Best Of 2016... Year End | Page 9 | The Popjustice Forum

Best Of 2016... Year End

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by NecessaryVoodoo, Nov 16, 2016.

  1. I was so torn between excitement and frustration when they announced it! It's dense as expected and there's plenty to unpack but I may just throw it onto my 2017 list because I can't be bothered rearranging again.
     
    Ironheade likes this.
  2. ohnostalgia

    ohnostalgia Staff Member

    Well I still have to do this hahaha. Listing things gives me anxiety.
     
  3. Album : Anti
    Single : Kiss It Better

    Anti is her masterpiece. Work of course was everywhere and is Roisin Murphys favourite pop song of recent years so we are clearly in good company. Kiss It Better sounds like it was beamed in from the summer of 1989 and I absolutely adore the song - a modern pop song that is so nostalgic and sexy, if it was 1989 maybe it would have had a sticker on the 12" 'featuring Slash'.

    And she left off American Oxygen, Bitch and that other one!
     
    Euphoria, Edu, 2014 and 1 other person like this.
  4. Imagine Glory Days being one of your favourite albums of the year...
     
  5. A very rough draft but albums:

    ANTI
    Lemonade
    Dangerous Woman
    Joanne
    Glory
    Starboy
    Mad Love
    Blonde
    A Seat At The Table
    The Life Of Pablo

    Songs:
    Formation
    Work
    Love On The Brain
    Hold Up
    Kiss It Better
    Into You
    I Feel It Coming
    Million Reasons
    Thinking Bout You
    Ivy
     
    Euphoria likes this.
  6. Top 10 albums for me this year;

    01. All Saints - Red Flag
    02. David Bowie - Blackstar
    03. Beyoncé - Lemonade
    04. Foxes - All I Need
    05. Britney Spears - Glory
    06. Gwen Stefani - This is What the Truth Feels Like
    07. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Familia
    08. Corinne Bailey Rae - The Heart Speaks in Whispers
    09. Craig David - Following My Intuition
    10. Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman

    Honorable mentions;

    11. Barbra Streisand - Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway
    12. Rebecca Ferguson - Superwoman
    13. Tegan & Sara - Love You to Death
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2016
    londonrain and Diet Pop! like this.
  7. 5 and 6 are missing?
     
    Mr.Arroz and HeartSwells like this.
  8. Top Singles

    01. CL - "Lifted"
    02. Hinds - "Warts"
    03. Sofi Tukker - "Drinkee"
    04. Petite Meller - "Milk Bath"
    05. Christine & the Queens - "Tilted"
    06. Fifth Harmony - "Work From Home"
    07. Beyonce - "Sorry"
    08. Låpsley - "Operator (He Doesn't Call Me)"
    09. Charli XCX - "Vroom Vroom"
    10. Let's Eat Grandma - "Eat Shiitake Mushrooms"

    I also made a Top 50 with album tracks and singles which I will share later if people still will be posting lists this year.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    Diet Pop! likes this.
  9. So here's my top 45 albums of this year! I didn't include David Bowie, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Radiohead or Leonard Cohen, although I enjoyed their albums, because I'm not familiar enough with their discographies. Instead, I tried to focus on the records I spent the most time with and that have shaped me. I may have to split this post depending on the character limit, so sorry in advance!

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    45. Yung Lean - Warlord
    Key track: Afghanistan

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    44. Mykki Blanco – Mykki
    Key track: Highschool Never Ends

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    43. Zayn - Mind of Mine
    Key track: Drunk

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    42. Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman
    Key track: Into You

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    41. Britney Spears - Glory
    Key track: Slumber Party

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    40. J. Cole - 4 Your Eyez Only
    Key track:
    Neighbors

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    39. Anohni - Hopelessness
    Key track:
    4 Degrees


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    38. Tycho - Epoch
    Key track:
    Epoch

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    37. Drake - Views
    Key track:
    Weston Road Flows

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    36. Denzel Curry - Imperial
    Key track:
    ULT

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    35. Francis and the Lights - Farewell, Starlite!
    Key track:
    My City's Gone

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    34. Kaytranada - 99.9%
    Key track:
    Glowed Up

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    33. Pusher - New Laces EP
    Key track:
    Clear

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    32. Bat For Lashes - The Bride
    Key track:
    Joe's Dream

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    31. Lady Gaga - Joanne
    Key track
    : Joanne

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    30. Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
    Key track
    : Really Doe
     
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    29. Slow Hollows - Romantic
    Halloween and prom dances in California.
    Key tracks: Last Dance, Romantic, Spirit Week

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    28. Shura – Nothing’s Real
    Shura exploded in this year, producing pop songs so refined and meticulously crafted that they do not lose half of the charm they naturally have with their sensibilities. Just wow.
    Key tracks: Kids ‘N’ Stuff, What’s It Gonna Be?, What Happened To Us?

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    27. Nikki & The Dove – Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now
    I NEVER KNEW IT COULD BE MAGICAL LIKE THIS.
    Key tracks: Miami Beach, Shark City (Tropico X), Ode To Dance Floor

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    26. Martin Garrix – Seven EP
    Martin is just 20 years old, and his year has been hugely successful, ending with him being named the best DJ in the world by the DJ Mag and In the Name of Love doing pretty decently for both him and Bebe Rexha. He released a short EP that shows him doing lots of different styles of contemporary EDM, here being most successful in more pop-oriented progressive house of Hold On & Believe or Together.
    Key tracks: Together, WIEE, Hold On & Believe


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    25. Kendrick Lamar – untitled, unmastered.
    If Kendrick shitted out an album made of farts and two lines of his, it would still be a great record, and without any doubt contain some good ol’ saxophone.
    Key tracks: 06, 07, 08

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    24. A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
    This is how old skool hip-hop sounds like in contemporary world. It is a great record made even better, like many other albums this year, with André 3000’s feature.
    Key tracks: Kids..., The Space Program, We The People...

