Favorite Albums of 2016 (featuring Candice of BINACT)

I mentioned this in my previous post, but I have to say it again: this has been a pretty cool year in music. It’s been so cool that it has been hard for me to choose what albums/projects that I liked the most. So, in order to keep my list short and to get a varying view on the projects that came out, I asked a few folks to share their favorites.

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Picture courtesy of Candice Johnson of #BINACT.

Fortunately, one of my favorite people that I’ve connected with this year decided to contribute. Her name is Candice Johnson and she runs But I’m Not A Critic Though (BINACT). According to Candice, BINACT’s mission is simple: to provide unique and positive perspectives to an evolving music society. It’s your one-stop shop for new music updated once a week. It’s the place for fresh outlooks on music’s impact on our society. It’s an independent artist haven. It’s a music appreciation space. It’s definitely another music website you should check out, especially if you’re into the emotional aspect of music listening (versus the technical side of it).

Before I share my favorites, I’ll share Candice’s top three favorite projects from this year! Keep reading below:

Shoutout to Amirah for all the love and support in 2016. BINACT is so excited to contribute to Transcending Sound. I was asked to share what I’ve been listening to this year. 2016 has been an R&B heavy year for me, emphasis on alternative R&B. 

BJ the Chicago Kid starts the year off right with In My Mind. BJ’s ability to get so raw and personal blows my mind. Songs like Shine, Heart Crush, and Crazy shed light on his vocal prowess and songwriting ability. I love listening to this album when I’m feeling everything all at once.

I waited on Gallant’s Ology for what seemed like an eternity. I stumbled upon his breakout single, Weight in Gold, some time last year. After playing out his EPs on Spotify, I yearned for a full body of work. This album does not disappoint. All of the songs are my favorites. The icing on the cake was hearing that it was nominated for a Grammy. 

Finally, It Is. by JMSN brought the real. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in Charlotte, NC. He’s fun to watch and hear. The album oozes soul and jazzy sounds. Cruel Intentions and Funk Outta Here are simplistic yet powerful.

Check out #BINACT for more tunes! Thank you once again for having me, Amirah!

I appreciate Candice’s list so much mainly because it’s different from mine. While hers is more indie based, mine is slightly more commercial.

Topping my list is We Are KING by R&B trio KING. Their debut LP is what I imagine #blackgirlmagic sounds and feels like: a mixture of joy, wonder, and love with a pinch of soul added to it. Travel with “Red Eye,” fall in love with “Love Song” and their old favorite “Hey,” grow with “Carry On” and “Native Land,” and enjoy the smooth journey. 

I also gravitated towards the first A Tribe Called Quest album in 18 years, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service. Phife Dawg’s passing hit me hard, and for some reason, I thought that his passing ended the rumors of the Tribe coming back. Fortunately, they did! Songs like “The Space Program” and “Black Spasmodic” show that the group, and in particular, Q-Tip and Phife, were in an amazing space before Phife passed. Other than the brotherhood and camaraderie, what makes the album amazing is the guest features. I mean…3 Stacks, Kendrick, Kanye and a few vocalists are on there too. Plus, we had ’90s and early 2000s Busta show up for the album and I was pleased with it.

Solange’s album, A Seat At The Table, isn’t an album that I go back to often (because…feels), but it is an amazing album. “Rise” and “Weary” made me cry when I heard it, as well as “Cranes In The Sky.” But “F.U.B.U” (which is on my favorites playlist) and the interludes give me so power when I feel helpless or in despair. The growth from feeling despair to finding strength in just being who you are is such an amazing feeling. When I need a pick-me-up, I go to that album. The production is mild compared to her sister’s album, Lemonade, but it’s a vibe. (By the way, I prefer Lemonade’s visuals over the actual audio album, but that’s another topic for another day. Sorry, not sorry.)

What were your favorite albums of 2016? List them below or tweet Candice and I about it.

Special thanks to Candice for contributing to this post! Visit her website to read more and follow her on  Twitter and Instagram at @candiiboo and #BINACT.

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