Choice Albums of 2016: Pop/R&B

Some of the year’s great albums, broken down by genre

Pop music has been the most exciting to follow this year, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Record labels were dying for you to listen to every one of their exclusive releases via their partner streaming service, trying to push albums as events like CDs were hot again. (One can wish.) Though this trend burned me out by the second half of the year, it meant conversation was happening more than ever. And the topics on my feed broadened as I got to meet more people. Country felt more mainstream as it had been always told it was. R&B acts that got neglected by big media were made sure not to be left aside. And some of the prominent names outside of the Anglo countries deservedly became hot topics. This list is the biggest out of my genre breakdowns, though at a more micro look, I admit I’ve only done a surface job. But I only hope it will only get more inclusive and, hence, bigger as the year goes by.

Here’s the list of pop albums — including country, R&B and others — I enjoyed this year. Though understandably scarce, Bandcamp links are available for some of these albums for your streaming pleasure.

The 1975 — I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It (Dirty Hit)
Abra — Princess EP (True Panther)
Adrian Younge — Something About April II (Linear Labs)
Alex Anwandter — Amiga (Nacional)
Babymetal — Metal Resistance (BMD Fox/Toy’s Factory)
Bat for Lashes — The Bride (Parlophone)
Beyonce — Lemonade (Parkwood)
Blood Orange — Freetown Sound (Domino)

Carly Rae Jepsen — Emotion Side B (Schoolboy/Interscope)
Chairlift — Moth (Columbia)
D.R.A.M. — Big Baby D.R.A.M. (Atlantic/Empire)
Dawn Richard — Redemption (Our Dawn/Local Action)
Dragonette — Royal Blue (Dragonette Inc.)
Fifth Harmony — 7/27 (Epic)
Frank Ocean — Blonde (no label)

GEM — Girls Entertainment Mixture(Idol Street)
Jamila Woods — HEAVN (Closed Sessions)
Kero Kero Bonito — Bonito Generation (Double Denim)
KING —We Are KING (King Creative)
Kristin Kontrol — X-Communicate (Sub Pop)
Maren Morris — Hero (Columbia Nashville)
Miranda Lambert — The Weight of These Wings (RCA Nashville)

NAO — For All We Know (RCA)
Negicco — Tea for Three (T-Palette)
Niki and the Dove — Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now
Perfume — Cosmic Explorer (Universal Music Japan)
Red Velvet — Russian Roulette EP (SM Entertainment)
Rihanna — Anti

School of Seven Bells — SVIIB (Vagrant)
Shura — Nothing’s Real (Polydor)
Solange — A Seat at the Table (Saint/Columbia)
Taeyeon — Why EP (SM Entertainment)
Tegan and Sara — Love You to Death (Warner Bros.)

Tiffany — I Just Wanna Dance EP (SM Entertainment)
Tove Lo — Lady Wood (Island)
Twice — Page Two/TWICEcoaster: Lane 1 EPs (JYP Entertainment)
Utada Hikaru — Fantome
Ward Thomas — Cartwheels (Sony/WCW)

Thanks for playing: Britney Spears, Cheeky Parade, Tinashe, J Balvin, Foxes, Little Mix, Lucinda Williams, Charli XCX, Margo Price, Emmy the Great, K Michelle, Maxwell, Alicia Keys, Ayumi Hamasaki, Nite Jewel, Helado Negro, Ariana Grande, Brandy Clark, Luna, Scandal, FAMM’IN, Sistar, AOA, Fei, Corinne Bailey Rae, M.I.A., Norah Jones, Lady Gaga

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