Felten Faves - Albums of the Year 2016
An in-depth review of Hans’ 10 favorite albums of 2016
A Quick Word
With as tumultuous as 2016 was, there was one constant, one thing that didn’t let down or disappoint - numerous fantastically crafted records. New music discovery has never been easier and more ‘in your face’ than it is now with dozens of streaming services available. My goal is to further my musical recommendations that I’ve done in the form of monthly playlists these past 10 months into a list of my favorite albums of the year. The opinions expressed are mine, as are the decisions - all albums were chosen on my merit and sonic impression, not those of other music publications whose goals align with propping up some of the larger names in music to boost ratings and clicks.
Don’t get me wrong - there are many albums that deserve credit by big time artists - Bieber, Frank Ocean, Kanye, The Weeknd, etc. Music is an internal experience that you share with yourself and the artist - at least initially - and when we start including some of these names on major publications lists due more so in part to the artists name and aura than the sound on said album, we do a disservice to music fans as a whole.
Before we delve in, a couple final words. This list is not a countdown from 10 - 1, or 1- 10, it is my 10 favorite albums of 2016, not ranked, just written as the mind led me. I spent nearly a month piling through my favorites of 2016, and this was not easy. Several albums were left off the list, which need their honorable mention. Frank Ocean’s Blonde, and Beyonce’s Lemonade. Frank’s album, after all the false rumors on release dates, released a wonderful album - but didn’t absolutely blow me away like Chanel Orange did in 2012. The honesty and sheer brilliance of that record is going to always be hard to follow up. It shall not go without saying that not only did Frank give us ‘Blonde’, but we also got ‘Endless’ - the 40 plus minute video that he put out the day before the record dropped. Beyonce was not included for one reason - exclusivity - and this to me for some odd reason rubbed me the wrong way - I mean even Kanye backed out of the Tidal-Exclusive ‘Pablo’ and put it out on all the major platforms. Beyonce released a deep, true, challenging album that is needed in today’s social climate. Others worth the mention; Kings of Leon’s ‘Walls’, Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’, 6LACK’s ‘FREE 6LACK’, and J Cole’s ‘4 Your Eyez Only’.
From the first chord, bar, falsetto tremble, to the final rhyme, drum, and crooning lyric, these 10 albums stood above the rest in 2016. Enjoy.
Bon Iver — 22, A Million
9/30/16 — Alternative
Starting off with a no-brainer, Bon Iver’s ’22, A Million’ is an album that will leave a massive impression on all who listen. Eau Claire’s own Justin Vernon pushes the boundaries of what we have come to know as a traditional song progression, vocals, and how one means for an album to be taken in. He has always been one to make what he wants, how he wants to when it comes to releasing his work. See anything he has done from his debut album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’, to his work as part of the group Volcano Choir. ’22, A Million’ is no different.
My favorite songs from the album are ’22(OVER SooN)’, and ’33 “GOD”’. ’22’ is the opening track, and begins with the wonderful voice of Justin asking the question, “Where you gonna look for confirmation?”, and “It might be over soon”. The first verse of this song leaves you contemplating the lyrics long into the wonderful trumpet section bridging the verses. I mean with lines like this, you could stare into a fireplace all day and just daydream; “There I find you marked in constellations/There isn’t ceiling in our garden/And then I draw an ear on you/So I can speak to you in silence”. It is a masterful intro, giving you a glimpse into what the rest of the album holds. ’33’ has two very different halves. First, we get some classic, dreamy, very self-interpretative lyrics over a piano, and it is beautiful. As we progress, it harshly and decidedly gets grungier with a gravelly synth paired with different drums which causes an immediate change in attitude and holds much more urgent lyrics.
This record was one that was incredible as a stand alone effort, but when you toss in the alternative methods for taking it in, it really just takes it to another level. The vinyl version in particular included one of the most interactive lyric books that I’ve seen. It featured only the stock cream color and black ink - and when you pair the lyric book to the album on vinyl, it changed everything I thought I knew/enjoyed about this album. It brought emotions to the forefront in songs that you may not have noticed your first time or two through. If you are into the vinyl thing, go buy it, grab a beer, and sit in a dimly lit room with the lyric book in front of you and let yourself sink into the music.
