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CHIRP DJ writesCHIRP Radio’s Top 10 Albums of 2016!

CHIRP Radio Best of 2016

Throughout December, CHIRP Radio presents its volunteers’ top albums of 2016. We now present the final list of the top albums of the year, as decided by our volunteers. It's perhaps fitting that the Album of the Year is the final work from one of Pop music's most influential artists of all time, someone whose passing was met with sadness but also an outporuing of emotion and fellowship that gives one hope for the future.

On behalf of the volunteers of CHIRP Radio, THANK YOU for all of your support, and best wishes for 2017 and beyond...!


#1   Blackstar by David Bowie (Columbia)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

David Bowie BlackstarA brilliant coda to an amazing career. Given Bowie’s shape-shifting career, it’s fitting that his last album is totally different than anything he recorded before and yet unmistakably Bowie. Al Gabor


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#2   HEAVN by Jamila Woods (Closed Sessions)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Jamila Woods HEAVNWoods comes off like a younger cousin of Erykah Badu on this excellent debut full length. The concise songs are spare, but not too spare, and an excellent platform for Woods’ evocative vocals and smart, incisive lyrics. Woods does a great job making statements that never devolve into dogma or standard polemic. There is a warmth to this record that was sorely needed in 2016. --Mike Bennett


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#3   Sorry in the Summer by Impulsive Hearts (Beautiful Strange)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Impulsive Hearts Sorry in the SummerChanneling Dum Dum Girls' most Spector-esque tendencies, Danielle Sines & Co. put together melodies so intuitive and simple that you feel like you've known them for years after a listen or two. Ride cymbals and guitar form a sinfonia of their own as each little bit of pop perfection rises to its climax. One of Chicago's most-promising bands. --Austin B. Harvey



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#4   Puberty 2 by Mitski (Dead Oceans)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Mitski Puberty 2Man. You know, sometimes I don't have much to say about a record. Sometimes, records are just f-ckin' good, and to do anything other than let that f-ckin' goodness radiate out unspoken would only serve to diminish the experience. Puberty 2 is just f-ckin' good. Favorite track: "Dan the Dancer" --Tyler Clark


#5   Psychopomp by Japanese Breakfast (Yellow K)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Japanese Breakfast PsychopompThe paradox of experiencing loss is expressed so poignantly in Michelle Zauner’s debut album as Japanese Breakfast. Everyone who has lived knows the sting of loss, but this is never a consideration in the moment. We tell ourselves that nobody in the world can possibly understand this pain; it’s the loneliest and most insular experience. But, somehow, there can be communion in this solipsism. Zauner achieved it with dream pop worthy of A Sunny Day in Glasgow and the emotional weight of Fleetwood Mac’s best. The melodies here sound eternal, especially when we know that life is not. --Dylan Peterson


#6   We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest (Epic)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

A Tribe Called Quest We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your ServiceWhen my legion of hip-hop followers ask me why I chose MC Cotton Ball as my rap nom de plume, I always say that it’s because Q-Tip was taken. But when Phife Dawg passed away due to complications from diabetes at age 45 in March, I thought we had seen and heard the last of this legendary NYC trio. But they have returned, even featuring Phife’s living and posthumous contributions (and paying proper homage to his memory in live performance). “We got it . . .” features jazzy impressionism with great bounce, and even without the boom of the “low end” one might expect, ATCQ go out on a high note, or at least a devastatingly def one. Tip’s flow is like falling water, spitting rhymes on “ripped from the headlines” themes, and this record made late entry and pushed its way up my list. --Craig Reptile


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#7   Lemonade by Beyoncé (Columbia)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Beyoncé LemonadeShe has been a superstar for so long, and, due to her ubiquity, I had never bothered to check out anything beyond the hits. Watching the HBO longform video of Lemonade made me realize what a mistake I had made not delving more deeply. In a year that brought us the death of David Bowie and Prince, this is the album we needed -- one of the biggest stars in music making a definitive statement. What is striking about this album is how Beyoncé takes any style she feels like to match the thoughts and feelings she is trying to express. Whether it’s chilly modern electro-soul, rock, or Americana, among other styles, she takes it and makes it hers, making her message(s) all the more powerful. --Mike Bennett


#8   Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper (self-released)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Chance the Rapper Coloring BookIf this isn't your answer, you're either lying or playing an unfunny prank. In a year that found many people questioning everything, Chancelor Bennett made time to count his blessings (a new daughter, restored health, a king-making verse on "Ultralight Beam") while calling even more attention to the discord and unrest found in his city and elsewhere. Coloring Book manages to be both reverent to the good things in life and clear-eyed about the work that must to be done to clear up the bad, and it's easily my album of the year. Favorite track: "Angels" --Tyler Clark


#9   Freetown Sound by Blood Orange (Domino)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Blood Orange Freetown Sound


#10   My Woman by Angel Olsen (Jagjaguwar)
BUY: Reckless / Amazon

Angel Olsen My WomanOkay, let's get the obvious one out of the way first. Angel is an angel. This album explores what it means to be a woman in music and the world and your life. If you haven't heard it, I'm not sure how that's even possible. GO LISTEN TO IT. --Amelia Hruby


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Categorized: Best Albums of the Year

Topics: best of 2016

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