This past month has been one that we can all agree on as being…tumultuous, thanks to a certain political event. But on the bright side, we have seen even more incredible music come our way in a year that is already stacked with masterpieces. Here are our November favorites:
A$AP Mob–‘Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends’
Though it’s technically not a November release (thanks to slipping in on Halloween night), the A$AP Mob’s long-gestating collective mixtape has been blasting through our headphones non-stop this month. It is a more than fitting tribute to the late A$AP Yams, and it’s hard to recall when any of these guys sounded like they were having this much fun.
Essential Track: “Telephone Calls”
Common–‘Black America Again’
Many have greeted the onslaught of police brutality tracks with rage, which is a more than justifiable response. Few have turned this anger into something as ravishing and full of hope as Common with his latest LP; his strongest work in years.
Essential Track: “Pyramids”
This is the album in which Dawn Richard (alias D∆WN) created what may be the first piece of dance music ever to namecheck both Led Zeppelin and Kendrick Lamar. It is a work that tells instantly-relatable stories of going out clubbing over beats that sound like they have been programmed from Mars. It’s a trip, to say the least.
Essential Track: “Love Under Lights”
The elusive French techno-duo (no, not the robotic one) returns with its first full-length in years. And though it may not be as transcendent as their symbolic debut, Justice’s new album is a collection of infectious disco-techno-pop that is well worth the wait.
Essential Track: “Randy”
Kevin Abstract–‘American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story’
As far as debut albums go, it is incredibly brave to create one that imagines queer love stories with football players and flips through genres faster than a high schooler flips through their Twitter feed. But Kevin Abstract has a knack for it, presenting a sprawling (if uneven) work that is full of ingenuity and heart.
Essential Track: “Runner”
Sleigh Bells–‘Jessica Rabbit’
Is this Sleigh Bells’ best work? No, not by a long shot. But the noise-rock/candy-pop hybrid proves yet again that there is no one anywhere who can create music that is simultaneously infectiously melodic and skull-crushingly pummeling.
Essential Track: “It’s Just Us Now”
Tinashe’s impending full-length Joyride is now reaching Frank Ocean levels of expectation. OK, maybe not that much, because at least she was considerate enough to release a mixtape to satisfy us in the meantime. And as per usual, it is a quintessential collection of music to get your freak on.
Essential Track: “Company”
A Tribe Called Quest–‘Thank you 4 your Service…We Got It From Here’
This has been a year full of surprises from bands long thought over, but this one is the most surprising yet. Eighteen years after their last album and A Tribe Called Quest have lost none of their musical acumen, their sharp wit, or their passion for activism. And what a way to memorialize the immortal Phife Dawg.
Essential Track: “We the People…”
After shopping around the Daft Punk-featuring title track for the better part of two months, The Weeknd finally delivered on the whole product. In short, it is a heady slice of disco-pop, capable of reinterpreting familiar classics while drawing on the neo R&B sonics that have made him a household name.
Essential Track: “Starboy”
So the album rollout didn’t quite go as planned (sorry, bro), but despite losing some cash, YG showed the world just what a formidable rapper he is. His second full-length this year, Red Friday is a dark journey through his twisted psyche, yet it is one that already warrants return trips.
Essential Track: “One Time Comin'”
For more lists of great albums, check out our 10 essential works of escapist music.