Young the Giant — Home of the Strange
8/12/16 — Alternative/Indie Rock
Young the Giant co-headlined a festival in Portland this past summer with the Dandy Warhols, AWOLNATION, and KONGOS, and these guys from Irving California blew everyone else out of the water. I had heard just a couple singles they had released prior to the festival in June, and did not anticipate enjoying this show more than anyone else that weekend, but as said earlier, the internal experience I had while at that show on that hot, sunny day is one that will never leave me. They are an alt-rock/indie rock group, with songs that hit deep, an incredible lead singer, and a sound which is very unique in a world of oversaturated indie music.
Songs like ‘Amerika’, ‘Silvertongue’, ‘Mr. Know-It-All’ really prove this point - the lead single from the album ‘Something to Believe in’ is also fantastic. Amerika, the opening track, sets the tone for the entire album as it slowly reels you in with the light bells, soothing vocals, and then the drums kick and you’re zoned in. The chorus rings out a line of desperation; “Are you mad because I don’t know what you used me for?” - and describes his disinterest in this person; “Always talking about one day/In America/Same old story oh/you are so porcelain”. Starting off with a sick guitar riff and chorus of yelling voices set the tone for one of the most fun, loud, energetic songs of 2016, ‘Silvertongue’. You’ll find yourself head bobbing in no time. The writer pleads; “Oh, I’m addicted to madness, but what can I say?/I’m addicted to badness, but what can I do?/I got my silver tongue”. ‘Mr. Know-It-All’ shows off the writing skills of the band in a possibly all too true story for some of you out there of a person trying to seem cool for his peers, when in reality that only leaves him feeling more hollow and fake than just being himself. “Jack from school/He listened to Bowie/People thought he was cool/He used to live for the feel/Skating around up in the Hollywood Hills/But no one knows/He’s talking it up/that it’s all for show/he’s boring as f***” - need the writer be more descriptive?
Jack Garratt — Phase
2/19/16 — Electronic/Alternative-R&B
To those who know me, regardless if you know my last name or if you know where I went to hang out in high school, this pick will come as no surprise. Jack Garratt was brought to my attention at a point in my life when I didn’t think I needed a new all-time favorite musician - similar to how married folk tend to say they were not looking to get married when they started seeing each other. Summer of 2015 was a fantastic time for me, and the addition of this man’s falsetto voice, electro-pop synths, and movie-like production schemes just got stuck in my brain - in the best possible way. This album includes 3 songs from his initial, breakout EP (Worry, The Love You’re Given, and Chemical), and if you wisely ordered the deluxe version, you got every single song he has released in a studio version up to that point in time.
Jack Garratt has one of the best live shows that you will ever see. Imagine your favorite band, and then subtract everyone except the lead vocalist to perform their discography, all instruments included. He performs with no fluffy set design, no backup singers/band members, and a minimal light show. When you get to the venue for his show, you see an electronic keyboard on your right, below a synthesizer kit which sits on top of the piano. Center stage is a drum pad, with bass pedal on the floor. To the left is his drum kit, and a guitar holder. Forgive the description, but envision a near full 4 piece band ensemble, arranged so that he can stand in the middle of his toys, and rock the hell out with any and all pieces - at the same time. You simply need to go for yourself. The art of live performance is not looked over by this UK born man.
The must-hear songs from this record include ‘Weathered’, ‘Worry’, and ‘The Love You’re Given’. ‘Weathered’ was the first single he released in anticipation of the new album, the first new song Jack Garratt fans had heard since the release of his Remnants EP, and boy did it not disappoint. In follow up to my earlier comment comparing his musical production to a movie, this is a prime example. It starts off slow, focusing on the vocals, as the initial beat gives way to a slow, stripped down instrumental including just a drum and guitar. As the song progresses, more instrumentation isbrought in, and never, ever does it feel like it’s too much. Like a movie goes from the set up of a plot, to a gradual rise up to the film’s climax, so does this song. As you get to said high-point in the song, you’re ready to tackle anything this world has to throw at you, you are invincible. It is simply a must-hear, and is one of my top songs of 2016 as a result. ‘Worry’ features Jack at an honest moment, remarking on a past failed relationship. In 2015 Jack described his process behind writing the song; “It’s a weird process that I’ve definitely been through before; cutting someone off to let them go because you love them so much, when actual fact you’re just doing it for yourself”. This song will have you jamming out in no time, with its electronic infusion and amazing guitar riffs. ‘The Love You’re Given’ is a track so different from other pop/electronic/r&b songs out there it will leave you confused as to what genre it actually is. That doesn’t matter. This song features Jack singing over a loop of what appears to be some computer generated woman howling, but as anyone who has seen him perform this song live can attest to, is actually his legit voice. He really sings like that. It’s a song that will leave you wanting more, and that is what the deluxe version of the album is meant for is it not?