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    23. Solange – A Seat at the Table
    Extremely cohesive and thematically diverse, yet constantly focused, Solange’s third studio album talks social issues in warm and rich soundscapes. So take a seat at the table, because the former Sol-Angel is serving teas.
    Key tracks: Cranes in the Sky, Mad, Scales

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    22. Whitney – Light Upon the Lake
    A short and sweet rock record with really pleasant vocals. It is innocent and earnest in its approach without sounding amateurish, and Dave’s Song has one of the most beautiful melodies of this year.
    Key tracks: Dave’s Song, Light Upon the Lake, Golden Days

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    21. Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”
    Donald returned with an album that shows incredible development in terms of creating his own sound, as well as improving his vocal delivery and switching between various styles of singing. When I saw the tracklist, the only thing I thought it showed were some serious Oedipal issues, but the “mama” in question actually turns out to be the mother of his son. Great.
    Key tracks: Me and Your Mama, California, Redbone

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    20. Anderson .Paak – Malibu
    One of the most cohesive albums released this year, and its coastal tropical vibes are just perfect for a lazy day at a beach. Anderson's vocal delivery is simply amazing.
    Key tracks: The Bird, Heart Don’t Stand a Chance, The Waters

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    19. Carly Rae Jepsen – E•MO•TION: Side B
    You know you own pop music when your b-sides are better than most pop albums. Long live Carly Slae Jepsus.
    Key tracks: Fever, Cry, Store

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    18. Angel Olsen – My Woman
    Angel’s vocals, lyrics and songwriting, as well as subtle elements of psychedelia, are what make this album such an enjoyable listen. It is a simple formula, but it works incredibly well.
    Key tracks: Those Were the Days, Woman, Pops

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    17. Frank Ocean - Endless
    Yes, Blonde, of course, but Endless is also worth mentioning. This meta-album contains some amazing tracks and offers us an insight into a tiresome process of producing an album. It makes us question what makes an album, how do you make an album out of tiny shards, and what makes a difference between a clip and a fully-fledged song. Especially seeing that Comme des Garçons is so pussy-poppable.
    Key tracks: U-N-I-T-Y, Rushes, Comme des Garçons

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    16. James Blake – The Colour in Anything
    80 minutes of self-devouring pity and a piano does not sound like a good listen, especially in the year where both Drake and The Weeknd blessed our lives with their, khm, ambitious efforts; but be patient and get into the right mood (depressing days of Christmas holidays are perhaps your best shot), and this album reveals layers of loveliness in its simplicity, so pleasant and warm that they overcome their whininess.
    Key tracks: I Need a Forest Fire, Choose Me, Waves Know Shores
     
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    15. Empire of the Sun – Two Vines
    It still isn’t the record I think they are capable of making, but there’s plethora of great moments, their sound is distinct and There’s No Need is probably their biggest achievement to date. And in 2016, each record that aimed for happier vibes in face of all the trouble happening in the world has a well-deserved spot on this list.
    Key tracks:
    There’s No Need, First Crush, Ride

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    14. Marshmello – Joytime
    Marshmello is not just one of the most interesting up-and-coming DJs, but an incredible producer with his own distinct sound, which he describes as "deep fluffy hybrid melodic sexy trap house". His debut is a compilation of songs that he kept releasing during the past year, and it is a fun, joyful and surprisingly cohesive record where every other track is a highlight. Vocal samples are combined with instrumentals so that they blend together, forming a happy summery collection of some of the most promising and refreshing music on the contemporary EDM scene.
    Key tracks: Show You, Summer, Keep It Mello

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    13. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
    All the elements of a typical indie rock album are here, yet it sounds unique and distinct. Will Toledo’s songwriting is imaginative, original and true to the point of being somewhere between painful and hilarious. Some of these songs have epic proportions, and they all try to paint the image of hedonistic teenage lifestyles and all the trials and tribulations they carry.
    Key tracks: The Ballad of the Costa Concordia, (Joe Got Kicked out of School for Using) Drugs with Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem), Cosmic Hero

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    12. Petit Biscuit – Petit Biscuit EP
    Petit Biscuit is a boy from France who delivered what’s probably my favorite EP of the year. I really hope he breaks through and manages to make an album, because his style is charming, youthful and very often magical, and makes for perfect insomnia playlists..
    Key tracks: Full Moon, Sunset Lover, Iceland

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    11. Beyoncé – Lemonade
    So much has been said about the most discussed album of the year that the only thing I felt I needed to say was how much I adore Daddy Lessons. However, I’ll also say that it’s a thrilling and colorful album that managed to be transmedial, standing firmly and proudly on the crossroads of music, film, poetry, politics and social reality. And for fucks sake, some people need to stop whining about its commercial success or lack of singles or whatever so I can start visiting the thread again. One listening of this album should be enough for everyone to see that we’re not discussing typical pop tectonics here, but something Beyoncé made her bitch, similarly to what she did with Jay Z by forcing him to appear in the film.
    Key tracks: All Night, Hold Up, Formation

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    10. Ladyhawke – Wild Things
    I still didn’t listen to Anxiety, so I’ll avoid any comparison, but this is one of the best and most underrated pop albums this year. It felt so good to see Pip happy in her pop landscapes, offering us a record so pure that to many it sounds pedestrian at times. Its simplicity, however, is one of its greatest strengths, because a good pop song does not need much to be a good pop song. Pip understands this well, and songs such as The River or Sweet Fascination are clear examples. If only she could make an album more often.
    Key tracks: Wild Things, Hillside Avenue, The River

