“My left stroke just went viral, right stroke put lil’ baby in a spiral”
Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Released in: 2017
Genre: Hip Hop (Conscious, West Coast)
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment
Issue Date: 2017
Best Track: DNA.
TRACKS: 1) BLOOD., 2) DNA., 3) YAH., 4) ELEMENT., 5) FEEL., 6) LOYALTY., 7) PRIDE., 8) HUMBLE., 9) LUST., 10) LOVE., 11) XXX., 12) FEAR., 13) GOD., 14) DUCKWORTH.
Kendrick Lamar (born in 1987) is a Californian rapper: while he had been releasing mixtapes since the early 2000s, his acclaim rose exponentially with the release of each of his records in the 2010s. He is primarily known for the major-label releases good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012) and To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), both of which were considered among the best albums to be released in their respective years. These records have quickly made him an important figure in the current hip hop industry, and have also influenced other works such as David Bowie’s Blackstar (2016).
- “Wherever we go, we go, we go”
Disregarding the current social and political climate for a moment (not that I would care to talk about that on a music review series), 2016 was certainly an eventful year. Amidst the deaths of many great music artists, — disregarding the obvious one, there were also Prince, Dennis Davis, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Nick Menza, John Berry, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, and Phife Dawg among others — we have been able to see long-running groups and artists not only release efforts after many years of silence, but also, in some cases, come up with great albums after a long period of middling releases. Some artists are making their exit, while others have entered into new and unexpected directions. Something is certain: there was something to please everyone, and there was always a surprise around the corner, which made 2016 a delight when it came to digging into new albums.
As usual, this is a non-definitive list, not only because the difference in quality between two different records can be very arbitrary, but also because my feelings on these albums and their placement can change as time goes on. For the time being, however, these are the best albums to come out in 2016. Continue reading
- “Use imagination as a destination”
Released in: 2016
Genre: Electro House / Nu-Disco
Label: Ed Banger
Issue Date: 2016
Best Track: Safe and Sound
TRACKS: 1) Safe and Sound; 2) Pleasure; 3) Alakazam!; 4) Fire; 5) Stop; 6) Chorus; 7) Randy; 8) Heavy Metal; 9) Love S.O.S.; 10) Close Call
Justice is a French house duo formed in 2003, comprising Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay. While they have released a handful of singles in their first four years of activity, they are primarily recognized for their debut dance album † [pronounced Cross], along with the single “D.A.N.C.E.“, both released in 2007. Their second record, Audio, Video, Disco, came out in 2011.
- “Sleep, sleep tonight, and may your dreams be realized”
THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE
Released in: 1984
Genre: Pop Rock / Alternative Rock
Producer: Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois
Issue Date: 1995 (Mobile Fidelity)
Best Track: Pride or Bad
TRACKS: 1) A Sort of Homecoming; 2) Pride (In the Name of Love); 3) Wire; 4) The Unforgettable Fire; 5) Promenade; 6) 4th of July; 7) Bad; 8) Indian Summer Sky; 9) Elvis Presley and America; 10) MLK
U2 (formed in 1976, originally under the name Feedback, then The Hype) is composed of vocalist Bono (Paul David Hewson), guitarist The Edge (David Howell Evans), bassist Adam (Charles) Clayton, and drummer (Laurence Joseph) “Larry” Mullen Jr.. They are primarily recognized for their ability to mesh together “conscious” and “extroverted” pop rock sensitivities with a variety of post-punk and alternative rock leanings, as well as their collaborations with the esteemed duo of musicians/producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.