AOTY 2017
Exclaim's Best Pop & Rock Albums of 2016

Exclaim's Best Pop & Rock Albums of 2016

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20. DIIV - Is the Is Are

DIIV - Is the Is Are
February 5, 2016
Critic Score
72
25 reviews

There will no doubt be some making the age-old "less is more" argument that comes with any double LP, but that shouldn't overshadow the fact that DIIV have returned with a powerful, immersive sophomore album.

19. Pinegrove - Cardinal

Pinegrove - Cardinal
February 12, 2016
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
The Montclair, New Jersey's band's sound — off-the-cuff, loose heart-on-sleeve indie-rock cut with Americana — is the perfect vessel for that kind of premature twilight, anxiety and loss. Above all else, it feels so goddamned natural.

18. Gord Downie - Secret Path

Gord Downie - Secret Path
October 18, 2016
Critic Score
83
2 reviews

17. White Lung - Paradise

White Lung - Paradise
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
77
20 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.

16. ANOHNI - Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
HOPELESSNESS is her own call to action, art as manifesto, a reminder that there is nothing hopeless in creation.

14. PUP - The Dream Is Over

PUP - The Dream Is Over
May 27, 2016
Critic Score
76
14 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.

13. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree
September 9, 2016
Critic Score
90
27 reviews

Skeleton Tree is one of the most apt examples of a man's grief being put to wax that anyone could imagine.

12. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
May 20, 2016
Critic Score
82
20 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.

11. Tanya Tagaq - Retribution

Tanya Tagaq - Retribution
October 21, 2016
Critic Score
82
7 reviews

10. Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
October 21, 2016
Critic Score
87
19 reviews

You Want It Darker is a strong record, with an even stronger message. With age comes wisdom and reflection, which certainly rings clear here, as Cohen gracefully wonders — as we all do — what'll happen next.

9. James Blake - The Colour in Anything

James Blake - The Colour in Anything
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
79
25 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.

8. Mitski - Puberty 2

Mitski - Puberty 2
June 17, 2016
Critic Score
86
24 reviews

Mitski has long been an integral part of the indie rock world, but with Puberty 2, Miyawaki has proven that she is more vital and more necessary than ever. No other artist is writing music this open and accessible; as a result, Puberty 2 is one of the best records of the year so far.

7. Andy Shauf - The Party

Andy Shauf - The Party
May 20, 2016
Critic Score
79
6 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.

6. Angel Olsen - My Woman

Angel Olsen - My Woman
September 2, 2016
Critic Score
86
30 reviews

A fascinating, affecting statement from a musician firmly in control of her artistry.

5. Bon Iver - 22, A Million

Bon Iver - 22, A Million
September 30, 2016
Critic Score
88
33 reviews

22, A Million isn't a game-changer ... Yet in the context of Bon Iver, it's an emphatic step forward, a gorgeous album that, rather than running from it, reflects our fractured world back at us.

4. Beyoncé - Lemonade

Beyoncé - Lemonade
April 23, 2016
Critic Score
89
30 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.

3. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

Blood Orange - Freetown Sound
June 27, 2016
Critic Score
81
27 reviews

A sprawling, cut-and-paste, idea-rich album that moves the listener as much physically as emotionally, coating the harsh truths and lyrical pills here with clean, honeyed production and uptempo, undeniable rhythms.

2. David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Critic Score
85
33 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.

1. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
34 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.

Original Source: http://exclaim.ca/music/article/exclaim_s_top_20_pop_and_rock_albums_part_one-best_of_2016
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