Childish Gambino — Awaken My Love
12/2/16 — R&B/Funk
A relative late-comer to the party that was 2016 featured Donald Glover’s return to the music world with a fresh, groovy R&B/Funk album that will have you grooving in your living room in approval. For his first piece of music since ‘Because the Internet’, he decided to completely change paths from his early days as the “Bonfire” rapper and enter into a new realm entirely. 2016 saw lots of music attempting to recreate the glory days of funk, of which this was one of the top 2(see below). When you listen to this, you will no doubt be reminded of the Minneapolis legend Prince, in all the best ways. He channels his inner funk on top of all the work Donald has been doing outside of music, including his brand new TV show ‘Atlanta’ on FX, to drop this, nearly out of nowhere, which was quite the treat for us as music fans.
‘Me and Your Mama’ and ‘Redbone’ are the must-hear songs from this album in my opinion. ‘Me and Your Mama’ is the opening track, and it is the kind of tone-setter that this album needed. You’re taken on a 6.5 minute ride through a rollercoaster of a production from Gambino. Initially it reels you in with the dreamy piano, and then the bass drops and you’re just grinning ear to ear. You keep grinning, then boom - the bass drops again - remember to listen to this one with your best speakers/headphones cranked up. This song rattles. The ‘Community’ actor then shows off his guitar skills and his falsetto voice as the beat continues to change and transform, and leaves you soothed as it ends with over 2 minutes of dreamy piano once again and you feel your worries floating away as the song comes to a conclusion. ‘Redbone’ is maybe the funkiest the guitar and keyboard gets, in the best way. What the song lacks for in literal, story-like lyrics, it makes up for in the Prince-like funk-infused R&B production. A song that deserves an honorable mention for me is ‘California’ - a song that at times seems to almost not fit the sound of the rest of the album. It has a tropical twist, and every time I hear it I picture myself on the beach in Grand Cayman, relaxing under a cabana.
Jon Bellion — The Human Condition
6/10/16 — Indie-Pop
Along with Jack Garratt, anyone who knows me at all will have undoubtedly been told, most likely numerous time, to check out Jon Bellion. Sometimes even urgently. For the Long Island native, his debut album did not disappoint, and saw Jon improve in all facets of his musical skills. For those who caught Jon in the upswing of his ‘The Definition’ mixtape, which really is closer to an LP, you will recognize the trademark sound that made you fall in love with him in the first place. The less fortunate late-comers will be immediately introduced to the fresh, pop-infused quirky production from the get-go. Jon decided to keep his success rolling, and kept the classic sound of his early days in this record, while perfecting his production skills. Jon stepped up the game when he tossed in the choir that was tapped for Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’ on ‘The Hand of God”, the penultimate finale. Lyrically and conceptually he upped the game big time, and it will leave a mark on everyone who listens.
