1. Animal Collective – “Floridada”

On Painting With, a record where Animal Collective tried and failed to recreate its glory days, one song, “Floridada” came the closest. It’s not a perfect song, but it’s the best version of Animal Collective that we got in 2016.

2. Blood Orange – “By Ourselves” from Freetown Sound

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/song/1120720337?country=us

This record was massive due to it’s social implications, but to me it just sounded like pop music, and it sounded like pop music that I could forget easily. The intro was amazing though, and I wish the rest of the record hit that same level.

3. Danny Brown – “Really Doe (feat. Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt)”

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/song/1142690610?country=us

I can’t stand Atrocity Exhibition, but this track is amazing. One where Sweatshirt and Ab-Soul really hold their own against Kendrick. It’s super catchy and innovative, even for Danny Brown.

4. Francis & The Lights – “Friends”

Would this song be good without their Chance feature or the presence of Bon Iver and Kanye West? I don’t know if it would have seen the light of day otherwise. Regardless, it was pretty good and with a simple message, “we could be friends, put your head on my shoulders.”

5. M.I.A. – “Foreign Friend” from AIM

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/song/1143663478?country=us

God damn was this one of the most disappointing records of 2016. It’s as if M.I.A. lost her mind and didn’t know how to express political metaphors anymore. It’s just so uninspiring, blunt and childish. So is “Foreign Friend” honestly, but it’s catchy so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

6. Mac Miller – “Dang! (feat. Anderson .Paak)” from The Divine Feminine 

This is the definition of “not so great album.” It was honestly really gross and way too sexually descriptive for Mac Miller. Really its only saving grace is “Favorite Part” with Ariana Grande and “Dang!” but really just because of Anderson .Paak’s genius.

7. Alicia Keys – “Illusion of Bliss” from Here

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/song/1162262925?country=us

Alicia Keys can rock apparently. This record was her best cohesively, but there’s no “Empire State of Mind” level of popularity happening here. This girl wasn’t on fire. However, “Illusion of Bliss” is a great Lauryn Hill-styled jam, and worthy of some more ears.

8. Mick Jenkins – “Spread Love” from The Healing Component

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/song/1146895023?country=us

What sounds like one hour long song, The Healing Component works through a lot of things as Mick reckons with a return to understanding what love means, what’s most important in the world, and rediscovering his faith. Sadly, the message kind of gets lost in the record as Mick spends most of the time rambling, but “Spread Love” captures the best thoughts all in one song.

9. Audio Push – “Spread Love” from 90951

Similarly titled, “Spread Love” for Audio Push hold just about the same themes inherent in the title. “Spread Love.” It’s the kind of music I like to see out of Audio Push but sadly only get once in awhile.

10. Rae Sremmurd – “Black Beatles (feat. Gucci Mane)” from Sremmlife 2

I’m not a big fan of Rae Sremmurd, but “Black Beatles” is pretty catchy, and after the #MannequinChallenge, it blew up fast, even getting a nod from real Beatle, Paul McCartney. They’re young and have a lot of potential, so we’ll see what’s in store for them next. Right now, they can still ride on “Black Beatles'” success.