As we welcome in 2017, the rumour mill is already heating up with album hype as we anticipate the plethora of new albums that are about to drop over the first few months of the new year. While we sit and stew in anticipation, we’ve decided to take it back and look at some of our favourite albums over the past year, the gems that you might have missed and the ones that deserve to be revisited in 2017.
Kaytranada – 99.9%
One of the biggest buzz-artists of 2015 gave fans what they wanted, a debut album of original productions featuring heavy feature artists Craig David, Anderson .Paak, Alunageorge, GoldLink, Vic Mensa, SYD and more. While the album offers a diverse combination of moods with both upbeat and mellow productions, Kaytranada’s sound is so distinct and classy. He is really taking electronic music in the right direction on this one, and believe us when we say that ‘there isn’t a bad song on this album’.
David Bowie – Blackstar
Blackstar was a tough farewell from David Bowie to fans all around the globe. His twenty-fifth album was released on his birthday and only two days before his passing, and is believed to have acted as a parting gift from the legendary pop icon. The record which received critical acclaim once again showcased Bowie’s ability to reinvent himself and remain one step ahead. Let’s not forget about this legendary album in 2017.
Nao – For All We Know
Seamlessly blending a combination of Funk and RnB, London based artist NAO produced a surprise package album that many may have overlooked throughout the year. Featuring a handful of familiar tracks, there’s a good chance you’d be well acquainted with the music but haven’t yet attributed it yet to the heavenly sounds of NAO. Fear not, make sure to get this promising talent onto your playlist in 2017.
A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here….Thank You For Your Service
This one was a special one, as mentioned back in November, legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest released what was their first album in 18 years and probably their last. It sadly arrived after the passing of renown member Phife Dawg, who did manage to leave his final contributions on the album. You can hang on to this one for the next 18 years and beyond as Q-Tip and the crew don’t miss a beat as it seamless picks up where they left of 18 years ago. If you’re yet to discover ATCQ, give these hip-hop pioneers a chance and proceed to dig through the rest of their discography and their slice of New York hip-hop history.
Anderson .Paak – Malibu + NxWorries – Yes Lawd!
Okay we’re throwing an extra one in here since they are both coming partly from the same artist. Firstly, one of the most talked about breakthrough artists of year (and rightly so) Anderson .Paak’s album of early 2016 ‘Malibu’ is still being discovered and treasured by many. The guy who is signed to Dr. Dre’s label and made his name as a feature artist on Dre’s ‘Compton’ album is not all about LA Rap though. It’s his blend of soul, funk and RnB that have makes his ‘Malibu’ album so digestible. The second album is a collaborative album with respected New York beatmaker Knxwledge under the NxWorries alias. This one delves in more obscure territory with heavy sampling and off-beat productions, but mind-blowing nonetheless. Both albums showcase the ability to stand the test of time, no matter how many times they get rinsed.
HONNE – Warm On A Cold Night (Deluxe)
After creating some significant buzz online, you may have heard of the UK lads HONNE over the past couple of years, building their own brand of electronic-soul. While their debut album delivered some of their musical offerings from previous years, in it’s entirety it’s a palatable 16 track album that can be enjoyed many times over. The album which definitely carries commercial appeal has seemingly gained support from tastemakers and built cult followings around the world, but has yet been discovered from a wider audience. Don’t let this album be ‘the one that got away’.
Solange – A Seat At The Table
‘A Seat At The Table’ can be found on most ‘Albums of the Year’ lists from all major music publications including Pitchfork, NME and Rolling Stone, however It’s lack of commercial airtime may have led this to slip under your radar last year. The album which acts as a statement to black womanhood encapsulates a powerful message through a range of powerfully stunning tracks that are as emotional as they are healing. ASATT is unlike anything we’ve heard before from Solange or any artist for that matter, it’s pure, powerful, but so nice and mellow, great for when you’re needing that little bit of down-time.
Dope Lemon – Honey Bones
The best words to describe Dope Lemon, the latest project from Angus Stone (of Angus & Julia Stone) is ‘effortlessly cool’. ‘Honey Bones’, the first album to arrive from the Angus’ Dope Lemon moniker is as cool as it comes, suitable for Summertime surf trips and chiller hangs. Building a name as one of Australia’s most prominent folk-blues singer/songwriters, Dope Lemon rides a very cruise-controlled brand of coastal-rock that gets even more enjoyable with every spin.
Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
We know you didn’t forget that Kanye West released an album in 2016, but if you gave it a miss, it’s time to pick it up and give it a second chance. Everyone has an opinion on Kanye, but personality aside ‘The Life of Pablo’ was one of the more phenomenal albums of 2016. Historically, Kanye has always been ahead of the curve or in his own league and in many cases his music needs to be listened to a few times over or once the hype has a settled – TLOP is no different. In a traditional format the album had many unorthodox moments (hence not as much commercial radio support), but as an avant-garde offering Kanye has produced a masterpiece filled with killer samples and feature artists to create a phenomenal collage-like album.
Gallant – Ology
Get ready to throw this guy at the top of your favourite newcomers list. US singer/songwriter Gallant has spent the past few years winning North America over with his smooth blend of alternative RnB. Releasing his debut album ‘Ology’ in 2016, it’s hard to believe and simultaneously unsurprising that he’s already been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album with this masterstroke of an album. Get ready to hear and see plenty more of this guy in 2017, that’s if you haven’t already. ‘Ology’ offers a stripped back Soul-meets-RnB vibe, definitely one of those albums where you can get the headphones on and listen right through.
What other albums should be treasured in 2017? Tell us below.
Feature image via C-Heads.