This record is full of huge songs, but I’ll focus on ‘Maybe IDK’, ‘Overwhelming’, and the aforementioned ‘Hand of God’. ‘Maybe IDK’ might be my favorite song of 2016. It features an instantly intriguing beat, deep, thought provoking lyrics and showcases his pipes as well. It starts off asking questions of himself like; “I wonder why I say yes to everyone in my life/I wonder why I feel short when I know my money’s tall/I wonder why I miss everyone and I still don’t call”, all of which are extremely honest, and as we have come to know from his previous work, not a surprise to see him battling his inner self. Flashing back to ‘Human’ from his previous mixtape is a prime example. As the production builds up to the chorus, he contemplates a deeper meaning behind life, and comes to a realization that it is not in his destiny to know the future, and he accepts that his issues are what he has to deal with as he ascends into stardom. The chorus goes; “Although I guess if I knew tomorrow I guess I wouldn’t need faith/I guess if I never fell, I guess I wouldn’t need grace/I guess if I knew His plans, I guess He wouldn’t be God”. ‘Overwhelming’ is a song about an infatuation he has with someone, much like in the previous mixtape ‘Simple and Sweet’. This song features Jon in his rap tone for the verses, and switches to his serenading voice for the chorus. He starts off with “They say we annoying, they just jealous cause we got love”, obviously not shy about flaunting his happiness. As we reach the chorus, his wonderful use of arranging words into a very descriptive love song really come to light; “There is a potion in your lips, so sweet, I die/There is an ocean in your hips, so deep, I dive”. For listeners of his previous work, you get the reference to ‘Simple and Sweet’. He wraps it up by commenting how “You write checks that my ass can’t catch/I bit a little more than I can chew”, and then concludes with “Everything about you is so overwhelming/Come over here and overwhelm me”. Finally, ‘Hand of God’, the insane finale. As mentioned above, the choral arrangement is genius - after a quick couple verses, they chime in and the first time you hear this song, it’ll blow you away. Jon ingeniously recalls all the hooks from each and every song leading up to the finale, and has the choir belt out the main line followed each time by “Your whole life’s in the hand of God”, a fitting ode to an artist who is publicly vocal about his upbringing and faith. Without giving too much away, this song is most-enjoyable after listening to the album front-finish, helping you to appreciate the song by song references.
Blood Orange — Freetown Sound
6/28/16 — R&B/Soul
Blood Orange, the recording name for UK singer/composer Dev Hynes, landed on this list almost out of nowhere. Before the artist was featured on Zane Lowe’s Apple Music show back in May of 2016, I had never heard of Blood Orange, and throughout the course of the interview and simultaneous playback of a couple songs from the to-be-released album, it was clear this guy was on to something sonically and conceptually. He described this album to Zane that day as being for “those who had been told they were not black enough, too black, too queer, or not queer the right way” - if you don’t fall into that category, it doesn’t matter. This album will suck you in well before you hit the top songs on it. The best way to describe the sound is that of R&B dialed in with classical undertones, and tons of trumpets. Never doubt the power of a well-played trumpet. Prince’s influence can be seen scattered throughout this record at times also.
You need to make sure to check out ‘Best to You’, and ‘Juicy 1-4’ if you’re only trying to check out the best standalone tracks. It goes without saying that both songs fit into the flow of the album very well, and it would be a shame to not enjoy from the start. Anyway - ‘Best to You’ shows off Dev’s vocals and songwriting. He opens it up by singing; “Call it all for nothing/But I’d rather be nothing to you/Than be a part of something/Of something that I didn’t do”, and thats just the beginning. This song is written in the perspective of a woman, which Dev does very often. He was asked about why he prefers to work with women and write in their perspective as well; “I guess I just view women higher.” He asks later in the song; “And I can tell you what you want/But I tell you all the things I like/And if I keep myself away/Would you chase in the dead of night?” - showing the inner self-doubt about their relationship being based on saying ‘desired’ things, instead of maybe the necessary things. Oh, and Dev plays the cello himself on this song. ‘Juicy’ kicks off with some banging bongos, and drops in shortly and you can’t stop yourself from bouncing a little bit. His songwriting doesn’t disappoint on this one either - proudly embracing his identity; “It’s real as gold/Chains and all/All the things that make us bold/Black is gold”. Its a classic, soothingly sweet R&B track amidst a massive amount of other also great tracks, as the album is 17 songs deep.
Chance The Rapper — Coloring Book
5/13/16 — Hip Hop
This album forced the Grammy’s to change their rules on allowing streaming-only albums to be considered for awards. That’s how good this free release by Chance is. Not only did it change the rule to now open the door for any independent artist to release music free and still get nominations, but he himself got 7 total nominations for this. It featured a top rap song of the year nominee in ‘No Problem’, a return to the scene by Jay Electronica on ‘How Great’, and Kanye himself on the Intro, ‘All We Got’. Kanye smartly didn’t hold anything against the to-be legend from Chicago after he kindly declined Ye’s record label offer. The album was just rated as Soundcloud’s best album of 2016, and only time will tell how the Grammy voters view this album in the grand scheme of all the other record-label released tunes.
