AOTY 2017
SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2016 So Far

SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2016 So Far

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Andy Stott - Too Many Voices

Andy Stott - Too Many Voices
April 22, 2016
Critic Score
79
10 reviews

Much of Voices also sounds like it’s slowly decomposing, even as it’s more spacious and aerated than Stott’s previous releases — filled with air the way a corpse bloats, perhaps.

ANOHNI - Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
It’s both a thrilling record and an occasionally confounding one; a statement that often invokes tightly controlled rage as a means of slapping the listener out of what one imagines has become our collective stupor. In short, it’s a protest record.

Beyoncé - Lemonade

Beyoncé - Lemonade
April 23, 2016
Critic Score
89
30 reviews
Not since MJ have we gotten to witness a former teen star evolve into a grown-ass one with so much state-of-the-art pop currency, pantheonic ambition, and craft of song.

Bombino - Azel

Bombino - Azel
April 1, 2016
Critic Score
77
7 reviews
The blues are universal; the blues are also incredibly specific. As the Western pendulum of intolerance swings back toward the undifferentiated immigrant and the unnamed refugee, it’s to Bombino’s great credit as an artist, human being, and former asylum seeker that his acts of remembering a carry such a beautiful sense of plugged-in joy.

Brothers Osborne - Pawn Shop

Brothers Osborne - Pawn Shop
January 15, 2016
Critic Score
80
2 reviews

Chairlift - Moth

Chairlift - Moth
January 22, 2016
Critic Score
76
22 reviews

The most impressive thing about Moth is the way it manages to wrap a more compact frame around Chairlift’s spiraling colors without dulling the final product.

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
May 13, 2016
Critic Score
85
22 reviews

On Coloring Book, he displays the most joyful part of his universe, and invites listeners across the globe to share in the festivities.

Cobalt - Slow Forever

Cobalt - Slow Forever
March 25, 2016
Critic Score
83
4 reviews

Slow was born of isolation and betrayal, but it’s music that was meant for concert halls Cobalt deserve to fill, music that rewards both introspection and reveling in like-minded rapture. It’s also ready to f**king kill.

David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

★ finds Bowie and longtime producer Tony Visconti as hungry as they ever were, and with no modern context into which the artist can insert himself (including rock) he’s free to do what he likes.

Death Grips - Bottomless Pit

Death Grips - Bottomless Pit
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
81
12 reviews

Bottomless Pit is a rowdy and hypnotic 40-minute suite of alienation and controlled anger. It’s Death Grips. F**k with them.

DIIV - Is the Is Are

DIIV - Is the Is Are
February 5, 2016
Critic Score
72
25 reviews

To exorcise years of mounting bleakness is no doubt a relief, but the resulting record is one that’s compelling for the exact opposite reasons.

Eric Prydz - Opus

Eric Prydz - Opus
February 5, 2016
Critic Score
70
5 reviews

By the time Prydz is ready to release his sophomore album sometime around 2026, new fans with no memory of this massive moment in progressive house’s history will be grateful to have a text this authoritative to refer back to.

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
83
10 reviews

Her fifth album is indeed one of the most alt-friendly jazz cycles you’ve ever heard, pivoting constantly on tight, proggy arrangements.

Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing

Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
April 1, 2016
Critic Score
77
17 reviews

Unpretension remains integral to Frankie Cosmos’ appeal, but true to its title, her second proper album, Next Thing, marks several steps forward.

Future - EVOL

Future - EVOL
February 6, 2016
Critic Score
71
18 reviews
Mainstream-rap radio features plenty of copycats disguised as Future following his blueprint for disposable party music, but Future continues to churn out soul-punching sagas disguised as a party.

Homeboy Sandman - Kindness for Weakness

Homeboy Sandman - Kindness for Weakness
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
74
3 reviews

Weakness has more guests than a typical Sand joint; no problem when they keep the pace of Shad announcing himself as the “teacher at the school of hard knocks.”

Into It. Over It. - Standards

Into It. Over It. - Standards
March 11, 2016
Critic Score
74
8 reviews

The songs on this album may well become standards for fans at a certain place in life, but they definitely raise the standards for Into It. Over It. — as well as for anyone who actually still thinks emo needs help being revived.

