Sunday, January 22, 2017

Top 50 Albums of 2016

2016 certainly was one of the roughest years I have seen in my lifetime when you take all aspects into account. On the musical frontier, the year lacked entries from the majority of my favorite big name artists, but gave me a chance to dive into some smaller name and newer artists, such as Grace and Emeli Sande. There were also several legendary comebacks like Gwen Stefani and JoJo. When I began narrowing down this list, I picked all the albums I enjoyed from the year and then cut it down. There were so many decent albums this year that I had to expand my top 35 album chart to a 50 album chart. 

How the Ranking Was Determined:
1. The number of tracks I felt were good songs were divided by the total number of tracks on the album to determine a percentage. The percentage was then multiplied by 10 to create a point value.
2. The number of plays each album had (as registered on my account) were translated into 1 point for each play.
3. The points were added together to reach a total that determined their ranking.

Without further ado, I give you the top 50 albums of 2016!

50. Yellowcard – Yellowcard
Serving up the most solid album since Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard returns to remind us how awesome Yellowcard really is. They definitely know how to tug on the heartstrings.
Tracks: 6/10 – 60% - 600 points
Plays: 76 points
Total: 676 points
Keepers: Empty Street, Leave a Light On, Field & Fences, Rest in Peace, A Place We Set Afire, The Hurt is Gone
Duds: What Appears, Got Yours, I’m a Wrecking Ball, Savior’s Robes

49. Fantasia – The Definition of…
Fantasia has always been hit or miss for me, but she really served it up in 2016. I did not listen to this album on repeat, but it also did not fade out immediately. I still rock out to Crazy every time it comes on shuffle on my iPod.
Tracks: 7/11 – 64% - 640 points
Plays: 47 points
Total: 687 points
Keepers: Crazy, Wait For You, Roller Coasters (feat. Aloe Blacc), No Time For It, Stay Up, Ugly, I Made It
Duds: So Blue, When I Met You, Sleeping with the One I Love, Lonely Legend

48. Keith Urban - Ripcord
Receiving a nod for Best Country Album at the upcoming Grammy Awards, Keith undoubtedly let it rip with Ripcord. Infused with layers of pop and the surprising appearance of Pitbull, the album is definitely one of the most crossover country albums of the century, at least since LeAnn Rimes' Twisted Angel is 2002. 
Tracks: 7/13 – 54% - 540 points
Plays: 149 points
Total: 689 points
Keepers: John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16, Wasted Time, The Fighter (feat. Carrie Underwood), Break on Me, Gone Tomorrow (Here Today), Sun Don’t Let Me Down, That Could Still Be Us
Duds: Habit of You, Gettin’ in the Way, Blue Ain’t Your Color, Boy Gets a Truck, Your Body, Worry ‘Bout Nothin’

47. Adore Delano - After Party
 Formerly an American Idol contestant, this RuPaul's Drag Race all star blasted onto the music scene in March with some of the best music ever recorded by a drag queen. She even beats out RuPaul's Butch Queen and Alaska's Poundcake (sorry, spoiler alert) to be the only Drag Race diva among the top 50.
Tracks: 8/13 – 62% - 620 points
Plays: 115 points
Total: 735 points
Keepers: Dynamite, After Party, I Can’t Love You, I.C.U., Take Me There, I Really Like It, Save Your Breath, Constellations
Duds: Better than the Movies, Bold as Love, 4AM, Foreign Lover, Out of the Blue

 46. Meghan Trainor - Thank You
I was incredibly hyped for her second album after loving Title. It turns out that Meghan would churn out the biggest let down of 2016. Her charm was lackluster and nothing seemed original. Perhaps she will not stand the test of time.
Tracks: 10/18 – 56% - 560 points
Plays: 180 points
Total: 740 points
Keepers: Me Too, NO, Watch Me Do, I Love Me (feat. LunchMoney Lewis), Hopeless Romantic, Better (feat. Yo Gotti), Kindly Calm Me Down, Dance Like Yo Daddy, Good to Be Alive, Woman Up
Duds: Goosebumps, Thank You (feat. R City), Just a Friend to You, Champagne Problems, I Won’t Let you Down, Mom (feat. Kelli Trainor), Throwback Love, Friends

