The New Music Mixtape Presents: Albums 2016
Music has become so easily accessible across a wealth of different platforms and as such, it is so easy to find quality full length albums from many different artists. With that in mind, I decided to try and consume as many full length projects as possible. In fact, I listened to one album per day. With this I wrote down my thoughts on each and ranked them as I listened.
Below you’ll find a fairly long list which will run down to double digits. Once there you can find some words around only the best of the best from 2016. These are my favourite music albums of the year.
365. Ry-X – Dawn 364. Charlie Puth – Nine Track Mind
363. Deadmau5 – 2016Album 362. Vaults – Caught In Still Life
361. Bishop Nehru – Magic 19 360. SBTRKT – Save Yourself
359. Maren Morris – Hero 358. Mahalia – Diary Of Me
357. 21 Savage – 21 Gang 356. Teenage Fanclub – Here
355. Racing Glaciers – Caught In… 354. Nick Jonas – Last Year Was Complicated
353. Majical Cloudz – Wait & See 352. Lukas Graham – Lukas Graham
351. DJ Khaled – Major Key 350. Gwen Stefani – This Is What Truth…
349. King Charles – Gamble For A Rose 348. Mogwai – Atomic
347. Daughter – Not To Disappear 346. Sleigh Bells – Jessica Rabbit
345. The Boxer Rebellion – Ocean By… 344. Post Malone – August 26th
343. Telegram – Operator 342. The Coral – Distance Inbetween
341. Bloc Party – Hymns 340. Kygo – Cloud Nine
339. Tiga – No Fantasy Required 338. Empire Of The Sun – Two Vines
337. Babymetal – Metal Resistance 336. Dinosaur Jr – Give A Glimpse…
335. Katy B – Honey 334. Aiden Knight – Each Other
333. Noname – Telephone 332. Sum 41 – 13 Voices
331. Simple Plan – Taking One For… 330. Primal Scream – Chaosmosis
329. Terror Jr – Bop City 328. Preoccupations – Preoccupations
327. Tuff Love – Resort 326. Weaves – Weaves
325. Diana – Familiar Touch 324. King 810 – La Petit Mort
323. Navvi – Omni 322. Pity Sex – White Hot Moon
321. Kero Kero Bonito – Bonito Generation 320. Mothxr – Centrefold
319. Roosevelt – Roosevelt 318. Yak – Alas Salvation
317. Stefflon Don – Real Ting Mixtape 316. Travis – Everything At Once
315. Fat White Family – Songs For Our… 314. Crystal Castles – Amnesty(I)
313. Macklemore – This Unruly Mess… 312. Money – Suicide Songs
311. Zhu – GenerationWhy 310. Cassius – Ibifornia
309. American Wrestlers – Goodbye Terrible… 308. Jessy Lanza – Oh No
307. Swet Shop Boys – Cashmere 306. Alicia Keys – Here
305. PartyNextDoor – PartyNextDoor3 304. The Hotelier – Goodness
303. Ty Dolla $ign – Campaign 302. Big Deal – Say Yes
301. Mac Miller – The Divine Feminine 300. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
299. Little Mix – Glory Days 298. A.Chal – Welcome To Gazi
297. Mutual Benefit – Skip A Sinking Stone 296. Cate Le Bon – Crab Day
295. Baby Strange – Want It Need It 294. The Joy Formidable – Hitch
293. Santigold – 99c 292. Show Me The Body – Body War
291. Izzy Bizu – A Moment Of Madness 290. Field Music – Commontime
289. The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything… 287. Let’s Eat Grandma – Gemini,I
286. Garbage – Strange Little Birds 285. Frank Ocean – Endless
284. The Rolling Stones – Blue And Lonesome 283. Elliphant – Living Life Golden
282. Beach Baby – No Mind No Money 281. Lucius – Good Grief
280. C Duncan – The Midnight Sun 279. Badbadnotgood – IV
278. Joey Purp – iiiDrops 277. PAWS – No Grace
276. Klangstof – Close Eyes To Exit 275. Bat For Lashes – The Bride
274. Architects – All Our Gods Have… 273. Metronomy – Summer 08
272. Niki & The Dove – Everybody’s Heart… 271. Britney Spears – Glory
270. Gnash – Us 269. Honne – Gone Are The Days
268. Minor Victories – Minor Victories 267. The Cult – Hidden City
266. The Qemists – Warrior Sound 265. Young Thug – Slime Season 3
264. Wye Oak – Tween 263. Teen – Love Yes
262. Saint Motel – saintmotelevision 261. We Are Scientists – Helter Seltzer
