• Charlie Taylor

#5E Top 10: Albums Of 2016 (Revisited)


LADIES & GENTLEMEN. It is nearly my favourite time of the year...

I'm not talking about Christmas, I'm not talking about Boxing Day. I'm talking about New Years!

It is a time of reflection, to look back for a moment and look at what went down this year. Or, in the case of this site. What music dropped this past year!

But before I really get down to the nitty-gritty, I wanted to look back a little further. Because I don't know about you, but there's always a project or album that slips through the cracks. I'm still trying to firm up my fishing net but there's always one or two that I forget to listen to. At the end of the day, there'll always be that one project I'll always never get around to listening to. But it never hurts to try!

So, before I reveal my favourite EP's, Songs & Albums of the year. I want to revise my 2016 Album list and switch it up. A lot can happen in a year, and my outlook on some projects have changed. Mostly for the better.

10 Albums, most have been moved up or down depending on how much I've grown onto the project. And there's one new entry I've put in, which means that one had to go. (Be sure to peep the original list here before we get into the revised edition.)

Kano - Made In The Manor

Original Rank - 10

Revised Rank - Hon. Mention

That is the sad part about lists, whether it be Top 5, 10, 50 or 100, there is always a snub.

Don't get me wrong, I still love this album, I'm still glad it won the MOBO Award for Best Album. But there's one thing I couldn't do with this album that I could do with the Top 10. Listen to it front to back.

I could if I wanted to. But in the hunt for entertainment, I can't help but skip one or two tracks. I just wanted to get to the fast paced bangers! The middle of the album, although very personal and I like that about most artists, is slow. Compared to the first few songs which get me going, the vibe gets freezed in record time.

But I don't want to give constant negatives. It is a great album, I just found one that was better. And that's all it took considering it was 10 last year.

Speaking of the Top 10!

Alicia Keys - HERE

Original Rank - 9

Revised Rank - 10

When I initially thought of revisiting this list, I thought that I would've kicked this album out. But I listened to it again and I fell in love with it all over again. I love Keys' voice, I love the melodies she has on this album. I remember the reviews being mixed but I love this album. This album has uplifting songs, some emotional songs, happy, sombre. Alicia Keys simply bossed it.

Terrace Martin - Velvet Portraits

Original Rank - 6

Revised Rank - 9

A major drop in terms of the Top 10 but nevertheless, it is a great Jazz album that is full of West Coast MMM! You know what I mean! When it's so funky you just make a stink face and say "MMM!" Velvet Portraits has all of that. And with all the features to help Martin out, it was bound to come out at minimum half decent. Great vocal guests, great specialist musicians. Terrace Martin got it right on the money.

Wretch 32 - Growing Over Life

Original Rank - 5

Revised Rank - 8

Even though it has dropped three places, it is still the best UK Hip-Hop/Grime album of 2016 in my opinion. The bars are on point. The messages are positive and empowering. This album will forever be under-appreciated, which is unfortunate. But then again, I know about it and I can only talk about it so often. Listen. To. This. Album.

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

Original Rank - 7

Revised Rank - 7

No movement for this album. But damn, my love this album has grown a lot since last year. I now own "Love & Hate" on vinyl (signed as well, I might add) and it sets such a calm yet thoughtful vibe. It's really a clean album from back to front. The nine minute first track "Cold Little Heart" really sets the tone of the whole album. Kiwanuka's soul bursts through every track and for a vocalist such as Kiwanuka, that is all you can ask for. Out of the albums on this Top 10, I can see myself listening to this album for the longest. I'm talking many, many years ahead.

Masta Ace - The Falling Season

Original Rank - N/A

Revised Rank - 6

And here it is! My new entry! The legend that is Masta Ace with his latest project "The Falling Season".

So this year I went to the O2 Forum - Kentish Town, London to see The Juice Crew. Craig G, Roxanne Shante, MC Shan, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap & Big Daddy Kane, all in one building. Unfortunately I wasn't privy to the fact that it was scheduled to go on until 2am but nevertheless, it was a great experience.

