By Muna Ahmad
I think we all can agree the year 2016 has brought us some happiness, pain, and maybe even some confusion. With that being said, I would like to kindly wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year for 2017. However musically, I think we got some noteworthy material of music. When it comes to picking albums I can be very selective, so if you’ve made the cut, thumbs up! I’ve chosen 3 albums that came out in 2016 that I thought were pretty awesome.
His music always sounds organic, fresh, and fun with a lot of soul, funk, and nostalgia that I believe lacks in music these days. Listening to the album, you can see it pays tribute to R&B legends like James Brown and New Edition. Mars is known for using 80s and 90s soul and reconstructing it to a modern and hot off the press sound for all of us to enjoy. What intrigues me the most about Mars as an artist is the combination of his stellar performing skills, his great voice, and his groovy hit records. Mars has always been one to reinvent and recreate American soul music into something new and innovating and that’s what makes the crowd love him and his music so much.
Coming in 2nd is Frank Ocean’s Blonde album. With all the mystery behind Frank Ocean’s absence from the public eye, he finally released his sophomore album which is full of feelings and emotion. Ocean is able to capture the feelings that people commonly come across in life which makes the album relatable.
It was very calming and soothing but at the same time giving a message of sorrow and his search for forgiveness. It was a nice, relaxed, meditated album and sonically pleasing considering it took so long to come out. After four years from his last debut album, Channel Orange, Ocean released a visual album called Endless a day before Blonde came out illustrating the slow and tedious process of the making of the album. It seems like Frank Ocean’s fans have to be the poster children for patience because if one thing is for sure it’s that Ocean is on his own time and pace when it comes to putting out quality music, whether they like it or not.
Coming in 1st is… *cues drum roll* Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. If anyone knows me, they know my favorite artist of all time is Yeezy himself. Although this album wasn’t as great as his previous releases, it was still super awesome in my book. The album starts off with Ultralight Beam which was being compared in the media to being as good as or even better than West’s song Jesus Walks. I don’t think any song can come close to Jesus Walks’ legendary place in hip-hop, but it was a good try. Following the intro song is Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 which, can we just admit is kind of flawless when transitioning into each other. FSMH Pt. 1 is one of my favorite tracks off the album. Kid Cudi’s vocals were such a great touch to the track that it makes you wish the song was longer until you here the follow up hype song, FSMH Pt. 2.
Listening to this album, the first half seemed more fluent and cohesive and towards the second half, I felt like West did what he wanted to do with which songs he chose to put. Although the songs he chose weren’t randomly placed, I think a better selection of songs could’ve been used. However that doesn’t diminish from the songs being great individually. Before all the hype surrounding the song Fade after the premiere of the music video at the VMAs in 2016, it was the one song that stood out to me sonically on first listen and was instantly a favorite of mine. FSMH Pt. 1, FSMH Pt. 2, Highlights, Wolves (which Sia made a great feature on), No More Parties in LA, Facts, Fade, and Saint Pablo were all my favorites from TLOP. Kanye West’s next album titled Turbo Grafx 16 is rumored to be coming out this year along with his compilation album Cruel Winter, which is said to come out in February 2017.