Jessy Lanza - Oh No

Jessy Lanza - Oh No
May 13, 2016
Critic Score
79
19 reviews

Where a sense of shyness helped make Pull My Hair Back so charming, Lanza’s increased confidence provides so much more color on Oh No.

Julianna Barwick - Will

Julianna Barwick - Will
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
78
19 reviews

Despite its nearly weightless presence, Will ultimately is a record about going places, even if it takes its sweet time. Uninterested in either Point A or Point B, Will is happy to just drift about in the in-between.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS
April 1, 2016
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

Listeners who luxuriated in Euclid’s new-age, lightly psychedelic vibe will find much to savor in Ears, where Smith refines and sharpens her songwriting significantly.

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
February 14, 2016
Critic Score
79
32 reviews

As glacially paced, mood-enhancing music, Pablo is a hypnotic slam-dunk and this reviewer will be among those first online if an all-instrumental edition finally surfaces on Vocaroo, because over the long haul ‘Ye the MC here proves as elusive as the proverbial Cheshire Cat.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
84
26 reviews

untitled unmastered. can feel like the clearing of a table, rather than a feast. But in this lies its power and greatest asset: With the stakes low, Lamar can air out his demons, have some fun, bask in the afterglow of the Grammys.

Kevin Gates - Islah

Kevin Gates - Islah
January 29, 2016
Critic Score
79
7 reviews

While it’s refreshing that a major label, in 2016, has enough faith in a regional star to let him do what brought him to the dance in the first place, Islah also happens to be the most-balanced Kevin Gates project to date, discovering an equilibrium between his pummelers and his caressers we didn’t previously know was possible.

Lucy Dacus - No Burden

Lucy Dacus - No Burden
February 26, 2016
Critic Score
77
9 reviews

Any Sharon Van Etten or Angel Olsen RIYLs stemming from Dacus’ dry, triple-distilled delivery do more harm than good when she out-crunches and yes, out-funnies them anyway.

Marissa Nadler - Strangers

Marissa Nadler - Strangers
May 20, 2016
Critic Score
76
19 reviews

She’s the sort of artist that you couldn’t imagine ever making a bad album, and her newest is more proof.

Michete - Cool Tricks 2

Michete - Cool Tricks 2
March 31, 2016
Critic Score
80
1 review

Moodymann - DJ-Kicks

Moodymann - DJ-Kicks
February 19, 2016
Critic Score
80
11 reviews

Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä

Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä
February 26, 2016
Critic Score
78
4 reviews
There’s inky blackness to be found out there in the universe, and endless possibility to be found in nihilistic isolation; Oranssi Pazuzu are discovering new worlds by searching both inward and outward at the same time.

Parquet Courts - Human Performance

Parquet Courts - Human Performance
April 8, 2016
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

What makes Human Performance a narrowly great record is that it bucks narrative. It’s not their most sensitive record or politically astute or least dissonant but all of these things — their most convincing performance as humans to date.

Pinegrove - Cardinal

Pinegrove - Cardinal
February 12, 2016
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
In another place and time, Pinegrove could have ridden a self-assured record like this to widespread indie acclaim. Instead, it feels like an act of generosity, a record lovingly crafted and intimately written, full of sounds, observations, and emotional realizations that you didn’t know you wanted in 2016, but, in fact, needed desperately.

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
Radiohead — a quintet made up of the same five musicians through a long, accomplished career — truly feel like equals here, during what history may validate as one of the band’s finest hours.

Rihanna - ANTI

Rihanna - ANTI
January 27, 2016
Critic Score
70
28 reviews

ANTI is Rihanna’s first aesthetically personal album, and throughout its disorderly roaming, it remains revelatory in a strict sense; it’s a musical step sideways but an artistic step up.

Sheer Mag - III

Sheer Mag - III
March 3, 2016
Critic Score
80
5 reviews

III’s messages are more direct, and they’re couched in broken Jailbreak hooks and caffeine-addled guitarmonies more teeth-chattering and addictive than anything they’ve released to date. 