260. School Of Seven Bells – SVIIB 259. Jazz Cartier – Opera
258. Killswitch Engage – Incarnate 257. DJ Snake – Encore
256. De La Soul – The Anonymous… 255. Animal Collective – Painting With
254. A$AP Mob – Cozy Tapes 253. Hodgy – Fireplace
252. Lion Babe – Begin 251. Roy Woods – Waking At Dawn
250. Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered
249. Melt Yourself Down – Last Evenings… 248. Majid Jordan – Majid Jordan
247. Palace – So Long Forever 246. Sad13 – Slugger
245. The Parrots – Los Ninos… 244. Towkio – Community Service 2
243. Villagers – Where Have You Been… 242. Public Access TV – Never Enough
241. Megadeth – Distopia 240. Aurora – All My Dreams…
239. Band Of Horses – Why Are You Ok? 238. Cullen Omori – New Misery
237. Jones – New Skin 236. Brian Fallon – Painkillers
235. DNCE – DNCE 234. PC Music – Vol 2
233. Sunset Sons – Very Rarely Say Die 232. Holy Esque – At Hope’s Ravine
231. Drowners – On Desire 230. Oscar – Cut And Paste
229. The Wytches – All Your Happy Life 228. Rachel Platten – Wildfire
227. Tonight Alive – Limitless 226. CRX – New Skin
225. Alessia Cara – I Know It All 224. Boston Manor – Be Nothing
223. Fear Of Men – Fall Forever 222. Lewis Del Mar – Lewis Del Mar
221. Wild Nothing – Life Of Pause 220. Jamie T – Trick
219. James Vincent McMorrow – We Move 218. Yuck – Stranger Things
217. Yeasayer – Amen & Goodbye 216. Lil Yachty – Summer Songs 2
215. Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman 214. Yung – A Youthful Dream
213. PJ Harvey – The Hope Six… 212. Mystery Jets – Curve Of The Earth
211. Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos 210. Beaty Heart – Till The Tomb
209. Yellowcard – Yellowcard 208. Tove Lo – Ladywood
207. Merchandise – A Corpse Wired… 206. Rae Sreummurd – Sremmlife 2
205. Fifth Harmony – 7/27 204. Jamila Woods – Heavn
203. Misty Miller – The Whole Family… 202. Deap Valley – Femijism
201. Slaves – Take Control 200. Blink-182 – California
199. Honne – Warm Is The Night 198. DJ Shadow – This Mountain…
197. Camp Cope – Camp Cope 196. Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost
195. Yumi Zouma – Yoncalla 194. Nada Surf – You Know Who You Are
193. Meilyr Jones – 2013 192. Coasts – Coasts
191. Band Of Skulls – By Default 190. Foxes – Better Love
189. Steve Angello – Wild Youth 188. Shields – How Can We Fix This
187. Rosie Lowe – Control 186. The Temper Trap – Thick As Thieves
185. Bauuer – Aa 184. Bloodiest – Bloodiest
183. Jaws – Simplicity 182. Wolfmother – Victorious
181. NZCA Lines – Infinite Summer 180. Raleigh Ritchie – You’re A Man…
179. Tom Odell – Wrong Crowd 178. Suede – Night Thoughts
177. FEWS – Means 176. Alter Bridge – The Last Hero
175. Craig David – Following My Intuition 174. Polica – United Crushers
173. The Hunna – 100 172. Petite Meller – Lil Empire
171. Against Me – Shape Shift With Me 170. Nx Worries – Yes Lawd
169. Skizzy Mars – Alone Together 168. Kaleo – A/B
167. Flatbush Zombies – 3001: A Laced… 166. Grouplove – Big Mess
165. DMAs – Hill’s End 164. Local Natives – Sunlit Youth
163. Drive By Truckers – American Band 162. Adult Jazz – Earrings Off
161. White Lies – Friends 160. Tegan & Sara – Love You…
159. Tourist – U 158. Slowcoaches – Nothing Gives
157. Young Thug – Jeffrey 156. Hinds – Leave Me Alone
155. Clams Casino – 32 Levels 154. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
153. Post Malone – Stoney 152. Lady GaGa – Joanne
151. Anohni – Hopelessness 150. Skepta – Konnichiwa
Around the 175 mark this started to get really tough but I am scoring these based on what I thought when I initially listened to them. It may be crazy that this year’s Mercury Music Prize winner has placed way out at 150 but so many of those I’ve already listed are so great. It’s a testament to how good so many albums have been this year. What follows is even tougher to pick through. See you at the Top 100!
