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Staff Picks: Zo’s 16 Best Albums of 2016

Staff Picks: Zo’s 16 Best Albums of 2016

Staff Picks: Zo's 16 Best Albums of 2016

7. David Bowie –

No one could have imagined that Bowie’s exit could be as theatrical as his entire existence. , released the day before his death, is a stout and shockingly self-aware album that leans heavy on jazz fusions and freakouts. It’s not an easy listen, even for those well-versed in Bowie-isms and jazz’s stranger applications. But it’s a fitting (and final) note from one of music’s most brilliantly eccentric minds living out his last days on record, sharing those fleeting moments with us all as he heads to the horizon.

8. Kaytranada – 99.9%

Said it before and I’ll say it a thousand times more: Kaytranada is what happens when a devout Dilla and Madlib disciple applies his teachings to four-to-the-floor house. The result is a universal groove that hits as hard as his kick drops. 99.9% is the crystallization of this; a record that builds its own party wherever the hell you hear it. Where jazz heads like Karriem Riggins and new school soul stars like Syd can all get some. If Kaytranada was once king of the cloud, with his debut album, he’s earned a title even more regal. But we’ll have to stop dancing to “LITE SPOTS” before we can determine precisely what that is. So yeah, it could be a while.

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9. Bon Iver – 22, A Million

Always found it odd when people claimed Justin Vernon, principle creative force behind Bon Iver, was making his Kanye album. Vernon’s vocal experiments are front and center on just about every record he’s touched since 2008. Though prior albums were on some weird and wild folk shit that basically flew over my head, when I heard Kanye’s chorus of auto-tune wrap around “Lost In The Woods,” it wasn’t a far leap to assume that Vernon’s glow had been felt, and was already making a lasting impression. On his latest, 22, A Million, Vernon bursts through the folk fold with stunning explorations of purple and paisley pop, his “Messina” vocal effect humanizing charged choirs, buzzing and growling over and under devastatingly beautiful ballads. 

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