2016 has gotten off to a pretty good start music wise, we don’t know if we could pick our favorite song of the year so far. So instead we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite album releases of the year so far that you simply have to download now!
The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
The Manchester-based alternative rock band The 1975 are back with their highly anticipated second studio album ‘I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It’. For a band who first hit the charts with a fun but inoffensive debut album you wouldn’t expect them to return with an album that tackles real hard life issues such as mental health, religion, addiction, loneliness and fame but that is exactly what they have done. The lead single from the album, ‘Love Me’, which was released way back in October last year is an ironic attack on today’s current selfie culture and the obsession with celebrities. But the album makes a complete U-turn from celebrities and selfies and delves into the question of religion and belief with the track ‘If I Believe You’. The album is also interspersed with three instrumental tracks that really show off the band’s musical abilities. ‘I Like It When You Sleep…’ really is a great second album from The 1975 that truly represents who they are as musicians and the type of music that they wish to make.
Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
Kendrick Lamar is back, with his fourth studio album ‘Untitled Unmastered’. Many fans were surprised at how quickly ‘Untitled Unmastered’ was released after Lamar only released his hugely popular album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ in March last year (there were rumors that the album was that good that Kanye West delayed releasing his new album ‘The Life of Pablo’). The album is eight tracks long, with all tracks unnamed but each tagged with a date. The date could signify when the tracks were written or recorded, or an incident that inspired the song or it could be something completely different. ‘Untitled Unmastered’ has a guest vocal from CeeLo Green and Swizz Beatz has claimed his five-year-old son helped produce the penultimate track. The album is a quiet statement from an artist who is already at the top of his game, allowing his fans to get a deeper feeling for his music, without the need or direction of song titles or album promotion.
Gwen Stefani – This Is What The Truth Feels Like
This is the first solo album in a decade from one of the original, sassy female superstars of the nineties, Gwen Stefani. The No Doubt frontwoman and star of The Voice has been saying in interviews how her third studio album is a breakup record, with songs inspired by her recent divorce from Gavin Rossdale. And looking at Stefani’s track record when it comes to breakup records (No Doubt’s 1995 release ‘Tragic Kingdom’ which detailed her split from the band’s bass player Tony Kanal sold in excess of 16 million copies worldwide) so we obviously had no doubt (geddit?) that her third album would be anything less than awesome. However her album isn’t filled with slow heartache filled ballads like you would expect to find on a heartache album, Stefani instead channels her grief into 12 tracks of amazing studio pop and many of the tracks almost have a sort of ‘I don’t actually care’ vibe to them. Gwen it’s good to have you back.
Baauer – Aa
Remember the Harlem Shake? If not let us refresh your memory… This head-splitting hit produced by Brooklyn-based trap/bass artist Baauer went on to become one of 2013’s biggest memes of the year and absolutely exploded all over the internet. Well, 3 years on (where has the time gone?!) Baauer has produced a 13 track album called Aa (pronounced double a). The album is an eclectic mix of musical genres, and is split perfectly between dance, trap and hip-hop. Aa also has a formidable list of guest artists like M.I.A., Pusha T, Future and Rustie to name but a few who collaborated with Baauer to create some of the album tracks and each artist helps to bring something fresh and exciting to the album. Aa is a great debut album from Baauer that showcases fresh new talent and good music.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – This Unruly Mess I’ve Made
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took the world by storm in 2012 with their extremely catchy debut track Thrift Shop (pretty sure we could still sing it word for word today) and then released their first album ‘The Heist’, which had some amazing songs like ‘Can’t Hold Us’ and ‘Same Love’. But now the hip-hop duo are back with their second studio album ‘This Unruly Mess I’ve Made’. They performed their first single from the album ‘Downtown’ at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards and it went down a treat. The album also has a number of pretty good collaborations on it too, ‘Growing Up’ features Ed Sheeran and the track ‘Dance Off’ even features vocals from actor Idris Elba. Their Grammy winning first album may at first have seemed like a hard act to follow but Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have created something we know the fans will enjoy.
Lion Babe – BEGIN
There has been a quiet buzz over the past few years surrounding this neo-soul duo from New York, however it’s now Lion Babe’s time in the spotlight and their first album ‘Begin’ is refreshing and fun. Lion Babe are all about putting a retro spin on R&B, with killer vocals from Jillian Hervey (daughter of Vanessa Williams) and producer Lucas Goodman (son of Ray Goodman) so you know they’re going to be a musical duo who know how to make some good music. The album has a flavoring of funky R&B tunes with ‘Wonder Woman’ (Pharrell Williams himself helped with this track), to the more nu-soul sound of ‘Jump Hi’ with Childish Gambino, they duo have even shared their musical talents with Disclosure for their track ‘Hourglass’. ‘BEGIN’ is just the start of Lion Babe’s story but we have no doubt that they are going to be on everyone’s summer playlist’s in a few months time.