Here we go. The top 10. Every one of these albums is a veritable buffet of sounds and sensations. There’s love, there’s soul, there’s rhythms and words to help you reach higher.
A special mention must go to Xylaroo for their debut album, Sweetooth, which appears to be the best 2016 album practically no one has heard.
What have your albums of the year been? Tweet me with your thoughts via @aarnlee.
10. Xylaroo – Sweetooth
9. Skepta – Konnichiwa
8. Nao – For All We Know
7. Frank Ocean – Blonde
6. Shura – Nothing’s Real
5. Billie Marten – Writing of Blues and Yellows
4. Alicia Keys – Here
3. Solange – A Seat at the Table
2. Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
1. Anderson Paak – Malibu Continue reading →
It’s incredible how little I have written about Frank Ocean considering how many times I have played his music over the last four years, and how deeply it has touched me. Following the release of his second album, Blonde, in August, it’s high time I remedied this fact with a piece in praise of this singular artist. Continue reading →
The curse of the difficult-second-album hangs over Frank Ocean’s Blonde like an unforgiving spectre. As if following up his critically acclaimed debut, Channel Orange, wasn’t hard enough already: there was the endless rumours, the delays and the never-ending storm of desire and derision on social media. No wonder Ocean prefers to keep himself to himself these days.
For better and worse, Ocean’s second album is the product of personal struggle under the weight of intense expectation. It doesn’t reach the dizzying perfection of his 2012 debut, but it is a profound listen nonetheless. Continue reading →
Sometimes a good cover version will bring out a side to a song – and the musician performing it – that you never knew was there. This week I’ve been reminded of that in three ways.
The first was Ella Eyre’s version of ‘Going On’ by Gnarls Barkley. This song falls into the category of ‘nearest-and-dearest-so-don’t-you-dare-mess-it-up’. Famed for featuring on Rudimental’s ‘Waiting All Night’, Eyre is a stupendous singer, but I think there’s always going to be some trepidation when it comes to covers of songs that mean a lot to you. Continue reading →
September has arrived. Which means the autumn album releases are upon us, and what a cracking bunch there are this year. Haim, Chvrches, London Grammar, the Rizzle Kicks, Eliza Doolittle, Deltron 3030, Fatima, Anna Calvi and, the one I’m most excited for, Janelle Monàe, with her sophomore record The Electric Lady. Continue reading →