Words by Mya Abraham.
It’s everyone’s favorite time of year: End Of Year/Best Of list time! However, here at ILY, we’re putting a twist to it. We’re letting you know what our favorite projects of 2016 based off the four types of love: agape, philia, storge, and eros. Despite the overflow of music we were blessed with this year, we narrowed it down to four phenomenal albums that best represent each type of love. Are you ready, big fella?
Agape is a universal, unconditional love that’s rooted in love for self. Our favorite contenders that best fall into this category are: Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book, Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Solange’s A Seat At The Table, and Frank Ocean’s Blond. Coloring Book is about new beginnings, freedom, and how Chance’s love for himself spilled over to how he loves his girlfriend and their daughter. Lemonade concentrated on the vulnerabilities and consequences that are rooted from infidelity, the power of black womanhood, breaking free from familial patterns, and stepping into redemption. A Seat At The Table drips of self love and light. It’s heavy with independence, self-preservation, and survival, and encourages you to own your identity. Blond is an album about identity and passion.
Winner: Solange, A Seat At The Table
Philia is the love between friends, a feeding of love to those you surround yourself with most. Based on guest features and standout tracks, the only albums that fit this category best are A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. Both albums feature incredible collaborators and were made by friends who connect through life experiences, but We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service stands out the most because it’s an ode to friendship; it’s an to a long-time friend and group member who passed away this year, Phife Dawg.
Winner: A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service
Storge is the love for family, that’s also addictive and best linked to eros. Keeping all that in mind, it was befitting to label J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only, Alicia Keys’ Here, and Kid Cudi’s Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. Cudi’s album is about addiction, passion, and revival. Alicia Keys stripped bare and shared the intricacies that live in the place she calls home, while Cole tells the story of a man who left behind this album for his daughter.
Winner: Alicia Keys, Here.
Eros is the most popular love out of all four. Eros is a sexual, passionate, romantic type of love. The best albums that encompass eros are Keke Palmer’s Lauren, TWENTY88’s self-titled album, Rihanna’s ANTI, dvsn’s Sept. 5, and H.E.R.’s H.E.R., Vol. 1. Lauren offers a look into Palmer owning her sexuality. TWENTY88 will have you wanting to love, fuck, roll up and miss someone, within an hour time-frame. Rihanna has always been fearless when discussing her sexuality and her comeback album is no exception. Anti offers an honest exploration of the many facets of eros, through perspective and production. As soon as dvsn’s “Too Deep” dropped, it immediately became the sexiest song of 2016. The mystery of H.E.R. adds to the allure and desire H.E.R., Vol. 1 is laced with.
Winner: Rihanna, Anti.
Two albums from this year embody all four loves, at the same time: Drake’s Views and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic. Views leans more towards storge, with a handful of references to his family and background (“Weston Roads,” “Keep the Family Close,” “9”). 24K Magic has more eros sprinkled throughout his masterpiece of an album, than the other types of love.
This year, music has been comprised of passion, pain, and prose. However, one thing has been proven true: love will forever be an underlying theme that connects us all. Tweet us (@ilymag) with your favorite albums and what type of love it represents!