20 Best R&B Albums of 2016

Frank Ocean, Solange, Alicia Keys and more

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King, 'We Are King'
20
7/20

7. King, 'We Are King'

Los Angeles-based trio King nailed the tricky game of retro-futurism with their gorgeous debut, showcasing the seemingly unlimited potential of Paris Strother's vintage-synth detailing and Anita Bias and Amber Strother's sumptuous vocal harmonies. The loping bassline of "Red Eye" guides the Strother siblings and Bias through an extended soul-psych fantasia; the extended remix of the besotted "Hey" wrings out a spectrum of emotion from the titular syllable over shimmering synths; and the horn-accented "Oh Please!" is packed with lady-group panache. Recalling R&B golden eras of yore, We Are King is full of tracks that remain surprising after multiple listens, a stirring back-to-the-future statement from three musicians who are just getting started. M.J.

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