Yep, you guessed right, it’s that time of the year again. The time when magazines and music websites alike give us a generic list of best albums throughout the year. Well, luckily for you we don’t work like that. In a one-off special, three members of the Music Bloggery team argue their case for their best album of 2016, and you can even vote on our Twitter page if you’re keen enough. (voting has now expired)
Kings of Leon – WALLS
The first word that came to my mind when I heard WALLS (We Are Like Love Songs) was nostalgia. It gives me nostalgia for childhood, love, and learning lessons with a twang of Tennessee that makes this album so quintessentially Kings of Leon. It combines catchy, upbeat tracks (‘Waste a Moment’) as well as slower melodies (‘Muchacho’) to create a sound that is their own unique interpretation of life.
The album reminds you to look back on life, enjoy the present and look forward to the future. It is a mature homage to the hard times, the good times, the sad times, and shows you how all these facets are what makes our lives so beautiful. The maturity of the songs echo the maturity of the band themselves: who would have thought we would all be getting life advice from the same men who brought us ‘Sex on Fire’?
The album was number 1 on the Billboard charts and debuted at number 1 in the UK charts, making it Kings of Leon’s first number one album in the US. Whilst there has been criticism for the album being similar to their earlier works I would argue that it is a sign of them establishing a signature style and their permanent place in music.
– Aleena Augustine
M.I.A – AIM
Politically driven and unapologetically controversial, the latest and potentially last album from Sri Lankan born rapper M.I.A is even better than oh I don’t know, let’s say…flipping the bird at the Super Bowl? An album that the rapper claims naturally grew from the release of her early 2016 single, Borders, this album is everything that music should be and more. M.I.A uses her position of influence to discuss current issues like the Syrian refugee crisis and it’s done in the virtuoso experimental style only M.I.A can pull off.
– Angeli Bhandal
Rihanna – Anti
I fell in love with ‘Anti’ from the first time I listened to it in its entirety and almost hate that I love it so much. Whilst I’ve never been a fan of her music, I’ve always respected Rihanna as a person because she never seems to be affected by fame and will do whatever she wants without caring how she may look to the public or if it affects her image. Many musicians & celebrities are obsessed with how the public views them and Rihanna is one of the very few who will be who she wants to be. However, I’ve not really seen this attitude reflected in her albums until I heard Anti. I feel this is the first album that highlights her nonchalance (and it’s pretty bad-ass).
There is a dark, chilled and almost psychedelic vibe on this album and the lyrics are much deeper than her previous albums. She seems to be playing with a partner’s emotions throughout the album and being a bit of a tease whilst having candid, vulnerable moments on the more stripped tracks. I wouldn’t say that she’s painting a story on this album but I would definitely say that trust, sex and a bit of tongue in cheek are the main themes that transcend across the record.
Many would agree that Rihanna’s vocal range isn’t as polished as the likes of Adele, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga to name a few, but I like that she finally seems to be showcasing more of the quirks and strengths of her voice while complimenting it with trippy beats and pretty unique sound effects. I love that she’s not trying to be another artist and fill her album with vocally complicated tracks that don’t suit her voice as well as staying true to her strengths. I do think she’s become a bit too well acquainted with the auto-tune button on many tracks but I feel that this album is the closest we have ever been to feeling the true emotion behind most of the tracks.
– Rianna Stanislaus