Say what you will about the year 2016, you might think of it a good year or a bad one. Major news events or pop culture fads might be what sticks out in everyone’s mind, but it is hard to deny that some of the music released this year was incredible. It was just a strong year all around to listen to music and just be a fan in general. We saw the return of many great artist and the releases of just some well-done records. It was a year about getting better and moving on, and you really see that reflected in a lot of the music. They say that you connect albums and music to certain events going on at the time, so what is some of the best music that was the soundtrack to 2016? That is exactly what I am here to tell you.
5. Frank Ocean: “Blonde”
We waited forever for this record. If you were a fan of Frank Ocean, you were subjected to a roller coaster ride of a production. Despite all that time though, it was well worth it. “Blonde” was one of the most experimental and unique albums of the year that it had no problem securing one of the top spots. Although it is not a game-changing album and is not what everyone might have expected, it did raise the bar for collaborations in the game. With knock-out hits from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean really made his work stand out above the rest and is worth mentioning for sure.
4. Tiny Moving Parts: “Celebrate”
Sweeping guitar riffs and memorable rhythms are just some of what you got out of one of the best punk records of the year. Self-described family band Tiny Moving Parts released their third-studio record “Celebrate” early this year. With so many moving tracks that are a lot more comfortable and in the groove than anything else, it really rose to the top of the genre. Optimism and getting over adversity though is the main point of the record, which really helps cement its place in 2016. Really, it is hard to argue about such a strong punk record that is all about self-reflection, and Tiny Moving Parts have always been some really strong musicians. “Celebrate” is one of those releases that everyone should look at and model after.
3. Green Day: “Revolution Radio”
Punk powerhouse, Green Day marks 2016 as an unforgettable year with “Revolution Radio.”The album was the redemption that the band needed very much after the last three records of theirs. While it might have failed its overall goal of trying to kill the Pop Punk genre, this was such a seamless piece of both new wave punk and old school punk. It brings out the best of Green Day, which is something we really have not seen since “American Idiot.” The majority of people may have low expectations going in to this record, but it was not hard for it to blow those expectations out of the water. It was a good return to form for Green Day.
2. The Weeknd: “Starboy”
It is hard for me to try and say something that I have not already said before for this record. The Weeknd recently released one of the best records we could have asked for this year with “Starboy.” With transcending genres and just having so many outstanding tracks, just about every track on this record is worth listening to. The only possible flaw on here is that there is just a bit too much auto tune, but it does not necessarily ruin the record. Leaving his last record in the dust, The Weeknd has always been such a strong musician and has dominated the mainstream with his music. If you have not listened to “Starboy” yet, what are you even doing right now.
1. Blink-182: “California”
We all should have seen this one coming with the return of Blink-182 and with a new addition to the band, guitarist and singer Matt Skiba. It is one great punk record and a return to some early 2000-era Blink-182. While it did provide some nostalgia for long time listeners, it is also the most different album they have put out. Tom DeLonge was such an irreplaceable part of the band for decades. In his absence, this record sounds more like a mix of +44 and Alkaline Trio than anything else. That said though, it is one of the strongest records that you could listen to this year alone. From front to back it is incredibly well mixed and has a ton of standout tracks. It is hard to argue that Blink do not deserve the top spot this year.