Best Albums of the 2010s – #19
Anti – Rihanna (2016)
After four straight years of new album releases, Rihanna went silent in 2012 before emerging four years later with one of her best albums, Anti.
While I’m a Rihanna stan going back a ways, and still consider Good Girl Gone Bad and Rated R her crowning achievements, it’s hard to deny the groundbreaking qualities of this album.
My final video in the week of women is technically by a man, but DJ Khaled’s role here is basically to deliver very brief opening and closing remarks, and bounce awkwardly in the background in between.
No, this video belongs entirely to Rihanna, and god bless her for it. Shot in the Little Haiti neighborhood in DJ Khaled’s hometown of Miami, this is a gorgeous, sensual clip, drenched in color and sweat. It is also one of the most GIF-able videos of 2017, and every one of those GIFs features Rihanna writhing erotically.
In other words, this is one of the finest uses of film since Citizen Kane.
Rihanna’s ‘SOS’ is another “old” song loved by my daughter Fiona. Given that is was released in 2006, her birth year, I guess that qualifies as an oldie in her book.
Fiona has played this song a lot recently, but her affection for it goes back at least eight years. We unearthed a Facebook video from 2009 of a 3-year-old Fiona dancing like crazy in the backseat of our car to this song.
One of the unfortunate trends of Montauk Madness’ first round was the failure of many women to advance. Of 32 acts appearing in Round Two, only four are female. That is down from 15 of the original 64 participants.
Chalk up the poor performance to some very difficult matchups (Miranda Lambert and Shakira faced Bob Dylan and The Beatles, respectively!) as well as a disheartening lack of appreciation for such artists as Tift Merritt and Lana Del Rey.
I can’t see much overlap between the Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna and the Austin-based indie rock band Spoon, making this one of the oddest decisions yet in the first round of Montauk Madness.
Rihanna is one of the most commercially successful musical artists in history (she recently passed Elvis as the top-selling solo act of all time) and has received quite a bit of critical acclaim as well, especially in recent years. Spoon is a critics’ darling without the sales and notoriety.
2016 wasn’t a typical year for me, musically. Any year that sees Donald Trump elected president isn’t a typical year, period, so that’s not surprising.
When I sat down to compile my year-end 2016 best song list, I had trouble coming up with a solid top ten, let alone the 20 or so I usually offer. I didn’t buy as many new albums as usual and I was disappointed in most of the year’s Billboard hits. So rather than half-ass a best-of list I’ve decided to instead write about ten meaningful musical memories from 2016.
Back from a splendid vacation on the islands of Hawaii, I’ll resume blogging with a week dedicated to five new albums I’ve bought this year.
I’ve purchased a total of eight albums in 2016, but I already covered David Bowie’s Blackstar and Lucinda Williams’ The Ghosts of Highway 20, which I featured track-by-track over three weeks, much to the dismay of some readers.