SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2016

SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2016

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

April 15, 2016
Critic Score
83
16 reviews

On Earth, Simpson continues to have fun flipping the genre’s tropes on their head.

49. Moodymann - DJ-Kicks

February 19, 2016
Critic Score
80
11 reviews

48. Pinegrove - Cardinal

February 12, 2016
Critic Score
80
7 reviews
In another place and time, Pinegrove could have ridden a self-assured record like this to widespread indie acclaim. Instead, it feels like an act of generosity, a record lovingly crafted and intimately written, full of sounds, observations, and emotional realizations that you didn’t know you wanted in 2016, but, in fact, needed desperately.

47. Maren Morris - Hero

June 3, 2016
Critic Score
75
3 reviews
Her debut album, Hero, showcases her honeyed vocals and preternatural sense of melody, with early singles like “80s Mercedes” and “My Church” as hook-laden as anything in Top 40 rotation.

46. Bat For Lashes - The Bride

July 1, 2016
Critic Score
76
31 reviews
She’s flipped the script on us, and in doing so has created her most cohesive work — and maybe even her happiest ending yet.

45. Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä

February 26, 2016
Critic Score
78
4 reviews
There’s inky blackness to be found out there in the universe, and endless possibility to be found in nihilistic isolation; Oranssi Pazuzu are discovering new worlds by searching both inward and outward at the same time.

43. Marissa Nadler - Strangers

May 20, 2016
Critic Score
76
19 reviews

She’s the sort of artist that you couldn’t imagine ever making a bad album, and her newest is more proof.

42. Bruno Mars - 24K Magic

November 18, 2016
Critic Score
70
13 reviews

39. YG - Still Brazy

June 17, 2016
Critic Score
81
12 reviews

Whereas My Krazy Life offered a fairly straightforward narrative about a haphazard 24 hours of YG’s Compton exploits, Still Brazy starts by focusing inwards and widens its lens to the outside world, linking the scrutiny around YG’s personal life to the universal horror of being persecuted simply because of what you look like.

38. Maxwell - blackSUMMERS'night

July 1, 2016
Critic Score
82
10 reviews
Evolving from an inchoate and rhythmically lethargic R&B simulacrum to structures that, like a good poet’s command of the sonnet, gave him liberties within the affirmations of form, Maxwell has nevertheless sculpted an aqueous and often androgynous sound.

37. White Lung - Paradise

May 6, 2016
Critic Score
77
20 reviews

Paradise lands closer to technical brilliance than emotional resonance, but you can feel the band reaching.

36. The Avalanches - Wildflower

July 8, 2016
Critic Score
79
30 reviews

Wildflower feels as though it was made for the Avalanches rather than a patient public. Where Since I Left You mapped a plaintive longing onto a travel agency’s idea of heaven, Wildflower is designed for comforts of no special ambition.

35. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial

May 20, 2016
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

It’s hard not to find Teens of Denial at least a little bit exhilarating, because Toledo’s now-fully-formed voice is such a new and powerful one, and because it’s easy to see how young listeners will find an entire universe to behold within.

33. Kamaiyah - A Good Night in the Ghetto

March 14, 2016
Critic Score
85
3 reviews

32. Parquet Courts - Human Performance

April 8, 2016
Critic Score
82
27 reviews

What makes Human Performance a narrowly great record is that it bucks narrative. It’s not their most sensitive record or politically astute or least dissonant but all of these things — their most convincing performance as humans to date.

31. The Hotelier - Goodness

May 27, 2016
Critic Score
83
10 reviews

Goodness is a spiritually rich listen, but none of it would matter much if it weren’t such a goddamn great rock album.

30. Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

28. KAYTRANADA - 99.9%

May 6, 2016
Critic Score
78
19 reviews

The LP’s sunset pastels and recurring elastic bass lines at times threaten to rob the tracks of their singularities. But 99.9% is a success because Kaytranada fosters an environment where every guest shines.

26. Schoolboy Q - Blank Face LP

July 8, 2016
Critic Score
77
18 reviews

It’s not easy to homogenize the opposing forces at play, but everything here feels like a genuine rumble through a mind scarred and inebriated by the reality of gang life and chasing the American dream while the room spins. Like the title hints, Blank Face LP is dark and full of stone-grilled stares that lay things out in plain terms, and there’s very little, if any, glamorization at play.

25. Nicolas Jaar - Sirens

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
79
15 reviews

24. Anderson .Paak - Malibu

January 15, 2016
Critic Score
79
15 reviews
Songs weave together, spilling the details of his tumultuous upbringing and forging his prospective future path with scintillating soul jams.

