Best Albums of 2016

December 23, 2016 | Charlene Lee

Comments (2)

2016 was a great year for music. With more and more means of expressing themselves, musicians have never had so many different ways and platforms to release their work. That being said the art of the album is still a valued form, which is especially evident in all the great releases from this year. 

How to be a Human Being, Glass Animals

This was one of my most listened to albums this year, and one that I constantly listened to, from beginning to end. How to be a Human Being is quirky and weird, but rewarding in its exploration and uniqueness. Track favourites include "Season 2 Episode 3", and the record's best "Agnes". "Agnes" is so many things all at once; the song moves from being one of the saddest things you've ever heard to being completely euphoric. It is brilliant, rife with emotion and sure to have you singing along.

Morning Report, Arkells

The fourth album from the Hamilton-based group is their appeal to the mainstream, evident in their pop-y dance-y anthems. 

Junk, M83

French. Synth. Pop. Enough said. 

VIEWS, Drake

With initial impressions of entropy and weariness, it took a few listens to appreciate the album's themes and complexities. Drake's ode to Toronto is a monstrous 20 tracks, but like previous records, VIEWS is emotional and personal. VIEWS is also available on hoopla

Morning report  Junk  Views

A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead

Radiohead's ninth album saw a move from the angsty and experimental, to a more melodic and elegant collection of tracks. Reminiscent of 1997's OK Computer, A Moon Shaped Pool is meditative and dreamy while still able to put listeners on edge. Brimming with beautiful pianos, strings and acoustic guitars, this album is ambient but also dark and visceral. 

untitled unmastered, Kendrick Lamar

Ignore the lackluster title and album art, because this album is anything but. untitled unmastered is raw, intimate, colourful and electric. 

Painting With, Animal Collective

Like past works, Painting With is bright, busy and fun. Inspired by post-modern art movements like Dadaism (listen to "Floridada") the album takes listeners on a fun and silly journey, full of playful vocals and unidentifiable sounds. 

100 Reasons to Live, Gareth Emery

If you're a fan of trance, you're going to like this album. Emery's third album is lush with beautiful, catchy melodies and thoughtful collaborations. Emery once again proves his talents as a producer by blending elements of trance, pop and progressive, giving each track a unique feel. I usually prefer my electronic music without vocals, but found myself singing along to most tracks.

A_Moon_Shaped_Pool  Kendrick_Lamar_-_Untitled_Unmastered_(Artwork)  Animal_Collective_-_Painting_With  100_Reasons_to_Live

Check out Toronto Public Library's growing music collection to find your next great listen. Have recommendations from 2016? Albums you're looking forward to in 2017? Feel free to share!