AOTY 2019
Rolling Stone's 45 Best Albums of 2016 So Far

Rolling Stone's 45 Best Albums of 2016 So Far

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ANOHNI - Hopelessness

ANOHNI - Hopelessness
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
80
28 reviews

What can at times sound facile in its un-coded repugnance deepens, on repeated listens, into both sophisticated political statement and haunting music.

Beyoncé - Lemonade

Beyoncé - Lemonade
April 23, 2016
Critic Score
91
32 reviews

Lemonade is an entire album of emotional discord and marital meltdown, from the world's most famous celebrity; it's also a major personal statement from the most respected and creative artist in the pop game.

Bob Mould - Patch the Sky

Bob Mould - Patch the Sky
March 25, 2016
Critic Score
79
16 reviews
Timely? Afraid so. But there's comfort in knowing we're not alone.

Bonnie Raitt - Dig In Deep

Bonnie Raitt - Dig In Deep
February 26, 2016
Critic Score
78
10 reviews

Raitt is as bold and sharp on Dig In Deep, made with her longtime road band.

Brandy Clark - Big Day in a Small Town

Brandy Clark - Big Day in a Small Town
June 10, 2016
Critic Score
85
4 reviews
Its sequel, and proper major label debut, ups the ante: It's music tooled alternately for stadiums and songwriting circles, commercial and public radio, line-dance bars and coffee shops.

Brian Eno - The Ship

Brian Eno - The Ship
April 29, 2016
Critic Score
73
19 reviews

Eno is always looking for that new fantasy, a look into the shadow world that's fascinated him for so long. The Ship is just his latest interpretation of his vision, his constantly changing illusion, and it's also one of his most accessible albums in recent years.

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
May 20, 2016
Critic Score
82
23 reviews
Like Courtney Barnett, he comes off as a rock-loving child of alt-rock's skepticism working backwards towards something to believe in.

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
May 13, 2016
Critic Score
85
23 reviews

Reaching back to the very beginning of black music in America, Chance recontextualizes one of the most enduring African-American art forms for 2016's most urgent one.

David Bowie - Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar
January 8, 2016
Critic Score
86
36 reviews

This album represents Bowie's most fulfilling spin away from glam-legend pop charm since 1977's Low. Blackstar is that strange, and that good.

Death Grips - Bottomless Pit

Death Grips - Bottomless Pit
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
80
12 reviews

For all the different genres it consumes and spits back, it sounds like no other band on earth.

Deftones - Gore

Deftones - Gore
April 8, 2016
Critic Score
77
20 reviews

The strange new demon inside them has driven the band to roughen up some of their mirrored surfaces and make a darker, more uncomfortable record than their last two.

Drake - Views

Drake - Views
April 29, 2016
Critic Score
66
31 reviews
Drake has tilled this soil on several albums, with little new insight or complexity unearthed here; the result is an occasionally excellent LP that feels, naggingly, like a missed opportunity.

Elton John - Wonderful Crazy Night

Elton John - Wonderful Crazy Night
February 5, 2016
Critic Score
67
10 reviews
There is a matured pacing and weight to the music and John's vocal performances that make this record one of his finest in its own right.

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution

Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
82
10 reviews

Emily's D+Evolution is a far more ambitious and thornier affair. The lyrics, flowing in disjunctive clusters, are about deleted narratives, glass ceilings and dreams deferred – ultimately a complex, funky prog-rock concept opera about love and identity.

Fifth Harmony - 7/27

Fifth Harmony - 7/27
May 20, 2016
Critic Score
66
5 reviews

The second Fifth Harmony LP isn't a massive step forward, but with a constant bombardment of hooks, high energy and incredible harmony there's not much time to catch your breath to compare.

Flume - Skin

Flume - Skin
May 27, 2016
Critic Score
68
9 reviews

That restless versatility is all over the LP, generating the emotional crests and sensory overload a festival crowd demands, but with a nuance that'll make it work even if you aren't shirtless in the desert.

Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing

Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
April 1, 2016
Critic Score
76
17 reviews

Next Thing shows that as the group continues to grow up, Kline's clear-eyed observation and youthful disaffection only feel more vital.

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression
March 18, 2016
Critic Score
75
29 reviews

On his awesomely gnarled 17th solo album, he plays the low-rent elder statesman, a spectacularly scuzzball Leonard Cohen still snarling, still hoping to get his rocks off.

John Doe - The Westerner

John Doe - The Westerner
April 29, 2016
Critic Score
70
2 reviews

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
February 14, 2016
Critic Score
78
34 reviews

It's a labored-over opus that wishes it were a mixtape, trying hard to curate the vibe of a sprawling mess, and that's because it's made by an artist who feels like a mess and doesn't care to hide it.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
84
29 reviews

There's brilliance in even Lamar's cast-offs, and an intimacy here that makes this more than just a gift for his ravenous fans --it's an illuminating look at a red-hot rapper's craft.

