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My Best Albums Of 2016 - Tanyel Gumushan

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2016 hasn’t half turned out some amazing albums, and when it comes to end of year lists, you’re never going to quite please everybody.

So, away from the obviously blinding work from Bowie and the badass reaction of Beyoncé; even steering away from the romantic arrogance of The 1975 and the kicking atmosphere of those Catfish lads.

Then there’s the moody maturity of Rihanna and the long-awaited return of Frank Ocean. Kanye, too.

This is harder than expected. In no particular order, these are my picks for the best albums this year… 

BANKS - The Altar

A complete attitude makeover, the previous Goddess slays at The Altar as a sultry songstress.

Channelling her inner badass, the record is fierce and fiery, where fast-flowing viper, honest lyricism is slick atop enchanting trip hop rhythms and warped RnB beats.

Not completely abandoning her tender side, tracks like ‘Mother Earth’ and ‘To The Tilt’ still stand strong. A rose with many thorns, a shoulder for every emotion. 

Tove Lo - Ladywood

Tove Lo – Ladywood

On her second album the Swedish ‘cool girl’ reigns in dominance, calls the shots and gets her way.

Whilst many shy away from sharing their chase for thrills, Tove Lo bathes in the pleasure with icy techno beats and flirtatious, effortless vocals.

Inevitably truthful on her sexual preferences and even commitment, the levels of vulnerability are balanced with high dosages of confidence. 

 

Let’s Eat Grandma – I, Gemini

Ethereal, tactile and in places surreal, the eerily mysterious debut from the teenage best friends transports you to a place where fairy-tale characters are tripping out.

Ranging from childlike screeches of temper tantrums to creepily angelic harmonies, the vocals are only part of the duo’s act.

Synths are jumpy, hip-hop is plagued, and moments are sickly sweet whilst others are nightmare-inducing. It’s a dreamlike thrill.

 

Bastille – Wild World

The boys were back with their second studio full length, and didn’t face any law suits this time around.

A political statement disguised with 80’s movie nostalgia and dancefloor fever, the number 1 album redefined what is meant by dark pop.

Not a single track is mere album filler, each stands alone as an exploration of a close dystopian future that nestles into the subconscious – unbreakable from Smith’s unmistakable falsetto and underlying groove.

It’s the epitome of pop culture, a glorious irony. 

PUP – The Dream Is Over

‘If this tour doesn’t kill you then I will’ summarises the bitterly honest recollection from the Toronto pop punkers.

With not a single metaphor in site, the back-to-the-wall, rowdy album is littered with distorted guitar, frenzied choruses and thrashing, stretched vocals.

Named after a brutal realisation from a doctor, PUP prove him wrong with an extra whack of energy; there’s even a love song to a chameleon, ‘Sleep In The Heat’. 

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

When the dream team rekindle after eight years, you can’t ignore it. We’ve been through it all with Kane and Turner, haven’t we? Including the velour tracksuits.

They set the scene. They’ve been doing a whole load of lusting and loving; and that means there’s the swooning romanticism (accompanied by a 29-piece orchestra), the whirlwind, and the raucous aftermath (they ain’t messing on ‘Bad Habits’).

It moves like a circus creature; creeps and crawls, glittered but grimy. 

Sia – This Is Acting

A collection of songs originally written for, and then rejected by other artists, Sia’s seventh album demonstrates that the powerhouse has still got it.

Jokes on you Adele, Sia’s rousing vocals are moving.

Slithery pop written for night time, the album includes the radio dominating hits (‘Alive’ & ‘Cheap Thrills’), and hidden secrets (‘Bird Set Free’).

The distinguishable accent is only heightened by juddering bass and damaged rhythms, particularly on the slurred Kanye collaboration ‘Reaper’. 

Jamie T – Trick

Maybe the years of silence were worth it for two albums from Jamie T in just two years.

Now aged 30, the London scallywag within is still very much alive, and may have even gotten better with age.

Heavier on tracks like ‘Tinfoil Boy’ and ‘Drone Strike’ the brutality kicks its way through crushed tinnies.

Contemplating his twenties, reflecting on the greats and having a dominatrix that won’t leave from his thoughts mean for a tender side of Jamie T, that doesn’t lack the street corner charisma. 

Metronomy – Summer 08

One thing Metronomy have never lacked, is eccentric confidence. Joe Mount laughs in the face of nerves and this record is no different.

A suitably summer release, it’s a flashback to old-school funk with crawling darkness.

There’s no structure here, no trace in the Metronomy DNA, instead it’s a solid rush of tilted freestyle running on nostalgia and reminiscence. Whilst it isn’t easy listening, it’s worthwhile listening. 

Hinds – Leave Me Alone

Fantastically bratty, the Spanish quartet lay it down: their shit, their rules.

Language hopping and instrument jumping, the girls drench their tracks in reverb and move into each with a natural swagger.

Their simplistic storytelling techniques mean there’s fun when chasing cows on a farm, and the walk home.

It’s young, it’s vibrant and it purrs with sass. 




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