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Readers’ Poll: 10 Best Albums of 2016

See what album managed to top Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool,’ Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ and Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’

Best albums, Best albums 2016, 2016 best album, Greatest albums of 2016

From Beyonce's 'Lemonade' to Radiohead's 'A Moon Shaped Pool' to David Bowie's 'Blackstar,' Rolling Stone readers selected their favorite albums of 2016.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty, Barry Brecheisen/WireImage/Getty

This has been a horrible year, even if you can somehow put politics out of your mind. David Bowie died a little over a week after New Year's Day and the deaths kept coming with horrible regularity. Prince, Glenn Frey, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell and Sharon Jones are just a handful of the icons and talented musicians we lost over the past 12 months. After a while it just became numbing. Thankfully, great new albums helped us get by, even if some of them were made by people that died shortly after they were recorded. We asked our readers to select their favorite albums of the year. Here are the results. 

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Beyoncé, ‘Lemonade’

If there was any doubt Beyoncé was the biggest superstar of the entire music industry, she proved it in 2016 with Lemonade. Released on April 23rd along with a 60-minute HBO "visual album," the 12 songs on the album were ubiquitous all year.  Every critic hailed it as a masterpiece, and every gossip rag was obsessing over the lyrics. Was it a confessional album about her troubled marriage? Who is "Becky with the good hair?" In a wise move, Beyoncé avoided all press and didn't answer any of those questions. She opted to simply play sold-out stadiums all over America, show up at nearly every music awards show to play live and keep everyone guessing. 

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David Bowie, ‘Blackstar’

The world had two days to digest David Bowie's Blackstar without the intense emotional baggage of knowing he made it while dying. In that brief time, Bowie fans were enthralled by the ambitious seven-song collection he recorded with a New York jazz collective lead by saxophonist Donny McCaslin. The 10-minute title track is a spiritual cousin to "Station to Station," while "I Can't Give Everything Away" summed up Bowie's desire to hold back the important parts of his life from the public. Miraculously, he managed to live in poor health for years without anybody knowing. It allowed him to work in peace on his last album and let the world embrace it right before he left this planet. He couldn't have scripted a better ending, or given the world a better parting gift. 

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