The Best of 2016: According to Laurin Talese

There are only two days left and it seems like 2016 still has no chill. RIP George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Through it all, we can say that we had some good music these last 365.

We are more than ecstatic to have our dear friend and jazz vocalist Laurin Talese share some of her top picks of the year. She had a pretty exciting year herself with the release of her highly anticipated debut album Gorgeous Chaos, which features a dope cover of the late George Michael’s “Kissing A Fool” with fellow Philly diva Vivian Green among other sultry tracks. Even though the critically acclaimed album is popping up on various “Best of” lists (here and here) around the country, she still has time for us little people. Thanks, boo!

Check out Laurin’s favorites below!

Encore, Barbra Streisand

Oh, Babs! She never disappoints! I love albums that make me think that I’m a character in a movie! That’s what this album does. As usual, the arrangements are masterful. Babs’ voice is strong, her range is still in tact, and at 74, she’s still taking stylistic chances! #goals

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal

Malibu, Anderson.Paak

Malibu just feels good. An unadulterated, unpretentious good time! The heart of a musician shined through in the most authentic and free way (no small feat.) Sounds like it was fun to record too!

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal

Gorgeous Chaos, Laurin Talese

I love this album because I made it with my dearest friends. New and old! I made it with people whose musicianship, and work ethic I respect greatly. Everyone put their best foot forward. The process was organic and the music is decadent & fab (if I do say so myself)!

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal

A Seat At The Table, Solange

It’s not easy to make a socially conscious and politically relevant album not sound heavy or brash. However, Solange somehow managed  an effortlessly cool, chic and dreamy vibe while sharing her perspective on hate, racial inequality, social injustice, depression and more. Wonderful.

Stream: Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify

Insecure (Music from the HBO Original Series), Various Artists

Simple. This album satisfies my craving for ratchet, nonsensical lyrics and glorious trap beats. Thanks, Issa Rae!

Stream: Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal

Top Songs

“At The Ballet,” Barbra Streisand

If you’re a fan of Broadway musicals, you first heard this song in A Chorus Line. The 2016 version features a witty delivery and the sonic textures of young and old, American and English… I’m transported to an audition room whenever I listen! Hope you enjoy!

“First Began,” PJ Morton

PJ Morton - #swoon. His voice is sure yet gentle. His delivery vulnerable yet assuring. He writes lyrics that mirror what any woman would dream for beau to say to them 2 mos or 10 years in.

Yep. I may be his biggest fan. Lol

“The Magician,” Andy Shauf

I love a no frills straight tone singer. This song is a great song to play at the start of your flight. It just sounds like the beginning of a great story - and it is!

“Don’t Have A Reason,” Lee Mo

Um… Lee can sing, write and play. It all comes from such a pure place with the most organic delivery. Keep an eye and ear out for this woman. She’s easily one of my favorite artists.

“The Bird,” Anderson Paak

This song is the opening track to his Grammy-nominated album, Malibu. The lyrics immediately pull me in, the groove is infectious and by the end of the song, the lyrics leave you feeling like you know Paak a little more. After that song I was curious about what else he had to say.

Music & NewsEvon Burton