AOTY 2017
The Guardian's Best Albums of 2016 – So Far

The Guardian's Best Albums of 2016 – So Far

Original Source →

Afro Celt Sound System - The Source

Afro Celt Sound System - The Source
April 29, 2016
Critic Score
60
1 review

ANOHNI - Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
As profound a protest record as anyone has made in decades, brimming with anger, and yet, somehow, oddly accessible.

BE - One

BE - One
February 12, 2016

Beyoncé - Lemonade

Beyoncé - Lemonade
April 23, 2016
Critic Score
89
30 reviews

Lemonade ... feels like a success, made by someone very much in control ... Beyonce sounds very much like a woman not to be messed with. 

Christine and the Queens - Chaleur Humaine

Christine and the Queens - Chaleur Humaine
May 19, 2014
Critic Score
85
6 reviews

If you want to take it as an extended musical treatise on queer identity and non-binary sexual orientation, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied ... If you just want to treat it as a collection of beautifully wrought pop music, then it functions fantastically as that, too.

David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Critic Score
85
33 reviews
It’s a rich, deep and strange album that feels like Bowie moving restlessly forward, his eyes fixed ahead: the position in which he’s always made his greatest music.

Drake - VIEWS

Drake - VIEWS
April 29, 2016
Critic Score
67
28 reviews

Views isn’t a perfect album – some judicious pruning of the less impactful tracks would make it more easily digestible, and there are certainly moments when you start to wish Drake would cast his gaze a little further afield than his own navel.

Fay Hield - Old Adam

Fay Hield - Old Adam
February 12, 2016
Critic Score
70
2 reviews

James Blake - The Colour in Anything

James Blake - The Colour in Anything
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
79
25 reviews

This album of digital anxiety and millennial unease is wrapped in something that feels both toweringly accomplished and heart-wrenchingly frail – and for that reason it should be treasured. 

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

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

When The Life of Pablo is good, it’s very good indeed. What it isn’t is consistent. Perhaps it’s the sound of a man over-reaching himself. Perhaps it’s a document of a mind coming increasingly unglued.

Knifeworld - Bottled Out of Eden

Knifeworld - Bottled Out of Eden
April 22, 2016
Critic Score
80
2 reviews
This is a big, vivid, lysergic joy.

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter
March 25, 2016
Critic Score
80
10 reviews

It’s an album for whom “authenticity” is crucial, but it’s all the better for it.

Megadeth - Dystopia

Megadeth - Dystopia
January 22, 2016
Critic Score
59
10 reviews

Dystopia is an absolutely blistering return to the state-of-the-art bombast and refined technicality of past glories like Rust in Peace and Endgame.

Parquet Courts - Human Performance

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

If guitar music is condemned to skulk in the margins for the time being, it might as well do so sounding as spiky and agitated as this.

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project
April 15, 2016
Critic Score
76
32 reviews

A hugely enjoyable album, potent-sounding, stuffed with tunes great enough to drown out the occasional lyrical shortcomings.

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
34 reviews

You’d hesitate to call it more poppy – this is still an album on which standard verse-chorus structures are very much subject to subsidence, and on which the instruments buried deep in the mix frequently seem to be playing an entirely different song to those in the foreground – but it’s certainly sharper and more focused.

Rihanna - ANTI

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

Sometimes you get the frustrating sense that strong ideas are being deliberately short-circuited in the pursuit of a slightly self-conscious weirdness.

Skepta - Konnichiwa

Skepta - Konnichiwa
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
80
16 reviews
It’s not just that the lyrics throughout are dextrous and sharp and funny, although they are. It’s that even his most virulent braggadocio is underscored by a very winning, very British kind of bathos.

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
You’re left with an album that fancies itself as a challenging work of art, but turns out to be a collection of fantastic pop songs full of interesting, smart lyrics, but also peppered with self-conscious lunges for a gravitas it doesn’t really need.

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith - A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke
March 11, 2016
Critic Score
83
3 reviews
A trumpet/piano duo is a tough call, but the two operate with a charismatic delicacy and subtle force.
Original Source: https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/jun/08/the-best-albums-of-2016-so-far
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