23. Joyce Manor - Cody

October 7, 2016
Critic Score
74
13 reviews

22. Kevin Gates - Islah

January 29, 2016
Critic Score
79
7 reviews

While it’s refreshing that a major label, in 2016, has enough faith in a regional star to let him do what brought him to the dance in the first place, Islah also happens to be the most-balanced Kevin Gates project to date, discovering an equilibrium between his pummelers and his caressers we didn’t previously know was possible.

21. King - We Are King

February 5, 2016
Critic Score
80
9 reviews
Committed to sonic pleasure, KING regard themselves as another set of instruments, absorbed and projected through speakers. It’s like hearing a full Fela album side as female R&B.

20. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.

March 4, 2016
Critic Score
84
26 reviews

untitled unmastered. can feel like the clearing of a table, rather than a feast. But in this lies its power and greatest asset: With the stakes low, Lamar can air out his demons, have some fun, bask in the afterglow of the Grammys.

19. ANOHNI - Hopelessness

May 6, 2016
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
It’s both a thrilling record and an occasionally confounding one; a statement that often invokes tightly controlled rage as a means of slapping the listener out of what one imagines has become our collective stupor. In short, it’s a protest record.

18. Esperanza Spalding - Emily's D+Evolution

March 4, 2016
Critic Score
83
10 reviews

Her fifth album is indeed one of the most alt-friendly jazz cycles you’ve ever heard, pivoting constantly on tight, proggy arrangements.

17. Young Thug - Jeffery

August 26, 2016
Critic Score
78
11 reviews

14. Mitski - Puberty 2

June 17, 2016
Critic Score
86
24 reviews

It’s a high-watermark of post-irony indie, a cracked safe of perspectives previously unheard in lump-throated punk. It plays like a sketchbook, but you’ll grow to hum every Sharpie stroke.

13. Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

February 14, 2016
Critic Score
79
32 reviews

As glacially paced, mood-enhancing music, Pablo is a hypnotic slam-dunk and this reviewer will be among those first online if an all-instrumental edition finally surfaces on Vocaroo, because over the long haul ‘Ye the MC here proves as elusive as the proverbial Cheshire Cat.

12. Rihanna - ANTI

January 27, 2016
Critic Score
70
28 reviews

ANTI is Rihanna’s first aesthetically personal album, and throughout its disorderly roaming, it remains revelatory in a strict sense; it’s a musical step sideways but an artistic step up.

11. Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

June 27, 2016
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
Where others with grave ideas to communicate — like, say, D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, or even punk acts like Downtown Boys — make their political aims pointed, insistent, and repetitive, Hynes’ message instead radiates outward. He sees problems and recounts them, tells his own story, and weighs the significance of narratives like his in the face of an oppressive world outside.

10. Bon Iver - 22, A Million

September 30, 2016
Critic Score
88
33 reviews

9. Angel Olsen - My Woman

September 2, 2016
Critic Score
86
31 reviews

8. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

May 8, 2016
Critic Score
87
34 reviews
Radiohead — a quintet made up of the same five musicians through a long, accomplished career — truly feel like equals here, during what history may validate as one of the band’s finest hours.

7. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book

May 13, 2016
Critic Score
85
22 reviews

On Coloring Book, he displays the most joyful part of his universe, and invites listeners across the globe to share in the festivities.

6. Beyoncé - Lemonade

April 23, 2016
Critic Score
90
31 reviews
Not since MJ have we gotten to witness a former teen star evolve into a grown-ass one with so much state-of-the-art pop currency, pantheonic ambition, and craft of song.

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

February 26, 2016
Critic Score
71
21 reviews
These songs have strong, familiar features, but they build off of one another; every one of them is full of hyperactive, bats**t detail that makes it immediately attributable to this band alone. Sit through the whole of this Homeric effort — for which the qualification “messy” seems too stern and reductive — and try not to come crawling back.

3. David Bowie - Blackstar

January 8, 2016
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

★ finds Bowie and longtime producer Tony Visconti as hungry as they ever were, and with no modern context into which the artist can insert himself (including rock) he’s free to do what he likes.

2. Frank Ocean - Blonde

August 20, 2016
Critic Score
86
33 reviews

The first half of Blonde is astonishing, sustained beauty. The second is more distant, closer to the shower improvs of Friday’s sounds-like-a-soundtrack-and-it-is Endless.

Original Source: http://www.spin.com/featured/the-50-best-albums-of-2016/
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