149. Little Green Cars – Ephemera 148. Sunflower Bean – Human Ceremony
147. The Naked And Famous – Human Forms 146. Kaiser Chiefs – We Stay…
145. American Football – American Football 144. Banks – The Altar
143. Good Charlotte – Youth Authority 142. Kings Of Leon – Walls
141. Big Thief – Masterpiece 140. Russian Circles – Guidance
139. Kid Canaveral – Faulty Inner Dialogue 138. Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s…
137. Busted – Night Driver 136. Japanese Breakfast – Psychopomp
135. The Radio Dept – Running Out Of Love 134. Blossoms – Blossoms
133. Benedict Benjamin – Night Songs 132. Little Simz – Stillness In…
131. Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth 130. Biffy Clyro – Ellipsis
129. Pinegrove – Cardinal 128. Joyce Manor – Cody
127. Catfish & The Bottlemen – The Ride 126. Bastille – Wild World
125. Rihanna – Anti 124. Solange – Seat At The Table
123. Blood Orange – Freetown Sound 122. AlunaGeorge – I Remember
121. Ian Sweet – Shapeshifter 120. Jimmy Eat World – Integrity Blues
119. Matt Corby – Telluric 118. St.Lucia – Matter
117. Parquet Courts – Human Performance 116. Usher – Hard II Love
115. Wolfie’s Just Fine – I Remembered… 114. Conor Oberst – Ruminations
113. Flume – Skin 112. Black Peaks – Statues
111. Lonely The Brave – Things Will Matter 110. The Knocks – Fifty Five
109. The Temperance Movement – White Bear 108. Weezer – White Album
107. Big Ups – Before A Million Universes 106. Twin Peaks – Down In Heaven
105. Billie Marten – Writing Of Blues… 104. Kiiara – Low Ki Savage
103. Dawn – Redemption 102. Laura Mvula – Dreaming Room
101. Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
And that brings us to my Top 100 albums of the year, based on listening and note-taking I’ve been doing all year. I think it is only fair that if the album has made it this far, it deserves to be showcased with a bit about it so you’ll find Spotify links to key tracks from the albums from here on in. These are all absolutely must listen.
100. M.I.A – Aim
The Internet’s Queen of Glitch Pop signs out with her final album (so she claims) with lots of insanely creative lines and production effects.
99. The Lumineers – Cleopatra
The Denver ‘Hey-Ho’-ers prove they’re much more than a token one hit wonder with gorgeous and moving folk ballads certain to bring a tear to the eye.
98. Honeyblood – Babes Never Die
Glasgow scuzzers teach us the important lesson to never write anything off in life. After losing 50% of Honeyblood, the band came back more urgent than ever.
97. Slothrust – Everyone Else
Bostonians rediscovering how Shoegaze sounds in 2016 throwing in storms of loud post punk and soft indie rock.
96. The Weeknd – Starboy
Abel Tesfaye launches himself into the stars with a funky, futuristic and, typically, dark materials.
95. Whitney – Light Upon The Lake
The warmth of a campfire pressed onto compact disc for your enjoyment.
94. Broods – Conscious
New Zealand’s most exciting pop act, that isn’t Lorde, follow a natural progression with their sophomore album, making perfect pop earworms for fun.
93. Young The Giant – Home Of The Strange
One of America’s best guitar pop bands take a darker change of direction and get serious on a very impressive album number three.
92. John Legend – Darkness & Light
Even the nicest guy in music has something important to say on the state of American affairs and it’s a harrowingly beautiful listen.
91. KoRn – The Serenity Of Suffering
In a strong year for nostalgic Nu-Metal, KoRn continue to push the envelope with successful new music and new ideas.
90. YG – Still Brazy
Super-confident in following up an excellent debut album, YG secured his place as one of the modern day great album rappers.
89. SWMRS – Drive North
Everything you’d want and expect from an Oakland punk band in 2016. Fun, diverse and full of sing-a-long songs of adolescence.
88. Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack
Vibrant, full sounding power rock from a Glasgow band full of heart.
87. Lapsley – Long Way Home
Possibly ushers in a new genre in Anti-Disco; Heartbreaking dance pop ballads for young lovers you can dance and cry to.
86. Gallant – Ology
Soulful pop which floats on air but is never scared to bring you back down to earth with a powerful vocal at any given second.
85. TeenCanteen – Say It All With A Kiss
Glasgow C86 loving outfit who never miss a beat with writing poetic and twee love couplets.
