Well, what a year. Awful in so many ways (Trump, Brexit, the loss of Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen), but the music has been quite phenomenal. Big names like Beyoncé, Drake, Radiohead, Kanye West, David Bowie, A Tribe Called Quest, Frank Ocean and Bon Iver all released albums, and there was a whole lot more to be excited about too.
We’ve picked out our favourite 25 albums for you to peruse, not all of the superstars above have made it onto the list (sorry Drizzy, you’ll be on our Best Of 2016 Playlist though), but one of them has topped it, and that is Frank Ocean with Blonde.
Blonde’s unprecedented levels of hype spawned a load of internet rants and memes, but when it was finally released we were completely blown away by it’s sincerity, power and sheer beauty. We could at last ignore all of the funny stuff and just listen.
The album begins with "Nikes", opening with a simple electronic beat together with some soft synth padding - about 10-seconds in there's some background noise brought forward in the mix, it sounds a little bit like a cassette being taken out of a player, turned around and put back in again, or it could just be something as ordinary as a recording of someone putting an object on a table. Whatever it is though, the effect is astounding. Immediately you are drawn in to Frank’s world, feeling almost as if you’re not supposed to be listening. This feeling grows throughout the album as it unravels to be an incredibly intimate and deeply personal collection of tracks which are absolutely spectacular.
Take a listen to Blonde and see our other picks for the best albums of 2016 below. If you want to check out all of the albums we’ve listened to this year (there are a lot of really great ones that are not on our list), subscribe to our Recommended Albums Playlist over on Spotify.
Thanks very much for listening to and following the music we’ve shared this year on HUH. Stay tuned for our Best Of 2016 Playlist coming early next week.