The Best Albums of 2016: See The Complete List

It’s easy to think that, reflecting back on the year, we’ll remember 2016 as one of the worst years… like, ever. Between Brexit, that racist Cheez Doodle winning to the White House, mass shootings and terrorist attacks, Hiddleswift and Paris robberies, it seemed like this year couldn’t get worse — which says a lot, considering 2016 started with one of the biggest imaginable losses in the music world: the death of David Bowie. While 2016’s pattern of being terrible continued, we found ourselves sobbing our goodbyes to Prince, Phife Dog, George Martin, Leonard Cohen, and Sharon Jones — just to name a few.

But if there was anything filled this year with some light and hope, it was music. 2016 saw some of the best, most intimate and beautifully crafted albums of recent memory, including by some of the iconic artists who passed this year — David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Phife Dog. Artists like Beyoncé used every resource available to her to construct a stunning audio and visual story, yet again leaving the music industry scrambling in her wake. Her younger sister Solange made one of the most gorgeous, political, and personal albums of the year that overflows with emotion yet never loses its gracefulness, while Frank Ocean recorded himself building a staircase before surprise-releasing two albums that he’d also recorded — in addition to a magazine.

2016 may have created a murkiness surrounding what an album actually is these days — is it visual? does it have accompanying literature? — but one thing is certain: the best albums of 2016 were really, really good. See which ones we loved the most in our list of the best albums of 2016 below.

17
Drake - Views
Drake
Young Money/Cash Money/Republic
Standout tracks: "One Dance," "Too Good," "Controlla"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
16
Anderson.Paak - Malibu
Anderson Paak
Steel Wool/OCE/Art Club/Empire
Standout tracks: "Am I Wrong," "Come Down," "The Bird"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
15
Maxwell - blackSUMMERS'night (2016)
Maxwell
Columbia
Standout tracks: "1990x," "Lake By the Ocean," "All the Ways Love Can Feel"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
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14
Bon Iver - 22, a Million
Bon Iver
Jagjaguwar
Standout tracks: "33 "God"," "29 #Strafford APTS," "8 (circle)"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
13
Blood Orange - Freetown Sound
Blood Orange
Domino
Standout tracks: "Best to You," "E.V.P.," "Augustine"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
12
Angel Olsen - My Woman
Angel Olsen
Jagjaguwar
Standout tracks: "Shut Up Kiss Me," "Never Be Mine," "Intern"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
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11
Kanye West - The Life of Pablo
Kanye West
G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella
Standout tracks: "Ultralight Beam," "Famous," "Fade"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
10
A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here, Thank You 4 Your service
A Tribe Called Quest
Epic/SME
Standout tracks: "We The People...," "Whateva Will Be," "The Space Program"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
9
Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth
Sturgill Simpson
Atlantic
Standout tracks: "Brace For Impact (Live A Litte)," "In Bloom," "Breakers Roar"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
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8
David Bowie - Blackstar
David Bowie
ISO/RCA/Columbia/Sony
Standout tracks: "Lazarus," "Dollar Days," "I Can't Give Everything Away"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
7
Mitski - Puberty 2
Mitski
Dead Oceans
Standout tracks: "Your Best American Girl," "A Loving Feeling," "I Bet On Losing Dogs"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
6
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Radiohead
XL
Standout tracks: "Daydreaming," "Ful Stop," "Identikit"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
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5
Chance the Rapper - Coloring Book
Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper
Standout tracks: "No Problem (feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)," "Juke Jam (feat. Justin Bieber & Towkio)," "All Night (feat. Knox Fortune)"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
4
Rihanna - ANTI
Rihanna
Westbury Road/Roc Nation
Standout tracks: "Work," "Needed Me," "Love On The Brain"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
3
Beyoncé - Lemonade
Beyoncé
Parkwood/Columbia
Standout tracks: "Sorry," "Freedom," "Formation"
Listen: TIDAL
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2
Frank Ocean - Blonde
Frank Ocean
Boys Don't Cry
Standout tracks: "Ivy," "Solo," "Nights"
Listen: Spotify | Apple
1
Solange - A Seat at the Table
Solange, Solange Knowles
Saint/Columbia
Standout tracks: "Cranes In The Sky," "Don't Touch My Hair," "F.U.B.U."
Listen: Spotify | Apple

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