What We Listen To

Music: A Sundae Co. 2016 Round-Up

All week, I will be bringing you my favorite things from this less than perfect year! On Monday, I discussed movies and yesterday I talked TV. Today, we talk music! I am honestly happy listening to Beyonce on repeat for the rest of my life, but I am working on branching out a bit more in my musical tastes…though I don’t think I strayed too far this year.

Below, please find my favorite albums, songs and musical moments from the last 365 days!

Sundae Co. | Coloring Book
Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper
I am WAY late to the Chance the Rapper fandom, but this album was my most played for 2016, so I am making up for it… This mixtape is an incredible example of the talented lyricist and performer Chance is. The overall theme of the album is how religion plays a very big role in his life and is partially a love letter to Chicago. My favorite song on the album has to be “Same Drugs” because of the genius use of the Peter Pan story woven throughout. I should also mention that I am deeply and truly in love with Chance and think he is the cutest human being ever. The way he dances when he performs. Yeah. Love him.

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | Anti
Anti, Rihanna
Riri made us wait three years for this album, but if I knew it was going to be this good, I would have waited longer. This album has everything I love about Rihanna’s music and more. She shows off more of her range (does she or does she not have it?) and swagger on tracks like “Love on the Brain” and “Needed Me.” Those songs and “Kiss it Better” are my favorites on this album to lipsync to in the shower. So good. Let’s not wait three years for the next one though please.

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | Lady Wood
Lady Wood, Tove Lo
Tove Lo’s first album was a huge staple of my 2015 and I was thrilled to finally get a sophomore effort from her this year. And she definitely upped the ante on the whole “sex and partying” vibe she displayed in last year’s hit “Habits (Stay High)” by naming her album Lady Wood. This album is separated into two sections, but flows together well and has a great mix of up tempo and ballads to capture whatever you want to hear. I love “Cool Girl” as much as “Vibes” and am eagerly awaiting her 2017 tour so I can hear her new stuff live!

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | This is Acting
This is Acting, Sia
Sia supposedly constructed this album out of songs she wrote that other artists rejected and I will never be able to thank those artists for passing them up. Sia’s songs always sound better in her voice and this album puts that on full display. To pick a favorite song or two on the album is too difficult a task, so I will just say that my least favorite may be “Space Between” but I love that song, so that says how highly I regard this album. I love how we can explicitly hear her range as she goes from her usual crooning ballad to a song that samples Sisqo… It is a shame that her anxiety and stage fright have led to her not performing as openly as she did years ago when I saw her in concert, but I hope she continues to write and record because she is one of my favorite vocalists today.

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | 25
25, Adele
Oh, Adele. You zany, gorgeous, hyper-talented Brit! There is nothing not to like about Adele or her work and this album was a long-awaited and entirely perfect gift to her fans. She makes it sound effortless, but her voice is better than ever and this album is a wonderful reminder of the powerhouse she is. My favorite tracks (other than the obvious “Hello”) are “All I Ask” and “Water Under the Bridge” but again, hard to pick a favorite off this list. What do we think is next: 28? 31? Hopefully not too far after that!

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | Lemonade
Lemonade, Beyoncé
I mean. Come on. After surprise-dropping her last album, Beyoncé stepped it up even further and gave us this gorgeous audio-visual experience like no other album has done before. When we first heard “Formation” we knew that she was beginning a new era. An era that refused to shy away from her race, background and womanhood. But Lemonade was Beyoncé seemingly at her most honest and open and truthful no matter what it looked like, felt like, sounded like. I still can’t get the images from the albums visuals out of my head, in the best way possible, and feel so excited when anything from it plays. It is important for an artist to challenge themselves, but also their fans (which she did by making me love a country song!) in order to let their music evolve and become something bigger than themselves. This album did just that and by opening herself up via her music, her pride in being a black woman and her insane energy while performing any song from this album, we got to see a new Beyoncé. I can’t wait to see more.
Buy the album on iTunes

Sundae Co. | Emotion B Side
Emotion Side B, Carly Rae Jepsen
The queen of 80’s inspired pop is back with 8 bonus tracks as a follow up to last year’s “Emotion” and oh my gosh it is so much fun. Carly Rae has moved way beyond the “girl who sang ‘Call Me Maybe'” fame and proven herself to be an incredibly talented songwriter and performer. This album is an energetic burst of songs that range from bubbly and dance-inducing (“Body Language”) to the dramatic (“Roses”) but is all together a great listen!

