Like the rest of the spheres of the world, music saw its ups and downs. We lost the legends that are David Bowie and Phife Dawg, but we also got a Tribe Called Quest’s comeback album and Bowie’s Blackstar, which acted as a beautiful farewells. We saw Kanye edit and re-release his songs off of The Life Of Pablo in real time, while we saw Carly Rae release the first mainstream pop B-Side album. 2016 was crazy, in sort of a beautiful way.
1. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank U 4 Your Service
The Tribe Called Quest comeback and posthumous release following Phife Dawg’s tragic death really shows the group at their best. Overcoming their personal differences beautifully late in Phife’s life, the group did what it does best: blend robust beats with the characteristic voices of the group. Additionally, the political lyrics of this album are particularly haunting as they were presumably recorded years ago, yet accurately reflect this most recent election.
2. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
A lot of people chalked this album’s content up to Yorke’s recent divorce, but with its inclusion of longtime fan favorites never recorded, it was really a love letter to Radiohead fans. It also had some fantastic music videos, to boot.
3. David Bowie – Blackstar
We lost Bowie this year, but we didn’t lose his spirit. Bowie kept his failing health quite secret, making his death a shock to fans. However, this final album was released right around his death and the lyrics speak to his final bow on Earth. Truly a beautiful album, and Bowie will be missed.
4. Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion: Side B
Carly Rae is the first pop artist in recent memory to drop a successful B Side. That’s truly badass. Carly Rae wrote so many songs for the Emotion album (upwards of hundreds, according to reports) that she was able to drop a Part 2. She is truly bringing quality back to the pop world.
5. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
The Life Of Pable is a truly revolutionary release, insofar as Kanye dropped it on streaming services and then kept editing the songs and reuploading them in real time. Fans who caught the initial drops got to see his producing skills in real time, and the choices that came with it. The TLOP tour was also insane, and despite speed bumps with Kanye’s personal health, was a great time.