The Falconer

The Music of 2016

Samantha Collings, Staff Writer

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(DISCLAIMER: The music listed above is strictly opinion based and in no specific order. While writing the article, I debated whether to include a wider variety of genres, but decided against it on the basis that I don’t want to speak on things I’m not informed about. While these are my favorite albums of the year, I am aware that many more amazing albums were released that I did not mention, and respect the artists and audiences who created and listened to them.)

When trying to sum up 2016 as a whole, only one word comes to mind: controversial. It seems that everything that has happened over the last 365 days has been cause for conversation and strong opinions. From politics and world wide terrorism, to the most miniscule things like trends and technology, everyone has been vocal (to say the least) about their standpoints on every situation. But in the midst of all of all the 2016 chaos, one thing managed to get swept under the rug; the incredible albums that were created and released. So here are a few of the positive things that happened this year in the world of music.

 



1. Blonde – Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean impressed us all after releasing his album Blonde in August of 2016. After over four years of waiting after releasing “Channel Orange” in july of 2012, the anticipation around this album was indescribable. With minimal instrumentation for long periods of time on the album, the thing that captivated Franks audience was his incredible voice and story telling ability. Featuring songs like “Nights” (which style imitates that of “Pyramids” from “Channel Orange”), to “Solo (reprise)” featuring Andre 3000, Frank seems to have not only stuck to his already incredibly unique style, but also expanded upon it to give his audience something new, but also familiar. With other visionary musicians such as Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, Beyonce, Kanye West, Tyler, The Creator, Kendrick Lamar, James blake, and Jazmine Sullivan, the album is a beautiful compilation of new music that is worth checking out.

2. A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead

Radiohead released their ninth studio album “A Moon Shaped Pool” in May of 2016, which left audiences impressed and wanting more from the iconic band. With Thom Yorke’s impeccable song writing ability and jonny Greenwood’s “angsty” and well composed string arrangements, the album is a work of art that attracted new audiences, while pleasing the band’s long time fans as well. The album upholds Radiohead’s distinctly ominous sound, while also exploring new themes; most prominently separation, which branches from Yorke’s recently divorce with his wife of 23 years.  In addition to all of the new songs on the album, the band also resurrected an older song “True Love Waits”, which has been apart of their portfolio for over two decades, and is most well know (until now) for appearing on their 2001 live album “I Might Be Wrong”.  Radiohead is the purest and truest example of a band who is constantly pushing their own boundaries and exploring uncharted territory in the music world, and continuously succeeding. So give this album a listen if you enjoy Radiohead’s distinct sound.

3. Coloring Book – Chance The Rapper

After two mixtapes, various features and collaborations, and many years of anticipation, Chance’s album “Coloring Book” was an immediate success. Chance, who is not signed with a label has been quoted many times saying he has “no hesitation” releasing mix tapes, but he was anxious to drop his first official album. Despite his anxiety, the album (not surprisingly) has become a huge hit since its release in May of 2016, and has sky rocketed the rapper’s career. Coloring Book display’s familiar themes of family, love, and religion, while managing for the most part to stray away from the norm of rap culture drug glorification, which is impressive on it’s own. Chance’s unique sound and thought provoking lyrics leave his fans always wanting more from the young artist. 2016 was a great year (to say the least) for Chance, and his audience can’t wait to see what he brings to the table in 2017.

4. Awaken, My Love – Childish Gambino (Donald Glover)

Donald Glover, a well known comedian and actor turned rapper, has a history of shocking people, and did just that with his new album “Awaken, My Love”. After releasing three official rap albums, he changed pace when creating his newest music. This album features a wide range of genres, stretching from rock n’ roll, to reggae, to R&B; But to his audience’s surprise, not a single rap song in the entire thing. Actually, not even a rap verse at that. Despite the confusion that it brought on, the album has received tons of publicity and support from fans; and rap or not, nobody can deny the incredible musicianship and diversity Glover has shown us he is capable of.

5. I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It – The 1975

The 1975 released their second album in February of 2016. The album, which features 16 songs (three of which are instrumental interludes), is almost 75 minutes long, and impressive through all of it. The band continues to emulate early 80’s pop music, while adding in their own unique sound to it. The band released two singles from the album before the actual release date in 2016, first “Love Me” in October of 2015, and then “Ugh” in December. Following the album release, the songs “The Sound”, “Somebody Else”, “A Change of Heart”, and “She’s American” received quite a lot of positive attention, and attracted a large amount of people to the band’s constantly growing fan base. This is yet another 2016 album that deserved all of the hype that surrounded its release.

 


 
So, despite all of the craziness we endured over the past year, music has not ceased to bring happiness and creativity to the table; and no matter what 2017 throws at us, you can count on music to be a bright spot on even the darkest days.

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