Teen Suicide - It's The Big Joyous Celebration, Let's Stir The Honeypot

Teen Suicide - It's The Big Joyous Celebration, Let's Stir The Honeypot
April 1, 2016
Critic Score
79
6 reviews

For a lo-fi project, Celebration is a particularly imaginative, lengthy work full of vivid character portraits, using additional instrumentation and computer-generated distortion to expand far beyond the boundaries of more straightforward guitar-driven indie acts.

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
February 26, 2016
Critic Score
71
21 reviews
These songs have strong, familiar features, but they build off of one another; every one of them is full of hyperactive, bats**t detail that makes it immediately attributable to this band alone. Sit through the whole of this Homeric effort — for which the qualification “messy” seems too stern and reductive — and try not to come crawling back.

The Body - No One Deserves Happiness

The Body - No One Deserves Happiness
March 18, 2016
Critic Score
78
10 reviews

The duo’s mission statement since day one has been to find new ways to express heaviness, not to transcend it, and the excellent, new ​No One Deserves Happiness​ continues the trend.

The Field - The Follower

The Field - The Follower
April 1, 2016
Critic Score
76
12 reviews
At times it’s hard to tell where exactly he’s going, but that’s okay when it’s all too easy to get lost in the Field’s subtly nimble percolations.

The Goon Sax - Up to Anything

The Goon Sax - Up to Anything
March 11, 2016
Critic Score
80
9 reviews

Sweetly alienated knockouts like “Ice Cream (On My Own)” and “Sometimes Accidentally” lend a gravitas to twee as shruggily out of place in 2016 as Tallulah was in 1987 — and every bit as necessary.

The Hotelier - Goodness

The Hotelier - Goodness
May 27, 2016
Critic Score
83
10 reviews

Goodness is a spiritually rich listen, but none of it would matter much if it weren’t such a goddamn great rock album.

The Range - Potential

The Range - Potential
March 25, 2016
Critic Score
80
13 reviews

That sense of newfound freedom and exaltation surges through Potential, a rich matrix of the Range’s knack for digging up strangers’ stories and assimilating breakbeat, grime, U.K. garage, and late ’90s R&B.

Tweet - Charlene

Tweet - Charlene
February 26, 2016
Critic Score
75
4 reviews

One of the pleasures of Charlene is how we can now enjoy Tweet — years removed from the burden of carrying Aaliyah’s legacy — as a startlingly unique voice in her own right, a fact that we sometimes forgot during her brief reign on Top 40.

Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger

Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger
January 22, 2016
Critic Score
76
27 reviews

Emotional Mugger lands somewhere between all of these records, maintaining the cohesion and (relatively) streamlined arrangements of Manipulator but nodding to the scuzzy ’70s hard rock of the latter two and Segall’s trademark haywire, lo-fi garage.

Underworld - Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future

Underworld - Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future
March 18, 2016
Critic Score
78
19 reviews

Like the ’80s-skin-shedding Dubnobass, it’s an inspired record born from the desperation of years-long stagnancy.

Vic Spencer & Chris Crack - Who the Fuck Is Chris Spencer??

Vic Spencer & Chris Crack - Who the Fuck Is Chris Spencer??
January 22, 2016
Critic Score
80
3 reviews
The duo treats the hip-hop like a genre flick, highly stylized and virtuosic.

Weezer - Weezer (White Album)

Weezer - Weezer (White Album)
April 1, 2016
Critic Score
73
21 reviews

It might not be the best batch of songs Rivers has written since the ’90s ... but its front-to-back coherence as the Third Weezer Album You Always Wanted But Long Gave Up Hoping For is simply staggering. 

White Lung - Paradise

White Lung - Paradise
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
77
20 reviews

Paradise lands closer to technical brilliance than emotional resonance, but you can feel the band reaching.

Wussy - Forever Sounds

Wussy - Forever Sounds
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
74
7 reviews

The distinct pleasures of Forever Sounds remain those of all five preceding Wussy albums — a crack songwriting duo detailing adult life’s ambiguities with vivid language amid a terrific rhythm section’s unapologetic alt-slop.

Young Thug - Slime Season 3

Young Thug - Slime Season 3
March 25, 2016
Critic Score
73
13 reviews

While Young Thug’s chameleonic flow-hopping is undoubtedly a defining trait, what makes his songs glow is how you never see the seams.

Original Source: http://www.spin.com/featured/50-best-albums-of-2016-so-far-list/
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