2016 has been an interesting year. We’ve heard hundreds of albums and we’ve heard lots of good ones, but in comparison to the previous couple of years there has been a paucity of great ones. Nevertheless, there’s always gold to be mined and here are Real Gone’s top ten albums of the year.
[As always, in the interest of fairness, the choices are limited to those actually reviewed on the website]
David Bowie’s 2013 album ‘The Next Day’ broke a ten year silence. It was released with a huge fanfare, but absolutely no build up. That an artist of Bowie’s stature could complete an album in absolute secrecy is surprising. That he managed to do so in a world that’s constantly connected via an internet of rumours and with a media reporting every notable (and often less notable) celebrity’s every cough is astounding. ‘The Next Day’ was a good, but sometimes ordinary album. Its follow up, ‘Blackstar’ – released at the beginning of 2016 – is anything but ordinary. This, Bowie’s twenty-fifth (proper) studio album, is his darkest since 1995’s ‘1.Outside’ (the first chapter of the subsequently aborted Nathan Adler Diaries). It would be easy to say it is also his coldest work since the Eno-drenched second side of ‘Low’, but despite the darkness, ‘Blackstar’ is often touching in its bleakness. It’s low-key songs are riddled with refection and emotion, the final public words of a legend about to say goodbye to the world. But, of course, on the 8th January – the album’s official release date – this was not clear to anyone except David and those very close to him.