The Music of 2016: What You Need To Know

Is your music library looking bland nowadays? Fear not, because 2016 just began and so many artists are dropping albums on the regular. Some of these albums are lit. Some of these have ludicrous drama around them. Let’s talk about them.

1. Anti

Here’s the thing about Anti, it’s definitely a great album. Rihanna spent a lot of time creating a mood for this album, something she may have lacked with her past albums which reigned due to their overflow of singles. This album is so sonically cohesive, it shows how she has grown a lot in her artistry. My personal fave of the album has to be “Woo,” which is such an intense song. It feels like the aftermath of 2012’s “Stay”. Also you can’t go wrong with having a Drake feature on your album.

HERE’S THE TWIST: Horrible distribution. Of course she debuted it on Jay-Z’s arts and crafts project TIDAL. I get supporting the artists and such, but let’s be real-- the artists are still making bank off Spotify. There’s no need to charge twenty dollars monthly for TIDAL, when it’s only differentiating feature is the Hi-Fi songs (which many listeners say are only noticeable in a few songs). 

Rihanna went into a 2.5 million contract with Samsung to distribute one million free copies for limited-time on TIDAL. Obviously, everyone jumped at the chance to steal from TIDAL, and all Anti copies sold out. This certified Anti as platinum, and Rihanna was off to return listening to Anti in her Dolce & Gabbana headphones. BUT, there’s a twist! The million free copies she gave out didn’t count for the Billboard 200. Anti only sold presumably only 460 copies in it’s opening week. Pretty sure a troop of girl scouts could sell that many boxes of cookies in a week, but giving Rihanna the benefit of the doubt she did release Anti on the Thursday, when the tracking week ends for albums. Despite this stupid distribution, Anti is incredible, so give it a listen if you can find without signing your paycheck away to TIDAL. (Try the 30-day free trial!)

2. Waves

Another big face in the scene with some buzz around his album drop is none other than Kanye West. Waves, formerly known as Swish, will be dropping February 11th, depending on if Kanye doesn’t try to do something dumb like release it on Mars, and for just a $34M rocket ticket you could be one of the first to exclusively listen to it! Seriously though, Waves is coming a long way from pink polos and backpacks. This could potentially be a great album if Kanye stops basing every verse off how to include a Kardashian reference.

But, we really need to get Kanye in touch with the times. The Wiz twitter beef was brutal to read. I get that he’s a dad now, but does that really mean now everything he posts on social media, he’s not gonna understand the reference? On the other hand, he kind of reminds me of a 17 year old girl trying to subtweet all her ex’s just to a good amount of retweets. Is he middle-aged or teenaged? Who knows-- this is a mess. And if it’s not a mess, no doubt it’s strategically planned promotion, with Amber Rose and Kim K instagramming selfies days later to symbolize some weird peace treaty thing.

Either way, I wish Kanye would just promote albums the way he used to: by making them say they would quit writing music if Kanye beats them (@50 Cent). Doesn’t everyone miss the 2000’s era beef? It was so fun, and exploited by TRL (#bringbackTRL). 2007 was such a simpler time.


3. I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It

Changing the tides a little, another highly anticipated album is dropping February 26th: I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. Remember when Fall Out Boy made all their song titles on From Under the Cork Tree as long as that? Sadly, it’s not 2005 and we all now know Pete Wentz is NOT the lead singer of Fall Out Boy, but that long album title actually belongs to The 1975. If you live under a rock, The 1975 released their debut album The 1975 (much easier to type out) in 2013, and became the poster child band for alternative kids on Tumblr. Then late 2014, they decided they hated being that, had a mid-life crisis and changed their whole image. Here’s a timeline:

Seriously though, while black and white era 1975 was great, baby pink 1975 is gonna be legendary. Along with the band’s aesthetic, they have changed their sound too. Leaning a bit more towards new wave, the singles they have released so far (“Love Me”, “Ugh!”, and “The Sound”) are all amazing. The whole vibe of the album is a lot more fun and real, and you can tell they are enjoying not having to fit the alt-kid image anymore, and doing what they want -- both sonically and aesthetically. Also, look how fun the music videos are now:

That’s the wrap up for the beginning of 2016’s big albums. If you’re looking for something a little less mainstream, some suggestions would be some early February releases: Foxes All I Need and/or Majid Jordan’s self titled Majid Jordan. Like Rihanna, he also has a Drake feature, but this time you can listen on Spotify for free. Who will you being listening too, Collegiettes?

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