84. Jagwar Ma – Every Now & Then
It’s easy to lose yourself in the tribal clouds, droney blips and beeps and hazy vocals on Jagwar Ma’s stellar sophomore effort.
83. Courteeners – Mapping The Rendezvous
Manchester’s heroes begin to act the stadium band they are with huge indie ballads for a new generation.
82. Diiv – Is The Is Are
Don’t let the title throw you, Diiv become more coherent, structured and focused on album number two.
81. Giggs – The Landlord
As Grime reigns supreme, Giggs drops a dark and clever album even better than his critically acclaimed first to remind us that UK Rap is still going strong.
80. Pixies – Head Carrier
One of the world’s best punk groups deliver one of their funniest, hit packed and fun albums yet. Nothing is stopping Pixies, ever.
79. Bear’s Den – Red Earth & Pouring Rain
British folk’s smoothest sounding band keep up the momentum with a new album which succeeds in building their profile and offering hardcore fans more gems to fall in love with.
78. Pet Shop Boys – Super
One of the UK’s pop national treasures give us a house album. It’s bloody incredible, who’d have thought it!?
77. Spring King – Tell Me If You Like To
The Mancs debut album is imperfect and rough around the edges. Having seen the band’s mad live show, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
76. Touche Amore -–Stage Four
2016’s loudest album comes from LA’s post hardcore veterans who craft a masterpiece from grief and death. How apt for this year.
75. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
Cave’s poetically horrific metaphors have never sounded so personified. It may be the most important album he ever writes.
74. D.R.A.M – Big Baby D.R.A.M
We live in a world with so much rap beef, we need a big loveable guy to spread the joy in the genre. Enter the D.R.A.Mgon.
73. Green Day – Revolution Radio
The epitome of punk rock in America, Green Day, never put out a vital sounding record under Obama’s presidency. How fitting they create their best album since American Idiot just in time for a Trump presidency.
72. Panic! At The Disco – Death Of A Bachelor
Every year brings us an artist who makes a major comeback we just would never have expected. The new P!ATD album is chock-a-block full of hits on hits on hits.
71. Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
Josh Klinghoffer finally feels like the right component in The Chilli’s best work since we lost the funk from the Fruschiate.
70. The Lemon Twigs – Do Hollywood
The 1970s is still alive through Elton John’s favourite band. Think all of the band’s on your Dad’s i-Pod and re-imagine them in 2016. It’s a gorgeous proposition.
69. Kid Cudi – Passion, Pain & Demon Slaying
Rap’s stigma around mental health has never had a soundtrack before, but Cudi does well to remedy that through his own struggles.
68. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
One of this year’s weirdest albums is also one of this year’s quickest albums and is also one of this year’s best.
67. Chairlift – Moth
What we now know is the band’s last is also the cult indie legend’s best album.
66. Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow
The Irish indie rockers rip the script up and start again with a super funky new sound filled with cross genre toe-tappers.
65. Miike Snow – iii
Proof that the Swedish don’t just do chart pop well, they do indie pop DAMN well.
64. Deftones – Gore
One of the year’s best comeback stories and perhaps Metal’s best album of the year.
63. Pup – The Dream Is Over
Subtlety ambitious record from the most modest men in punk. Pup follow-up an enjoyable debut with new critical and fan acclaim through brutally honest lyrics and enough riffs to give yourself a nosebleed with.
62. White Lung – Paradise
A rare occasion where punk embraces pop and make a classic album in the process.
61. Kaytranada – 99.9%
Canada’s got a new super-producer on the scene with more underground and indie sensibilities than the Country’s major popstars.
60. Viola Beach – Viola Beach
A powerful example of how music can make even the largest tragedies sound bittersweet.
59. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
One final touch of comedic and poetic genius from the departing hero.
58. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
As the title gives off, The King of Detroit goes no holds barred and expresses all, and maybe too much, on his excellent sophomore record.
57. Wet – Don’t You
I don’t like to throw around the word ‘underrated’, but Wet are a really important artist for indie and pop fans and I don’t think enough people have heard this absolutely stunning collection of scrunched up love letters.
56. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
Britain’s best band find form with new album as they pave the way for one of their largest touring years in history.
55. Frank Ocean – Blond
We waited and we waited some more and in the end, it did precisely what it set out to do without the need to pick up larger profile or new fans.
54. Francis & The Lights – Farewell, Starlite!
My favourite new artist of 2016 gifted us a surprise album which was full of life affirming, emotional synth pop numbers.
