It's been a long year. Throughout 2016, the world say tragedy and disaster unfold. Throughout all of those times, we've come together and united against whatever odds were put against us. Perhaps on a more personal level, but music has always been something we turned to in times of tragedy. Music has the power to transform the darkest situations to ones with hope. Thousands of albums and songs were released this year, some having a bigger impact than others. Here is our official Top 50 Albums list of 2016.
The first 25 will simply be pictures, and the following 15 will have short excerpts. The final 10 will have a short yet detailed review following them. Be sure to click the links to read our full reviews of the albums!
Firstly, here are some records that didn't quite make the cut in the Top 50, but are still some very solid records:
- Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman
- Periphery - Periphery III: Select Difficulty
- Issues - Headspace
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - This Unruly Mess I've Made
- Phantogram - Three
49. Beyoncé - LEMONADE
38. David Bowie - ★
A blend of self-loathing hardcore and sweet melody made If I'm The Devil a very immense record.
Bringing together the best of both bands, this collaborative EP made some of TOP's biggest hits even more massive.
The delightful charm of How To Be A Human Being brought forth infectious tones and a unique listen.
The band's huge comeback brought some drama to indie rock and showed that TLSP were not just a flash in the pan.
LIGHTS stripped down some key tracks from Light Machines to make some heartfelt, emotional acoustic tunes
Some may have though Weezer were getting out of touch. The White Album showed that this was the opposite of the case. Weezer sounds more energetic and alive than they have for a long time in their latest effort; energetic and jammy enough to land a spot in the Top 20. Alternative rock meets the summer head on in this record, making it an album that really stood the test of time this year.
Something haunting made the atmosphere of HÆLOS' debut record Full Circle so powerful. Spacey textures built from song to song created a dramatic and mystifying record that simply could not be forgotten. This was nothing short of a space odyssey, and while its grandiose was subtle and confined to this otherwordly textures, it still maintained a personal mood that allowed the listener to build a personal story out of the spooky sounds.
Passenger has always been a weathered traveller, not in terms of his music but in terms of his sound. His songs always have a wanderlust sense to them, begging to return to these ethereal places he sings of that served as the inspiration for his music. Young As The Morning Old As The Sea is a collection of these sailor's tales that will leave you wanting to go out and explore. There's not as much adventure in this record as their is thankfulness for such places, and you'll be wanting to return to the place that makes you feel the way Passenger does on this record.
It goes without saying that 2016 was the year of The Chainsmokers. They jutted out hit after hit, making them one of the world's most-played artists. From the dark club vibes of 'Don't Let Me Down' to the hopeful, optimistic sounds of 'Closer,' there is no question that this duo truly took over the airwaves this summer. Collage brought all of the duo's summer hits into one fun-filled EP that bursted with both adventure and energy.
Lacey Sturm stepped away from the limelight of Flyleaf and went solo this year, and her album Life Screams embodied a lot of anguish. Life Screams was about tragedy, and while on the surface it may seem like a woman's record, it is absolutely about the struggle of being human. Challenging ills such as love, abuse, and violence, Life Screams was not afraid to stand up against what Sturm saw wrong with the world and sought to correct them. You think it won't have an effect on you until you're constantly connecting the messages to the things you see wrong in the world every day.
Words may speak wonders, but Russian Circles don't need them to make a statement. The anguished, brutal attacks of the guitars and drums on Guidance brought Russian Circles to their next level. The instrumental trio delivered brutal, exciting moments that reflected oppression and torture, while still finding moments of reprieve, not forgetting to include those glimmers of hope in their music, reminding us that even in the darkest situations, there is a light.
This album literally came out yesterday, but it immediately took a place high on this list. Run The Jewels is a force in hip-hop that simply cannot be reckoned with. Piss off Killer Mike or El-P, and you'll be slammed in the next RTJ record. Run The Jewels sounds immense in our currently hectic world, challenging autocracy, tyranny, and even general oppression. The politically-charged record may sound like there's no hope, but it delivers the powerful message: change is in our hands.
It's been a long and hard year for Architects. They dropped the best record they've ever written in May, but lost their guitarist to cancer just months later. It's tragic, but they knew. They channelled all of their emotions towards that damning fate into All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us. This record is anger, sadness, fear, disgust, and every emotion under the sun that you can imagine channeled into one powerful collection of songs. Perhaps it's best summed up by the lyrics of the song 'Deathwish': "I know you know we’ve been living a lie… We’ve passed the point of no return… We just want to watch the world burn."
Mystery is what They Moved In Shadow All Together is all about. The witchy textures of the record will both relieve you from inner stress and make you feel like some otherwordly presence is watching you. Emily Jane White sings with such a unique tone that you will almost certainly get lost within it. It's a barebones record that is filled with billowing moments that make the pronounced moments that much stronger. There isn't a dull moment on the record, even when there's nothing to search for. Sometimes the bear surface is all you need to see.
The Naked & Famous took the best of their discography and combined it into one powerful, flowing record. Simple Forms is a combination of the band's energetic debut and its atmospheric follow up, bursting with a certain passion that you've never heard before. The band soar to new heights, electronica bursting powerfully with bright guitars and immense drums. This is the true meeting of pop, electronica, and rock.