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | Sugar Symphony
Sugar Symphony, Chloe x Halle
Beyoncé discovered these two sisters (shockingly not twins) on YouTube and signed them to her label. That is reason enough to check out their EP. Another reason is because no duo out there sounds like Chloe x Halle. Their sound is jazzy and smooth with spoken word and beautiful harmonies throughout. I can’t wait to see what these girls come out with next!

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | Ology
Ology, Gallant
Gallant’s voice is incomparable. His falsetto brings back some early 90’s R&B nostalgia but his lyrics are so modern and fresh its hard to compare him to anyone else. His lyrics seem to reflect on themes of loneliness and deep pain and are sometimes haunting and effecting in a way that forces you to want to listen to the song again and again. My favorite from the album is “Weight in Gold” which may be the most personal on the album.

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | A Seat at the Table
A Seat at the Table, Solange
I don’t know how to say this so I will just say it: This album is not for me. It is, as Solange proclaims on “F.U.B.U.” for us – meaning black men and women around the world who needed this album and its profound lyrics more than anyone. And for that reason – plus the fact that it is a gorgeous and poignant collection of songs that perfectly reflect her struggles as (and pride in being) a black woman – I listen to this album with immense respect and love for the singer/songwriter she has become. I still listen to and love her last album “Sol-Angel & The Hadley St. Dreams” which had a much funkier, 60’s vibe to it so to hear her voice and style grow with this album was a beautiful thing. The videos she released for “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch my Hair” are stunning in their design and direction and her live performances of songs from this album have been nothing short of perfection.

Stream the album on Spotify

Sundae Co. | Chapters
Chapters, Yuna
I only discovered Yuna (thanks to a recommendation from Daria) a few months ago and have since had this album on repeat! The Malaysian singer has a voice that sometimes reminds me of Sia or Lorde, but manages to exude her own sound and style. This album is R&B at it’s finest and features some incredibly sexy, smooth and emotional songs. “Crush” which features Usher, is an instant favorite, but I also appreciate the more bouncy “Best Love” and the dreamy “All I Do.”

Stream the album on Spotify

Side to Side, Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj
Ok ok ok. But this song is CATCHY and fun. Working out to this song (especially after seeing the video for it) is such good inspiration. Plus, Nicki is back to her “zero chill” basics with her verse and makes every song so much better.

Too Good, Drake ft. Rihanna
I think this song played every 20 minutes on the radio this summer, but I still love it. Drake and Rihanna (RIP their love) are perfect together as heard many times before (work, work, work, etc) and this is just further proof they need to record an entire album together/marry each other/hang out with me!

Taller Than You, Mamamoo
My girls killed it this year! Off their first album this year, Melting, this song, more than the others stands out to me. A highlight of my life this year was getting to see them perform this live at KCon over the summer! Hwasa gets so many fun lines in this song and I love that the entire song is about how short Wheein is…or rather one centimeter shorter. Kpop is so weird. I love it.

Famous, Kanye West
To quote Beyoncé: “You know you that [song] when you cause all this conversation.” And what a conversation this song caused. Kanye is forever problematic but you have to admit he knows how to write and produce some damn good songs. And this one, featuring Rihanna is my favorite from The Life of Pablo.

So, that’s it. My favorite albums and songs from the past year. What artist do I need to keep an ear on in 2017? What band or singer am I missing out on?

Stay tuned! Tomorrow, I will be posting about my favorite books I read this year!

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  • Reply Books: A Sundae Co. 2016 Round-Up | Sundae Co. January 1, 2017 at 7:45 pm

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