53. Asking Alexandria – The Black
Metalcore and Asking Alexandria can often sound extremely indulgent but new album The Black is must seek-out for fans of heavy music. Mature, layered and impressive tracks.
52. Eliza & The Bear – Eliza & The Bear
Brassy, warm tune after tune from the London band’s long awaited and hit filled debut.
51. X Ambassadors – VHS
Forget everything you know about the frequent alt-chart guest spotter, X Ambassadors proves here he packs a huge gut punch in audio form.
50. Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being
A fuller sound, a let loose attitude and ultimately one of the year’s funkiest trips you’ll take.
49. J.Cole – 4 Your Eyez Only
Hip-Hop elite doesn’t let the year slide out before making his mark. And that mark includes timeless production and effortless bars for days.
48. Radkey – Delicious Rock Sounds
Pretty much does what it says on the tin. The young three piece punkers take their time bringing us their debut album but its worth every crunching riff.
47. Bury Tomorrow – Earthbound
Sublime year for British Metalcore as Bury Tomorrow’s fourth album is an astounding body of work filled with exciting, pulse-racing and most importantly memorable tunes.
46. The Kills – Ash & Ice
The Kills are still going strong with fifth album Ash & Ice and its array of great records. One of this year’s best riff albums.
45. Nao – For All We Know
Sublime and long debut from the UK R&B starlet featuring lots of terrific singles.
44. A$AP Ferg – Always Strive And Prosper
Career work from Ferg in a year plagued with disappointing work from the rest of the A$AP crew. Superb guest spots and production work all round.
43. Wild Beasts – Boy King
A complex record with every instrumental and vocal getting under your skin whilst not revealing its true motives in the process.
42. Vince Staples – Prima Donna
One of the shortest albums of the year, but that doesn’t stop it packing more intent than most rap records you’ll hear all year.
41. Warpaint – Head’s Up
A poppy turn has divided fans, but I admire the change in direction and ability to write stunning pop records.
40. Twin Atlantic – GLA
Understated and modest album campaign this year from the Glaswegians which is a shame as the music here is undeniably stadium sized.
39. White Denim – Stiff
The sound of speeding down Route 66, if you love Americana and rock music that strives for something original, you’d do a lot worse than White Denim this year.
38. Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
Probably the most draining listen on this list, so much so it opens with a ten minute track, but every second deserves your attention. An important album.
37. Taking Back Sunday – Tidal Wave
In a year of solid post punk returns, Taking Back Sunday were most proficient.
36. M83 – Junk
French DJs M83 lose the sadness of the likes of Midnight City and opt for sheer fun on Junk.
35. Drake – Views
For the indulgent fans this was another great slice of classic Drizzy and for the general music scene in 2016, its hard to see past the importance Drake’s new sound brought to the way the year was shaped in music. What’s forgotten away from the hits were the textbook Drake records like Weston Road Flows and Keep The Family Close though.
34. Sia – This Is Acting
It turns out making an album out of rejected songs for global superstars means you have an album full of absolutely huge potential chart toppers. Well done Sia.
33. Fatherson – Open Book
Scottish folk rock with a heart as enormous as the euphoria in its sound.
32. Jack Garratt – Phase
The Brit Critics choice winner followed up all the buzz in the country with a laid back album that you can tell he clearly enjoyed making. It wasn’t to achieve success, it was pure fan service and love of his craft.
31. BJ The Chicago Kid – In My Mind
Whilst its common knowledge that Chicago is a hotpot for great new soul-rap talent, nobody could have predicted just how good BJ The Chicago Kid’s debut album was going to be.
30. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
Full of funky pop you’d associate with Mars from start to finish. Every song could be a single and for a global superstar, in a world where global superstars have started shying away from hit filled albums, this is a win.
29. Eagulls – Ullages
The Leeds band follow-up their great debut album by further progressing their gorgeous 80s new romanticism and droney grunge punk. Lots of stand-outs.
28. Hooton Tennis Club – Big Box Of Chocolates
Expertly written indie pop gems both lyrically and musically, this was one of the year’s best offerings for those who are indie inclined.
27. Phantogram – Three
Big, powerful stadium sized alternative pop music from a band who really find their calling on album number three. Some of these records stay with you for days.
26. Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart
Much blogged about North East of England punkers with some of the most intelligent lyrics you’ll hear all year.
25. Hamilton Leithauser & Rostam – I Had A Dream That You Were Mine
A dream collaboration paints a picture of New York so beautifully.
