Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2016 So Far

Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2016 So Far

Original Source

27. dvsn - Sept. 5th

dvsn - Sept. 5th
April 1, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
74
6 reviews
User Score
74
157 reviews

On Sept. 5, dvsn establish themselves as the cutting edge of post-millennial soul music, electrifying, absorbing and, at their best, downright mind-blowing.

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26. Gold Panda - Good Luck and Do Your Best

Gold Panda - Good Luck and Do Your Best
May 27, 2016
Microhouse
Critic Score
78
17 reviews
User Score
75
85 reviews

GLADYB doesn't really deviate from the path that was laid down by previous albums Lucky Shiner and Half of Where You Live, but — perhaps even more impressively — it stays decidedly on it, rounding out a beautiful trilogy of semi-danceable, definitely nod-able records. It may even be his best.

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25. Aborted - Retrogore

Aborted - Retrogore
April 22, 2016
Death Metal
Critic Score
90
1 review
User Score
73
4 reviews

The overall splattering of Retrogore will satisfy any gorehound's need for auditory blood.

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24. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
May 20, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
82
20 reviews
User Score
82
458 reviews

Despite clocking in at a whopping 70 minutes, Car Seat Headrest pack enough hooks in to avoid lagging, thanks to Toledo's practice with his lengthy yet phenomenal earlier albums Twin Fantasy and How to Leave Town.

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23. BJ The Chicago Kid - In My Mind

BJ The Chicago Kid - In My Mind
February 19, 2016
R&B
Critic Score
79
5 reviews
User Score
70
81 reviews

In an industry where the idea of a meritocracy is as foreign as a retirement plan, Bryan James has achieved the near impossible. In My Mind is the most earnest soul album in years.

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22. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive
March 4, 2016
Indie Pop
Critic Score
77
10 reviews
User Score
75
82 reviews

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down have returned with A Man Alive, a brilliant and cohesive album that surpasses expectation. It's an elaborate showcase of musical talent and diversity; styles are blended between fractured beats and uninhibited vocals, while elements of tension and release are used strongly to toy with listeners' emotions.

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21. Magrudergrind - II

Magrudergrind - II
February 12, 2016
Grindcore
Critic Score
90
1 review
User Score
71
13 reviews
Magrudergrind still maintain all of the vitriol and chaos that characterized their previous material, but it's clear that they have matured greatly over the years, and tracks like "Sacrificial Hire," "Hara-Kiri" and "Unit 731" are especially diverse and thoughtfully composed. It all amounts to the band's most focused LP yet.
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20. Whitney - Light Upon The Lake

Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
June 3, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
17 reviews
User Score
79
296 reviews

19. White Lung - Paradise

White Lung - Paradise
May 6, 2016
Noise Rock
Critic Score
77
20 reviews
User Score
75
159 reviews

White Lung sound both heavier and more accessible on Paradise, once again proving that there's far more to this band than meets the eye.

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18. ANOHNI - Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness
May 6, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
User Score
78
422 reviews
HOPELESSNESS is her own call to action, art as manifesto, a reminder that there is nothing hopeless in creation.
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17. Anna Meredith - Varmints

Anna Meredith - Varmints
March 4, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
83
6 reviews
User Score
76
167 reviews

16. The Range - Potential

The Range - Potential
March 25, 2016
Future Garage
Critic Score
80
13 reviews
User Score
75
137 reviews

Whether you're aware of the conceptual backstory behind Potential or come into the project blind, Hinton makes the album just as conceptually moody as it is conceptually aural.

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15. Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost

Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost
May 13, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
78
14 reviews
User Score
74
73 reviews

Rather than sticking with what worked before, Modern Baseball's two songwriters have pushed the band forward here, keeping their music in line with their rapidly maturing outlook.

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14. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
March 4, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
84
26 reviews
User Score
81
644 reviews

All said, untitled unmastered. is a brilliant mini-album that stands well on its own, but it works even better as a fascinating To Pimp a Butterfly appendix, expanding on and balancing the themes of that album both sonically and lyrically.