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    09. M83 – Junk
    How do you make a follow-up to Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming? Some would say that going all over the top with 100% cheese and nostalgia is a wrong move, but I think that that kind of attitude comes from the ironic distance one thinks they have to keep regarding the past times. This album does the complete opposite, shamelessly drowning in clichés and all the familiar tropes. How does it sound so 2016, then? Because it’s a well-made album, I suppose. And yes, Moon Crystal might make us laugh, but it’s a warm laugh of a cozy neon-lit room with cats and stuffed toys. From time to time, it serves us good to allow ourselves some pure nostalgia without cringing, so light one up and turn on the pretty lights.
    Key tracks: For the Kids, Go!, Walkaway Blues

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    08. Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
    Chance totally owned this year, showing up on numerous features and projects, while still displaying an artistic growth of huge proportions on Coloring Book. This is actually the gospel album that Kanye blabbered about on twitter, an album of such spirit that even a Satanist will get down to their knees praising the Lord. From the gentle piano of heart-wrenching Same Drugs to smooth sexy Juke Jam and boptastic All Night, this album finds light in the darkest of moments and conveys positive vibes with such ease that it really is a blessing.
    Key tracks: Same Drugs, No Problem, Blessings

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    07. Rihanna – Anti
    I was sceptical about this to the point of nearly giving up, especially after the horrendous wrist-slicing agony of American Oxygen, but Riri proved me wrong by offering an album where her personality is not merely a stylistic choice in her music video, but a conscious attitude that penetrates every pore of the masterfully produced music here. It feels so good to see her finally finding her comfort zone outside of hit singles, producing an album where she even manages to make a Tame Impala song her own. And yes, no one can deny the cultural impact of Lemonade, but Rihanna’s artistic growth is a show more enjoyable to watch, at least to me.
    Key tracks: Same Ol’ Mistakes, Kiss It Better, Consideration

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    06. Bon Iver – 22, A Million
    Justin Vernon returns with a record that shows him destroying his sound into tiny little pieces and then somehow creating a thing of immense beauty out of them. The album explores the dynamics between the individual and the collective through fragments, tales, tiny samples, noises and sounds. “I’m an estuary king,” he exclaims in the skies of 8 (circle), taking my soul into eternity, where the days have no numbers. And he really is, at least as much as I can remember the definition of an estuary from geography classes in high school.
    Key tracks: 8 (circle), 33 “GOD”, 00000 Million

     
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    05. Kid Cudi – Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’

    I does it, yeah.

    Cudderisback, this time for real though. I’ve already shared my surprise at the quality of this album in its own thread, and I guess that all fans of his work know the story. But this album is honestly really good. Clocking it at almost hour and a half, it is definitely a demanding listen. Cudi is more subtle than ever before, gently inviting us to get into his world, to “tune into the frequency”, as he says on the opening track. The song blends into more aggressive, but still spaced out, Swim in the Light, which is followed by Releaser, an outstanding five-minute wonder in which Cudi’s vocals are manipulated interestingly, and peppered by operatic background vocals. The three songs form some kind of a false downtempo intro to the album, and the majority of what follows is Cudi doing the alternative hip-hop he’s best known for. The guests on the album are few, but each one of them adds their own touch, from Willow doing back-vocals in a storm of strings on Rose Golden to André 3000 delivering a killer verse on The Guide and exchanging rapid thoughts with Cudi on outstanding By Design. The production of this album is simply incredible, and it is not just Pharrell, Plain Pat and Dot Da Genius, but also Cudi’s very own production. On Distant Fantasies, which is not even close to the best moments this album has to offer, he creates a minimalistic industrial beat that gives the song so much that it overshadows the rest of its elements. Luckily, such drawbacks are small and they happen rarely for an album this long. ILLusions and Baptized In Fire could very well fit onto Man On The Moon II, but Cudi makes this album their rightful home by leveling up the cohesiveness and functioning more in sync with the production than ever before. Flight at First Sight / Advanced, a relentless two-part funkadelic track, and Dance 4 Eternity, a spacey sex jam, are among the best examples of this. There are few tracks that could have been left out (Wounds, Cosmic Warrior), but it’s enough to see him back in his shape, delivering such a record. And what makes me happiest is that Cudi never lost his tendency to end his albums on a high note (Up Up & Away, Trapped in My Mind, Troubled Boy, even Embers from the previous album), this time saving the best for last. After an album so introspective, dark and mostly downtempo, he somehow managed to end it with Surfin’, a sunny surf-rock bop that starts with an incredible trumpet-filled beat and ends with two minutes of Pharrell’s adlibs and Cudi’s off-key singing, and he pulled it off perfectly. I can’t wait to see what he has for us in the store in 2017!
    Best of the bunch: Surfin’
    Tap into the frequency: By Design, Rose Golden, Does It
    Wow he actually did that: Releaser
    If you can’t stand the heat, my love, then stay out of: Kitchen


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    04. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

    Waves don’t die.


