Slant Magazine's 25 Best Albums of 2016

Slant Magazine's 25 Best Albums of 2016

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25. Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
21 reviews
An intimate existential chronicle of imprisonment and liberation, its visceral, blood-smeared intensity works off a steady heartbeat of acute artistic ferment, the roiling passion underlying Hval's powerful declaration of self.

24. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

June 27, 2016
Critic Score
30 reviews

Freetown Sound certainly has the sprawl, hyperactivity, and potential of a personal masterwork, but its master is more conduit and conductor than confessor.

22. Gwen Stefani - This Is What The Truth Feels Like

Gwen Stefani - This Is What The Truth Feels Like
March 18, 2016
Critic Score
14 reviews

It's easy to chastise aging pop stars for chasing trends or trying to recapture past glories, but those efforts here are thrown into sharp relief by the maturity of the album's first half. 

21. Big Black Delta - Trágame Tierra

Big Black Delta - Trágame Tierra
April 22, 2016
Critic Score
4 reviews

19. Drive-By Truckers - American Band

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
14 reviews
Eloquently plainspoken as ever about the pressing issues we face as a nation, they've made an album multiple decades into their career that establishes them as more directly relevant than ever.

18. Tove Lo - Lady Wood

October 28, 2016
Critic Score
14 reviews

Lady Wood is admirably lean and tightly focused, and though it doesn’t boast confessionals on the order of Like a Prayer‘s, it offers a peek inside the psyche of a smart, burgeoning young star.

16. Julianna Barwick - Will

May 6, 2016
Critic Score
20 reviews

It's the sound an artist, whose mysterious and celebrated process has ironically created theatrical and curated work to this point, finally achieving subtlety.

15. Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth

April 15, 2016
Critic Score
19 reviews

Even beyond the chances Simpson takes, A Sailor's Guide to Earth remains a sonically stunning album.

14. Garbage - Strange Little Birds

June 10, 2016
Critic Score
21 reviews

Strange Little Birds emerges as the band's most compelling, adventurous album in 15 years.

12. Lucinda Williams - The Ghosts of Highway 20

February 5, 2016
Critic Score
15 reviews
More than anything else, and almost ironically, Williams's location-specific concept album serves as a reminder that her best songs need not inhabit one specific place, geographically or emotionally.

11. Lambchop - FLOTUS

November 4, 2016
Critic Score
22 reviews

10. Britney Spears - Glory

August 26, 2016
Critic Score
13 reviews

By eschewing the harsh, dubstep-influenced EDM of her past two albums and embracing subtler pop and R&B sounds, Britney's made her most daring, mature album in years.

9. Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

October 21, 2016
Critic Score
23 reviews

The culmination of 50 years of moody, often melancholic music, You Want It Darker stands out as the musical equivalent thereof, a wry reckoning of a lifetime's worth of damaged relationships, upheld vows, and broken promises from pop's preeminent emotional accountant.

7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree

September 9, 2016
Critic Score
30 reviews

Cave and the Bad Seeds have been responsible for a lot of great albums, but nothing they've ever released matches Skeleton Tree's sonic cohesion, consistent front-to-back quality, or gut-level resonance.

6. Frank Ocean - Blonde

August 20, 2016
Critic Score
37 reviews
While Ocean's previous album was about currency of the monetary and interpersonal sort ... this one digs inward to examine issues of identity and personality in the shadow of growing recognition.

5. David Bowie - Blackstar

January 8, 2016
Critic Score
36 reviews

Blackstar is defiantly a thing of its own, allowing Bowie to revisit his career-spanning, paradoxical fears—either that his life is ending imminently, or that it never will—with fascinating new sounds.

3. Beyoncé - Lemonade

April 23, 2016
Critic Score
32 reviews

Lemonade, is her most lyrically and thematically coherent effort to date, taking a concept—the breakup album—as old as the LP itself, and reinventing it in both presentation and narrative.

2. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

February 14, 2016
Critic Score
34 reviews
Kanye is the rare artist who can turn a cry for attention into something more: a distillation of his artistic output to date that’s quintessentially Kanye, whether you like him or not.

1. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

May 8, 2016
Critic Score
37 reviews

While A Moon Shaped Pool offers little in the way of new sonic territory, its newly naked and incisive portrayal of emotional vulnerability remains a resoundingly major achievement.

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