In my Albums of the Year post at the end of 2015 I identified that the availability of streaming services was making a significant difference to the way in which I consumed music. One year later I’m still with Apple Music, and listening to more albums than ever before. The time available to listen to them hasn’t expanded, though, so in consequence there’s something of a long tail: for a civilian I’ve listened to a lot of new albums this year, but in many cases no more than once. I still haven’t decided whether this is a good or bad thing for the music industry, or for me.
Anyway, my top tracks of the year will be along shortly, but I’ll cover the albums first. Near misses this year from Christine and the Queens, Drive-By Truckers, Kanye West, Thee Oh Sees, The Avalanches, Sturgill Simpson, David Bowie, Frank Ocean, Margo Price, Modern Studies, Rihanna, Heron Oblivion, Margo Price, Steve Mason, Blood Orange, M83, Agnes Obel, Ben Watt, Suede, Whitney, and Laura Gibson.
10 Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop, ‘Love Letter for Fire’
9 case/lang/veirs, ‘case/lang/veirs’
8 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, ‘Skeleton Tree’
7 King Creosote, ‘Astronaut Meets Appleman’
6 Anderson .Paak, ‘Malibu’
5 Bon Iver, ’22, A Million’
4 Teenage Fanclub, ‘Here’
3 Leonard Cohen, ‘You Want It Darker’
2 Beyoncé, ‘Lemonade’
1 Radiohead, ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’
(Previous winners: 2008 TV On The Radio, ‘Dear Science’; 2009 Animal Collective, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’; 2010 Beach House, ‘Teen Dream’; 2011 Bon Iver, ‘Bon Iver’; 2012 Tame Impala, ‘Lonerism’; 2013 Vampire Weekend, ‘Modern Vampires of the City’; 2014 La Roux, ‘Trouble In Paradise’; 2015 Sufjan Stevens, ‘Carrie & Lowell’.)