2017 was a good year for music. Although I’m sure there’s more to hear, what I got in, was all good! What I’m really happy about, is the essence of FUNK, in so much of what I liked.
Although it actually came out in 2016, Childish Gambino’s “Awaken My Love,” is leap forward in music as much as it’s a throwback. It’s a great marriage of FUNK and hip-hop, implementing notes of yesteryear, while infusing sonic tones of today. An amazing piece of work, Donald Glover has solidified his position in today’s pop-culture movement, as a leader in all facets of entertainment. If you have not heard this record yet… JUST GET IT! It’s nominated for Album of the Year. Another favorite nominated in this category actually released in 2016, is Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” it’s on last year’s list (see below). For more on Bruno… http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2017/03/09/brunos-golden-tribute-is-a-solid-24-karats-of-funk/
Three EPs in SZA dropped her first full-length project “CTRL” this year. Honestly the song I’ve heard from her the most, is her featured performance on Maroon Five’s “What Lover’s Do,” due to my daughter’s ongoing requests. However “CTRL” is a solid album, featuring the songs “Normal Girl,” “Broken Clocks” and “The Weekend.” She’s up for five Grammys next year.
Thundercat’s “Drunk,” has elements of funk, that’ll put you in a stupor. It’s always a jam session listening to his music – “Drunk” is a smooth jazzy ride that features Lamar – Thundercat is featured on like all the music you love these days.
Kendrick Lamar continues to deliver and hold his own as one of today’s best with his latest “DAMN.” He’s up for 7 statues – nuff said.
Jay-Z’s “4:44,” is an answer album of sorts to his wife Beyonce’s release “Lemonade.” In his currently streaming interview, he revealed that he and Bey were actually working on a collaborative effort, when both ‘Ade’ and ‘4:44’ were born. The duet release is still “in the works,” but no word yet, on when or if it will ever come out. “4:44” is up for eight Grammys in 2018.
Julia Michaels has been compared to the likes of Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell. A songwriter of this latter day, while her style is reminiscent of theirs, she’s a bit edgier bringing tunes by Amie Mann and Prince to mind. Her hit “Issues” and song “Worst in Me,” encapsulate the best and the worst of what’s right and wrong, with intimate relationships. Both tunes discuss the willingness, or lack there of, a reciprocal commitment between two people – just nails it. Michaels’ tracks “Uh-Huh” and “Pink,” are all about the anticipation of what could be, and is great sex. While “Uh-Huh” brings the flavor of 70s wah wah guitar, “Pink” is dripping with a psychedelic bass, both grooves are infectious. These four melodies, plus “Just Do It,” “Let Me Make it Up to You” and “Don’t Wanna Think,” comprise the EP “Nervous System,” that Michaels prefers to call a Mini-Album. She’s up for Best New Artist and “Issues” is up for Song of the Year.
A Tribe Called Quest’s “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your service” is an instant classic – A quintessential hip-hop album. Tribe delivers the message of today’s social and political climate in the way rap was born to do. ‘4 Your service’ is a time capsule item for others to learn from years from now. A first, it’s on the FUNKALICIOUS list, AGAIN – it was a selection for 2016.
Daniel Caesar is a sleeper artist that those who love good music will continually be awakened to. He’s nominated for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance, for “Freudian” and “Get Out” respectively, at the upcoming Grammy Awards. For more on Caesar… http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2017/12/08/daniel-caesar-rbs-newest-canadian-prince/
Rapsody has been on her grind for a minute. “Laila’s Wisdom” is the emcee’s most critically acclaimed project since her debut and her fifth release. She’s nominated for Best Rap Album at the Grammys. The only lady in the category, she’s ranked among Jigga, Lamar, Migos and Tyler the Creator.
Moses Sumney brings a smooth flavor to the table. His sound is like Seal and Sade had a baby of ambient proportions. Black and beautiful, the art work for his CD “Aromanticism,” has haunted me all year. “…he made this record ‘about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape.’ That ‘sonic dreamscape’ was created over the past three years with horns, the bass of Thundercat and at the center of it all, that voice” – Bob Boilen NPR.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has to be one of the most under-rated bands of this past year. How there are not tons of critics singing their praises for this year’s release “So It Is” is beyond me. The group was founded by tuba player Allan Jaffe in the early 1960s. Straight outta New Orleans, the band derives its name, from Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. The facility’s doors were closed in 2005 from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. They’ve been touring ever since.
“Insecure: Music from the HBO Original Series, Season 2” is a follow-up soundtrack, to the soundtrack of the same name, ‘Season 1.’ Both releases composed by Raphael Saadiq, Solange Knowles was the efforts, music consultant. Saadiq produced Knowles’ CD “A Seat at the Table,” which was featured on the Funkalicious list, for 2016 (see below).
LORDE’s “Melodrama” is Bangin’! “Broadcast the Boom Boom Boom Boom and Make ’em All Dance to It,” is her rebel yell if you will, on the tune titled “The Louvre.” Better than her first record “Pure Heroine,” the title track (which is actually a subtitle for “Sober II”) harkens to her hit “Royals,” as does the closing jam “Perfect Places.” Other tunes include “Green Light,” and spoken word melodies of toxic and reckless love, better off left alone. The track “Homemade Dynamite” has a remix featuring Khalid, Post Malone & SZA. Making LORDE number-13 of a FUNKALICIOUS Baker’s Dozen! “Melodrama” is nominated for Album of the Year at next year’s ceremony.
I always go to NPR’s list to see what I’ve missed and see what innovative music they’ve encountered – Moses Sumney was this year’s discovery..
2015 and preceding years here… http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2015/12/07/the-funky-top-10-for-2015/
for the LOVE of FUNKY Good Music