AOTY 2017
Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2016

Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2016

Original Source →

49. Fruit Bats - Absolute Loser

Fruit Bats - Absolute Loser
May 13, 2016
Critic Score
75
5 reviews

Absolute Loser restores the Fruit Bats name, and thankfully this new start doesn’t come with attempts to concoct new tricks, but instead unfolds as a rock-solid example of what Johnson has done best for more than 15 years.

48. Drive-By Truckers - American Band

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
85
13 reviews

The songs on American Band, for the most part, are well constructed, catchy-enough tunes that don’t quite rise into the first rank of the group’s deep and impressive catalog.

47. St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Sea of Noise

September 9, 2016
Critic Score
76
4 reviews

Sea of Noise is a powerful testament to the unflagging power of music borne from faith and conviction.

46. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - I Had A Dream That You Were Mine

September 23, 2016
Critic Score
80
19 reviews

What gets left out of their pop experimentation much of the time are simply hooks. The callbacks to other artists and eras are easy to recognize, but it’s often hard to remember which song they are attached to.

43. Charles Bradley - Changes

April 1, 2016
Critic Score
76
16 reviews

Like its predecessors No Time for Dreaming and Victim of Love, Changes is a strong entry into the canon of modern soul with a vintage heart. Even better is what the album represents for Bradley: after decades of struggle, the Screaming Eagle of Soul has come fully into his own.

42. Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
82
20 reviews
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39. Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
79
17 reviews

Without a doubt,Stranger to Stranger is a testament to an artist who refuses to be ordinary and pigeonholed. With this LP, Paul Simon has created his best work in many years.

37. Whitney - Light Upon The Lake

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
80
17 reviews
The weird thing about labeling this record as a breakup album is that it’s both accurate and—paradoxically—widely off-base.It’s not angsty, or hastily prepared in a few drunken nights off of some fit of red-eyed nostalgia.

36. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

March 4, 2016
Critic Score
84
26 reviews

This isn’t just a collection of b-sides: this is Kendrick’s What If version of his own mythology, flaws as alternate histories, unrealized retcons.

35. Lake Street Dive - Side Pony

Lake Street Dive - Side Pony
February 19, 2016
Critic Score
76
8 reviews

33. HINDS - Leave Me Alone

January 8, 2016
Critic Score
76
26 reviews

Hinds makes music that is very much about capturing a mood and evoking a feeling: namely, those youthful, carefree times that loom large in our memories, or maybe only in our fantasies.

32. case/lang/veirs - case/lang/veirs

June 17, 2016
Critic Score
80
20 reviews
During their respective well-established careers, Case, lang and Veirs had traveled in fairly different circles, which made the initial news of their collaboration a surprise—one that lasted just long enough to realize how well matched they really are.

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

March 4, 2016
Critic Score
77
10 reviews

A Man Alive is an endearing listen and has all of the elements of a complete work—even pop-centric singles in “Astonished Man” and “Nobody Dies.”

27. Tacocat - Lost Time

April 1, 2016
Critic Score
72
12 reviews

26. Wilco - Schmilco

September 9, 2016
Critic Score
74
22 reviews

Schmilco is an acoustic record but not a slow one—thank God—which proves the right vehicle for the band’s loosest, most unadorned set of songs since its debut.

25. The Avalanches - Wildflower

July 8, 2016
Critic Score
79
30 reviews

It took a childhood-and-a-half to come to fruition, but Wildflower is another album that snatches elements from the past but sounds like the future.

24. Andrew Bird - Are You Serious

April 1, 2016
Critic Score
76
15 reviews

Because it so directly explores matters of the heart, Are You Serious will likely end up as the “Andrew Bird Grows Up” album, even if it annoys him. But there’s beauty in the honesty of that evolution.

23. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

September 9, 2016
Critic Score
90
27 reviews

Skeleton Tree ... isn’t something listeners can likely dislodge from their minds anytime soon ... There’s something to be said about Skeleton Tree and its starkness, which is as familiar as life and death, an elegy, and a hell of a thing to forget.

