This is the first in a series of “Best of 2016”, and I’ve decided to start with Music. Music is a big part of my life, as I’m sure it is for many, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite albums of 2016…

  1. The 1975, I like it when you sleep… – I’ve decided to go with the abbreviated version, because that’s already long enough; I think they officially have the longest album title ever? However, it’s a wonderful album therefore almost justifiable. I could tell it was going to be good when I finally saw them live a few months prior to the release in late 2015, and they played a few new tracks. It was exciting to get that preview! I saw them again around the time of the release, and will be seeing them at the O2 arena in London for their biggest show to date this Friday! It can be tough for a band when it’s only their second album, but they’ve gone from strength to strength with a loyal legion of fans behind them. They’ve nailed their sound. My top 3 tracks: The Sound, This Must Be My Dream, Somebody Else.
  2. Idina Menzel, idina. – You may remember I did a full review of this album already. I love this album and I could honestly listen to Idina sing all day long, but it’s oozing with raw honesty and relatable lyrics, and sees her try out some new sounds. I wish the mainstream gave her more of a chance with more radio play etc., but then again I kind of feel like it’s the best kept secret. I really hope she heads out on another tour soon, as I was gutted I missed out in 2015. My top 3 tracks:  Queen Of Swords, Like Lightning, I Do.
  3. Lady Gaga, Joanne – After what had felt like ages since any music from Gaga, I was really looking forward to this album. Initially I wasn’t sure when I heard the lead single, Perfect Illusion, as it still didn’t seem exciting enough but after a few more listens it quickly grew on me and I have been really enjoying the album since it’s release. It seemed to have a really clever and subtle mix of her previous eras, therefore staying true to her sound but still sounding fresh. My top 3 tracks: Diamond Heart, Million Reasons, Angel Down.
  4. Gwen Stefani, This Is What The Truth Feels Like – I’ve always had a soft spot for Gwen Stefani. I used to know her hits, like “What Are You Waiting For?”, “Don’t Speak” [with No Doubt], “Sweet Escape”, so I grew up quietly loving her and thinking she was super cool. Therefore when I heard she was doing a ‘comeback’ I was really excited, and I was pleased to discover it’s a great album. It still felt very Gwen, but with a slightly more RnB influence. My top 3 tracks: Misery, Make Me Like You, Used To Love You.
  5. The Last Shadow Puppets, Everything You’ve Come To Expect – I am somewhat partial to the unique sounds of Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, so I was really intrigued by this project of his with Miles Kane, James Ford, and Zach Dawes as their previous album passed me by. After hearing the lead single on radio, I took a listen and really enjoyed it! It’s edgy and grungy. My top 3 tracks: Aviation, Bad Habits, Sweet Dreams TN. 
  6. Film & Musical soundtracks – While I don’t typically listen to many film soundtracks, there has been some really great releases in that sector this year. As odd as it may sound, for me one of my favourites has been Trolls; it features tunes from Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, Ariana Grande and more so it’s a rather fun pop album. Another favourite has been Moana, the music for it is incredible. I’ve also enjoyed the soundtracks of Bridget Jones’ Baby, Ghostbusters and Me Before You. As for musical soundtracks, I’m slightly obsessed with them my highlights for new releases in 2016 have been the release of Kinky Boots (Original West End Cast Recording) and Waitress (Original Broadway Cast Recording); both are full of fun.
  7. Beyoncé, Lemonade – There’s no denying Beyoncé knows how to make some tunes. This album is no exception, and I admire what she does creatively. My top 3 tracks: Hold Up, Don’t Hurt Yourself, Daddy Lessons. 
  8. Bruno Mars, 24K Magic – I have to admit, there’s a limited amount of male singers that I’m really fond of and Bruno makes it into that minority. After making a killer comeback with lead single 24K Magic, I was keen to check out his albums as I love his previous two and believe it or not, he hasn’t released an album since 2012. Sure he’s been around a bit in that time, but there was a bit of a break so it’s great to have some new tunes from him. It’s very much remained in his style; cheeky, catchy and fun. Though his album is only 9 tracks! I guess he really wanted to fine tune and select the best, and I think he’s done well. My top 3 tracks: 24K Magic, Versace On The Floor, Finesse. 
  9. Tom Odell, Wrong Crowd – It has to be said, I much prefer Tom’s first album, though I’m not really sure why. I think there’s just a lot more stand out songs on his first album, and he’s released the best tracks on the album. That said, it’s still a good album. He’s stayed true to his sound, one of which is easy to chill out to as well as wanting to instantly punch the air and he’s doing well. I saw him last Summer, where he previewed some new tracks including Constellations, but it seems some didn’t make the album which is a shame as I really enjoyed one called Party. I would still like to see him again though as he’s brilliant live. My top 3 tracks: Here I Am, Concrete, Wrong Crowd. 
  10. Rihanna, ANTI – While this is definitely not my favourite album of Rihanna’s, I have enjoyed some of the tracks from it. It’s the typical Rihanna mix of catchy dance-pop-RnB. I still have hopes of getting to see her live one day, though she unfortunately overpriced and oversized herself by charging £80+ to see her at Wembley Stadium. My top 3 tracks: Kiss It Better, Yeah I Said It, Love On The Brain. 

What to look out for in 2017? I’m still holding out hope that we’ll get new music from some of my favourite artists, with the likes of Katy Perry, Cheryl and P!nk. There’s plenty of great artists touring too like Little Mix, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd and more. Festival and outdoors concert season is always exciting, and they are great fun if you love music and can make it to one.

2016 has given us some great music, and I’m sure there was many more I missed or could have included but this is merely some of my highlights of what I’ve been listening too. For now, let’s just keep enjoying the music… Also, don’t forget to let me know your thoughts! What have been your top albums of 2016? Who are you hoping to hear music from in 2017?

PS: Stay tuned for the next in the ‘Best Of 2016’ series…