Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2016

Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2016

Original Source

50. Death Grips - Bottomless Pit

Death Grips - Bottomless Pit
May 6, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
81
12 reviews
User Score
80
340 reviews

For all the different genres it consumes and spits back, it sounds like no other band on earth.

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49. Dawes - We're All Gonna Die

Dawes - We're All Gonna Die
September 16, 2016
Pop Rock
Critic Score
72
5 reviews
User Score
72
15 reviews

They've slicked up their Seventies ideal, with a big FM-radio sound built on string sections, processed vocals, glockenspiels and vintage synths.

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48. Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution
March 4, 2016
Jazz Fusion
Critic Score
83
10 reviews
User Score
75
186 reviews

Emily's D+Evolution is a far more ambitious and thornier affair. The lyrics, flowing in disjunctive clusters, are about deleted narratives, glass ceilings and dreams deferred – ultimately a complex, funky prog-rock concept opera about love and identity.

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47. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein - Stranger Things, Vol 1

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein - Stranger Things, Vol 1
August 12, 2016
Synthwave
Critic Score
83
7 reviews
User Score
81
58 reviews

47. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein - Stranger Things, Vol 2

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein - Stranger Things, Vol 2
August 19, 2016
Synthwave
Critic Score
78
2 reviews
User Score
79
20 reviews

46. Norah Jones - Day Breaks

Norah Jones - Day Breaks
October 7, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
72
6 reviews
User Score
77
30 reviews

45. Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression
March 18, 2016
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
75
28 reviews
User Score
74
182 reviews

On his awesomely gnarled 17th solo album, he plays the low-rent elder statesman, a spectacularly scuzzball Leonard Cohen still snarling, still hoping to get his rocks off.

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44. The Monkees - Good Times!

The Monkees - Good Times!
June 10, 2016
Pop Rock
Critic Score
76
7 reviews
User Score
71
15 reviews

The Monkees' first album in nearly 20 years is also their best since the Sixties – to be precise, since the Head soundtrack in 1968.

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43. Future - EVOL

Future - EVOL
February 6, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
71
18 reviews
User Score
61
130 reviews

42. Drake - VIEWS

Drake - VIEWS
April 29, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
67
28 reviews
User Score
60
363 reviews
Drake has tilled this soil on several albums, with little new insight or complexity unearthed here; the result is an occasionally excellent LP that feels, naggingly, like a missed opportunity.
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41. Wilco - Schmilco

Wilco - Schmilco
September 9, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
74
22 reviews
User Score
72
139 reviews

Along with its return to bedrock sounds, the album seems especially shaped by the Midwestern-ness that's always defined the Chicago-based crew.

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40. Maxwell - blackSUMMERS'night

Maxwell - blackSUMMERS'night
July 1, 2016
Neo-Soul
Critic Score
82
10 reviews
User Score
77
100 reviews
Think of Maxwell as R&B's Thom Yorke – a cosmic love man riding open-ended grooves that shift from inner exploration to booty motivation in the blink of an eye.
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39. Elton John - Wonderful Crazy Night

Elton John - Wonderful Crazy Night
February 5, 2016
Piano Rock
Critic Score
66
10 reviews
User Score
59
18 reviews
There is a matured pacing and weight to the music and John's vocal performances that make this record one of his finest in its own right.
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38. Tove Lo - Lady Wood

Tove Lo - Lady Wood
October 28, 2016
Electropop
Critic Score
72
14 reviews
User Score
67
116 reviews

Whether she's high as fuck ("Influence") or stranded on the dance floor ("WTF Love Is"), she thrives on the power of losing yourself in sounds you can dominate and emotions you'll never contain.

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37. Bonnie Raitt - Dig In Deep

Bonnie Raitt - Dig In Deep
February 26, 2016
Roots Rock
Critic Score
78
10 reviews
User Score
71
18 reviews

Raitt is as bold and sharp on Dig In Deep, made with her longtime road band.

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36. Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct

Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
November 18, 2016
Heavy Metal
Critic Score
67
20 reviews
User Score
64
86 reviews

The mostly epic-length tracks – almost entirely written by drummer Lars Ulrich and singer-guitarist James Hetfield – are melodically assured furies of serial riffing and tempo shocks.

