AOTY 2017
AllMusic's Best of 2016

AllMusic's Best of 2016

Original Source →

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

November 11, 2016
Critic Score
86
23 reviews

This is no nostalgia trip or callous comeback. It's a giant exclamation point on the end of a brilliant career. It's also a tribute to the everyman genius of Phife, a widescreen look at the record-making skills of Q-Tip, and most importantly, it's a pure, undiluted, joyous thrill to have the Tribe back and still sounding this vital.

Agnes Obel - Citizen of Glass

October 21, 2016
Critic Score
78
9 reviews

Obel's penchant for pairing elements of Elizabethan choral polyphony with millennial angst, not to mention her liberal use of spinet and celeste, would seem pedantic in less skilled hands, but there isn't a single moment on the quietly stunning Citizen of Glass that doesn't feel authentic.

Amos Lee - Spirit

Amos Lee - Spirit
August 19, 2016
Critic Score
80
2 reviews

Anderson .Paak - Malibu

January 15, 2016
Critic Score
79
15 reviews
Throughout, he's a (stoned) common man making the best of his consequences, yet he has an otherworldly quality, like he has been beamed down to mine the L.A. County sewer system and Pacific Ocean floor for cosmic slop.

Andy Stott - Too Many Voices

April 22, 2016
Critic Score
79
10 reviews

It's a soundtrack for a sort of lovers' lane -- a moonlit path made treacherous by tar pits and sinkholes.

Angel Olsen - My Woman

September 2, 2016
Critic Score
86
30 reviews

While some tracks will surprise established fans, to say that My Woman is a departure or style swap for Olsen doesn't really take into account the album as a whole. The elements that are new here play out like a means to an end for a songwriter with a tale to tell, one chock-full of raw emotions.

Astronoid - Air

Astronoid - Air
June 10, 2016
Critic Score
80
1 review

Air is not the sound of one serenely floating in space. It's the manifestation of the intensity, anxiety, and pure elation that comes during blast-off, as the rockets blare and the spaceship rumbles and the body is propelled into the unknown.

Aubrie Sellers - New City Blues

Aubrie Sellers - New City Blues
January 29, 2016
Critic Score
73
2 reviews

Beyoncé - Lemonade

April 23, 2016
Critic Score
89
30 reviews

Romantic conflict is nothing new for her, but there is a degree of concentration and specificity, and an apparent disregard for appealing to commercial radio that makes Lemonade a distinct addition to her catalog.

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

May 20, 2016
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

Rock history teaches us you can't will a masterpiece into existence, but with Car Seat Headrest's Teens of Denial, Will Toledo has created something like a novel after previously offering us short stories, and it's a piece of rough-hewn brilliance.

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

May 13, 2016
Critic Score
85
22 reviews
It's a joy to hear all this zeal from a rapper operating at the top of his game.

Charles Bradley - Changes

April 1, 2016
Critic Score
76
16 reviews

Changes shows Bradley still has plenty of new ground to explore at the age of 68.

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition

September 27, 2016
Critic Score
83
29 reviews

Atrocity Exhibition is Danny Brown at his least diluted, almost unrelentingly grim and completely engrossing.

David Bowie - Blackstar

January 8, 2016
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

This comfort with the now is the most striking thing about Blackstar: it is the sound of a restless artist feeling utterly at ease not only within his own skin but within his own time.

Donny McCaslin - Beyond Now

Donny McCaslin - Beyond Now
October 14, 2016
Critic Score
72
4 reviews

Drive-By Truckers - American Band

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
85
13 reviews

American Band is an op-ed column with guitars, and it presents a message well worth hearing, both as politics and as music.

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution

March 4, 2016
Critic Score
83
10 reviews
While Spalding never sounds anything less than original on the album, part of the beauty here is in recognizing her inspirations and reveling in how she has made them her own.

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression

March 18, 2016
Critic Score
75
28 reviews

Pop has suggested that Post Pop Depression may be his last album, and if that's true, it wraps up his career with a strong and atypical work.

Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

Sounds and concepts flow into each other as potently as blood itself on Blood Bitch, a bewitching album from an artist at the peak of her powers.

Jessy Lanza - Oh No

May 13, 2016
Critic Score
79
19 reviews
She and Greenspan refract techno-pop in their own way while binding additional forms of electronic post-disco that cross four decades, from boogie to juke.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS

April 1, 2016
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

Focused without sounding rigid or confined, Ears is imaginative and alive.