There are so many favorite tracks on this album that I need to just give some short summations of several. First off - the intro, ‘All We Got’, is a deliberate song about how important music is to Chance. The chorus, sang by Kanye, rings out; “This is all/Music is all we got/So we might as well give it all we got” to ring home this point. The song that garnered the most attention would be ‘No Problem’, featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz. The day it came out, Zane Lowe played it 6 times in a row on his live Apple Music show. 6 times. The beat bangs, Chance raps angrily and with urgency, and Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz add a bit of a party feel as they switch off verses late in the song. It features some ridiculous lyrics from 2 Chainz, which we come to expect; “Inside of the Maybach/Look like it came out of IKEA/Run shit like diarrhea/Big yacht, no pies there” - a classic, ridiculous couple of bars there. ‘Juke Jam’ is a track that I feel doesn’t get enough love because it isn’t a club-ready hit, but it features Justin Bieber crooning over a chorus, and some great work by Towkio on a stripped down beat based around slow drums. It features great writing by Chance, with fun lyrics too; “And time I was too young for you/As you were for me/Too worried ‘bout Fruities and Chews/Till I found out all of the shorties with cooties was cute/And realize what booties could do” - shoutout to David Habel for first pointing this lyric set to me back in June 2016. Other notables - ‘All Night’, and the true gospel-track ‘How Great’.
Phantogram — Three
10/7/16 — Alternative/Indie Rock
Much like Blood Orange, this band was a relative unknown to me before the song ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’ hit the radio waves early in 2016. That song was a rare blend of rock, pop, and great vocals and writing that I just knew I needed more of. This album more than delivered when it dropped in October. What it lacks for in terms of track number(only 10 songs), it makes up for in hard thumping drums and relentless guitars. The New York duo of Josh Carter and Sara Barthel have been around awhile and had some incredible songs early on in their career(see ‘Fall in Love from 2013’s Voices album), but here they take a step up sonically. The band likes to label their sound as “electro rock, dream pop, or trip hop”, all of which are 100% accurate.
This record has a couple must-hear tracks, being ‘Same Old Blues’, the radio-hit ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’, and honorable mention to ‘Cruel World’, and ‘You’re Mine’. The 2nd track off this album is ‘Same Old Blues’, and it just recently was put out as the newest single for radio by the band, for good reason. It is a sad, honest song from the artists’ perspective describing how even in their dreams, life is cruel. They use these lines to ring it home; “I keep on having this dream/Where I’m stuck in a hole and I can’t get out/There’s always something pulling me down”, and “Today I lost my future to the past/I got nobody left, I’m going nowhere fast/Never getting far away enough/Like a shadow on the sidewalk/I can’t shake it off”. The beat bangs, and its no surprise it is the newest single, as it is a contagious good time wrapped up in song form. The big hit from this record was ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’, and for good reason. It features a beat that falls in line exactly with the electro rock sound, and features lyrics that are able to be interpreted in your own way/fashion. The chorus goes; “Nothing is fun/Not like before/You don’t get me high anymore/Used to take one/Now it takes four/You don’t get me high anymore”, which can be taken at face value as some do, but I prefer to envision that the artists had a deeper meaning for this song than what’s on the surface. Personally I hear this song and relate it to a relationship that has gone cold, and is hanging on by just a thread in the hopes of regaining that initial high present at the beginning. That’s the brilliance of music - every person has different emotions and feelings when taking in a song, and these meanings can shift as we listen to it at a later point in time as well.
The 1975 — I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It
2/26/16 — Alternative Indie-Pop
In addition to winning the title for longest album-title of 2016, these guys dropped a killer album. Credit to my brother Conrad for pointing this one out to me and demanding I listen to it - and boy am I happy for that. It features absolute smash hits like ‘Somebody Else’, ‘The Sound’, ‘She’s American’, and ‘Love Me’. When asked what musical influences The 1975 channeled for the recording of this album, they responded; “D’Angelo, Sigur Rós, Christina Aguilera, and My Bloody Valentine” - quite the range of sounds. The vibe of this album is similar to that of an 80’s movie soundtrack. It’s timeless and a refreshing piece of pop music, top to bottom, through the entirety of 17 songs. The band also was nominated for a Grammy for its deluxe box set version of the album - showing this band takes the physical aspect of music seriously.
