It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Listmas time! This week I’m revising this year’s album releases in a list of my my personal faves. There’s 19 of ’em and they’re all there for different reasons. Groundbreaking, game changing, awe inspiring, nerve soothing. If you haven’t given these a listen yet, what have you been doing?!?
Please note: these are in alphabetical order, as I don’t believe ranking would’ve made sense.
Fever Ray – Plunge
Because after 8 years this is exactly what Fever Ray needed to do and so much more.
Jordan Rakei – Wallflower
Easy listening, but never boring. Rakei will go far.
Kelela – Take Me Apart
Kelela is cooler than you and me, and her debut album is complex, rich, ambitious, and exciting.
Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
This artsy electronic record is still my go-to treadmill album. Hypnotising and sensual, with droning beats and haunting vocals.
(below is a fan video)
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
King Krule – The OOZ
Having followed Archy Marshall under his many different stage names from when he went by Zoo Kid, it’s insane to see how much he’s grown, especially as he was already so freaking amazing back then at age 16. The OOZ is a mind-blowing sophomore album that is equal parts punk, jazz, and and hip hop.
Laura Marling – Semper Femina
Though not her strongest effort, Marling keeps maturing musically, and it is a journey a true fan follows eagerly.
Mac DeMarco – This Old Dog
This Old Dog finally got me into DeMarco’s music. It is for that reason I think it did what he intended. He stayed true to his artistic intentions, while also broadening his sound to appeal to a larger audience. All of that without losing people’s respect, which is commendable.
Matt Martians – The Drum Chord Theory
Odd Future already gave us Frank Ocean, Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and the Internet (etc.). Now The Internet is giving us Syd, Steve Lacy, and Matt Martians (etc.). Where are all these insanely talented people coming from????? I loved Martians’ solo debut and the Neptunes influence that’s all over this thing.
Migos – Culture
You can say what you want about Migos, but they changed the game. For that reason alone, Culture ought to be on this list.
Moses Sumney – Aromanticism
Unlike anything I’ve heard before.
Ryan Adams – Prisoner
Ryan knows how to make stadium Americana cool.
Sampha – Process
Sevdaliza – ISON
Sevdaliza is taking over the world and I can’t not include ISON on this list. If alternative R&B started to all sound a bit samey to you, look no further.
SZA – Control
SZA made an enormous leap this year from relatively obscure to megastar, and it’s all because of Control. Honest, gritty, fearless, and emotional, this album is as sexy as it is heartbreaking.
Thundercat – Drunk
Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
He’s been called the future of rap. I’m not 100% sure about that but the way in which Vince Staples combines hip hop and dance/electronic is ingenious and refreshing. On Big Fish Theory, Vince is bolder, louder, and more confident than ever before.