KAYTRANADA - 99.9%

May 6, 2016
Critic Score
78
19 reviews
The assortment of vocalists -- rappers, singers, and a few who pull double duty -- naturally results in a diverse set of perspectives, most of which regard love and relationships of short- and long-term natures. Combined with beats seemingly tailored for each voice, the album could have resembled a disorderly production showcase, yet Celestin applies his experience as a deeply knowledgeable selector to stitch it all together with few obvious seams.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

March 4, 2016
Critic Score
84
26 reviews

untitled unmastered. is no mere offcut dump. It's as vital as anything else its maker has released.

King - We Are King

February 5, 2016
Critic Score
80
9 reviews

We Are King is all about plush, impeccable grooves and spine-tingling harmonies. It's without fault.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity

April 29, 2016
Critic Score
81
11 reviews

King Gizzard's inventive sound, giant hooks, and hard-as-titanium playing make Nonagon Infinity not only their best album yet, but maybe the best psych-metal-jazz-prog album ever.

Kvelertak - Nattesferd

May 13, 2016
Critic Score
79
7 reviews

It's blood, booze, and sweat-soaked concrete floors, high five-worthy rock & roll that takes itself just seriously enough to be flat-out legit, but never forgets that inclusiveness is the metal community's most vital commodity -- the band has its own brand of beer.

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein - Stranger Things, Vol 1

August 12, 2016
Critic Score
83
7 reviews

While the show itself is clear about its influences, its soundtrack manages to do this too, while ultimately culminating as an in-depth and invigorating piece of atmospheric electronic music.

Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

October 21, 2016
Critic Score
87
19 reviews

You Want It Darker is a hell of a record.

Maren Morris - Hero

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
75
3 reviews

By drawing upon so many cross-currents, Hero belongs to the digital era but it's the songs -- smart, sharp, and hooky -- that make this a great modern pop album, regardless of genre.

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter

March 25, 2016
Critic Score
80
10 reviews

This tension between the head and heart, between the country and the city, is what fuels Midwest Farmer's Daughter, placing it on a warm, hazy plane that feels simultaneously sophisticated and down-home.

Miranda Lambert - The Weight of These Wings

November 18, 2016
Critic Score
80
9 reviews

By radically shifting her sound, she winds up focusing attention on her songwriting and musicality: it may have mainstream songs, but The Weight of These Wings isn't produced like a country-pop album, so it demands attention and rewards close listening.

Mitski - Puberty 2

June 17, 2016
Critic Score
86
24 reviews
A visceral work that shares the immediacy of classic punk and confessional singer/songwriter fare at once, Puberty 2 takes listeners behind closed doors with the kind of no-holds-barred lyrics that are likely to leave a lasting impression.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

September 9, 2016
Critic Score
90
27 reviews

Even by Cave's dour standards, Skeleton Tree is a tough listen, but it's also a powerful and revealing one, and a singular work from a one-of-a-kind artist.

Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
79
17 reviews

Where the specter of 9/11 hung heavily over Surprise, Simon seems at peace on Stranger to Stranger, acknowledging the twilight yet not running toward it because there's so much to experience in the moment. He's choosing to push forward, not look back, and the results are invigorating.

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
For the first time Radiohead feels comfortable in their own skin.

Sarathy Korwar - Day to Day

Sarathy Korwar - Day to Day
July 8, 2016
Critic Score
83
3 reviews

Savages - Adore Life

January 22, 2016
Critic Score
79
33 reviews

A striking second album, the different perspectives Adore Life bring to Savages' music make them sound more vital than ever.

Solange - A Seat at the Table

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
Their restrained ornamentation and moderate tempos are perfectly suited for Knowles, an undervalued vocalist who never aims to bring the house down yet fills each note with purposeful emotion.

Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth

April 15, 2016
Critic Score
83
16 reviews

It's an old-fashioned concept album, one that tells a story -- it's a letter to his newborn son, telling him how to become a man -- and is dressed in garish art suited to the side of a Chevy van.

Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
76
22 reviews

Their honesty and intelligence shine through at all times, and they take the sublime parts of the modern pop landscape, while giving no time to the ridiculous. Like Heartthrob, this is pop music that is all heart all the time, and for that, the sisters deserve every accolade that comes their way.

William Tyler - Modern Country

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
The sprawl of motion, texture, and color is reined in by immense, emotive lyricism and dynamic group interplay, making this musical "letter" to his vanishing nation well worth repeated listening.
Original Source: http://www.allmusic.com/year-in-review/2016/allmusic-best-of-2016
Connect with AOTY
2016 YEAR END AGGREGATE

Songs of 2017 Playlist
AOTY Discord
Forums