    I think that so much has been said about this album that it’s difficult to find anything new, so I guess we’re left to wait until this album gets another update. Jesus. With changing titles and tracklists, frequently tweaking what’s already been released and reviewed, Kanye defied the notion of a traditional album in a way that reeked of arrogance and pretentiousness, but with genius brilliance that probably only he could pull off. As soon as he takes the listeners to cloud nine in the opening track, we become sure that something big is going to happen. And God, what a confusing, marvelous and thrilling ride it is. You have Chance The Rapper setting the world on fire backed by gospel choir and trumpets, Kanye preaching and rapping about bleached assholes over a soul beat which then turns into a trap bomb with Caroline Shaw echoing Imogen Heap, before Rihanna takes over singing a Nina Simone hook followed by the complete breakdown into a reggae frenzy, ALL IN THE FIRST FIFTEEN MINUTES ON THE ALBUM. It took time to wrap my head around the whole thing, because there is just so much to take in. What I find incredible is that on the album that focuses heavily on maximalist over-the-top sound, some of the most minimal moments are its best ones: think heavy-hearted pallor of Real Friends or the ephemeral pulsating vibes of Waves. The latter is a song that heavily influenced the way I saw 2016 – waves were a recurring motif in my life, a feeling of being caught in a life between highs and lows, between past and future, between life and death, but at all times being completely overwhelmed and subsumed in the intensity of emotions they bring in their constant moving. There was a strong symbolism for me even in Cudi humming the back vocals on the track at the beginning of this year and surfin’ on his own wave at the year’s end. But to get back to the album, I think its whole sentimentis expressed in the song, as well as its meandering position between the altitudes and rock bottoms. It is a deconstructed album that is held together solely by its narrator, who is himself also deconstructed. Kanye gets lost in moments that are ridiculous (I Love Kanye), self-pitying (30 Hours), hedonistic (No More Parties in LA), and sometimes gets overshadowed by the towering complexity of the music world he created, but on most of these moments, that’s precisely the point, no matter how paradoxical it may seem to have the central figure on the album moving in the background and letting others do the work, he himself appearing only in slithers of brilliant thoughts. It is an exploration of a confused mind whose instability frequently shows as even more brilliant than his more consistent bodies of work. The newfound freedom in the lack of structure and clear borders may not appeal to everyone, because it ultimately is a chaotic listen, desperately in need of restructuring and developing some ideas to the full, at least according to traditional album parameters. But I’ve got a feeling that Kanye doesn’t want it on this record and, to be quite honest, I don’t blame him much for wanting to be free.
    My fave: Waves
    Give it a grammy: Ultralight Beam
    Let’s not forget: Wolves, Famous, Father Stretch My Hands
    This type of shit that you just ride out to: 30 Hours
     
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    03. Blood Orange – Freetown Sound

    Do you ever think, boy?
    Or does it just feel better alone?


    I could say that all of the albums that make my top 5 were first and foremost a huge surprise for me. I never thought Cudi will get back to making music on this level of quality after Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven (sorry for doubting you, Cud) and I didn’t really expect Kanye to go totally batshit insane and brilliant, seeing that Yeezus showed a more consistent sound. When it comes to albums #1 and #2, I never truly got into these artists before these records. And when it comes to Dev Hynes, yes, the potential was always there, but honestly, who could have expected this? The mixtape vibes of this album work brilliantly with carefully-crafted hooks and amazing songwriting. The production is superb, combining elements of R&B, neo-soul, pop, jazz and funk, always sounding like Blood Orange we all know and love, but on a totally different level. What amazed me the most is the way Dev approaches the issue of identity here, because I don’t think many other artists managed to do it as well as he did. You have quite a few explicitly political statements on the album, and the whole notion of identity is being questioned precisely because of the sociopolitical circumstances we witness in our everyday lives. However, he somehow manages to avoid any kind of essentializing of his identity, remaining both unique and all-inclusive. This is seen in the album’s colorful approach, in its abundance of female vocalists, in stories that do not always belong to the protagonist. But by managing to identify with them, he gives them their own space on this album and uses them to reach something more universal. This album is deeply personal and individualistic, but it targets the collective, the whole, the society. Unlike, for example, his artistic peer and frequent collaborator, Solange, he does not stop at simply celebrating his own culture, but takes it a step further.And don’t get me wrong, Solange’s record is great in its own right, but this one, I think, does not aim to be made “for us, by us”, but “by me, for all of you”. From the soul-crushing weight of E.V.P., pop highs of Better than Me and Best to You, to the joyful melancholia of Augustine or deeply confessional statements in Hands Up and Chance, everything on this record is meant to show an individual tale of coming to terms with one’s identity, but always exclaiming: “you are special in your own way.” This is how Freetown Sound becomes the free town sound, the sound of a free town – ultimately, the sound of freedom.
    The best song here that will absolutely smash your existence into tiny little pieces: E.V.P.
    For all my queens: Best to You, Better than Me, Hadron Collider
    Stonewall nostalgia bop: Augustine
    You are special in your own way(ve): But You


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    02. Kevin Abstract American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story

    I don’t care no more.

    First of all, this is a coming of age album. It is a story of a suburban boy who wants to become a superstar and to escape the restrains that his surroundings, his home and his school force upon him. It is a high-school tale of growing up, going through both hardships and ecstasies, but most of all about love and freedom. In terms of music itself, this is the tale of a young black queer artist finding his identity in the post-Blonde world. I actually think that reducing Kevin to a Frank Ocean rip-off is not just plainly dumb, but also completely unfounded, but it is important to include the parallel because of Frank’s influence on Kevin’s music identity. What is more, it shows the importance of both artists in capturing the sentiment of their respective generations. There isa lot more pop appeal to be found here, as well as an irresistible youthful charm of discovering the world and making mistakes. It approaches moments from within, more directly, not trying to maintain an aesthetic distance that Frank often keeps.It is also an album about memories, similarly to the one that came out four months ago and now sits on top of this list. American Boyfriend changes so many styles in less than 40 minutes of its length, numerous times shifting from one short fragment of a memory to another. Some of the songs are barely half a minute long, and all of them are wonderfully condensed in images that express the beauty of youth – take for example “I wanna build a sandcastle for no reason” from Yellow, a song that captures the clichés of early 00s with nostalgic charm and a summery music soundscape, somehow sounding more fearless than cheesy, or high-school guitar-strumming haze of Seventeen and Tattoo. These beauties are paired with dark confessions of Blink, Papercut and Miserable America, each one sonically interesting in its own right. The speed of shifting images may make the album seem confused or chaotic at times, but that is precisely the point, because it aims to represent growing up even with its sound. It is an album of struggles that self-discovery brings to someone who identifies as a minority in any sense, but also of self-affirmation and self-love through your loved one. Statements like “say it’s okay when it’s not” and “I love my mom, I hate my boyfriend” become almost like mantras that the subject repeats to remain stable in his increasingly fragmented reality as all the stories and emotional ups and downs blur his vision even further. Highs and lows merge in the title track, which I find the brightest gem here, with Kevin declaring “my parents wanna kill me”, but ultimately getting lost in his living daydream of driving away into the sunset, whispering to his lover “you’re my American Boyfriend” and burning all the bridges behind them with fire of their love. It’s an incredibly bright and empowering message, and since Kevin includes even the national identity, here expressed in terms of spatial belonging and mapped in his suburban stories, it is also quite emancipatory, but always so without being overtly political.It’s a beautiful album that will probably get slept on, but the more important thing is that Kevin has finally found his way (as he himself claims) by the end of this roller-coaster. I hope the listeners will too.
    An introduction to Kevin’s suburbia: Empty
    If you want to die on sunset: American Boyfriend, Yellow
    For a depressing night run: Runner, Papercut, Suburbian Born
    Play it at anti-Trump rallies: Miserable America
     
