Matt Rice’s Top 5 Mid-Year Albums
1. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
From Acid Rap to Surf, and then Surf to Coloring Book, Chance has been steadily improving throughout the past few years. On one hand, it has culminated with a major album that few, if any artists will be able to top this year. On the other hand, it will be hard for even Chance to top it with anything less than a To Pimp a Butterfly-level artistic statement.
2. Parquet Courts – Human Performance
Years of releasing an astounding amount of music has paid off with an album that fully lives up to the Pavement comparisons they’ve been ducking and dodging since Light Up Gold.
3. Anderson .Paak – Malibu
Artists who adore music often release joyous albums, and Malibu is absolutely joyous. A journey through generations of music, these songs range from funk (“The Bird”), disco (“Am I Wrong”), straightforward West Coast hip-hop (“Your Prime”) and ‘90s R&B (“Without You”). In the spirit of Blackstreet, the latter recalls a time when a male R&B artist could actually have their song interrupted by a female rapper. Malibu’s music may be nostalgia-fueled, but it’s nostalgic for all the right things.
4. Rihanna – ANTI
In a year in which numerous great artists finally released the artistic triumph they’d been building towards, Rihanna’s may be the most surprising. A singles artist all the way, she didn’t seem like an artist who needed to release an A-level album. And yet ANTI is just that, an expansive, heavily listenable collection of songs that feels like something she’s been setting up her entire career.
5. Beyoncé – Lemonade
Real-life drama and performance, combined until it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. She’s released better albums before—the self-titled, of course, but also B’Day, which you should re-listen to—but never one this political and complete.
Matt’s Top 5 Songs of the Year (So Far)
1. The Coathangers – “Squeeki Tiki”
2. Rihanna – “Woo”
3. Alex Anwandter: -“Siempre Es Viernes En Mi Corazón”
4. The 1975 – “UGH!”
5. Colleen Green – “Green My Eyes”