 45. Simple Plan - Taking One for the Team
In the beginning of the year, when the musical drought usually exists, I was so excited to see a Simple Plan release on the agenda. It's safe to say they deliver some solid jams like Boom! and I Refuse. This was easily their best release since Still Not Gettin' Any...
Tracks: 9/14 – 64% - 640 points
Plays: 103 points
Total: 743 points
Keepers: Boom!, I Don’t Want to Go to Bed (feat. Nelly), I Don’t Want to Be Sad, I Refuse, Opinion Overload, Farewell (feat. Jordan Pundik), Everything Sucks, Perfectly Perfect, Problem Child
Duds: Kiss Me Like Nobody’s Watching, Singing in the Rain (feat. R. City), Nostalgic, PS I Hate You, I Dream About You

44. American Authors - What We Live For
Sure, everyone knows the super-catchy, always-playing-in American-Eagle Best Day of My Life, but this album is where the real gold is. I spent so much time this summer driving down the highway with the windows down blasting the title track. I remember the night of its release, I was laying in bed in Missouri waiting to fly home in the morning after a great stay and letting Right Here Right Now hit my soul. This was an awesome album for this little known band.
Tracks: 7/12 – 58% - 580 points
Plays: 188 points
Total: 768 points
Keepers: What We Live For, I’m Born to Run, Pride, Right Here Right Now, Go Big or Go Home, No Love, Pocket Full of Gold
Duds: Nothing Better, Replaced, Mess With Your Heart, Superman, Mind Body Soul

 43. Melanie C - Version of Me
Long removed from her days in the Spice Girls, Melanie C still continues to try and deliver quality music. Her solo career has been rocky with a lot of hit and miss material, but this album definitely delivered. Make sure to check out Anymore.
Tracks: 8/11 – 73% - 730 points
Plays: 50 points
Total: 780 points
Keepers: Dear Life, Anymore, Escalator, Version of Me, Numb, Room for Love, Our History, Blame
Duds: Something for the Fire, Unravelling, Loving You Better
 42. OneRepublic - Oh My My
Initially judging by my love for the first two tracks released from this album (Kids & Wherever I Go), I expected this album to deliver and end  up in the top 10. It did not live up to my expectations, but it did not entirely fall flat either.
Tracks: 11/18 – 61% - 610 points
Plays: 182 points
Total: 792 points
Keepers: Kids, Dream, Better, Wherever I Go, Future Looks God, NbHD, Let’s Hurt Tonight, Oh My My, Choke, Human, Lift Me Up
Duds: A.I. (feat. Peter Gabriel), Born, Fingertips, All These Things, Colors, Heaven, The Less I Know

 41. Kane Brown - Kane Brown
Newer to the country scene, Kane released his debut LP in December and it was much better than I had anticipated. I love the way he mixes styles and the messages he sends in tracks like Learning. If you do not know who he is, this is an artist to check out.
Tracks: 8/11 – 73% - 730 points
Plays: 67 points
Total: 797 points
Keepers: Learning, Hometown, Thunder in the Rain, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now, Granddaddy’s Chair, What Ifs, Pull It Off, Rockstars
Duds: Better Place, Cold Spot, Comeback

40. Britt Nicole - Britt Nicole
Britt Nicole goes fully pop this year and delivers some solid hits. Sure, there are a few cringe-worthy tracks, but there's also a handful of songs you do not want to miss.
Tracks: 10/14 – 71% - 710 points
Plays: 91 points
Total: 801 points
Keepers: Through Your Eyes, Be the Change, Pave, No Filter, Concrete, Heart of Stone, Electric Love, Better, Work of Art, After You
Duds: All the Money, All Day, Girls Night Out, Fallin in Love

 39. Little Mix - Glory Days
Little Mix is that girl group you always hate to admit that you are enjoying, but deep down has become one of those guilty pleasures. They seem to improve with every album and deliver some fun music. I cannot count the number of times I've flown down the freeway breaking it down to Beep Beep in 2016 and it just is not stopping!
Tracks:  10/14 – 71% - 710 points
Plays: 93 points
Total: 803 points
Keepers: Shout Out to My Ex, Down & Dirty, Power, Beep Beep, Freak, Touch, Oops (feat. Charlie Puth), No More Sad Songs, Private Show, Nothing Else Matter
Duds: You Gotta Not, Your Love, F.U., Nobody Like You