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35. ANOHNI - Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness
May 6, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
User Score
78
424 reviews

What can at times sound facile in its un-coded repugnance deepens, on repeated listens, into both sophisticated political statement and haunting music.

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34. Angel Olsen - My Woman

Angel Olsen - My Woman
September 2, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
86
30 reviews
User Score
82
496 reviews

33. Sting - 57th & 9th

Sting - 57th & 9th
November 11, 2016
Pop Rock
Critic Score
66
7 reviews
User Score
62
9 reviews

32. Alicia Keys - HERE

Alicia Keys - HERE
November 4, 2016
Neo-Soul
Critic Score
73
13 reviews
User Score
70
71 reviews

She roughs up the piano she once played prettily, endows her vocal exertions with more church than ever, and leans into a solid old-school hip-hop backbone fortified in large part by her husband Swizz Beatz.

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31. White Lung - Paradise

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

30. A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service

A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service
November 11, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
User Score
84
392 reviews

One of the most timeless rap groups ever has returned with a record that doesn't sound like 1996, but doesn't sound like 2016 either. It's imbued with the same feeling of "Push It Along" that they've had from the beginning. 

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29. Mudcrutch - 2

Mudcrutch - 2
May 20, 2016
Americana
Critic Score
81
5 reviews
User Score
75
18 reviews
Now, with a second album, Mudcrutch feel like a steady moonlighting gig. This record is more of a band effort than the decades-delayed debut – all of the members get writing credits, and all get a shot at a lead vocal.
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28. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

Blood Orange - Freetown Sound
June 27, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
User Score
80
320 reviews

Freetown Sound is one deep avant-pop mixtape, a masterpiece of composition, curation and choreography addressing present-day black art and experience while refusing limits at every turn.

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27. Brandy Clark - Big Day in a Small Town

Brandy Clark - Big Day in a Small Town
June 10, 2016
Country
Critic Score
84
4 reviews
User Score
80
13 reviews
Its sequel, and proper major label debut, ups the ante: It's music tooled alternately for stadiums and songwriting circles, commercial and public radio, line-dance bars and coffee shops.
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26. 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

Sailor's Guide is classic album length – nine songs, 39 minutes – and best heard in one sitting; this is Nashville craft less as pop science than as expansive headphone storytelling.

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25. Rihanna - ANTI

Rihanna - ANTI
January 27, 2016
R&B
Critic Score
70
28 reviews
User Score
72
464 reviews
After more than a decade as a superstar of the singles chart, Rihanna has become an album artist.
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24. Drive-By Truckers - American Band

Drive-By Truckers - American Band
September 30, 2016
Alt-Country
Critic Score
85
13 reviews
User Score
74
55 reviews
It's political rock that never confuses passionate commitment with smug certainty, asking more questions than it answers on a hero's journey into our darkest national impulses, and maybe in some small way, beyond them.
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23. Mitski - Puberty 2

Mitski - Puberty 2
June 17, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
86
24 reviews
User Score
80
402 reviews

As bawdy and unpredictable as anyone is in their first puberty, Puberty 2 shows Miyawaki indulging her whims with a devil-may-care attitude – the result is an incendiary self-portrait.

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22. Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Bon Iver - 22, A Million
September 30, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
88
33 reviews
User Score
81
673 reviews

With his long-awaited third album, Vernon completely breaks from his guitar-hugging persona, leaving it in the woods like a Coen brothers corpse as he flexes a mastery of processed vocals, samples, loops, beats, synths and noise, along with more familiar trappings.

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21. Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter
March 25, 2016
Country
Critic Score
80
10 reviews
User Score
76
72 reviews

Midwest Farmer's Daughter is the first full-on country release on Third Man, the Nashville based label run by suspect carpetbagger Jack White, and dude was smart to wait ‘til he had an act this undeniable.

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20. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree
September 9, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
90
27 reviews
User Score
84
448 reviews

Although Cave still writes safely from the perspective of characters on Skeleton Tree's eight songs, the grief on each track is undeniably and uniquely his own.

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19. Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
September 27, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
83
29 reviews
User Score
85
470 reviews

While Atrocity Exhibition is stuffed like a piñata with colorful addictions ... its also teeming with the isolation, paranoia and regrets you could expect from a rap album named after a Joy Division song. 

