WE have been blessed with plenty of new music in 2016, however it’s that time of the year where lists appear rating the albums that people deem “the best”. NME controversially put The 1975’s sophomore album at the top of their list and so we at Plugged In decided to sort out our top 10 albums of 2016.
MICHAEL KIWANUKA – LOVE AND HATE
Michael Kiwanuka released his Mercury Prize nominated album back in July and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With all the uncertainty in the world this album is the diamond in the rough, beautiful tracks like “Love & Hate” and “I’ll Never Love” mix in with more soul infused songs like “Black Man In a White World” and “Cold Little Heart”. Overall this album is Michael Kiwanuka at his best.
LETS EAT GRANDMA – I, GEMINI
For a debut, this album is sublime, the duet of Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth shines bright in throughout this album. Songs like “Sax in the City” and “Chimpanzees in Canopies” are ahead of their time. In fact, this whole album is ahead of its time. It may take a while to be seriously noticed, but that it must as Let’s Eat Grandma won’t be disappearing anytime soon.
RADIOHEAD – A MOON SHAPED POOL
Even people who claim to dislike Radiohead have to acknowledge “A Moon Shaped Pool” as one of the most cleverly crafted albums this year. It flows so seamlessly, each track taking the listener on a journey through the world of Radiohead and allowing complete escapism from the real world. It’s arguably Radiohead best release yet and certainly needs to be included in any list that refers to “best albums of 2016”.
BON IVER – 22 A MILLION
Five years on from Bon Iver’s “Bon Iver”, 22 A Million is a masterpiece and a beautiful return by Justin Vernon and Co. Mixing electronic samples with stunning acoustic guitars, you find yourself listening to ballad after ballad. Even the noticeably different a cappella “715 – CREEKS” is as Bon Iver as you could expect.
KINGS OF LEON – WALLS
Possibly their best release since 2007’s “Because of the Times”. The American boys hit back at naysayers on this incredible record. When the first single “Waste a Moment” dropped, everyone was surprised to hear this re-energised version of an “old” KoL. The boys sum this album up perfectly with the lyrics from the track “Eyes On You” where Caleb Followill sings: “If you don’t like it, then try it”. If you don’t like KoL, try this album, because you will be pleasantly surprised.
HINDS – LEAVE ME ALONE
Spanish quartet have divided a lot of the music industry since appearing in the UK scene as Deers back in 2014, with some people speaking incredibly highly of the band and others pushing them to one side as just another indie group. For us, Hinds are the perfect example of fun, feelgood, music and their debut “Leave Me Alone” couldn’t fit this description any better. After showcasing the album this summer, it proved to people that these girls know exactly what they’re doing and now they can step back and look at their success over the last year.
DIIV – IS THE IS ARE
After the fantastic release of “Oshin” in 2012, it took Diiv four years to finally release their sophomore album “Is The Is Are” yet it was worth the wait. The album is far more developed than “Oshin” in the sense that individual songs stand out above others. Trackss like “Mire (Grant’s Song)” and “Healthy Moon” are real gems on this album. Not all 17 tracks are amazing, but upon every listen “Is The Is Are” gives you something new to love about it.
KANO – MADE IN THE MANOR
Skepta wasn’t the only grime artist to put out a game changing album this year, oh no, grime forefather Kano released his fourth studio album this March. It was sad to see this album lose out on the Mercury prize, especially because of what it stands for. Kano opening up to his audience on an incredibly personal level. Look no further than tracks like “Little Sis” and “Endz” to prove this. However it also shows the MC at his best, doing what he’s done since day one, “3 Wheels Up” and “New Banger” are fantastic live tracks whereas “T-Shirt Weather in the Manor” is an ode to the Great British summer. Their isn’t a dull moment on this great album.
YAK – ALAS SALVATION
If you’ve followed YAK since the start then you know everything was leading up this, their debut album launched YAK into the limelight and proved that they aren’t going to be slowing down anytime soon. The raw full force “Curtain Twitcher” blends in with the softer “Roll Another” to create a sense of diversity, its not all about in your face attitudde on this record. They even have chance to squeeze in the epic “Harbour the Feeling” and the anthem that is “Please Don’t Wait For Me”. It’s hard to not love this album and it’s certainly proved that YAK are more than a one sided band.
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD – NONAGON INFINITY
An album that infinitely loops over and over again, with a powerful leitmotif and a hell lot of instrumentation, “Nonagon Infinity” is possible King Gizzards best release yet and that’s saying something for a band who have released five albums in three years. It’s infectious and courageous all in one and the most adventurous album to grace the music scene in a long while. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard hit a home run with this album and it will surely go down in history as one to remember.