Track Record: Some of the best CDs from 2016

Published: 12/28/2016 3:51:22 PM

Here are some of the albums named best of the year by the Los Angeles Times:

“We Got It From Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service

A Tribe Called Quest

Epic; $10 CD

Coming to life in the shadow of the loss of founding member Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, A Tribe Called Quest’s first album in 18 years carried so much immediate brilliance, it was like the return of an orbiting comet, burning even brighter than you remembered.

Lemonade

Beyonce

Parkwood/Columbia; $15.76 CD

“Lemonade” was the rallying cry heard around the world that put the tribulations of a union through the lens of black womanhood. Whether Beyonce’s famous marriage was the inspiration is secondary to the work’s brilliance as a deeply experimental multimedia presentation boasting her most incendiary work.

Blackstar

David Bowie

Columbia; $10.09 CD

A masterful final act, this album was issued just after David Bowie died. In doing so, he bid his devoted fan base the most loving farewell one could hope for. From the fury of the song “’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” to the bittersweet album closer, “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” “Blackstar” doesn’t have a single weak moment.

Coloring Book

Chance the Rapper

Self-released; $50 vinyl

Hope, in the face of the darkest, most seemingly helpless adversity. The Chicago-based Chance the Rapper mixes gospel, hip-hop and jazz to chronicle life’s struggles in America’s third-largest city. It’s protest music that chooses to celebrate rather than preach.

Big Day in a Small Town

Brandy Clark

Warner Bros.; $8.79 CD

The sophomore album from this member of country music’s new class of singer-songwriters is as funny as it is smart, and often in the same breath. The pithy tradition of Loretta Lynn and Buck Owens is alive and well. _ Randy Lewis

You Want It Darker

Leonard Cohen

Columbia; $11.88 CD

Cohen’s music inevitably homes in on the eternal facets of human experience. Musical gravitas at its deepest.

No Burden

Lucy Dacus

Matador; $11.99 CD

With a cozy, half-awake drawl, this 21-year-old Richmond, Va., singer-songwriter is a one-person reminder of the continued power of deftly drawn indie rock. The churning guitar menace of Dacus’ “Troublemaker, Doppelganger” gets your heart racing and then the spare “Trust” breaks it.

American Band

Drive-By Truckers

ATO; $10 CD

Easy to take for granted, the Southern rock band turns its always-sharp songwriting toward the country’s ugly, unsettled present on its 11th album with songs that address deep-seated racial divides, recent mass shootings and, most pointedly, the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.


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