SZA – “CTRL”
The debut album of 27 year-old Solána Imani Rowe a.k.a SZA from Maplewood, NJ. Claiming that music isn’t her first interest, CTRL sounds like one of K-Dot’s masterpieces and the volumes of love on her debut is poetic as well as effervescent. With 5 Grammys nominations tied to her name, SZA has more to offer in the future with her music and CTRL is her blueprint.
6.) Michael Kiwanuka – “Love & Hate”
It would be 2016’s “What’s Going On”, but it’s more personal within Michael’s musical content. Collecting the sounds of Curtis Mayfield, the soul of Marvin Gaye and then stance of Bill Withers; “Love & Hate” evolved Kiwanuka’s music career by balancing and respecting the past to give the present and future something to stand on. And it’s Michael’s storytelling that will give listeners a heads up of what’s to come if action is not taken place.
Top Tracks – Black Man In A White World, Love & Hate, Cold Little Heart
Alabama Shakes – “Sound and Color”
The sound is weird (in a beautiful and spacious way) and the color is beyond kaleidoscopic. Channeling the sounds from 60’s rock all the way to a funk n’ soul of the 70’s, Shakes developed a smoother and boarder palette that acknowledges their roots. And with the unforgettable voice of singer-songwriter Brittany Howard, “Sound and Color” is by far Alabama Shakes’ most creative album to date.
Top Track: Don’t Wanna Fight, Gimme All Your Love, Sound and Color, Over My Head