24. Justice – Woman
Triumphant return for the DJs with an album packed with highlight after highlight in what might be their best album yet.
23. Metallica – Hardwired To…Self Destruct
A joyous return to form enjoyable from start to finish for fans of any heavy beats.
22. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
The Greatest Of All Time sign out in style with all getting their chances to shine and showcase the best they can do.
21. Savages – Adore Life
The super dark indie punk stylings of Savages returned with an astounding success of an album which wound up being the first great album of the year.
20. Moose Blood – Blush
Pop Punk has had an incredible year and at the forefront of absolutely everything released from the genre were new British act Moose Blood who made one of the best debut albums of 2016.
19. Angel Olsen – My Woman
Infectious and outlandish takes on relationships and life by a country rocker plugged in.
18. Mitski – Puberty 2
At the top of many an end of year list and rightly so. Mitski’s new record has unprecedented metaphorical and poetic gems and enough riffs to go round the whole family.
17. Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial
No sound summed up adolescence in 2016 better than Will Toledo’s Car Seat Headrest. Insanely powerful minimalism in grunge guitars and power slacker vocals.
16. Childish Gambino – Awaken My Love
To use the term ‘change of direction’ wouldn’t do justice what Glover has done here. He’s become a completely new artist and transported us to 70s Funkadelic parties.
15. The Avalanches – Wildflower
A forgotten early noughties one album wonder The Avalanches returned this year in one of the year’s strangest returns. Wildflower turned out to be just as good as we’d always hoped for from an Avalanches follow-up. Bright, danceable records with wonderful scratching and sampling.
14. David Bowie – Blackstar
One of the greatest singers, songwriters and stars of the world departed us this year but before he did, he kept up appearances as this magical celestial being by giving us an album touching heavily on the topic of death before he passed. What resulted was the world grieving together with a body of work to do so with, eerily perfectly.
13. The Range – Potential
The Electronic album of the year belongs to The Range. The Brooklyn DJ combined the perfect sounds at the perfect time of year to encapsulate the relaxing and euphoric feeling of loving life with friends in the Sun. Potential is an album I’ll return to when I need this happiness back.
12. Travis $cott – Birds In The Trap Sing Brian McKnight
Despite being a fairly indulgent artist, Travis $cott has succeeded in taking Trap music to its next level. His production doesn’t sound as cluttered and heavy on the ear as most trap. He uses his own voice as an instrument to add layers of darkness to his music, taking his dark trap into the realms of emo.
11. Schoolboy Q – Blank Face
Under the radar Q at the top of his game. TDE’s best album of the year.
10. Kano – Made In The Manor
Kano should have won the Mercury Music Prize, simple as that. A masterful return and immediate cementation at the top of his scene. A stunning story and body of work.
9. Crying – Beyond The Fleeting Gales
Exciting and fresh ideas from the New York three piece who are as much 80s Hair Metal as they are Soft Indie Pop. Unpredictable at every turn and a superb listen.
8. Anderson.Paak – Malibu
I think we knew Paak was a star in the making, but Malibu was one of the most acclaimed albums of the year. Talent for days, hooks for days and a modern day classic.
7. Shura – Nothing’s Real
Rare to see an artist achieve such a full sound and story out of a debut album but Shura’s outing is one of those. A must listen and one of the UK’s brightest stars. It’s been on repeat all year.
6. Bon Iver – 22, A Million
At times a frustrating listen, this is a fractured masterpiece about the fractured world we live in.
5. Beyonce – Lemonade
From start to finish it was always going to be timeless. Singles were extraordinary and there could be many more from it, the Lemonade movement was a real spectacle to witness.
4. James Blake – The Colour In Anything
Blake returned to do what he does best, minimal and spacious rooms for each of the songs he has on his album. Each with its own story and mood.
3. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
We needed positivity this year and thankfully in music, Chance The Rapper used his now global profile to spread happiness and positive messages. At the centre of this was his album Coloring Book which was packed to the brim with modern soul-rap and lots of great collaborations with new and old artists. Chano is King.
2. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
The first ever changing album as Kanye continued to add to The Life Of Pablo until he was happy with its final product. Be it the first version or the final, its almost a perfect album and one that stayed with me consistently all year.
1. The 1975 – I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
I had to sleep on which album to give the top spot to between Kanye and this one, and ultimately as a statement piece, as a natural progression and as a band taking the next step to being the most important artist of a time and place, The 1975 were a massive part of music in 2016. Their second album is an incredible statement of ambition and a huge success all round.