Despite 2016 being an overall disappointing year in many ways, one thing has been consistently good: the music.
Once again, the women in music have outdone themselves with their new releases and live performances. So many of my favourite female artists have given us new albums this year, every one of them brilliant and so true to the artist themselves.
To celebrate these wonderful and talented acts I’m going to give you my review of the albums and singles that were released this year, explaining the reasons they were constantly in my playlists.
- Joanne, Lady Gaga
Just like most Gaga fans, I had been waiting years for this album. Since the release of her fourth album Artpop in 2013, and her 2014 collaborative album Cheek to Cheek in which she performed alongside Tony Bennett, I have been anticipating the next chapter in Lady Gaga’s career. Upon first listen I knew that Joanne was going to be a contrast to her past albums, with its country theme and strong emphasis on family emotions written into the lyrics, but I only had to listen to the first three or so songs to be hooked.
The album begins with a moody-rocky vibe with “Diamond Heart” which sounds exactly what you’d expect of Gaga, strong vocals and an autobiographical story of past events in her life. The album continues exploring this theme, with every song telling a vivid tale, some undoubtedly more personal than others; the title track Joanne for example, takes the form of an acoustic ballad describing the singer’s late aunt.
Once I’ve listened to an album a lot of times, I can find that it becomes boring in the track order and I usually stick it on shuffle. This album is rare in that every song on it seems to be in a perfect order, which in my eyes, makes it a perfect album.
When it was announced that Gaga was releasing a new album I knew that I was going to love it, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This album has something for everyone, and when you listen it feels as though you are right there with her experiencing the song. Joanne is without a doubt my favourite album of 2016, and Lady Gaga remains my favourite artist.
Favourite song(s): Million Reasons, Come to Mama, Grigio Girls
2. Glory Days, Little Mix
Arguably the best girl band around at the moment, Little Mix didn’t disappoint their fans with the release of this album. From the release of the number one single “Shout Out to My Ex” it was clear that this album was going to follow suit.
Lyrically, the album is the band’s most personal yet, but that doesn’t mean that that is the sole focus of the songs, it still manages to fit in with the pop genre and features the attitude and amazing vocals that Little Mix have become best known for. This album has a song for any occasion: break ups, nightclubs, chilled acoustics and even has old school jazzy vibes.
One thing that fans of the band value the most is the bond that the four women have. The band members constantly show support for each other’s talent and encourage one another, as well as their fans, to be proud of who they are. This is one of the main reasons that Little Mix is well received by the public, due to this warm bond, the songs they perform become more believable and easier to relate to.
Little Mix has always sang about friendship, love, support and girls working together. I think this is so vital a message to give to younger fans who will learn the importance of helping each other in the real world. If fans can learn such valuable morals as well as having the time of their lives at one of Little Mix’s energetic shows, they get the best of both worlds.
Favourite song(s): F.U., Power, Nobody Like You
3. Intertwined – EP, Dodie
Long awaited by her fans and YouTube peers alike, Dodie Clark announced her EP back in October, ready for its release in November. The 6 track EP is just what you’d expect from Dodie: beautiful vocals, poetic songwriting, use of unusual instruments and genuine emotion.
Upon first listen it is clear that she has poured her everything into this short and sweet album. It’s impossible to feel distant from this music as there is an aspect that anyone can relate to, whether you’ve ever lost a friend or reflected on your past, Dodie has written the perfect song to accompany your thoughts.
Dodie has the skill of setting a scene so well that you feel like you’re right next to her, experiencing it alongside her. Just like my preference with track listing orders, there’s another thing I love to see with lyrics: if you see a song written down and it reads like a poem, and it’s still beautiful without the music, it’s undoubtably a good song. That happens over and over again with Dodie, especially with these songs. I feel like I could listen to her just speak these lyrics and they’d read like spoken word poems.
If this is what Dodie has given us for her first EP, I cannot wait to hear what’s next from her.
Favourite song(s): Intertwined, Absolutely Smitten
I’m sure I could go on for days talking about all the influential music from women this year, but these three artists have been my most played.
I can’t end without a notable mention of a few more — Beyonce’s Lemonade, which shook the whole music industry with the raw emotion and prominent story telling, the never disappointing Nicki Minaj, who continued to be an exceptional role model for women everywhere. Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman, the sophisticated, dancey album we’ve all wanted for years and a surprising band for me , Fifth Harmony, who I never expected to be a fan of, but every song released by the band this year has been well received, reaching high positions in the charts and have been so catchy that I couldn’t stay away.
If this is what these artists have thrown at us this year, I can’t wait for 2017!