2016 has been a year to remember so far. So much, both good and bad. There has been quite a bit of good music released this year. There has also been some cheesy music released as well. Even worse, the rock world has lost many major artists that rivals the major movie star losses of 1976. Let’s take a quick look back at the music world of 2016 at the halfway point.
The year began with the news of the death of David Bowie. And, just as we were beginning to get over our grief came word that Glenn Frey of the Eagles had passed away too. Then, it seemed like we started loosing rock stars each week as we heard of the deaths of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, Jefferson Airplane/Starship guitar Paul Kantner, former Prince protege and leader of Vanity 6 Vanity, Beatles producer/studio father figure George Martin, Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), country outlaw Merle Haggard, His Royal Badness Prince, soul singer Billy (“Me & Mrs. Jones”) Paul, influential guitarist Guy Clark, PM Dawn mastermind Attrell “Prince Be” Cordes and Parliament/Funkadelic and Talking Heads keyboardist Bennie Worrell, to name but a few.
Still, 2016 has been a fairly strong year for music. Many of our favorite artists have released great albums thus far this year, such as Cheap Trick, Santana, ABC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ace Frehley (formerly of KISS), Weezer, Paul Simon, former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf, The Monkees, Tom Petty’s other band Mudcrutch and former Hüsker Dü leader Bob Mould. Throw in new albums by current artists such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Radiohead, Kanye West and Chance the Rapper.
With that said, here are my 20 favorite albums of the year to this point. Away we go, with the albums listed in artist alphabetical order. Enjoy!
- Beyoncé – Lemonade (R&B/Pop)
- David Bowie – Blackstar (Rock)
- Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book (Hip Hop)
- Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello (Rock)
- Fitz & the Tantrums – Fitz & the Tantrums (Pop)
- Ace Frehley – Origins Vol. 1 (Hard Rock)
- Honey Island Swamp Band – Demolition Day (Rock)
- The Monkees – Good Times! (Power Pop)
- Bob Mould – Patch the Sky (Alternative)
- Mudcrutch – 2 (Country Rock)
- Anderson.Paak – Malibu (R&B)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway (Alternative)
- The Shelters – The Shelters (Rock, produced by Tom Petty)
- Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger (Rock)
- Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (Country)
- The Suffers – The Suffers (R&B)
- Those Pretty Wrongs – Those Pretty Wrongs (Indie Rock)
- Weezer – Weezer (“The White Album”) (Power Pop)
- Kanye West – The Life of Pablo (Hip Hop)
- Peter Wolf – A Cure for Loneliness (Rock)
Here’s to the hope that the music of 2016 continues to be of high quality, but the deaths could stop. Also, here’s to great next six months! Rock on!