For additional information about bands formed, reformed, disbanded, or on hiatus, for deaths of musicians, and for links to musical awards, see in music. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia list article. Back to contents.
Lemonade – Beyoncé
Proof that intellectual, sophisticated pop does exist: Christine and the Queens gathered a fiercely loyal fanbase over what feels like a very short space of time, thanks to her frank discussion of gender identity, catchy tunes and superb live performances. This is an incredible debut from an artist who is clearly only just getting started. On the title track featuring Stevie Wonder, there's a gorgeous piano intro before it drops into Common's flawless flow that runs over jazz textures and frenetic drum patterns. On his 69th birthday, David Bowie released what our critic said was "the most extreme album of his career - as far as he'd strayed from pop". Blackstar was a swansong from a man who was all-too aware of his own mortality — this felt like Bowie's gift to the world — and we needed it. There's the sense here that he fully embraces his legendary status — producing classic laments from a soul that wouldn't rest until it was sure it had done enough to be remembered forever. Ignoring the considerable, borderline ridiculous amount of hype over Kaytranada is difficult, but he definitely deserves to be on this list.
It's been a year of event albums, surprise releases, commercial blockbusters and critical favorites -- the kind of records that dominated the public conversation as much as prestige HBO dramas, long-awaited film sequels and presidential debates. OK, maybe not the last one, but certainly the first two. Format-expanding multi-media releases from standard-setting superstars, tweet-stretching titles from reunited hip-hop greats and ascendant British nu-wavers alike, and closing statements from all-time artistic legends: the last twelve months had it all. While the viral success of the Gucci Mane-featuring "Black Beatles" has dominated the latter part of Rae Sremmurd's year, the duo's first-ever No.
Powerful and unique personalities like David Bowie and Leonard Cohen had the powerful and unique ability to say goodbye with album-length farewells. Anohni sang about the environmental apocalypse over a dance beat. But of course there was also no shortage of messy pop stars, indie rock diarists and proudly indulgent rappers happy to simply let their pens and personalities explode. Here's the year's best. It's remarkable to think that noise-rappers Death Grips once seemed as unstable as radioactivity: battling record labels, canceling shows and presumptively announcing their breakup via napkin in Two years later, the Sacramento trio has evolved into a dependably provocative unit that operates at the nexus of punk rock, live electronics and barking energy raps. Then there's MC Stefan Burnett, an animated and muscular presence who splits the difference between DMX and Henry Rollins, and whose vocal performance goes beyond mere war chants.