It’s been a tough year for our music idols. Bowie. Prince. Phife. Cohen. Frey. Maurice White. Sharon Jones. (Edited to now include George Michael…sigh.) An ailing Downie. It’s been goddamn rough. The beautiful thing here though, if you want to see it, is that it makes you appreciate their music even more. You probably cranked it a little higher, sang it a little louder, felt it a little deeper. And there’s been no shortage of amazing new music to fill the void. Maybe their glaring absence has upped the game, I dunno, but damn it was hard to narrow down my choices for this year’s #guelphmusicclub. Presented with absolute bias, settle in for my top nine of 2016 edition. Enjoy.
We got it from here…Thank you 4 your service, A Tribe Called Quest
When Phife died in March, I cried. Usually, I feel a little abstract heartbreak and sadness when my beloved idols die, but can’t ever recall being moved to tears before. Yes, he and I chatted regularly on social media, so I felt more connected to him than most, but I think the tears showed just how much love I have for him and ATCQ – they’ve been with me a long time. Never did I imagine a new Tribe album was coming to ease the pain. This is MANDATORY listening if you’re a hip hop head, no question – if you know, you already know. So good to hear the entire group together again, especially Phife. Oh Phife. Rest in beats. my friend, we all miss you. Thank YOU for your service.
untitled unmastered, Kendrick Lamar
From a peasant to a prince to a motherfucking King. Oh my gaaaaaawd I love this guy. Yes he made it on last year’s list too. I told you to keep your eye on him – so did you?! Smart, thought-provoking, passionate…I NEED to see him live soon. Ooof. Cornrow Kenny is pure fire.
Doing a complete 180 from my first two selects, we have a kick-ass trio of ladies who strangely – gloriously – complement the hell out of each other: Neko Case (insert googly heart eyes, I HEART HER SO HARD), k.d. Lang, Laura Viers. On their own, each packs a serious punch, but together, well, SUPERGROUP INDEED, LADIES. So glad I snagged tickets to their last sold-out show of the tour. I still have goosebumps.
Anything But Words, Banks & Steelz
RZA, love. Paul Banks, also love. Together…do the math.
Blackstar, David Bowie
I still find it hard to listen to this album without sadness in my heart. One of the greats of this or any generation. He owed us nothing and gave us everything. The world is a better place for him having been in it. ❤️
and the Anonymous Nobody, De La Soul
Cue the happy music! These guys have always been and continue to be a ton of fun to listen to. They’re hip hop, but they blur the lines brilliantly like few can, and it’s great. Exhibit A: Snoopies, featuring Talking Heads’ David Byrne. YASSSSSS.
Malibu, Anderson .Paak
I only discovered Anderson on Dre’s last album, so I think I have some backtracking to do on his work, but this album, and this song in particular, makes me dance my ass off, and well isn’t that just the damn point of it all?
A Seat at the Table, Solange
Sweet and soulful, fury and fuck you – I don’t know how else to describe this album. Even when it’s angry it soothes you. I love that.
I started with Tribe and I’ll end with it too. Phife’s solo efforts were cut short with his passing but before he left, he summed up his life in – you guessed it – a nutshell. xo
So much music to love, I couldn’t include it all, which to me is a great problem to have. Charles Bradley, The Strokes, my beloved NIN even snuck in at the end of the year with an EP…I’m just starting to get into Frank Ocean and the hype is for real. Unffff…2016 gave as much as it took. Keep loving, keep listening, keep on keeping on. Here’s to an equally funky 2017.