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    01. Frank Ocean Blonde

    Speaking of Nirvana, it was there.

    I mean, who else? Few weeks ago, I’ve read an article that the word of this year, according to Merriam Webster, is “surreal.” That’s exactly how it felt first time listening to Blonde. The album took me places I’ve never seen before, yet all of them seemed familiar in a way. The piano theme that pops up here and there is something I definitely remember from a past life, evoking feelings of overthinking and being lost, as well as images of dark corridors and sneaking around houses in childhood, and many other images and feelings. I’ve filled a whole notebook with notes on songs, trying to connect all the dots and fill in the holes in the narrative, yet the album is still unyielding in its ambiguity. I’ll probably do an academic paper on it as well at one point. And it literally came from nowhere. It all feels unreal to me. And I never expected Frank Ocean to make a record like this one. I could never get into Channel Orange properly – it was a good album that showcased a lot of potential, but I couldn’t establish a connection to it no matter how many times I had listened to it. That is, until Blonde came through. Expectations were high, so many things happened since 2012, and everyone was waiting to hear what Frank had in the store and what he had to say. He released something that no one expected, an intimate genre-less album about memory. He meticulously crafted an album so minimalistic, yet so detailed that each new spin unveils new layers and details. “We gon’ see the future first”, we hear in the glittery haze of the opening track, Nikes, and it is also the last time we’ll be hearing about the future on this record until the closing track, because the majority of the album is focused on past. This is not just a superficial process of remembering a past event, but a deep exploration of the relationship between reminiscence and forgetting, time passing, witnessing how some events redefine us and how we redefine memories of these events. The song that immediately throws us into this whirlpool is Ivy, and its very title signalizes a symbol of long-lasting persistence of memory. The guitar on this track becomes almost hypnotizing until it all breaks down in vocoder screams. Self Control and White Ferrari are similarly devastating, and it is not just because of the utterly gorgeous lyrics, but the way the structure of the songs breaks when the emotion they carry seems to be overbearing. Frank uses vocal manipulation to show different feelings and perspectives in these songs, and the same goes for every other sonic element – everything tells a story. Frank’s vocals complement each and every sonic landscape beautifully, and this is perhaps best seen on Solo, where he glides over a simple organ, creating a melody that guides us through his magical world, where every color and every motif becomes a symbol. The immensity of details, the depth of emotion, the weight these songs carry; it is unlike everything I have ever heard. The album’s centerpiece, Nights, splits the album in half, with first part of the song drilling you with the vibrating instrumental, leading to the second part through a guitar frenzy that transforms into a moody reflection as Frank sums up years and years of personal lows into a five-minute track that leaves the listener breathless. “Summer’s not as long as it used to be, every day counts like crazy,” he says on Skyline To, a hazy track which, among other things, manages to take you into the outer space out of a sudden in barely three minutes of its length, and this is one of the recurring motifs: the passing of time, the transience of relationships, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the world that keeps changing. Summer is not a season, but a state of mind, a state of living to the fullest, but the end of it brings with it awareness of fleeting emotions as time passes by, introducing change and, eventually, loneliness. The mind-altered sky-highs of Pink + White, Solo and Skyline To are eventually replaced by the lows of André’s fire-spitting Solo (Reprise) or the devastating Seigfried that ends in a metaphysical breakdown, leaving our hero “in the dark” not feeling brave. After going through all phases of love, be it unrequited relationship or a “late night out”, after the day/night cycle of remembrance, after dealing with all of the album’s numerous subject matters, what remains is the creative process: the re-imagining. And so love is rewritten as Godspeed, and memory is rewritten as Futura Free, the two concluding tracks that take us towards something new, but ending the album with a familiar melody, this time drowned in white noise and intersected with interview fragments, with the album’s subject completely absent. Or maybe present in the melody that underpinned the stories of other people that helped form his own story. Either way, the subject himself becomes a memory, and Frank did something similar with everything surrounding Blonde. Releasing two albums in 48 hours without any promotion, interviews or explanation, rejecting the opportunity to be awarded a Grammy, he in a way discarded the momentum he could have had in favor of having Blonde speak for itself and ultimately ending up as a piece of cultural memory it was perhaps conceived as from the very start, leaving us with a tangled story composed of fragments that portray the fleeting world that the subject desperately clings to, but ultimately leaves behind, before turning his eyes to the unknown, to the future. And that is exactly what we, the listeners, are left with - an album that is ultimately a memory, a moment in time that we discover through constant revisiting, never able to listen to it again for the first time. The same thing happens with each relationship, with each smoke, with each lovemaking, with each car ride, with each special moment – they are left only as memories, always in danger of being forgotten, but always glimmering like stars when we come back to them. The most beautiful thing that remains is our own ability to redefine them, perhaps making them “taller in another dimension” by re-imagining them, forgetting some parts and filling in the holes. Blonde captures the zeitgeist in the only way it can be captured – as a passing point in time that has defined generations, but never lasts for longer than a moment. And in a year of constant sociopolitical turmoil, numerous great artists dying, mass shootings and hate crimes, in a year that in many ways felt unreal because it destabilized our lives even further, leaving us wondering what’s to come, an album that has all of its beauty, confusion, shape-shifting and unpredictable nature and mystery is, in my opinion, the only album that can do this year justice of representing it properly. How Frank managed to release it in the perfect time after many delays, as another Summer was dying, is beyond my understanding. But this album shows us that we need not understand everything to see the beauty in it, that every one-time event is far beyond our control and completely contrary to playing a song multiple times, and that all that happens is a one-time only. Each life is a one-time only, and lives are made, shaped and destroyed by things that are one-time only. It is a realization so obvious, yet so difficult to bear, and an art form that can be accessed multiple times is perhaps the closest we can get to reliving the one-time-onlys in our lives, and might therefore be our only consolation. We live in a crazy world, it’s hell on earth and the city’s on fire, the bull and the matador are duelling in the sky, but Frank gave us something that enables us to “take down some summertime” in order to remember what’s worth remembering and redefine what we feel needs redefining, before we finally turn our eyes to the dark unknown in front of us with a newfound bravery coming from a familiar melody playing in our rearview.
    And of course, some questions need no answers, but it is approximately 9 trillion kilometers, a distance so far that it makes time and space seem like they merge. Perhaps more questions will be answered, perhaps one day so many things will finally make sense. Perhaps if we turn to the past, we gon’ see the future first. Perhaps we really are taller in another dimension.