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13. Jean-Michel Blais - Il

Jean-Michel Blais - Il
April 8, 2016
Modern Classical
Critic Score
85
2 reviews
User Score
77
13 reviews

12. Drake - VIEWS

Drake - VIEWS
April 29, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
67
28 reviews
User Score
60
362 reviews

It's a slow album, but through multiple listens, we're treated to the same complexities, but personal and musical, that have made him such a fascinating figure throughout the past decade.

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11. James Blake - The Colour in Anything

James Blake - The Colour in Anything
May 6, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
79
25 reviews
User Score
78
496 reviews

From its weighty subject matter to its incredibly nuanced production, The Colour in Anything is not only Blake at his best, but also his most personal.

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10. PUP - The Dream Is Over

PUP - The Dream Is Over
May 27, 2016
Pop Punk
Critic Score
76
14 reviews
User Score
74
82 reviews

The Dream Is Over has no pretext or pretence; the band did what they did best in 2013, and then did it a bit better here.

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9. Andy Shauf - The Party

Andy Shauf - The Party
May 20, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
79
6 reviews
User Score
77
63 reviews

Shauf brings the same mentality to pop music as the songwriting greats of the '60s and '70s did, with gorgeous instrumentation, subtle arrangements and an all-round organic feel. Paired with his very human and humanizing lyrics, The Party is relatable and honest, simply marvellous.

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8. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
February 14, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
79
32 reviews
User Score
76
917 reviews

It remains a modern gospel that is undeniably West's own, with a handful of vexatious moments peppered throughout the undeniably visionary ones.

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7. Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth

Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth
April 15, 2016
Alt-Country
Critic Score
83
16 reviews
User Score
79
232 reviews

Simpson ... seems hell-bent on disassembling the genre and piecing it back together the only way that sounds right to him. While the best of the best learn to master country music, he's turning it into a whole new monster, one that's his and his only.

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6. Anderson .Paak - Malibu

Anderson .Paak - Malibu
January 15, 2016
Neo-Soul
Critic Score
79
15 reviews
User Score
81
580 reviews

A rose from concrete, Malibu offers a sense of wonder that's carefully rooted in funk and soul, and presents a complete vision from a blossoming new artist that's not only fearless, but leading something of a sonic revolution.

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5. Beyoncé - Lemonade

Beyoncé - Lemonade
April 23, 2016
R&B
Critic Score
89
30 reviews
User Score
80
756 reviews

The result is an album in which millions will find their own struggles reflected back to them, as therapeutic as it is utterly dazzling. If you've ever been handed lemons, you need Lemonade.

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4. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
User Score
86
1000 reviews

A Moon Shaped Pool is a gorgeous, sweeping record whose best moments ... find Radiohead at their dazzling best, reflecting something of their past while stretching forward, too.

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3. David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
85
33 reviews
User Score
85
863 reviews
It’s a defining statement from someone who isn’t interested in living in the past, but rather, for the first time in a while, waiting for everyone else to catch up.
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2. KAYTRANADA - 99.9%

KAYTRANADA - 99.9%
May 6, 2016
Electronic
Critic Score
78
19 reviews
User Score
77
280 reviews

Taking all of 99.9% into account, it's really no wonder that Kaytranada has become one of the most sought-after producers these days. This will surely mark yet another, even weightier, launchpad for Kaytranada to head skyward, out towards that much-fabled 100%.

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1. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
May 13, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
85
22 reviews
User Score
77
530 reviews

Coloring Book is a spirited musical sermon, and Chance's fellow MCs will covet its perfect union of gospel and rap. Those other rappers had better speak now, or forever hold their peace.

Full Review →
Original Source: http://exclaim.ca/music/article/exclaims_top_27_albums_of_2016_so_far

MORE 2016 YEAR END LISTS:


Check out our 2016 Year End Summary.