So it is that time of year again when I reveal my favorite albums of the year. This year I will review five albums per day leading up to my top five on Saturday, December 17th. But before I get to my favorite albums of the year I wanted to highlight some of the themes that we encountered in music. 2016 was a great year for music and I am so excited about the many new artists who I discovered and the return of many of all-time favorites.
Top Theme: 2016 was a year for loss
Just shortly after 2016 began we all heard that David Bowie had passed away just two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar. He was the first of so many icons from the world of music to pass away. And there were the big, big names like Prince and Merle Haggard but there were so many more and in just about every type of music you could think of. From jazz to hip hop; rock to Latin music, if you love music someone died that took a little of you with them. Here is a partial list of people we lost in the world of music;
Bill Nunn (Radio Raheem)
Frank Sinatra Jr.
Sir George Martin
Here is a Spotify playlist featuring many of these artists: People Who Died Mix 2016
2016 was the year the Women in Music took over
From the new wave of singer-songwriters and country music like Margo Price to the establishment of to Beyonce taking over the world this year was the year of the woman. At one point the top five albums and songs on the charts were by women. My list will have all sorts of great Women on my list.
2016 was the year for Hip Hop as Performance Art
Artists like Chance the Rapper light up the airwaves with visionary and thematic hip hop that made us all see just how far hip hop can go. These albums were not meant to be sliced into singles but were designed to be consumed in whole to better understand their vision and narrative.
2016 was the year of the Surprise
From Beyonce’s Lemonade to Radiohead’s Moon Shaped Pool there were lots of teasers and secret releases. Usually these were dropped in the cover of darkness like the Frank Ocean album and other times social media like YouTube to give glimpses of the work. It was fun. In addition you had additional easter eggs like an accompanying book by Solange. These surprises were great for fans but maddening for super fans but overall it made 2016 fun. So get ready, there is a lot to listen to and enjoy. What a great 2016.