American Songwriter's Top 50 Albums of 2016

American Songwriter's Top 50 Albums of 2016

Original Source

50. Twin Peaks - Down In Heaven

Twin Peaks - Down In Heaven
May 13, 2016
Indie Rock
Critic Score
75
18 reviews
User Score
74
53 reviews

49. 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
921 reviews

48. Brothers Osborne - Pawn Shop

Brothers Osborne - Pawn Shop
January 15, 2016
Country
Critic Score
80
2 reviews
User Score
74
8 reviews

47. 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

46. The Felice Brothers - Life in the Dark

The Felice Brothers - Life in the Dark
June 24, 2016
Americana
Critic Score
68
8 reviews
User Score
75
10 reviews

On Life In The Dark, the Felice Brothers continue their decade-plus quest of chronicling our crooked national pathologies with quirky humor, slacker indifference and guarded folkie optimism.

Full Review →

45. Frank Ocean - Blonde

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

This is music that fascinates on first listen but requires multiple spins for its complexities and idiosyncrasies to take hold.

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44. Pinegrove - Cardinal

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

43. Amanda Shires - My Piece of Land

Amanda Shires - My Piece of Land
September 16, 2016
Americana
Critic Score
76
3 reviews
User Score
78
3 reviews

42. Conor Oberst - Ruminations

Conor Oberst - Ruminations
October 14, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
74
23 reviews
User Score
77
48 reviews

Oberst’s naked presentation and generally obtuse concepts feel genuine and are worth mulling over for a deeper understanding of his expressive and largely enticing thoughts.

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41. Lera Lynn - Resistor

Lera Lynn - Resistor
April 29, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
77
3 reviews
User Score
85
2 reviews

40. Maren Morris - Hero

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

39. Warpaint - Heads Up

Warpaint - Heads Up
September 23, 2016
Dream Pop
Critic Score
74
22 reviews
User Score
73
118 reviews

38. Courtney Marie Andrews - Honest Life

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

37. 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

36. 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
460 reviews

35. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
User Score
86
1003 reviews

For a long time now, Radiohead has been achieving mesmerizing results by blazing the trail for synthetic sounds in rock and roll. But it’s the humanity, oh, the humanity, that makes A Moon Shaped Pool so moving.

Full Review →

34. Savages - Adore Life

Savages - Adore Life
January 22, 2016
Post-Punk
Critic Score
79
33 reviews
User Score
74
313 reviews

33. Cass McCombs - Mangy Love

Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
August 26, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
77
18 reviews
User Score
77
79 reviews

This is shrewd, layered music that demands the songs be mulled over and scrutinized; even if that may not provide answers to questions McCombs poses.

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32. Kelsey Waldon - I've Got a Way

Kelsey Waldon - I've Got a Way
August 12, 2016
Country
Critic Score
80
1 review
User Score
61
2 reviews

31. Lambchop - FLOTUS

Lambchop - FLOTUS
November 4, 2016
Indietronica
Critic Score
81
20 reviews
User Score
72
67 reviews

FLOTUS fits surprisingly neatly into Lambchop’s catalog, capturing what makes this band so special and hinting at new directions it might take in its next two decades.

Full Review →

30. Against Me! - Shape Shift With Me

Against Me! - Shape Shift With Me
September 16, 2016
Punk Rock
Critic Score
75
16 reviews
User Score
73
41 reviews

Shape Shift With Me, with its provocative title and explicit, non PC cover art no major label would approve, continues the band’s string of powerfully uncompromising but surprisingly tuneful albums that make you think, but only if you’re not busy thrashing in the mosh pit.

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29. Brian Fallon - Painkillers

Brian Fallon - Painkillers
March 11, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
76
10 reviews
User Score
68
20 reviews

Painkillers quickly veers off from that attention-grabber, dials down the intensity of the music, and lets Fallon tread through settings more reflective and restrained.