    In this one, however, we have Blonde, and that’s the best thing that could have come out of it this year.

    Listen to: the whole fucking thing, with a bag of weed, back to back and again ad infinitum.

    FUCKS SAKE THE SPLITTING.

    Anyway, CHEERS GUYS, and happy New Year!
     
  15. Seems like an apt time to post this.

    [​IMG]

    10. AIM / M.I.A.

    Maya's return was received somewhat underwhelming for some, but for me it was a welcome collection of throwback tracks that
    reminiscent
    her early Arular days. Compare to anxiety and paranoid riddled MAYA and Matangi, she sounds fun and carefree in this album.
    I know she's never going to give up on music, but if she intends to take some break from it for awhile it's not a bad album to go out with.


    [​IMG]

    09. My Woman / Angel Olsen

    Her previous efforts were not really cup of my tea teebs, although I do admit they were remarkable albums. But she completely blows it out of water
    with this one. Honest, vulnerable but empowering all the same. The shades of woman that Olsen portraits here in this album are all so enchanting
    and astonishing. Perfect mixture of traditional old school and changed modern values.


    [​IMG]

    08. Jessica Rabbit / Sleigh Bells

    Can you blame them for constantly recycling the sound off their iconic debut album? It was an incredible, generation defining achievement.
    But by the third album it started to become lazy and uninspired. While they still sound pretty solid because foundation that they were based on
    was more than enough to elevate them to such heights, it was pushing limits. But with this one they finally took a risk and it paid off.
    This is the sound of anger, anxiety and complete chaos. Only lawlessness prevails here.


    [​IMG]

    07. Bonito Generation / Kero Kero Bonito

    Ok so as a born and raised South Korean, I have inherent and subtle hatred for anything that is slightly Japanese. It's not that I can't stand them,
    it's more about just disturbing first impression that I get whenever I see Western culture idolizing Japanese. But you know what, fuck it.
    Kero Kero Bonito was so full of heart and fun it was contagious and was impossible not to smile with them. This is the power of fun, incredible pop music.



    [​IMG]

    06. Freetown Sound / Blood Orange

    Lot of important artists released important albums in 2016 that reflected a current social situation happening around the world, but this trend was
    especially
    showing in America. Among all of them Dev Hynes' Freetown Sound as Blood Orange was the most moving and thought-provoking
    piece of music for me. Not only does it contain essential messages and commentaries about currently on-going racial issues in America from
    Black queer person's point of view, but it's also full of ass shaking bops.


    [​IMG]

    05. Before the Dawn / Kate Bush

    Technically
    this album doesn't contain any new songs and it's a live album but it's also Kate Bush so it doesn't really matter.


    [​IMG]

    04. Nothing's Real / Shura

    For me all the best albums of 2016 were the ones that turned their focus on nostalgia. Maybe because current world is so fucking awful
    that we needed to escape to the past for little bit? But Shura's intoxicatingly sweet and relatable themes made it all much more special.

    Her music seems almost tumblr-hipster-cliche like at the first glance but repeated listen really makes this album shine.


    [​IMG]

    03. Blonde / Frank Ocean

    I know this album was not universally welcomed by PJers but let's not act like this album wasn't a profound outcome from one of the most
    valuable artists of our time. It's formlessness, self-indulging spiral to Frank's inner mind was a fascinating journey to witness.


    [​IMG]

    02. Junk / M83

    This album is almost embarrassingly nostalgic. There is no subtlety here at all, and that's what I loved about it. It's very cheesy and corny.
    But also there is a full-heartedness that you can't stop yourself from connecting to it emotionally. Anthony's earnest tribute to the times that gone by
    was amazing and extraordinary.


    [​IMG]

    01. Nightride / Tinashe

    I never thought I'd get my annual FKA twigs dose from Tinashe. I mean I was of course aware of her incredible sense of songwriting did not
    just reach the realm of pop, but also a bit experimental side as well, but I've never expected something like this. This album is cohesive, sensual
    masterpiece. Its atmosphere, themes and production. Everything is handled firmly by Tinashe's own brilliant vision and I wouldn't have it any other way.
    This album was also soundtracking the process of my inner hoe emancipation this year so it holds somewhat special place in my gay heart.



