Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2016

Paste's 50 Best Albums of 2016

Original Source

50. Courtney Marie Andrews - Honest Life

Courtney Marie Andrews - Honest Life
August 19, 2016
Folk
Critic Score
79
8 reviews
User Score
71
8 reviews

49. Fruit Bats - Absolute Loser

Fruit Bats - Absolute Loser
May 13, 2016
Indie Folk
Critic Score
75
5 reviews
User Score
73
27 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.

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48. 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

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.

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

St. Paul & The Broken Bones - Sea of Noise
September 9, 2016
Soul
Critic Score
76
4 reviews
User Score
79
9 reviews

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

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

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
September 23, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
19 reviews
User Score
78
119 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.

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45. Hiss Golden Messenger - Heart Like a Levee

Hiss Golden Messenger - Heart Like a Levee
October 7, 2016
Indie Folk
Critic Score
77
7 reviews
User Score
77
49 reviews

44. The Coathangers - Nosebleed Weekend

The Coathangers - Nosebleed Weekend
April 15, 2016
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
68
11 reviews
User Score
70
14 reviews

43. Charles Bradley - Changes

Charles Bradley - Changes
April 1, 2016
Soul
Critic Score
76
16 reviews
User Score
75
48 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.

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42. Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
September 30, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
82
20 reviews
User Score
77
181 reviews

41. Margaret Glaspy - Emotions and Math

Margaret Glaspy - Emotions and Math
June 17, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
76
5 reviews
User Score
76
31 reviews

40. Dawn Richard - Redemption

Dawn Richard - Redemption
November 18, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
77
9 reviews
User Score
74
35 reviews

39. 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

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.

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38. ANOHNI - Hopelessness

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

37. 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
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.
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36. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

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

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35. Lake Street Dive - Side Pony

Lake Street Dive - Side Pony
February 19, 2016
Pop Soul
Critic Score
76
8 reviews
User Score
75
9 reviews

34. Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop - Love Letter For Fire

Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop - Love Letter For Fire
April 15, 2016
Indie Folk
Critic Score
78
13 reviews
User Score
68
24 reviews

33. HINDS - Leave Me Alone

HINDS - Leave Me Alone
January 8, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
76
26 reviews
User Score
68
202 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.

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

case/lang/veirs - case/lang/veirs
June 17, 2016
Folk
Critic Score
80
20 reviews
User Score
77
107 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.
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31. Japanese Breakfast - Psychopomp

Japanese Breakfast - Psychopomp
April 1, 2016
Indie Pop
Critic Score
75
7 reviews
User Score
76
120 reviews

30. 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

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.”

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29. Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing

Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
April 1, 2016
Indie Pop
Critic Score
77
17 reviews
User Score
77
205 reviews

28. Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death
June 3, 2016
Synthpop
Critic Score
76
22 reviews
User Score
68
95 reviews

27. Tacocat - Lost Time

Tacocat - Lost Time
April 1, 2016
Indie Pop
Critic Score
72
12 reviews
User Score
71
30 reviews

26. Wilco - Schmilco

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

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25. The Avalanches - Wildflower

The Avalanches - Wildflower
July 8, 2016
Electronic
Critic Score
79
30 reviews
User Score
78
362 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.

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24. Andrew Bird - Are You Serious

Andrew Bird - Are You Serious
April 1, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
76
15 reviews
User Score
76
86 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.

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23. 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

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.

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22. Lucius - Good Grief

Lucius - Good Grief
March 11, 2016
Indie Pop
Critic Score
68
15 reviews
User Score
64
29 reviews

21. Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition

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

20. Parquet Courts - Human Performance

Parquet Courts - Human Performance
April 8, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
82
27 reviews
User Score
77
327 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.
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19. 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

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.

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18. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

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

17. 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

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.

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16. Anderson .Paak - Malibu

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

15. 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
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.
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14. Pinegrove - Cardinal

Pinegrove - Cardinal
February 12, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
User Score
76
197 reviews

13. 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

12. 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
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.
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11. 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

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

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10. Frank Ocean - Blonde

Frank Ocean - Blonde
August 20, 2016
Alternative R&B
Critic Score
86
33 reviews
User Score
85
784 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.

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9. 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

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.

Full Review →

8. Lucy Dacus - No Burden

Lucy Dacus - No Burden
February 26, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
77
9 reviews
User Score
77
40 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.

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7. Angel Olsen - My Woman

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

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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

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.

Full Review →

5. Mitski - Puberty 2

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

4. 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
These guys never rapped like this before, and they never will again, at least not in this configuration.
Full Review →

3. 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

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.

Full Review →

2. Beyoncé - Lemonade

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

1. David Bowie - Blackstar

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

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

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Check out our 2016 Year End Summary.