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RARB Picks of 2016

Welcome to RARB Picks of the Year, 2016 Edition!

Reviewers who published at least seven reviews in 2016 were asked to select one Pick of the Year and one Honorable Mention from albums that they personally reviewed for RARB. Reviewers with fewer published reviews could choose only a Pick of the Year. (Albums chosen in both categories are listed as Picks only; the full listing may be found under individual reviewers.) Reviewers could submit descriptions of their picks, but were not required to.

Reviewers were also asked to select Tracks of the Year on a similar principle, again restricted to the tracks that they personally reviewed for RARB. Reviewers could also abstain from making selections in any or all categories.

Finally, our singles reviewers and editorial staff jointly chose one Single of the Year and one Honorable Mention.

Albums of the Year

Honorable Mentions

Tracks of the Year

Singles of the Year

Run for Cover (University of Chicago) – Gold

Run for Cover has delivered our choice for Single of the Year with its version of the Adventure Club (ft. Yuna) EDM track Gold. The arrangement by Ahon Sarkar is intriguing and complex, creating a song that is full of creativity and movement. What started out as an experiment for Sarkar developed into an amalgam of talent, production and collaboration once it went into the studio. Initially there was some concern in choosing a group with a guest soloist as Single of the Year. But Kari Wei's solo made us forget all about that by living inside this song and evoking all of the emotion of the original. The track is indeed the gold standard of a cappella for 2016.

Honorable Mention

The Vassar Devils (Vassar College) – I Will Wait

This emotional track by the Vassar Devils has it all: a beautiful build; twisty, jazzy chords and tone clusters; and wonderful, stretchy phrases that showcase precision and blend. The beauty is in the simplicity here — it's sometimes harder to execute a slow, simple arrangement than a fast and frilly one, especially in the studio, and the listener can't help but hang on to every single note here. Plus it's an original, which makes us like it even more.

Rebecca Christie

Jonathan Minkoff

Elie Landau

Guang Ming Whitley


Kimberly Raschka Sailor

Robert Dietz

John Colton

Catherine Lewis

Malcolm Piper

Brian Alexander

Sean P. Gorecki

Sara E. Yood

Kyle Yampiro

Leigh Holmes Foster

Andrew Adams

Stephen Lanza

Dom Otto Asís

Justus Schmidt

Louis Jack Ades


How To Get Your Work Reviewed

To have your album (2 or more tracks) reviewed by RARB, please fill out our online album registration form.

To have your digital single reviewed by RARB, please fill out our online singles registration form.

Feel free to email us if you have any questions.