My top tracks from this one would be ‘Somebody Else’, ‘Love Me’, and ‘The Sound’. ‘Somebody Else’ has been the focus of several remixes due to the wonderful writing(Vérité has the best one, in my opinion), and the production isn’t half bad itself. The song is written in the perspective of someone reminiscing on their ex and all the emotions that can be associated with that and seeing that person moving on. The first verse includes; “I don’t want your body/But I hate to think about you with somebody else/Our love has gone cold/You’re intertwining your soul with somebody else” - and this feeling echoes throughout the rest of the track in varying situations. At one point the couple debates getting back together; “I just don’t believe that you have got it in you/Cause we are just gonna keep doing it every time/I start to believe in anything you’re saying/I’m reminded that I should be gettin’ over it” and like what has undoubtedly occurred at some point in a relationship you’ve been in, you may consider getting back together. As you step back though, you are reminded as they sing that you should be getting over it, and not reminiscing. ‘Love Me’ was the first single released by the band in anticipation of this album, and you’d be hard pressed upon first listen to not think it is a Bowie song - it opens up shockingly similar to Bowie’s ‘Fame’. That being said, its a hit from the start. My favorite part of the song; “You’ve got a beautiful face but got nothing to say(Oh!)/You look famous, lets be friends and portray we possess something important/And do the things we’d like” shows the fake-ness that people today can possess, sometimes without intent, others on purpose to fit in. Let’s all work on that - it’s something easier said than done in today’s day and age of instant gratification via social media, where you can lose focus on what is important to you, while worrying more about what others think of what you’re doing/wearing/etc. ‘The Sound’ was the 4th single off the album and features a more positive portrayal of love, with the chorus echoing; “Well I know when you’re around cause I know the sound/I know the sound, of your heart”. At least that’s how it starts. You quickly realize that this is not the true story of this song - “You’re so conceited/I said “I Love You”/What does it matter if I lie to you?/I don’t regret it but i’m glad that we’re through/So don’t you tell me that you ‘just don’t get it’/Cause I know you do” - and just like that the tone changes. The pace of the song is textbook-pop, and is unabashedly so. The song goes to show how a toxic relationship is good for something - songwriting.
Jamie Lidell — Building a Beginning
10/14/16 — R&B/Soul/Funk
Jamie Lidell’s album kept popping up on my timeline on twitter from all kinds of artists that I love, most notably Jack Garratt, so I needed to check this out. As soon as the first song was over, I was happy I did. This album closely resembles the type of Funk/Soul that is featured in Gambino’s, but on a more subtle, less loud, less bass-heavy level. It is soothing, and you can actually feel it remove the stress in your life as you give your full attention to this. This is the first solo-release on his own record label, and those of us who’ve listened can only hope for more in the future. Along the same lines, the trend we are seeing with lots of good R&B/Soul albums coming out this past year is a good one. Keep em coming y’all!
You need to make sure to catch ‘Julian’, and ‘Nothing’s Gonna Change’. Honorable mention to ‘Walk Right Back’ and ‘Building a Beginning’. In the second song on the record ‘Julian’, Jamie describes the altering affect meeting a special someone has on his life; “I can’t believe/The way your face/Is taking over, taking the place/Of all the dark I always face” - an incredibly vivid description indeed. The song’s production varies throughout, but features a sweet guitar and bass guitar over smooth drums. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that his dreamy voice would make an acapella album scintillating - worth noting. ’Nothing’s Gonna Change’ is a song pronouncing the hope he has for the relationship he’s in. The chorus goes; “Loving you makes everything okay/Nothings gonna change/Cause when it comes to you/Everything stays the same”. The production on this song is one of the more busy on the album, but thus makes it more of a pop-ready song than, say, ‘Motionless’, which is very stripped down and a wonderful, gospel-style anthem. In fact, go listen to that one too.
As noted above, this year has been incredible in terms of new music. With all the social awareness and activism that has stemmed from the election of he who must not be named, we can only expect more honest, thought-provoking, activating music to be released this year. Bands like Rex Orange County and Nine Inch Nails will continue to release deep and dark at times songs that question the current climate we are living in. It’s up to us to venture out and explore new artists and help make ourselves and those around us stronger through music. As Lizzo stated in her show at the sold out Doug Fir 1/29/17, she said “I meant for my music to be its own form of activism” - the revolution is beginning. I hope to provide a middle ground from the new, up-and-coming artist, to your headphones. Sadly I am only one person, and can only recommend so much. The rest is up to you.