    [​IMG]
     
  16. Into You
     
    Diet Pop! likes this.
  17. It's nice to see this make another list!
     
    Remyky22 likes this.
  18. Coming back into this thread has reminded me that I totally forgot to include Gallant in my list, and that I probably need to listen to Sleigh Bells' new one again. Also I've got a ton of stuff to check out, which is really what makes these threads worth having.
     
  19. This took forever to get done but MOTHER IS HERE.
    Singles
    [​IMG]
    1. Danny L. Harle f/ Carly Rae Jepsen – Super Natural
    Danny L. Harle & Carly Rae finally reach a perfect balance between PC Music & accessible mainstream pop. Carly's impeccable lyricism shines through ("baby it's so bananas" should not work as well as it does) & the production is very... dreamy I guess would be the word? Nothing has stuck with me quite as much as this song has.
    2. Britney Spears f/ G-Eazy – Make Me…
    Ms. Britney Jean Spears decided to blow my head off with her comeback single this year. A perfect balance of everything that makes Britney amazing. A+ production, a chorus that gets stuck in your head, & her unmistakable vocals shine. G-Eazy's guest rap actually adds something for once and fully rounds this into an incredible moment for everyone involved. Too bad about the video.
    3. Rihanna – Kiss It Better
    Both of the verses having the same lyrics should knock this down a point but it's partially what makes this song incredible. Rihanna delivered the song of her career & one of the best pop moments of the year. It's a shame that this flopped but this is a song that'll hopefully be remembered (by pop fans at least) for decades.
    4. Ariana Grande – Into You
    It's rare that a song comes around that completely destroys every follicle on your head every single time you listen to it (even after listening to it 60+ times). Carly Rae did it last year with "Run Away With Me" and Ariana delivered that moment this year. Max Martin really knows what the fuck he's doing when he puts the effort in.
    5. Beyonce – Daddy Lessons
    Beyonce going Country Blues on us should not work in theory but she delivered one of the best moments of the year with this one. Every single time I listen to this it's an experience. She takes everything that makes country great and shoves it into one song. The small but remarkable production flourishes & background noise are what really turns this song into something special. It sounds very... Pitchfork to gloss over all of the fantastic pop songs she's delivered throughout her career and call this her best song, but there's a very very solid argument to be made here. Lemonade was mind blowing but this song in particular is what really brings it over the edge for me.
    6. Tegan & Sara – Stop Desire
    Tegan & Sara excelling at pure pop? Quelle surprise!
    7. Charli XCX – Vroom Vroom
    PC Music can be very rough & brash but this song shows that it can be something really special when you have people willing to bring it under control.
    8. Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance
    Carly Rae Jepsen meets K-Pop. What more could you ask for?
    9. Fifth Harmony – That’s My Girl
    An absolutely incredible chorus wrapped around a girl empowerment anthem written by Tinashe. That says it all really.
    10. The 1975 – The Sound
    The 1975 managing to deliver some of the best pop moments of the year is quite odd to think about but they really did that.
    11. Bridgit Mendler f/ Kaiydo – Atlantis
    Her of all people delivering quality indie dream-pop still has me a bit shook.
    12. The Weeknd f/ Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming
    The Weeknd's more lighthearted moments are what truly make him shine in my opinion. The production here really shines.
    13. Luna – Free Somebody
    14. MUNA – I Know A Place
    15. Terror Jr. – 3 Strikes

    Kylie Jenner revealing this to us was such a #moment. Remember when we thought this was her? Mess.
    16. AlunaGeorge f/ Popcaan – I’m In Control
    17. KDA f/ Tinashe – Just Say
    18. Dua Lipa – Blow Your Mind (Mwah)
    19. Tory Lanez – Luv
    20. Jane Zhang f/ Timbaland – Dust Your Shoulders Off

    Queen of robbery & fraud brought out Timbaland's most interesting production in years.
    21. Maren Morris – 80s Mercedes
    The new Queen of Country really delivered with this.
    22. Florrie – Real Love
    23. CL - Lifted

    It would be nice if she would just get on with it, wouldn't it?
    24. DJ Snake f/ Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You
    This will probably be the last tropical house song that is actually worth talking about.
    25. Bon Iver – 22 (OVER S∞∞N)

    Honorable Mentions/Album Tracks/Random Songs That Didn't Make The List
    (This is in no particular order)
    Jojo - Good Thing
    Christie & Dream Beats - Wasn't My Fault

    If you choose 1 song from this list to listen to, make it this one.
    Keke Palmer - Hands Free
    Dreezy f/ Gucci Mane - We Gon' Ride
    Bebe Rexha - I Got You
    Sia - Bird Set Free
    Meghan Trainor f/ Yo Gotti - Better
    RuPaul f/ The Cast of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, Season 2 - Read U Wrote U (Elias Miah Mix)
    Louisa Johnson - So Good
    Carly Rae Jepsen - Higher
    Tinashe - Touch Pass
    Britney Spears - If I'm Dancing


    Album list is in the next post because of the word limit xx.​
     
  20. Albums
    [​IMG]
    1. Britney Spears - Glory
    (Make Me..., If I'm Dancing, Man On the Moon)

    After Britney Jean and Pretty Girls I was 100% sure that she lost the plot. Britney's career has been a bit rocky but the one thing that she always delivered on was the music. Losing that was... a lot. I went into this album campaign with no expectations and she gave me a career defining piece of work that shows all of the reasons why I love Britney Jean Spears. It's not a perfect masterpiece, but it is rock solid pop album from front to back with no truly tragic moments (Private Show is too avant-garde for the girls to understand. When will Björk?). There was a lot riding on this album and for me, she truly delivered. I wouldn't consider this an ambitious progression into a higher level in the vain of something like "Lemonade" but I would consider this a personal statement. After a messy couple of years & looking like she would rather be in Hawaii than in the studio, she finally finds her confidence back and shows us that her ability to produce high quality pop music is still there.
    2. Rihanna - ANTI
    (Kiss It Better, Love On the Brain, Same Ol' Mistakes)

