her big sister. Raw and powerful.
Extracts from this list appear on RockShot's Albums of the Year 2016 along with some excellent music recommendations. It's a diverse and brilliant collection of records - check it out.