16 Best Albums of 2016
Now that we’ve gone over the best singles of the year it’s time to hash out the best albums of 2016! Like I’ve mentioned before, many have been able to make a hit but very few can pull off a whole album.
In all honestly, not even all of the artists that made this best-of list were able to pull it off. Still, a random track or two that misses the mark is not enough to disqualify someone. Even the best records of all time have songs on them that make you scratch your head and wonder where the other opinions in the room were.
Maybe it’s not a random song that’s the outlier. Sometimes the song itself can be great except for one strange lyric that sticks out or an indecipherable word. Either way, if the beats good enough and the vast majority of the words can be understood, typically, all is forgiven.
Picking only sixteen records was tough. As much as I enjoy writing these end of the year lists they actually end up taking a significantly longer amount of time to make. Part of this is because it’s hard for me to narrow down the list and then the other reason is because I have to listen to a lot of music.
I know, you’re like, but you love music so what’s the problem?
The problem with having to listen to a lot of music is that I have to listen to everything. Well, as much of everything as one person can listen to. I listened to artists I don’t normally listen to, checked out albums that have been on my to-do list for a while and more.
Best Album Without Best Single
Yes, an artist can be featured on one list and not the other. When I think of a single I think of a few things. Can you dance to this? Is it catchy? Would this sound even better after dark? With an album, I simply ask, is it telling a story?
For me, a solid album tells a tale from start to finish and flows from one song to the next. It doesn’t have to also sound good at a party. Some artists on this list were able to do both but that doesn’t make them better than the rest.
One album, that would 100% be on this list, if it didn’t just come out and have zero videos attached to it fits this scenario perfectly. J.Cole’s ‘4 Your Eyes Only’ deserves to be on this list because of its masterful storytelling. There aren’t any club bangers on that album yet, as of today, it’s still topping the charts on virtually every chart there is. So, due to the lack of videos, we’ll just pretend it’s on this list anyways.
You see, I could just list my personal top 16 albums and call it a day. However, I prefer to take this a bit more seriously. So instead of just writing about the albums I love and listened to the most this year I wanted to also include albums that the general public loved as well.
I’m well aware that I listen to a lot of under the radar artists, that’s fine by me. However, I don’t think anyone can have a comprehensive end of the year list if they don’t include a wider variety of music. That means, the stuff on the radio, the stuff in the dive bars, the stuff the critics loved and everything in between.
Do I love all the albums I featured? Of course! I’d never include something just because someone else liked it or Rolling Stone said it was good. It still has to pass the Monika test. Just know that the 16 records that made the best albums of 2016 list might look a little different from say, the ‘Your Top Songs of 2016’ playlist that Spotify generated for me.
The other hard part about making this list? The fact that I actually have to narrow the list down to sixteen. I mean I maybe could have made it twenty. I mean, no one would be upset if I did. However, we can’t stay here all day so sixteen it is!
If you scroll down you’ll see a few of the records that just didn’t make the cut for me. All of them could have easily been on this list. In fact, I’m sure plenty of other best albums of 2016 lists will have a few names on here that I purposefully left out altogether. For me, the names I left off the list were either one too many filler songs shy of greatness or they simply were good but not as good as the ones I settled on.
Enough chit-chat! 2016 sucked in more ways than one, we lost Bowie and Prince, he who shall not be named is President of the U.S. and Hodor held the door. The one thing that did not disappoint? Music. Check out the best albums of 2016 as well as a few recommended tracks and share your thoughts below!
Hear the Best Albums of 2015
Songs with an (*) next to it may contain content that is controversial or explicit to some.
Childish Gambino || “Awaken, My Love”
Noteworthy Tracks: “Me & Your Mama”, “Terrified”, “Baby Boy” & “The Night Me & Your Mama Met”
Beyoncé || Lemonade
Noteworthy Tracks: “6 Inch”, “Daddy Lessons”, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” & “Sandcastles”
Panic! at the Disco || Death of a Bachelor
Also Featured: Birthday Playlist
Noteworthy Tracks: “Emperor’s New Clothes”, “Crazy=Genius”, “Golden Days” & “House of Memories”
Common || Black America Again
Noteworthy Tracks: “Home”, “Love Star”, “Letter to the Free” & “Unfamiliar”
Miike Snow || iii
Also Featured: Creative Productivity Playlist
Noteworthy Tracks: “Genghis Khan”, ” Heart is Full”, “For U” & “Back of the Car”
Aurora || All My Demons Greeting me As a friend
Also Featured: Live at Bowery Ballroom
Noteworthy Tracks: “Running with the Wolves”, “Runaway”, “Under the Water” & “Murder Song”
Moxie Raia || 931
Also Featured: Female Artists to Watch
Noteworthy Tracks: “Could You Be Love”, “How to Feel”, “Follow Me” & “Bad Decisions”
6LACK || Free 6Lack(*)
Noteworthy Tracks: “Free”, “Ex Calling”, “Luving You” & “Worst Luck”
PJ || Rare
Kanye West || The Life of Pablo
Gallant || Ology
Phantogram || Three
Kid Cudi || Passion, Pain & Deamon Slayin’
Ramin Djawadi || Game of Thrones Season 6
Kiiara || low kii savage
Bruno Mars || 24K Magic
Willa || Criminals + Dreamers
Glades || This is What It’s Like
Tove Lo || Lady wood
Noteworthy Tracks: “Vibes”, “Influence”, “Lady Wood”, “Cool Girl” & “Don’t Talk About It”
Solange || a Seat At the TaBLE
Also Featured: Anticipated Albums
Noteworthy Tracks: “Cranes in the Sky”, “Weary”, “Rise” & “Mad”
Broods || Conscious
Noteworthy Tracks: “Are You Home”, “Couldn’t Believe”, “Conscious” & “All of Your Glory”
Ariana Grande || Dangerous Woman
Noteworthy Tracks: “Let me Love You”, “Leave Me Lonely”, “Touch It” & “Thinkin Bout You”
Rihanna || Anti(*)
Noteworthy Tracks: “Needed Me”, “Desperado”, “Love on the Brain” & “Sex With Me”
Banks || The Altar(*)
Noteworthy Tracks: “Gemini Feed”, “27 Hours”, “Weaker Girl & “Poltergeist”
Lady Gaga || Joanne
Also Featured: Throwback Songs from the 2000’s
Noteworthy Tracks: “Diamond Heart”, “Perfect Illusion”, “Dancin in Circles” & “Angel Down”
The Weeknd || Star boy(*)
Noteworthy Tracks: “I feel it Coming”, “Die for You”, “Love to Lay” & “Rockin”
What do you think of the best albums of 2016? Do we have any in common? Who did I leave out? Share your thoughts and I’ll see you in the new year!