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Music lover revisits his Top 10 albums of 20I6

illustration by Noah Callahan
illustration by Noah Callahan

2016 blessed music lovers with a wide range of cohesive albums from hardcore punk, experimental hip-hop and bubblegum pop.

Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit (G.L.O.S.S.) released “Trans Day of Revenge,” an incredibly short, but extraordinarily exciting hardcore punk album, in wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting that occurred in June.

Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” was a surprise, alternative pop released on Aug. 20 that shocked fans and critics. Ocean shared the details of his often hidden personal life through his bold, smooth voice over accessible and detailed instru­mentation.

After 18 years, A Tribe Called Quest stepped back into the hip­hop scene without missing a beat. On this new album, “We Got It from Here … Thank You 4 Your Service,” the group kicked back to their well known, jazz influenced style.

The groups unique style has stayed relevant over the years, and with the success of the latest album proves they can still kick it.

Car Seat Headrest continued their lo-fi, bedroom, in die rock aesthetic on “Teens of Denial,” but added much needed pop to excite audiences. Vocalist and songwriter Will Toledo delivered lyrics that resonate deep in listeners as he made social commentary through vivid storytelling.

David Bowie expressed his head-on face-off with death in “Black Star.” This wonderful last album from the acclaimed, genre bending star created a lively, hu­man experience with electric, syn­thetic sounds mixed with horns, strings, and acoustic drums.

Kero Kero Bonito created an in­credibly exciting and off-the-way electronic pop album with “Bonito Generation.” In the debut commer­cial album the UK pop trio com­plemented distinct samples with unique, quirky synths that elevated lead vocalist Sarah Midori Perry’s voice.

As Perry sang and rapped in English and Japanese she lead lis­teners on bubblegum adventures as she discussed her “impressive list of activities.”

Prominent art rock band Ra­diohead constructed their arguably most emotional, nocturnal album with “A Moon Shaped Pool.” In re­sponse to lead vocalist and song­writer Thom Yorke’s break up with girlfriend of 23 years, Yorke delivers haunting, poetic lyrics over the band’s more lively and in the mo­ment instrumentation.

Experimental hip-hop group Death Grips released the most en­tertaining abrasive album of the year with “Bottomless Pit.” Death Grips combined roaring guitars, unsympathetic drums, jarring sam­ples and striking synths with grue­some, cryptic lyrics.

Like no other group, Death Grips expressed their dynamic, sonic talents as moods, tones, and tempos swerved from moment to moment throughout the album.

American folk and indie rock musician Angel Olsen’s “My Woman” is an incredibly dynamic album that illuminated Olsen’s unique range of voice and delivery. Through strong lyrics and a sharp voice Olsen shifted through hard, heavy and electric tracks through soft, gentle acoustic cuts.

Danny Brown’s “Atrocity Exhibi­tion” pulled listeners into the fur­thest reaches of the rabbit hole of addiction and mental illness as his animated style created a sickening adventure into Brown’s experimen­tal mind.

From psyche rock to experimen­tal electronica and dance, Brown flowed over the most unique in­strumentation of the year with vol­atile style, bringing an all encompassing collection of stories to life.

Of the many surprises of 2016, the unique, thought provoking and fun albums are statements in time that bring diverse groups of people together.

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Music lover revisits his Top 10 albums of 20I6