As with movies, this was also a phenomenal year for music with releases by most major touring artists. These are not listed in any particular order. It was very interesting to see genres like hip-hop and R&B really push the boundaries of genre and incorporate a variety of influences. I realize some of these choices might be a controversial (e.g. The Weeknd), but my criteria for making this list were as follows:
- Frequency of listening to a particular album;
- Musicianship, lyricism, etc.;
- Ability to connect with album, its story/message, etc. most strongly.
This led some albums that I think a lot of people enjoyed to be relegated to an "Honorable Mention", like Radiohead's new album. I really enjoyed it, but it just didn't get as much play as some of these other albums (or other Radiohead albums for the that matter). I would anticipate that this list might change as soon as next week. I find some of my favorite albums take a long time for me to finally "get" them. I'll try to update this as frequently as possible to account for that.
NOTE: These are not listed in any particular order.
- Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
- The Weeknd - Starboy
- Childish Gambino - "Awaken, My Love!"
- Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
- Frank Ocean - Blonde
- Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - I Had a Dream That You Were Mine
- Bon Iver - 22, A Million
- A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here...Thank You 4 Your service
- Various Artists - Day of the Dead
- Beyonce - Lemonade
Honorable Mentions: Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool, Schoolboy Q - Blank Face LP, David Bowie - Blackstar, Solange - A Seat at the Table, Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered., Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book, Drake - Views, Whitney - Light Upon the Lake