My Top 16 Albums of 2016 Part II

So here's the second part of my list of top albums from this year. Hopefully you all can either look back at all the great music released this year or maybe find a new album to listen to. Don't forget to take a look at the honorable mentions and my end note. Enjoy!

8. Alicia Keys: HERE
Released: November 4, 2016

Alicia Keys' new album Here comes four years after her last one, and in the words of Keys herself, it's her best album yet. The whole album takes on a theme of love and acceptance. Songs like "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)" and "Holy War" sum up the record pretty well. Keys has made an assortment of songs with beautiful melodies full of heart and soul. After every few songs, there is an interlude that only adds to the value of this record. Here is an album full of poetry, and Keys sounds beautiful and strong from start to finish.

Tracks to Listen For: "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)" "Hallelujah" "Holy War"

7. Two Door Cinema Club: Gameshow
Released: October 14, 2016

It had been four years as well for Two Door Cinema Club since they released their last record. When I found out they were releasing new music, I was super excited to listen, and I was not let down. Gameshow has the TDCC sound without sounding too similar or boring. Every song is catchy yet original. Songs like "Fever" and "Bad Decisions" bring a distinctly 80s vibe to the record, while songs like "Gameshow" and "Are We Ready?" bring more epic sounds and melodies to the album. For risk of sounding too simplistic, let me just say this record is fun. Gameshow might be an easy listen, but it's far from ordinary.

Tracks to Listen For: "Lavender" "Bad Decisions" "Are We Ready?"

6. The Weeknd: Starboy
Released: November 25, 2016

I've been in love with The Weeknd for awhile. There are moments in his voice and songs where I swear I hear Michael Jackson. I also appreciate the fact that he can actually perform live. On this album, The Weeknd has gone in the direction he knows that will sell; catchy pop and RnB tunes. Not to say that's bad at all, because he does it so well. What I really love about this album though is that he does not just stop at songs like "Starboy", but tracks like "Sidewalks" and "True Colors" bring a slow, maybe more honest vibe to the record. All in all, Starboy shows the continued growth The Weeknd has gone through now having produced three full albums. About a week ago, every single song on this album was charting on the Hot 100, so I think that fact in and of itself proves this album is quality.

Songs to Listen For: "Starboy" "Sidewalks" "False Alarm"

5. Jack Garratt: Phase
Released: February 19, 2016

After seeing this man in concert, I have even more respect for him, as other than backup singers, he is the only person on the stage. Garratt is obviously talented, but there is also just something about his music. Phase seems like a breath of fresh air when it comes to comparing it to other popular music out at the moment. There's nothing quite like it. One can go from a dance track like "Breathe Life" to a more acoustic song like "Weathered." "My House is Your Home" is a beautiful and raw ballad, while "Chemical" is a fast-paced synth-pop tune. Phase is an album that somehow works together brilliantly as a whole, without sounding too randomly strung together. It's an album I fell in love with at first listen, and an album I've made a lot of others fall in love with as well.

Songs to Listen For: "Weathered" "Surprise Yourself" "Worry"

4. Frank Ocean: Blonde
Released: August 20, 2016

If you guys can remember back to one of my post earlier in the year, this guy was on my list for people who need to release music this year. Thankfully Ocean did not disappoint. Blonde is good because you can tell Ocean made honest and truthful music. This album is emotional, and after listening to it you kind of feel like you need to take a moment. I suggest listening to the record in order, as the music really does tell a story, and you feel as if you are on this journey with Ocean. In the song "Ivy", Ocean mentions how "we'll never be those kids again" and spends the song reminiscing on the past and on dreams. The next track "Pink+White" looks back fondly on someone who has passed away, and the songs continue in that fashion. Even though it took him longer than expected, Ocean made an album he should be proud of not only because the songs are nice and soothing, but because the music paints a vivid story, one you just can't stop listening to.

Tracks to Listen For: "Ivy" "Solo" "Self Control"

3. Jojo: Mad Love
Released: October 14, 2016

We are starting to get into my personal favorite albums of the year. I've talked about Jojo a lot on this blog, but I just genuinely adore the majority of her music. The only reason this album is number 3 instead of 2 is the fact that I really do not like the two singles that have so far come off of this record. I think every other song is great though, and one of my favorite things about this album is the fact that all of the songs are somehow about empowerment and confidence. "High Heels" is a song about feeling great after a breakup, and "Vibe" features a lyric that says "I was cool already way before you met me." It's an awesome thing to see a woman making an album that focuses heavily on self-love and women empowering themselves and other women. The song "Music" also holds a special place in my heart, as its Jojo's love letter to music. It's a unique way to write about the subject, and it's also really relatable. With Mad Love, Jojo proved she's back, and she's here to stay.

Tracks to Listen For: "Like This" "I Am" "Music" "Vibe"

2. Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman
Released: May 20, 2016

I've also talked a lot about this album because it's what made me like an artist I previously did not. I was not a fan of Ariana Grande in the slightest, but this album impressed me so much that I completely changed my mind. I love every song on this album, which is so rare for me. Are there some songs that I play more than others? Sure, of course. If I couldn't skip any of the songs on the record would I be upset? Not in the slightest. On the album, Grande dabbles in pop and RnB, but the album also has Caribbean influences with help from Nicki Minaj on the song "Side to Side" and utilizes some dance beats on songs like "Be Alright" and "Let Me Love You." Dangerous Woman is a diverse album, but one that is still Grande, just a more mature and polished version.

Songs to Listen For: "Bad Decisions" "Into You" "Sometimes"

1. Beyoncé: Lemonade
Released: April 23, 2016

I mean I don't know if anybody saw this coming, but for me it was obvious who won the year of 2016. Not only did Beyoncé release a fantastic album, but she released a visual album full of beautiful symbolism and poetry. Even if this record was trash (it's not though), I would applaud Beyoncé because this album is so frank and candid. If you have been living under a rock and don't know, this entire record deals with Beyoncé's emotions after finding out Jay-Z cheated. To air something out like that is brave but can sometimes be disastrous, while Beyoncé did it in such a graceful and eloquent way. I also love how she experimented with different genres on this album. "Daddy Lessons" sounds like it came straight from an early 2000s country album, and "Don't Hurt Yourself" tries to conquer the rock genre. With collaborations including Kendrick Lamar, James Blake, The Weeknd, and Jack White, this album was always going to be amazing. I'll say if Beyoncé does not win the Grammy for this record, then I'll be shocked. Lemonade is a pure and genuine work of art.

Tracks to Listen For: "Freedom" "6 Inch" "Hold Up"

Lemonade is not on Spotify yet, but enjoy this version of "Daddy Lessons" with the Dixie Chicks.

Honorable Mentions:
Tom Odell: Wrong Crowd
Zayn: Mind of Mine
Little Mix: Glory Days

So those are my favorite albums of 2016. Do you agree? Are there some I forgot or should check out? Let me know in the comments below. See you guys next week and have a happy new year!


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