Kevin Gates - Islah

Kevin Gates - Islah
January 29, 2016
Critic Score
77
7 reviews
He's a rapper's rapper, a lyrical Evel Knievel without any desire for a cloying pop crossover; it should be mentioned that he works with no guest appearance safety nets, save one track on the deluxe edition – ultimately resulting in a cohesive, satisfying, fat-free full-length.

Loretta Lynn - Full Circle

Loretta Lynn - Full Circle
March 4, 2016
Critic Score
77
11 reviews
Fittingly, just as Lynn brought frankness to other topics, she brings it here to mortality.

Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20

Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20
February 5, 2016
Critic Score
81
15 reviews
Yeah, it's literary; yeah, it's the polar opposite of cosmetic-surgery pop. As such, it's not for everyone. But its jazzy rawness represents a high point of emotional craft in a career defined by it.

Maren Morris - Hero

Maren Morris - Hero
June 3, 2016
Critic Score
80
3 reviews

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter

Margo Price - Midwest Farmer's Daughter
March 25, 2016
Critic Score
83
12 reviews

Midwest Farmer's Daughter is the first full-on country release on Third Man, the Nashville based label run by suspect carpetbagger Jack White, and dude was smart to wait ‘til he had an act this undeniable.

Mavis Staples - Livin' on a High Note

Mavis Staples - Livin' on a High Note
February 19, 2016
Critic Score
71
11 reviews

Mitski - Puberty 2

Mitski - Puberty 2
June 17, 2016
Critic Score
85
26 reviews

As bawdy and unpredictable as anyone is in their first puberty, Puberty 2 shows Miyawaki indulging her whims with a devil-may-care attitude – the result is an incendiary self-portrait.

Mudcrutch - 2

Mudcrutch - 2
May 20, 2016
Critic Score
81
5 reviews
Now, with a second album, Mudcrutch feel like a steady moonlighting gig. This record is more of a band effort than the decades-delayed debut – all of the members get writing credits, and all get a shot at a lead vocal.

Parquet Courts - Human Performance

Parquet Courts - Human Performance
April 8, 2016
Critic Score
82
28 reviews

Human Performance is the first album you could describe as your typical Parquet Courts record – it gathers their best tricks in one place, along with new ones you wouldn't see coming.

Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger

Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger
June 3, 2016
Critic Score
81
18 reviews
It's as inviting, immaculately produced, jokey and unsettled a record as any he has ever made.

Peter Wolf - A Cure For Loneliness

Peter Wolf - A Cure For Loneliness
April 8, 2016
Critic Score
75
4 reviews

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project
April 15, 2016
Critic Score
76
33 reviews

One of her most challenging albums, and one of her most urgent.

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
37 reviews

If Radiohead have made the dehumanizing effects of technology their great theme, A Moon Shaped Pool is the first record in which, musically, they kick their way out of the machine, or at least make their cyborg soul more vestigial.

Rihanna - ANTI

Rihanna - ANTI
January 27, 2016
Critic Score
70
30 reviews
After more than a decade as a superstar of the singles chart, Rihanna has become an album artist.

Savages - Adore Life

Savages - Adore Life
January 22, 2016
Critic Score
80
34 reviews

Their music is driven by emotions that are almost unprecedented in the genre that gave us Joy Division and Public Image Limited.

Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth

Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth
April 15, 2016
Critic Score
83
19 reviews

Sailor's Guide is classic album length – nine songs, 39 minutes – and best heard in one sitting; this is Nashville craft less as pop science than as expansive headphone storytelling.

Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony

Sunflower Bean - Human Ceremony
February 5, 2016
Critic Score
72
16 reviews

Human Ceremony is a very impressive record for a band that's only been putting out music for about a year.

Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death

Tegan and Sara - Love You to Death
June 3, 2016
Critic Score
76
24 reviews
The songs here don't quite hit the same level of high-gloss overdrive they managed last time out, a problem for a band that prizes songwriting over the kind of vocal gymnastics that can turn a so-so synth-pop tune into an uncorked geyser of catharsis.

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It

The 1975 - I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
February 26, 2016
Critic Score
68
25 reviews

The album's rambling, vaguely emo title is a giveaway: Despite opening big, bright and airtight, I Like It When You Sleep ... gets boring-melty during dream-gaze reveries like "Please Be Naked" and "Lostmyhead."

The Monkees - Good Times!

The Monkees - Good Times!
June 10, 2016
Critic Score
76
7 reviews

The Monkees' first album in nearly 20 years is also their best since the Sixties – to be precise, since the Head soundtrack in 1968.

Various Artists - Day of the Dead

Various Artists - Day of the Dead
May 20, 2016
Critic Score
77
12 reviews
What emerges is a beautiful crosscutting conversation – about life and death, the ways we recover the past and honor it and remake it to suit our needs.

White Lung - Paradise

White Lung - Paradise
May 6, 2016
Critic Score
76
22 reviews

YG - Still Brazy

YG - Still Brazy
June 17, 2016
Critic Score
81
13 reviews
Original Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/45-best-albums-of-2016-so-far-20160620
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