50 Best Albums of 2016

Beyoncé smashed the system, Chance the Rapper counted his blessings, David Bowie left a powerful goodbye and more

Miranda Lambert, 'The Weight of These Wings'
50
16/50

16. Miranda Lambert, 'The Weight of These Wings'

On her 24-track double album, the new country generation's leading outlaw balances humor, regret, love and anger in the brutally blunt way that only she can. Both sides of the album – and Miranda Lambert – are effortless blends of modern country pop with more soulful, rootsy Americana; and it's complemented by tales of rebellion ("Highway Vagabond") and lessons from heartbreak ("Tin Man"). From the irreverent Side One – titled "The Nerve" – where she "wears her sadness like a souvenir" to the more earnest Side Two – "The Heart" – the singer-songwriter not only builds upon her complexities but does so with admirable pride. B.S.

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