38. blink-182 - California
What a comeback! I have never been a huge Blink fan, but they truly delivered. I was reliving my teenage years and connecting with Blink in the same way I always had when I found tracks I liked. Good grief, is it 2003 again? I'm loving it.
Tracks: 9/14 – 64% - 640 points
Plays: 165 points
Total: 805 points
Keepers: Los Angeles, Sober, Left Alone, Rabbit Hole, San Diego, Cynical, Bored to Death, Teenage Satellites, California
Duds: She’s Out of Her Mind, No Future, Home Is Such a Lonely Place Without You, Kings of the Weekend, the Only Thing That Matters

37. Passenger - Young as Morning, Old as the Sea
 Short of Let It Go, I did not have a single Passenger song in my iTunes library before this album. This album was one of my favorite releases by a minor artist this  year. Home speaks to me so spiritually. "Sometimes when I'm sick of it all, it helps to remember I'm a brick in the wall."

Tracks: 7/10 – 70% - 700 points
Plays: 105 points
Total: 805 points
Keepers: Home, Anywhere, When We Were Young, Young as the Morning Old as the Sea, If You Go, Fool’s Gold, The Long Road
Duds: Everything, Somebody’s Love, Beautiful Birds (feat. Birdy)
36. Redfoo - Party Rock Mansion
Over the years, I had grown tired of  LMFAO, so I wasn't super pumped to see Redfoo releasing a solo album...until I heard Booty Man and New Thang. Then, I was like okay, I can work with this. When the album dropped, some of the tracks were as stupid as expected, but there were some gems. Maybe is a serious, standout track. 
                          Tracks: 9/13 - 69% - 690 points                                 
Plays: 121 points
Total: 811 points
Keepers: New Thang, Juicy Wiggle, Booty Man, Where the Sun Goes (feat. Stevie Wonder), Party Train, Beach Cruisin’, Maybe, Keep Shining
Duds: Good Things Happen When Ya Drunk, Lights Out, So Lit, Too Much, Meet You at Tomorrow

 35. Gavin DeGraw -  Something Worth Saving
Much like Passenger, I had never paid Gavin much mind past the singles that were on the radio, but I am sure glad I did this year. Something Worth Saving is definitely something worth checking out. It was such a perfect album in the early fall that you could vibe to on car rides through the country side.
Tracks: 7/10 – 70% - 700 points
Plays: 119 points
Total: 819 points
Keepers: She Sets the City on Fire, You Make My Heart Sing Louder, Kite Like Girl, Harder to Believe, Say I Am, Annalee, Something Worth Saving
Duds: Making Love With the Radio On, How Lucky Can a Man Get, New Love

 34. Kenny Chesney - Cosmic Hallelujah
If you feature P!nk on a song, you'll automatically grab my attention. If you feature her on a country song, you're really going to get my attention. Kenny delivers a pretty solid album, but, short of the P!nk assist, it's the same old same for it.
Tracks: 8/11 – 73% - 730 points
Plays: 97 points
Total: 827 points
Keepers: Setting the World on Fire (feat. P!nk), Noise, Coach, Bucket, Bar at the End of the World, Winnebago, Trip Around the Sun, All the Pretty Girls
Duds: Some Town Somewhere, Rich and Miserable, Jesus & Elvis

 33. Shawn Mendes - Illuminate
Shawn's sophomore LP was a drastic improvement over Handwritten, but still had a handful of songs I just couldn't get into. Understand is a clear standout and the singles are exceptional too.
Tracks: 10/14 – 71% - 710 points
Plays: 131 points
Total: 841 points
Keepers: Treat You Better, Mercy, Ruin, Three Empty Words, Honest, Patience, Bad Reputation, Understand, Hold On, Roses
Duds: Like This, Don’t Be a Fool, No Promises, Lights On

