11 of My Favorite Records from 2016

There was a lot to not like about 2016, but the one thing was good was the music. In fact,

2016 was an incredible year for music.

We’re on quite a streak, because I thought 2015 was a pretty amazing music year, but in some ways 2016 outshone it. Here’s a list of my favorite records of 2016.

1. Beyoncé – Lemonade

This is not only the best record of 2016. It is one of the best of all time. In fact, on my personal list of favorites, I’d put it at number 2, just behind The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. A brilliant, beautiful masterpiece.

2. Childish Gambino – Awaken, My Love!

2016 was a huge year for Donald Glover. Atlanta was my favorite TV show of the year, and this record is one of the best as well.

3. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

I can’t decipher the song titles, but I’m in love with the music. Music that really inspires me is music that doesn’t sound much like anything else, and I think this record is definitely its own thing.

4. Santigold – 99 Cents

This is an incredibly good pop record, especially the opening 3 tracks. While the album as a whole doesn’t hold a candle to Lemonade, if I had to pick a single song as my favorite of the year, I think it might be “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” from this record.

5. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got it From Here… Thank You for Your Service

Scratch what I said above about Santigold’s “Can’t Get Enough of Myself” because I think Tribe’s “We the People…” might actually be my favorite. I don’t know, I’ll probably land on another favorite by the end of this list. RIP Phife.

6. Anderson .Paak – Malibu

Each year brings me at least one new artist I hadn’t heard before making an outstanding record that I fall in love with. Last year that was Toro y Moi. This year the honor belongs to Anderson .Paak.

7. Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book

I’m sorry, I know this is probably higher on a lot of other people’s lists. I really enjoy it. I listened to it more than anything besides Lemonade this year. “Blessings” is another contender for song of the year; I backed up verse 2 to listen to it over and over many times. “Same Drugs” is like a modern version of Brian Wilson’s “Caroline, No” (one of my favorite songs ever). But I think I’m a little put off my the hype that labels Chance as the second coming of Kanye. I’d take Chance over 2016 Kanye, but y’all go listen to Late Registration or Graduation and then talk to me.

8. Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered.

As you may guess from my assessment of Chance the Rapper above, I side with Kendrick Lamar when it comes to the debate over who’s the king of rap. It only falls behind Coloring Book on this list because it kind of seemed like an afterthought to 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly, but that’s still enough to make it one of the year’s best.

9. James Blake – The Colour in Anything

So much good music happened this year, that I forgot this came out this year. But I always love James Blake.

10. Frank Ocean – Blonde

As I get this deep into the list, I have to admit I’m in the territory of records I need to spend more time with. I liked this a lot, but didn’t get a whole lot of listening in. The truth is, my toddler puts in a lot of requests to listen to the soundtracks of Frozen, The Lion King, and Moana, so I spend a LOT of time listening to those. Which is why I have to include number 11 as…

11. Various Artists – Moana (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Truthfully, this might be even higher on my list if I didn’t think I’d seem uncool. It was a really good movie. At first the songs didn’t really stand out, but as my family has sung along over and over again they’ve really grown on me. I mean it’s got a song that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote in tribute to David Bowie that is performed by Jermaine Clement in character as a glam, treasure-collecting sea crab name Tomatoa – what’s not to love

I haven’t had a chance to dig through all the year-end best-of lists yet, but I usually find a few new favorites there, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I missed.