Words By Dan Ashcroft

It may have been a dire one for musicians’ life prospects, but looking back on 2016 there were a fair few recorded gems. So in the spirit of the ‘Best Of…’ season, we’ve delved back across the last 12 months of albums. In no order:

Oranssi Pazuzu // Värähtelijä

Full of surprises and left turns, this album of black metal, psychedelic thrash and stoner rock has given us the most joy this year. A true masterpiece.

Beyoncé // Lemonade

Beyoncé just keeps raising her game. The variety of styles and the political content of the lyrics adds a level of maturity to this global megastar.

David Bowie // Blackstar

A triumphant final album from the White Duke. We massively preferred this record to 2013’s The Next Day. Somehow familiar and unusual both at once.

Kanye West // The Life of Pablo

His ridiculous lyrics battle with a ridiculously great use of cut-and-paste samples. If only he was just a producer.

Kendrick Lamar // Untitled Unmastered

Not on the level of 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly, but these outtakes from the same recording sessions are still full of great moments.

K Michelle // More Issues Than Vogue

Dirty, funky and lots of fun. This one includes my favourite track of the year (below).

Anderson .Paak // Malibu

Like of soul version of Kendrick. Witty, funky and intelligent social commentary.

Bon Iver // 22, A Million

As well as creating a new genre, sci-fi folk, Bon Iver has fused a wild ride full of beautiful melodies.

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Keep an eye out for Part Two, which will go live from Thursday 22 December, 2016.

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