Editor’s Album Picks 2016

Posted by Anne-Sophie | December 22, 2016 | MUSIC


Brace yourselves! Album countdowns are coming… except that we’ve decided not to rate albums this year. Because music is as diverse and personal as our lovely Editors, we’ve decided to look to them to find out what 2016’s best albums are. After a year of crafting playlists to make you laugh, cry, sing, dance, sleep (and potentially get laid), we’ve asked them which artist helped them pull through 2016.

Here’s their selection and it’s divine. We’ve put all the albums together in a playlist so you don’t have to.

Max Richter - From Sleep: Living in a big city causes anxiety so I listen to music that keeps me calm and focused. From Sleep, despite its melancholic undertone, is a beautifully crafted album that triggers a feeling of ethereal inner peace.

 Anne-Sophie (blog)
Younandewan - There Is No Right Time: "This is my no.1 album of 2016.  Even if it is full of analogue-driven sounds, Younandewan succeeds in finding the perfect balance, making every listen a mellow, energetic, smooth yet rough experience.

 Robin Wilms (Dance Editor) Gallant - Ology: Gallant is a musician who perfectly demonstrates what it means to be a modern soul artist. The album dropped in March, followed by a duet with Elton John in the summer, a stunning rendition of 'Weight In Gold' at the BBC in the autumn and a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album in the winter. 2016 was a big year for Gallant, but I have a feeling next year may be even bigger.

Dom (UK & Ireland Editor) Anderson .Paak - Malibu: It’s been a busy year for the 31-year-old Los Angelino Anderson .Paak. Introduced to a wider audience by Dr Dre’s comeback album Compton, 2016 was Paak’s time to shine. His second album Malibu mixes soul, R’n’B and hip-hop with a touch of jazz in a dizzying combination. Whereas others fail to master all genres at the same time Anderson .Paak excels in an effortless fashion.

Richard Wernicke (Soul Editor) Chart Suchart - Father's Dream / ฝันบิดา: Chart's unique voice and heartfelt singing has spoken for the entire country of Thailand during this period of mourning. His Majesty King Bhumibol will long be remembered and respected.

Nantarika Engtrakul (Editor in Thailand) David Bowie - Blackstar: Blackstar was released two days before his death giving the album a whole new symbolic meaning and shocked the whole media network. Songs like 'Lazarus' landed on top of the charts all around the world. The umpteenth demonstration of the greatness of an immortal artist.

 Paola Sarappa (Rock Editor)
Margaret Glaspy - Emotions and Math: Margaret Glaspy's debut LP follows a simple formula and executes it with artfulness. The music is spacious which allows for her gravely vocals and growling guitar to pack it's emotional punch. Her idiosyncratic melodies compliment the bittersweet lyrics dealing with neurosis, loneliness, indifference and coldly self-assessed character flaws. A must-listen for fans of Elliot Smith, Joni Mitchell or Fiona Apple.

Kim Weaver (Indie Editor) Kristian Bezuidenhout - Mozart: Piano Concertos: South African pianist, Kristian Bezuidenhout, released one of the best classical albums this year. He uses a pianoforte (ancestor of the piano) making his Piano Concertos of Mozart simply marvelous.

Yannick Fage (Jazz & Classical Editor) Blood Orange - Freetown Sound: Through his third album, Freetown Sound, Blood Orange continues to rise up against racism, lack of equality, discrimination and intolerance with his flawless mix of soul, R&B, jazz, and electronic pop. I admire he way he expresses heartbreak and emotion with his nostalgic music.

Diana Padilla (Pop Editor) Pommez Internacional - Canto Serpiente: The talented Argentinian band imagines a dystopian world inspired by small postcards taken from the world: Buenos Aires, the Jordan River, Brazil, and more. Soundwise, the band doesn’t commit to one genre and harmoniously incorporates different instruments to create an electronic and dreamy atmosphere.

Bárbara Pavan (Argentinian Editor) Phlake - Slush Hours: Phlake and their debut album Slush Hours was one of the best things to come out of 2016. It's a bombastic R&B-pop album, which celebrates the glow and quirky cravings of a pregnant girlfriend. The abstract intensity on 'Moldavia' and rousing catchy-ness on 'Angel Zoo' makes the album an absolute must.

Nanna Lindhardt (R&B editor Denmark) Ty Dolla Sign - Campaign: When you're a boss, you're a boss.

Romain Toulemonde (Hip Hop Editor) Prince Rama - Xtreme Now: Prince Rama merges colorful art-disco with playful synthpop and rock elements on their new album.  This adds an adrenaline rush to the songs making their album an otherworldly listening experience.