32. Delta Goodrem - Wings of the Wild
Cancer survivors always seem to generate incredibly inspiring and empowering music, like Anastacia's 2014 release Resurrection. Delta's 2016 release does not stray from the course. Wings of the Wild is completely inspiring, notably on the tracks Wings, Dear Life, and Feline.
Tracks: 10/13 – 77% - 770 points
Plays: 80 points
Total: 850 points
Keepers: Feline, Dear Life, I’m Not Giving Up, Just Call, In the Name of Love, Enough (feat. Gizzle), Heavy, The River, Encore, Hold On
Duds: Wings, Only Human, I Believe in a Thing Called Love
31. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - This Unruly Mess I've Made
Coming back strong after a hiatus following The Heist, Macklemore took off into the woods to reconnect with himself and make music that was true to who he was and what he stood for. I was enamored from the 2 minute trailer preceding the album. He tackles some hard issues such as white privilege, raising a child, and alcoholism. The lead single, Downtown, is totally off the wall, but entirely enjoyable. The 7+ minute White Privilege II is chilling and mind-opening. The Shades hit home through the recent struggles in my life. "I got kicked off the ladder I was finally giving praise from, a chance to decide how we react when God decides to break us, when we pick the pieces up, then it's time to make something." Definitely check this album out. I'm honestly shocked the points were not higher on this.
Tracks: 10/15 – 67% - 670 points
Plays: 189 points
Total: 859 points
Keepers: Light Tunnels (feat. Mike Slap), Downtown (feat. Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee & Grandmaster Caz), Growing Up (feat. Ed Sheeran), Kevin (feat. Leon Bridges), St. Ides, Dance Off (feat. Idris Elba & Anderson.Paak), Let’s Eat (feat. XP), White Privilege II (feat. Jamilia Woods), The Shades, Spoons (feat. Ryan Bedrad)
Duds: Buckshot (feat. KRS-One & DJ Premier), Brad Pitt’s Cousin (feat. XP), Need to Know (feat. Chance the Rapper), Bolo Tie (feat. YG), The Train (feat. Carla Morrison)

 30. Carly Rae Jepsen - E-MO-TION (Side B)
Carly Rae continues to try and churn a hit out of the remarkable E-MO-TION album by adding a Side B - EP. Despite continuously quality material, she keeps striking out. I debated heavily on whether to include an EP in the chart or not, but she's not getting any commercial recognition, so I figured this was the least I could do.
Tracks: 6/8 – 75% - 750 points
Plays: 120 points
Total: 870 points
Keepers: Cry, Roses, First Time, Fever, Higher, The One
Duds: Store, Body Language

29. Tove Lo – Lady Wood
Tove Lo has always pushed the envelope with her musical content, including her breakthrough single Habits (Stay High), but she moves in a new direction with the ever-so-obvious album titled Lady Wood. The club hits are inevitable, but I felt the material was a bit lackluster.
Tracks: 8/10 – 80% - 800 points
Plays: 86 points
Total: 886 points
Keepers: Cool Girl, Influence (feat. Wiz Khalifa), Lady Wood, True Disaster, Don’t Talk About It, Imaginary Friend, Flashes, WTF Love Is
Duds: Vibes (feat. Joe Janiak), Keep It Simple

28. Fifth Harmony - 7/27
Prior to losing Camilla, Fifth Harmony dropped their last release featuring all five of the original girls. I did not expect much, as their first album did nothing for me. Upon its release, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the music and how much fun it was. Guilty pleasure 2016.
Tracks: 9/12 – 75% - 750 points
Plays: 144 points
Total: 894 points
Keepers: That’s My Girl, Work from Home (feat. Ty Dolla $ign), The Life, Gonna Get Better, Scared of Happy, Not That Kinda Girl (feat. Missy Elliott), All in My Head (feat. Fetty Wap), Write On Me, No Way
Duds: Dope, I Lied, Squeeze

 27. Charlie Puth - Nine Track Mind
Charlie was another newer artist that I expected little from, but he completely exceeded my expectations. Initially, I only listened to it a little, but, as the year went on, I began listening to it more and more. It's definitely worth checking out. If it had not been for the garbage added as tracks in the deluxe edition, this probably could have been in the top 20.
Tracks: 11/15 – 73%- 730 points
Plays: 166 points
Total: 896 points
Keepers: One Call Away, Dangerously, We Don’t Talk Anymore (feat. Selena Gomez), My Gospel, Up All Night, Left Right Left, Then There’s You, Suffer, As You Are (feat Shy Carter), Some Type of Love, Losing My Mind
Duds: Marvin Gaye (feat. Meghan Trainor), River, Does It Feel, Nothing But Trouble (Instagram Models)

26. Lil Debbie - Debbie
When a California white girl drops into the rap scene making campy music, it gets extremely hard to take her serious. I laughed at the gimmicks when listening to her EPs....but Debbie came hard with her debut LP! My clear-cut favorite has to be I'm On.
Tracks: 10/13 – 77% - 770 points
Plays: 136 points
Total: 906 points
Keepers: Can’t Sit With Us, I’m On, Damn, Cake Up, My Level, Queen, Run It, Turn Em Out, F That, Run It, Feel Good
Duds: Okay, Whoop (feat. Starrah), Tell Me (feat. Njomza)

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