Camiele’s 50 Favorite Albums of 2016
For most, 2016 was probably one of the worst years in recent memory. I won’t dwell on the reasons why as we all pretty much experienced them together in varying states of shock and heartache. However, that didn’t stop the flow of amazing music from when the ball dropped to introduce this dumpster fire of a year to when we finally kicked it the hell out of the way. There were so many great albums, so many amazing debuts, songs, etc. last year that I was hard-pressed to choose only 50. I certainly didn’t hear all the great albums 2016 had to offer, but of the ones I heard, these are the albums that stuck out to me as the best.
First, of course we have some honorable mentions, albums that I thought were great put were just out of my list of the best of the best of the absolute best. Doesn’t mean I want to go without giving them at least a bit of a shout out.
Crush – Wonderlust
Honestly this album was quite gorgeous. If one cruises his Instagram, they’d realize how much of a jazz head Crush actually is—even getting a chance to sing at the legendary Birdland on the New York stop of his Crush On You Tour. Wonderlust is an amalgamation of his more traditional interests, integrating live instrumentation and mellower vocals. While it just missed being in my Top 50… if I could’ve stretched my imagination and done more digging to get a list of 75 albums, trust this would’ve made it.
The Body – No One Deserves Happiness
I stumbled across this album while randomly looking for some of the albums I’d missed this year. When I tell you the second Wanderings started my jaw hit the floor…! The Body reminds me of Peace Orchestra… but much, much louder. There are moments of tenderness, soft caresses here and there. But really this album is truly all rage and hard angles, sharp and dissonant sounds. Another album that just missed the mark in terms of absolute perfection for me.
SHINee – 1of1
Okay, so I’ll admit this one was a tough choice. I will always adore SHINee for experimenting with their sound, finding genres that allow them to express their vocals to their fullest. I was head over heels for the honest-to-God New Jack Swing of the title track, and the rest of the album is blissed-out, taking their adventures in naked music a step further. I also loved their willingness to forego the club “banger,” instead taking a trip thorough London’s SoHo House district. However, in terms of range and musicality, it didn’t quite give me the same emotions as last year’s Odd, which was a musical buffet.
TK – Tourist
Deepflow’s Vismajor Crew has had one of the best years in hip-hop. Their roster is full of outrageous talent, including Nucksal, Don Mills, Wutan, and Deepflow himself. This year they debuted their first vocalist. TK’s Tourist just has so much flavor, such a beautiful sound to it. And while it may not have quite affected me the way the R&B albums on the main list did, it’s still most certainly worth a listen to fans of the label itself.
2PM – A Gentleman’s Game
Of the K-pop albums from idols this year, 2PM’s A Gentleman’s Story was one of the very few that really did anything for me from the boys side of things. Though it didn’t quite make the list, the collection of songs on this album reinforced just how mature 2PM’s sound has become over the years. It sort of reminded me of TVXQ’s last album before enlistment, Rise As God, if not a bit less dynamic.
Now with that out of the way, on to the main list!