22. Lucius - Good Grief

Lucius - Good Grief
March 11, 2016
Critic Score
68
15 reviews

20. Parquet Courts - Human Performance

April 8, 2016
Critic Score
82
27 reviews
For all their obvious musical ability, the band’s real skill here is blending so many unexpected elements into a coherent whole that is at once adventurous and accessible, even if—or maybe because—you have to hustle a little to keep up.

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

April 15, 2016
Critic Score
83
16 reviews

As a whole, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is simultaneously eclectic and of a piece: It’s big and bold and sometimes messy, but never unfocused.

17. Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

October 21, 2016
Critic Score
87
19 reviews

The songwriting is masterful, with some new compositions like “It’s Better That Way” in every way equal to the best work he has ever recorded.

16. Anderson .Paak - Malibu

January 15, 2016
Critic Score
79
15 reviews

15. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

May 13, 2016
Critic Score
85
22 reviews
This varied soundscape keeps Chance on his toes, giving him infinite ways to twist his thoughts and his voice into the reverent praises he’s so devoted to.

14. Pinegrove - Cardinal

February 12, 2016
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

12. Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter

March 25, 2016
Critic Score
80
10 reviews
Her voice is equally as engaging as her writing, going from mournful to exclamatory, oftentimes in the same song. There have been comparisons to Loretta Lynn, which must be flattering to the up-and-coming singer. To write, sing and relate to your listeners as she does is a rare trio of traits.

11. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

February 14, 2016
Critic Score
79
32 reviews

The Life of Pablo is a fucking mess—the scattered, contradictory work of an icon straining to keep up with his own brilliant pace.

10. Frank Ocean - Blonde

August 20, 2016
Critic Score
86
33 reviews

Beautifully more simple than any of our mythmaking delusions, Blonde is Ocean’s life as he experiences it: fluid and fluctuating, one man in motion. This is what freedom sounds like.

9. Bon Iver - 22, A Million

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
88
33 reviews

If it seemed incongruous that Justin Vernon was rolling with Kanye West on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010 and Yeezus in 2013, Vernon’s new LP as Bon Iver shows that the indie-folk singer and megastar rapper are, in many ways, kindred spirits.

8. Lucy Dacus - No Burden

February 26, 2016
Critic Score
77
9 reviews

With No Burden, Lucy Dacus challenges the little boxes everyone seems forced into at one time or another, exposing them for the weak material they’re built from. In the process, she’s created a debut record with an abundance of heart that should speak to anyone with a pulse of their own.

7. Angel Olsen - My Woman

September 2, 2016
Critic Score
86
30 reviews

Angel Olsen’s fearless and eloquent embrace of raw emotions in all their messy splendor ultimately feels oddly uplifting, the way it always does when you witness a gifted artist at her best.

6. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
34 reviews

With A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead have resumed the greatest winning streak in modern popular music. Not by flaunting any new tricks—just by delivering their normal quota of catharsis.

5. Mitski - Puberty 2

June 17, 2016
Critic Score
86
24 reviews

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

November 11, 2016
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
These guys never rapped like this before, and they never will again, at least not in this configuration.

3. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

May 20, 2016
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

With Teens of Denial, Toledo has practically guaranteed himself a viable career for years to come. The fact he did it while still in his early twenties after laying a foundation of solid self-released records proves even further that his most creative days are probably still ahead of him.

2. Beyoncé - Lemonade

April 23, 2016
Critic Score
89
30 reviews

1. David Bowie - Blackstar

January 8, 2016
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

True to the tone of the record, Bowie is almost a spectre throughout ★. His vocals are often doubled in tight harmonies, or given an alien-like echo that might as well be broadcasts from the beyond. He never sounds less than marvelous, through.

Original Source: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/11/the-50-best-albums-of-2016.html
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