I then went home to look up the other members and their music because I was there primarily for a rapper in my Top 5, BDK, not really that knowledgable of the rest of the gang. My first pick was Ace and I peeped his latest album "The Falling Season". Suffice to say, Masta Ace hasn't missed a beat. It's a conceptual album all about a kid in NY, moving to a different neighbourhood and trying to get through high school. The songs go from the kid's crush to his relationship with his mother. It's a personal album, it pays homage to some legendary songs in the process and overall, it's a brilliant album from a seasoned Veteran. And it came out a day after my birthday! But that doesn't really mean anything.

Favourite Tracks - Young Black Intelligent, Mother's Regret, Juanita Estefan

Anderson .Paak - Malibu

Original Rank - 4

Revised Rank - 5

It may have dropped one, but it is still in the Top 5. Paak's "Malibu" is a great album for many reasons. It's care free, you can focus on it or put it on in the background. However you listen to it, it is entertaining. It's jam after jam.

A few day ago, I listened to it again after a few months of completely forgetting about it. But as soon as every track came on, I remember it as if I listened to it the day before. It's uncanny. Not many albums can do that. But "Malibu" did. Who knows, I might make that a thing. Listen to it for months at a time.

Common - Black America Again

Original Rank - 3

Revised Rank - 4

This was one of those albums that dropped at the perfect time. With Trump being elected and all the hope that nobody had a year ago, Common came in with great love poems, the title track being empowering and soulful features to ride with his smooth lyrics. It was just what the doctor ordered at a time where people were supremely pessimistic. Common got it right. It was time sensitive and lucky for him, it was perfect timing.

Little Simz - Stillness In Wonderland

Original Rank - 8

Revised Rank - 3

I would happily put this at number 1. But I didn't want to have an inner battle with myself so I just stuck it at 3 and kept it moving. The more I listen to this album, the more I enjoy it. It is a great escape. Just put it on and chill. Little Simz is my favourite artist next to Kendrick and if you listen to this album you might gain an understanding as to why. Her lyrics are different, there's nobody like her doing it right now. I have this and the recently released Deluxe Edition on vinyl so you know I'm going to be blasting this album for years to come.

Emeli Sande - Long Live The Angels

Original Rank - 1

Revised Rank - 2

Why did I switch Emeli Sande and NAO? No reason really. I said last year that they're both number one in my eyes and they still are. I saw Sande live this year and of course, it was majestic and beautiful. This album is still amazing and because she was gone for four years, it wasn't accounted for as much as it should. That is a shame, but at least you guys know! I hope you do. This woman is royalty after all... Listen. To. Queen. Emeli.

NAO - For All We Know

Original Rank - 2

Revised Rank - 1

Funky, fresh, one of the most unique voices you will ever hear. This album has it all. NAO perfectly encapsulates her vibe. A kind of distorted modern day disco. I can't really describe it. It's an amazing album, I still have a few tracks from this album on the regular rotation and what's great about this album is that they're all similar but distinct at the same time. So if you get tired with one, you can listen to another as a substitute and it'll fill the hole perfectly.

So, that's the revised list. Below are my honourable mentions, the new additions that nearly made my list are in bold.

Honourable mentions (Alphabetical)

  • A Good Night In The Ghetto - Kamiayah

  • And the Anonymous Nobody - De La Soul

  • Atrocity Exhibition - Danny Brown

  • Awaken, My Love! - Childish Gambino

  • BlankFaceLP - ScHoolboy Q

  • Coloring Book - Chance The Rapper

  • Don't Smoke Rock - Smoke DZA & Pete Rock

  • Durt - Ray BLK

  • Kairi Chanel - Dave East

  • Made In The Manor - Kano

  • New Skin - Jones

  • Project 11 - Jorja Smith

  • Run The Jewels 3 - Run The Jewels

  • Searching - Knox Brown

  • The Diary - J Dilla

  • The Divine Feminine - Mac Miller

  • The Get Down: Original Soundtrack From The Netflix Original Series

  • The Healing Component - Mick Jenkins

  • The Impossible Kid - Aesop Rock

  • The Sun's Tirade - Isaiah Rashad

  • The Void - Jovel

  • Trust The Shooter - Royce Da 5"9

  • We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service - A Tribe Called Quest

  • 4 Your Eyez Only - J. Cole

  • 10 Years of Akala - Akala

#5thElementLists #EmeliSande #NAO #LittleSimz #Common #AndersonPaak #MastaAce #AliciaKeys #TerraceMartin #MichaelKiwanuka #Wretch32 #Kano #Music