The Daily Gamecock

2016: A phenomenal year for albums

Wiz Khalifa in concert on July 12, 2016 at Zrce Club Papaya in Novalja, Croatia during the Fresh Island festival. (Dalibor Urukalovic/Pixsell/Abaca Press)
Wiz Khalifa in concert on July 12, 2016 at Zrce Club Papaya in Novalja, Croatia during the Fresh Island festival. (Dalibor Urukalovic/Pixsell/Abaca Press)

The year 2016 can be described as an important one for any number of things. It has seen the ups and downs of social justice. It has seen both political progress and political digress. But one thing positive to note is the fervency the album industry has witnessed over the past 10 months. Rock legends such as Radiohead have released albums alongside hip-hop powerhouses like Drake and Kendrick Lamar. The theme is undeniable: It’s been a phenomenal year for songwriting. No matter your musical inclination, chances are it has been satiated over the course of late, and it certainly shows no signs of stopping.

January started the year off right with an alarming set-list. Released just a few days before he lost his battle with cancer, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” was the first album of 2016 to really cause a stir. Followed by his death just over 48 hours later, the album was welcomed warmly in the public eye and Bowie’s role was forever solidified as a rock icon. Indie groups Daughter and Bloc Party both released LPs (“Not to Disappear” and“Hymns,” respectively), and alternative rock quartet Panic! at the Disco released “Death of a Bachelor,” their fifth studio album. Furthermore, “Anti” by Rihanna played well on the Top-40 charts after its release on Jan 27. To close out the month, Sia unveiled her new work, entitled “This is Acting.”

February saw the latest by Elton John, “Wonderful Crazy Night,” and Animal Collective’s “Painting With.” With regards to hip-hop, Wiz Khalifa made waves with his feature-heavy “Khalifa,” only to be followed by Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo,” arguably the most successful rap album of the year. Similarly, efforts by The 1975 (“I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It”) dominated the radiowaves.

In March, listeners all over the world were surprised with the unanticipated release of a new album by Compton-based Lamar, called “untitled unmastered.” This is one of the only reasons West’s “Life of Pablo” is contested. Outside of the rap world, Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction, dropped his first solo album, "Mind of Mine." Rock works by the Violent Femmes (“We Can Do Anything”) and 3 Doors Down (“Us and the Night”) were also dropped.

Beyonce’s video album project “Lemonade” appeared first on HBO in April, and was used to bolster Jay-Z’s new music streaming platform, TIDAL, another example of the music business’s expansion. In other rap news, Drake dropped his latest, “Views,” a new chapter in the highest grossing discography in the industry right now. Alternative groups like Weezer ("White Album”), Deftones (“Gore”) and the The Lumineers (“Cleopatra”) all showcased new albums in April as well.

May was another album-heavy month. Two music legends put out an album each. Bob Dylan’s “Fallen Angels” hit record stores everywhere the very same day as Eric Clapton’s “I Still Do.” Pop-punk band Modern Baseball aired “Holy Ghost.” Radiohead released their much anticipated new album, “A Moon Shaped Pool,” which featured a new version of their old hit, “True Love Waits.” Chance the Rapper dropped his best album to date, “Coloring Book,” hosting art exhibitions and mega-concerts for fans along the way to fully account for the atmosphere of the piece.

June was a strong month for the rock genre. Soft-rock group Band of Horses released their newest, “Why Are You OK.” The Claypool Lennon Delirium debuted with a dreamy, psychedelic work called “The Monolith of Phobos.” And the Red Hot Chili Peppers went back to their symphonic roots with “The Getaway.”

Blink-182’s “California” came out the first of July. Snoop Dogg (“COOLAID”) and ScHoolboy Q (“Blank Face LP”) both released new albums.

In August, Frank Ocean finally revealed his next project: not one, but two albums. The first, a video LP called “Endless,” mirrors the work of Beyonce earlier in the year. The other was his second official album, a 17-track trance entitled “Blonde.” Dinosaur Jr. released “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not,” the band’s 14th gift to society. The month came to a close with the release of “How to Be a Human Being,” the second album by indie rock group Glass Animals.

September was the month for alternative genres. Grouplove (“Big Mess”), Bon Iver (“22, A Million”) and Devendra Banhart (“Ape in Pink Marble”) all dropped music. Travis Scott released “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight,” followed by Mac Miller’s “The Divine Feminine.” Both of these rap albums were received amorously by the listening public. Jack White, lead-singer and guitarist of the White Stripes, also put forth an all-acoustic LP.

Finally, October has proven fruitful still. Green Day unveiled “Revolution Radio” on the 7th. Norah Jones released “Day Breaks,” followed by Kings of Leon with “WALLS” a week later.

Having been released on Oct. 21, Lady Gaga’s “Joanne” is the latest of 2016’s impactful music projects, but it surely won’t be the last. New works by Alicia Keys, the Weeknd and Drake have all been announced for release before the year closes out.


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