    This shitfest of an album campaign was probably the most trying moment in pop in recent years but WOW did she come through. I love the good sis but Rihanna was always more of a bops machine instead of a fully fledged... artist? That sounds mean but she wasn't exactly making a statement with each of her albums. Which is fine by the way! I love bops! But, Rih making an album that fully explores every side of her, experimenting in ways that we would've never expected to see was truly exciting to see. Even in the album's most obnoxious moments (Higher), she's pushing into things she's NEVER done before and I appreciate the artistry behind it even if it wasn't executed perfectly. Rihanna was making a statement with this album and I think it's a piece of work that we'll be talking about years from now. No more Samsung/Tidal deals for the love of GOD though.
    3. Beyonce - Lemonade
    (Daddy Lessons, Formation, All Night)

    Witnessing Beyonce's artistic renaissance is unbelievable. Her 2013 self-titled album took a lot of risks, but ultimately, it was the same Beyonce we know and love. That's not a bad thing! It's an excellent album! But with Lemonade, it's truly pleasure to see her push boundaries that I never thought were possible. She channeled the pain of a cheating relationship and the intricacies of being a black woman in America in 2016 into a fantastic visual piece of work. One of my favorite things about music is the visuals. I love being able to listen to a song and picture what a video for it should be. A full visual album can be a daunting hit or miss affair but WOW did she hit it out of the park. I feel like this paragraph just sounds like a bunch of babbling but it's hard for me to put into words just why this album is so incredible. She REALLY did that.
    4. Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death
    (Stop Desire, 100x, Hang on to the Night)

    I love ma LGBT pop kweens! Love You to Death is a bullet proof pop album from front to back. Tegan & Sara really have the Carly Rae-esque talent of channeling pain & incredibly personal moments into huge pop choruses and gorgeous ballads/mid tempos. Love You to Death doesn't push any boundaries and doesn't swerve out of its lane but it does what it's trying to do very very well and has overall been one of my most played albums this year. Well done girls!
    5. Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman
    (Sometimes, Into You, Be Alright)

    After the jarring experience that was "Focus" (remember when she harassed us for 30 days only to lead up to THAT?) I was moderately concerned going into this album. In the end though, Dangerous Woman is a pretty excellent progression from My Everything. I've been rooting for this girl every since The Way destroyed m'bussy back in mid-2013 and watching her grow into the incredible pop star she is today has been exciting. The album has its dull moments (Leave Me Lonely...) but let's be honest, it's hard to release an 18 track album without 1 or 2 fuck ups along the way. I think my favorite thing about this album (that also happened with My Everything) was that it took a couple of months to truly hit me. She also came through with the best song of her career with Sometimes. Legends only!
    6. The 1975 - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
    (The Sound, Somebody Else, Paris)

    Matty Healy continues to win the award as the most insufferable person in pop but The 1975 really did THAT with this album. It's overly self-indulgent at times (those instrumental tracks... No.jpg) but it's a really rock solid pop album that manages to deliver a new layer to the 80s pastiche that has been dominating over the last couple of years.
    7. Tinashe - Nightride
    (Touch Pass, Sacrifices, Ride of Your Life)

    After the nightmare that has been the Joyride campaign over the past year, Tisnatche really delivered with this mixtape/digital album/whatever. Even with all of the fuckery, she continuously proves that she knows her way around a song and that she's not playing around. She's a fresh presence in the world of R&B and Pop these days and I hope we can finally get that damn album next year.
    8. The Weeknd - Starboy
    (I Feel It Coming, Rockin', Ordinary Life)

    After the largely disappointing Beauty Behind the Madness, I was excited to see where Abel was willing to go with his new found stardom. Starboy isn't hugely experimental but it's another step into the world of pop. The Weeknd is the most exciting male pop star in year and while the album is a bit long & has some dull moments, it's overall a really excellent listen.
    9. Little Mix - Glory Days
    (Touch, No More Sad Songs, Beep Beep)

    This album isn't changing the pop landscape or anything but it's the fun, ridiculous bop fest that we all needed after this dumpster fire of a year. The most ridiculous moments on this album shows why Little Mix is my current favorite girl group. Stuff like Beep Beep & You Gotta Not are completely nonsensical and really shouldn't work but Little Mix don't take themselves THAT seriously so it all sort of comes together into some ridiculous fun. No regrets.
    10. Bon Iver - 22, A Million
    (22 (Over S∞∞n), ___45___, 29 #Strafford APTS)

    This was an interesting late addition to the list but this album has been kind of a revelation for me. Bon Iver really shouldn't be my thing in the slightest but I've been playing this album a LOT. It's overly self-indulgent white nonsense during a lot of points and some of the lyrics are a bit eye roll worthy but there's something really special about the atmosphere & overall execution that takes place on this album. My appreciation for 22, A Million makes no sense and it probably shouldn't be on this list but I've truly fallen in love with it and has been a great soundtrack to the winter season.

    Honorable Mentions
    (This is in no particular order)
    Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion Side B
    When will your faves left overs be this good?
    Lady Gaga - Joanne
    Charli XCX - Vroom Vroom
    Zayn - Mind of Mine
    Panic! At the Disco - Death of a Bachelor

    So yeah. I apologize for grammar/spelling errors because I just cranked this all out and I don't feel like proof reading. It's been an excellent year for music & I hope next year is the same. Y'all stay blessed now!​
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
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