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18. 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
Synthpop
Critic Score
71
21 reviews
User Score
63
180 reviews

The album's rambling, vaguely emo title is a giveaway: Despite opening big, bright and airtight, I Like It When You Sleep ... gets boring-melty during dream-gaze reveries like "Please Be Naked" and "Lostmyhead."

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17. Parquet Courts - Human Performance

Parquet Courts - Human Performance
April 8, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
82
27 reviews
User Score
77
327 reviews

Human Performance is the first album you could describe as your typical Parquet Courts record – it gathers their best tricks in one place, along with new ones you wouldn't see coming.

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16. Miranda Lambert - The Weight of These Wings

Miranda Lambert - The Weight of These Wings
November 18, 2016
Country
Critic Score
80
9 reviews
User Score
78
34 reviews

The Nashville star's most ambitious LP, a range-y two-disc set ditching country's mainstream playbook for the sort of Great Album rock acts used to spit out regularly back in the day.

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15. LVL Up - Return to Love

LVL Up - Return to Love
September 23, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
75
9 reviews
User Score
75
28 reviews

14. Green Day - Revolution Radio

Green Day - Revolution Radio
October 7, 2016
Pop Punk
Critic Score
63
23 reviews
User Score
58
89 reviews

Revolution Radio isn't just hot nostalgia. It reflects decades of accrued emotional and musical wisdom.

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13. Maren Morris - Hero

Maren Morris - Hero
June 3, 2016
Country
Critic Score
75
3 reviews
User Score
70
32 reviews

12. Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger

Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger
June 3, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
79
17 reviews
User Score
75
74 reviews
It's as inviting, immaculately produced, jokey and unsettled a record as any he has ever made.
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11. Solange - A Seat at the Table

Solange - A Seat at the Table
September 30, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
User Score
83
461 reviews
In a volatile world increasingly defined by the brash and the crude, Solange's packaging of brutal honesty in tender, harmony-rich murmurs is both beautiful and radical.
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10. Young Thug - Jeffery

Young Thug - Jeffery
August 26, 2016
Hip Hop
Critic Score
78
11 reviews
User Score
76
193 reviews

As usual it's Thug's own sound that predominates: the heroic howls, rasps, mumbles and wheezes of a man who is as captivating a vocalist as any in pop.

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9. Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
October 21, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
87
19 reviews
User Score
82
219 reviews

Following a string of records that have each felt like a swan song, You Want It Darker may be Cohen's most haunting LP.

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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
919 reviews

It's a labored-over opus that wishes it were a mixtape, trying hard to curate the vibe of a sprawling mess, and that's because it's made by an artist who feels like a mess and doesn't care to hide it.

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7. The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome

The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome
December 2, 2016
Blues Rock
Critic Score
78
14 reviews
User Score
73
50 reviews

6. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
User Score
86
1001 reviews

If Radiohead have made the dehumanizing effects of technology their great theme, A Moon Shaped Pool is the first record in which, musically, they kick their way out of the machine, or at least make their cyborg soul more vestigial.

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5. Frank Ocean - Blonde

Frank Ocean - Blonde
August 20, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
86
33 reviews
User Score
85
784 reviews
The album is by turns oblique, smolderingly direct, forlorn, funny, dissonant and gorgeous: a vertiginous marvel of digital-age psychedelic pop.
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4. 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
459 reviews
Like Courtney Barnett, he comes off as a rock-loving child of alt-rock's skepticism working backwards towards something to believe in.
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3. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

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

Reaching back to the very beginning of black music in America, Chance recontextualizes one of the most enduring African-American art forms for 2016's most urgent one.

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2. David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
85
33 reviews
User Score
85
864 reviews

This album represents Bowie's most fulfilling spin away from glam-legend pop charm since 1977's Low. Blackstar is that strange, and that good.

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1. Beyoncé - Lemonade

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

Lemonade is an entire album of emotional discord and marital meltdown, from the world's most famous celebrity; it's also a major personal statement from the most respected and creative artist in the pop game.

Full Review →
Original Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/50-best-albums-of-2016-w451265

MORE 2016 YEAR END LISTS:


MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM ROLLING STONE:


Check out our 2016 Year End Summary.