In 2016, my NBOTY2016 selection carried a sense of social awareness, New Borns produced with a tasteful ‘less is more’ approach. Solange and Michael Kiwanuka were particularly poignant this year, with both artists lending their voices to the dialogue surrounding America’s political climate, the ‘Black Lives Matter movement and diversity in the music industry. The debut from Sydney band DMA’s rang with big anthems and Brit-pop choruses. Modern Baseball delivered their sophomore album with smart songwriting paired with honest and relatable cuts with pop-punk production, buzzing with pure energy. Also making my list was A Tribe Called Quest’s long awaited comeback, ‘We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service’ that feels just as relevant as the contemporaries they paved the way for.
Album Title: A Seat at the Table
Label: Saint Records/Columbia
Genre: R&B, neo soul
Moments Of: Frank Ocean
Solange’s most tasteful, disarming and self-assured work yet.
Album Title: Hills End
Label: I Oh You
Moments Of: The Stone Roses, Catfish & The Bottlemen
DMA’s bring back cut-through songwriting, lo-fi charm and timeless alt-rock production…and sometimes that’s all you need.
Artist: Michael Kiwanuka
Album Title: Love & Hate
Genre Soul, R&B
Moments Of: Marvin Gaye, Leon Bridges
Michael Kiwanuka articulates scathing social commentary and poignant matters of the heart in a collection of songs that channel the soul Greats.
Artist: Modern Baseball
Album Title: Holy Ghost
Label: Run For Cover
Moments Of: Neck Deep, Parquet Courts
Holy Ghost is a smart slice of pop punk, complemented by songwriting that tells of a band getting things together ahead of their time.
Artist: A Tribe Called Quest
Album Title: We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
Label: Epic Records
Moments Of: Andre 3000, Q-Tip, Kendrick Lamar
Crackling with chemistry, this star-studded comeback sees hip-hop pioneers translate their clever beats and thoughtful sound to a new generation of listeners.