Mike Wood - 2016 Top 10 Albums

2016 is drawing to a close, and it's been a tough year for music. We lost a lot of greats, from Bowie to Prince, Emerson, Lake (Not Palmer!), Lemmy, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, the list goes on. But let's not focus on the tragedy. They say when one door closes another opens, so let's see what sounded great this year. I'll dig through some great stuff that I've found through my writing here at The Hook, as well as some stuff that's sure to make any list this year. Let's do it.

I'm bad at picking favorites, so these aren't in any particular order.

1. Ye11low Eleven Big Band - Have You Been Good?

The first article I wrote for The Hook was a review of this album. I still think it's the best original jazz album I've heard all year, and it more than deserves a top spot on my list.

2. Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution

Eclectic rhythms, interesting harmonic work, and of course some badass basslines are all highlights of Esperanza Spalding's 5th solo release.

3. Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book

This album is just plain fun. Awesome hip hop with some great beats, rhythmically interesting, great samples, tons of features.... What's not to like?

4. The Ramparts Rebel - The Ramparts Rebel

Awesome pop punk, with some great lyrics. I'm still listening to this one.

5. Bumpin Uglies - Keep It Together

A kickass up and coming Reggae group from Maryland. Excellent musicians with great feel, and great lyrics.

6. Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love!

This album split Gambino's fan base in two I think. I count myself among the group that thinks it's awesome. My best way of describing it is if Tower of Power, Parliament Funkadelic, Etc, had access to today's music tech. If you're expecting a rap album, you're in for a surprise.

7. Local Natives - Sunlit Youth

This album takes a decidedly more electronic approach than Local Natives' past releases. They manage not to lose their indie pop spirit though.

8. Tomemitsu - Loaf Eye

Tomemitsu has an awesome dream pop sound. He uses his light baritone and minimalist songwriting style to great effect in this release.

9. Richie Taver - Thank You

I don't get around to a lot of electronic music (Not that I don't mean to), but this EP left a serious impression on me. Great songwriting, some really great sounds, just check it out.

10. David Bowie - Blackstar

We were all dumbstruck at the loss of a legend like Bowie, but he left us with a great parting gift. Blackstar is hauntingly awesome. Do yourself a favor and listen to it.

Well that'll about do it. I wish you a happy rest of your year, and a fabulous 2017.