Published Dec 06, 2016
2. Anderson .Paak
(Steel Wool/OBE/Art Club/EMPIRE)
Most things that occur in January are soon forgotten as the year chugs ahead; albums that drop so early tend to drift toward whatever cavernous abyss our New Year's resolutions end up in by June. But Anderson .Paak's velvety effort Malibu managed to resonate all year long. Plush and gutsy, the record struck the perfect balance between looking back and moving forward. Its lush, intricate instrumentation gave it a vintage charm, but .Paak's spry, nimble delivery kept it modern and fresh.
A standout amidst crooning clones, .Paak's gravelly vocals and chewy lyrics make Malibu change shape with every listen. It's a bright, flirty, well-rounded project that will maintain its weight years from now. With impressive efforts from BJ the Chicago Kid, Solange and Maxwell to name just a few, 2016 will no doubt go down as the year R&B got its soul back. And the effervescent Malibu will be credited with having led the charge.