In a year perhaps shadowed by the loss of musical icons David Bowie and Prince, 2016 wasn’t exactly crammed full of brilliant albums. For starters, there was a new Robbie Williams album out. Did this really need to happen in 2016?! This being said, we’ve metaphorically picked through the shit and come up with some of our favourite albums from this far from good year…
Stu’s (@mojo20_music) choices:
Kings of Leon / WALLS
In my opinion, it hasn’t been that great a year for new album releases, with a world immersed in the commercial success of mediocre and unintelligible R’n’B or Grime (I’m aware I sound like an old twat here) that I find more arrogant and annoying that anything else. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Kings of Leon, a well-established band releasing their 7th studio album in ‘WALLS’ have been tipped as one of my favourites of the year. The albums solid throughout with each song offering something to the modern rock n roll genre, maintaining hints of what initialised their greatness whilst taking the time to evolve and adapt through change in trends, influence and even age. You can find our album review from when it was released here.
The Kills / Ash and Ice
Under the same vein as my previous choice, another established return has secured itself as one of my favourites of the year, when The Kills came back this summer and released ‘Ash & Ice’. When you thought Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince couldn’t get any cooler, the edgiest duo in music released ‘Doing it to Death’ and made us fall in love all over again and re-evaluate ourselves and whether any of us were reaching our cool potential. Following up that single release with a record packed from start to finish with brilliance makes ‘Ash & Ice’ an album that couldn’t be ignored in 2016.
Alice’s (@AliceWhitton1) choices:
Slaves / Take Control
‘Take Control’ is Slaves 2nd studio album and of course features their unique brand of catchy, gritty guitar riffs and brutally honest lyrics. In true Slaves style, sticking two fingers up to the men in grey suits, the song ‘Rich Man’ demonstrates this perfectly with lines like “keeps his money in an offshore account, don’t want the tax man to see the amount”. I also enjoyed the ‘Mr Industry’ and ‘Gary’ skits, a quirky touch in the latter depths of the album to make it a little bit more interesting. Like their previous records I just totally admire their lack of fear when it comes to speaking their minds on topics such as consumerism and the rich and famous, which in this day and age, is pretty damn ballsy and a refreshing change in today’s commercially driven and trend orientated society.
Lady Gaga / Joanne
In a complete contrast to my first choice my other favourite album of the year is ‘Joanne’ by Lady GaGa. This is her 6th studio album and in my opinion, the best by far. Some tracks like ‘Perfect Illusion’ are her usual pop sound but my favourites are the stripped down, back to basic songs. She has such an incredible voice and most tracks on this album are a reminder of how vocally talented she really is, not to mention how beautifully she can play the piano which as a fellow pianist I highly appreciate. My favourite song on the album, and I would even stretch to song of the year is ‘Million Reasons’. This song has such deep, relatable lyrics unlike some of her previous work, featuring lyrics such as “let’s have some fun this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” … not exactly Shakespeare is it? But her rise in credibility factor may have a lot to do with the association she now shares with Mark Ronson, Josh Homme and Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, as they produced and played on ‘Joanne’, adding further substance to her growing repertoire. The album is raw and emotional in parts, yet fun and brash in others and this latest evolution of her is one I personally prefer! Keep them coming GaGa!!
Robert’s (@robertmsmith) choices:
David Bowie / Blackstar
As aforementioned, this year we lost perhaps the most prolific music icon’s, David Bowie. I’ve been a fan of Bowie for as long as I can remember and was actually beginning to review this album when the news broke that he had unfortunately lost a long battle with cancer. The world seemingly stopped caring and since that point, 2016 went “well shit”. Blackstar turned out to be a beautiful parting gift to his fans and listening with hindsight, the album is beautiful as you learn that Bowie had come to terms with the inevitable and wanted to bow out in the most artistic way he could with one final album. The vocals are beautifully haunting and will stick with me forever as I still struggle to come to terms that Bowie is no longer with us. At least we have a phenomenal discography that will stand the test of time.
Peter Doherty / Hamburg Demonstrations
This album came later on in the year but it turned out to be well worth the wait featuring some of Doherty’s most beautiful, complex writing so far. I reviewed the album in full which you can read here but to summarise, despite all the shit that’s been written about Peter Doherty in the press as he’s attempted to battle his demons and get on the straight and narrow, he’s managed to turn all of the negativity that shrouds his character and turn it in to some of the finest modern day poetry available. I also found the album to very calming and relaxing following a stressful year so the fact that it came out in December is perhaps a blessing in disguise. If you haven’t had chance to check this album out, make sure you do it soon. Whether you’re a fan of the guy or not, nobody can argue about the fact that the man is one of the most talented musician’s of our generation.
So, there we have it…our favourite albums of 2016. What was your favourite of 2016? Here’s hoping for a much better 2017 and until then, have a brilliant Christmas and New Year!