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28. 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

27. 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

26. Lydia Loveless - Real

Lydia Loveless - Real
August 19, 2016
Alt-Country
Critic Score
78
12 reviews
User Score
73
22 reviews

Melodies take longer to reveal themselves and choruses don’t have the natural hooks Loveless has crafted before. Which just means you’ll need to spend additional time exploring the songs, mulling them over, absorbing the lyrics and letting their more elusive charms sink in.

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25. 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

Dig In Deep is another distinguished and near perfect entry into a classy, bulging catalog that has seen few missteps.

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24. 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

23. Beyoncé - Lemonade

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

22. Robert Ellis - Robert Ellis

Robert Ellis - Robert Ellis
June 3, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
77
6 reviews
User Score
75
8 reviews

21. 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

20. 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

Carrying over the momentum from his last excellent release, 2011’s So Beautiful Or So What, this disc features Simon at his most restless, in terms of both his questioning lyrics and his search for the right sound, and that restlessness pays off for the listener in endlessly fascinating ways.

Full Review →

19. Mitski - Puberty 2

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

18. Aaron Lee Tasjan - Silver Tears

Aaron Lee Tasjan - Silver Tears
October 28, 2016
Americana
Critic Score
76
5 reviews
User Score
76
3 reviews

17. Hayes Carll - Lovers and Leavers

Hayes Carll - Lovers and Leavers
April 8, 2016
Alt-Country
Critic Score
67
3 reviews
User Score
95
1 review

16. William Bell - This Is Where I Live

William Bell - This Is Where I Live
June 3, 2016
Soul
Critic Score
87
5 reviews
User Score
73
6 reviews

15. Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20

Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20
February 5, 2016
Americana
Critic Score
81
14 reviews
User Score
74
58 reviews

14. Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Bon Iver - 22, A Million
September 30, 2016
Art Pop
Critic Score
88
33 reviews
User Score
81
676 reviews
Though the methods might be unconventional, the emotions expressed are still riveting.
Full Review →

13. Mudcrutch - 2

Mudcrutch - 2
May 20, 2016
Americana
Critic Score
81
5 reviews
User Score
75
18 reviews

12. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

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

11. Parker Millsap - The Very Last Day

Parker Millsap - The Very Last Day
March 25, 2016
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
80
4 reviews
User Score
82
7 reviews

10. Dori Freeman - Dori Freeman

Dori Freeman - Dori Freeman
February 5, 2015
Americana
Critic Score
NR
User Score
82
4 reviews

9. 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
395 reviews

8. 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
220 reviews

7. 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

Taken as a whole, American Band is the group’s most thematically coherent work since their pinnacle of Jason Isbell-assisted records in the early 2000s.

Full Review →

6. David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Art Rock
Critic Score
85
33 reviews
User Score
85
867 reviews
Lyrically, Bowie it at his best here when he dives fully into off-kilter impressionism and ponders the uncertain present and apocalyptic future.
Full Review →

5. 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
This collaboration works not just on a vocal level, as the women share lead and backing chores, but on a conceptual one as well since their occasionally offbeat Americana sensibilities also dovetail perfectly.
Full Review →

4. 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

3. 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

2. Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate

Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate
July 15, 2016
Soul
Critic Score
83
17 reviews
User Score
79
160 reviews

It’s intimate and sprawling, personal and universal, affectionate and daring. It’s also not background music. Sit down in front of your largest speakers, turn up the volume, push play, close your eyes and let Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate envelope your senses while taking you on a journey to the sonic expanses of your mind.

Full Review →

1. Angel Olsen - My Woman

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

Individually, all of the songs are strong, self-contained bits of cleverly written and emotionally gripping indie rock ... Olsen has always been a compelling songwriter, but more than ever she showcases a range evident in just how versatile that songwriting is.

Full Review →
Original Source: http://americansongwriter.com/2016/12/top-50-albums-2016/

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Check out our 2016 Year End Summary.