Blackstar – David BowieDavid Bowie’s swan song Blackstar is the best album of his career, let alone of 2016! Blackstar sees Bowie facing his own mortality, and the result is a moving forty-minute tribute to his career. ‘Lazarus’ is an example of genius both musically and lyrically. This Starman’s music will live on eternally. – Claud Letts
A Moon shaped pool – Radiohead After a five-year gap, Radiohead released A Moon Shaped Pool to critical acclaim. The album continues Radiohead’s habit of major stylistic progressions, with the band making huge use of string sections and moving toward a more vulnerable and emotional sound. The best way to sum up their latest effort is as a piece of pure artwork. – Dom Clarke
Blond – Frank Ocean After the breakthrough debut Channel Orange, Frank Ocean continues to deconstruct genre boundaries with a luscious hybrid of R&B, psychedelic pop and avant garde. Tackling variant motifs such as consumerism and the murders of African Americans in ‘Nikes’ and the embrace of the uncontrollable in ‘Pink + White’, Ocean has really produced a first class record. – Elodie Mayo
Everything you’ve come to expect – The Last Shadow Puppets Everything You’ve Come To Expect starts strongly with the gentle yet infectious ‘Miracle Aligner’. ‘Bad Habits’ feels like a bit of a mis-step as a rip-roaring rock number, but tracks such as ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’ and ‘The Dream Synopsis’ prove EYCTE as one of this year’s top records, both beautiful tracks in this largely fantastic comeback from the supergroup. – Dan Struthers
Untitled Unmastered – Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar once told Rick Rubin that his enjoyment of the music-making process relies on “feeling like I’m never stagnant” – and the proof is in the pudding. Untitled Unmastered is totally and utterly perfect, with Lamar’s most raw vocal deliveries to date and countless transcendent moments. – Kate Feenstra
Trick – Jamie TAfter his successful comeback with Carry On the Grudge in 2014, Jamie T didn’t keep fans waiting too long for his fourth album, Trick. Despite experimenting with an arguably more mature sound on this album, T manages to keep older fans happy with witty tracks ‘Tescoland ‘and ‘Robin Hood’. It’s an eclectic mix which somehow seems coherent, a feature of T’s music which should be highly applauded. – Madelene Aldridge
The dream is over – PupWhen PUP vocalist Stephan Babcock blew his voice on the tour last year, his doctor gave the simple prognosis: ‘the dream is over’. Through the 10 tracks on the band’s critically acclaimed second album, however, Stephan and co. showed very clearly that the dream is far from over. hig emotive, Fraites and Schultz’s poetic talents make this album a strong contender. – Nick Mason
Cleopatra – The Lumineers The Lumineers follow-up to their self-titled debut is a truly beautifully written record. In a mere eleven songs the life of unnamed women is chronicled through balled-like imagery and soft instrumentals, with its centrepiece being ‘Ophelia’ and ‘Cleopatra’. Melancholic, bittersweet and highly emotive, Fraites and Schultz’s poetic talents make this album a strong contender. – Olivia Campbell
Malibu – Anderson .Paak West coast rapper Anderson .Paak was a refreshing take on hip-hop this year, blending funk, soul, trap, and jazz to compliment his gospel-style voice and reflective rhymes. Malibu is a lighthearted celebration all while addressing his most personal experiences, with ‘The Dreamer’ and ‘Put Me Thru’ preaching some inspiration we all desperately needed this year. – Georgina Hewison
22, A million – Bon Iver 22, A Million is worthy of huge praise, and whilst the titles may be difficult to pronounce, they certainly aren’t hard to listen to. The calmness that comes from this experimental album has been the soundtrack to hung-over mornings and lengthy library sessions. When indie guitars or deep house is a bit much, just whack on ‘8 (circle)’. – Rachel Grice
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