Árpád Szarvas (Electronic music Editor) Rihanna - Anti: Despite a rocky launch, Anti turned out to be a double platinum selling album. Anti embodies Rihanna's rebellion against an industry that expects females to be slick and subdued. we're hooked.

Emily Hendrickx (Pop Editor) Kate Tempest - Let Them Eat Chaos: A spoken word and rap concept album about geopolitical problems may sound like a tough sell. However, Kate Tempest manages to pull it off, even throwing in the intertwining stories of the residents of a south London street into the mix too. With tales of booze-fuelled nights out, reflections on modern relationships and even global warming, LTEC is one of the year’s most intelligent and passionate albums.

Roman Tagoe (Rap/ Spoken Word Editor) Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct: Eight years after the release of Death Magnetic, Metallica are back. 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct' is the band's best album since the Black Album. End of discussion.

Renaud (Metal Editor) JONES - New Skin: JONES’ album New Skin is filled with smooth echoing vocals combined with cool beats that gently surround the listener without sounding over the top. The album gradually unfolds its beauty from start to finish. It’s my ultimate soundtrack for those long train rides. 

Simone Schiborr (Soul Editor) Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree: Nick Cave lost his son prior to writing this album. The aftershock of that huge loss deeply influenced his album. The music is deep and dark yet also very uplifting. Nick Cave is a master of narrative and storytelling. You can feel the hurt but embrace that he is moving forward with his wife and other son to build a new future. A strong album in every sense of the word.  

David Atkinson (Art Rock Editor) Kevin Morby - Singing Saw: Judging by the sheer depth in content of Singing Saw it's incredible to think that this is only Kevin Morby's third solo album, and that he is still in his twenties. The music is so mature and consistent, yet surprising. Morby is no newcomer to this scene, being a part of the critically-acclaimed Brooklyn band Woods. But in this new effort he has really shined through. If he keeps this up, we may be enjoying the first steps of one of the great indie folksters of the century.

Carlos Ardila (Folk Rock Editor) BaianaSystem - Duas Cidades: BaianaSystem is a project from Salvador. Duas Cidades is their second album and brings reggae/dub culture and Brazilian music together. It’s an absolutely amazing album that fits perfectly with Brazil’s present energy and rebellious nature. We love taking a stand without ever losing our groove. 

Yasmin Muller (Brazilian Music Editor) Bon Iver - 22, A Million: When Bon Iver dabbles in auto-tune the result is nothing short of astounding. You can still hear the hauntingly beautiful acoustic strums echoing somewhere in the background, but the focus is on breaking out of the box, both musically and lyrically. And despite all the wonderful strange details and sounds, the result is surprisingly easy to listen to.

Jouni Pesola (Alternative Editor) Honne - Warm On A Cold Night: A gentle mix of soulful electronica with R&B guitars, jazzy bass lines and laid back vocals, which work perfectly as an antidote to nocturnal loneliness. It’s a perfect invitation for romance. No love in your life? This album will put you in the right mood to go looking for it. 

Pino Ungvolgyi (Electronic Soul Editor) Damian & Brothers - Gypsy Rock: Change or Die: 10 years have passed and over 600 concerts have taken place around the world since the start of Damian & Brothers. This makes their anniversary album altogether special. Artists from different genres have come together to create a remarkable album that will captivate listeners who know the original songs and newcomers.

Mircea Marza (Rock Editor) Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker: In a way, Leonard Cohen has been writing the same story for decades - from his critically acclaimed collections of poetry, to his two wonderful novels, to the amazing songs that drew from influences as diverse as Hank Williams Sr., to The Weavers, the common theme in many of these works was the ability to see that "there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in". You Want It Darker, his final album, was created in the same defiant burst of creativity that characterized Curtis Mayfield's New World Order and the great final album from David Bowie, Blackstar, and we are all beneficiaries of the powerful creative drive and artistic landmarks that these great artists have left us. 

Rick Banales (US Editor)
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Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker: In a way, Leonard Cohen has been writing the same story for decades - from his critically acclaimed collections of poetry, to his two wonderful novels, to the amazing songs that drew from influences as diverse as Hank Williams Sr., to The Weavers, the common theme in many of these works was the ability to see that "there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in". You Want It Darker, his final album, was created in the same defiant burst of creativity that characterized Curtis Mayfield's New World Order and the great final album from David Bowie, Blackstar, and we are all beneficiaries of the powerful creative drive and artistic landmarks that these great artists have left us. Rick Banales (US Editor)

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