“Beyoncé shut everyone else down this year with a soul-on-fire masterpiece, testifying about love, rage and betrayal that felt all too true in the America of 2016,” writes the magazine. “The queen not only made the album of the year (and make no mistake, David Bowie would have been the first to say so), she delivered a confessional, genre-devouring suite that feels larger than life yet still heartbreakingly intimate, because it doubles as her portrait of a nation in flames.”
Following David Bowie’s Blackstar at No. 2, Chance the Rapper takes third place with Coloring Book, which was called “the year’s finest hip-hop album.” Frank Ocean’s Blonde pops up at No. 5, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo arrives at No. 8, and Young Thug’s Jeffery rounds out the top 10.
Queen Bey’s sister Solange Knowles also made the magazine’s top 15. Coming in at No. 11, the magazine calls A Seat at the Table “a love letter to self-sufficiency in the face of incredible pain.”
Other notable entries include Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition (19), Rihanna’s ANTI (25), A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (30), Alicia Keys’ HERE (32), Maxwell’s blackSUMMERS’night (40), Drake’s Views (42), and Future’s Evol (43).
However, not everyone was pleased with the list. Anderson .Paak’s Malibu, released in January, didn’t make the cut despite its critical acclaim.
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly topped last year’s list, followed by Adele’s 25, and Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
Rolling Stone Best Albums of 2016 – Top 10
1. Beyoncé – Lemonade
2. David Bowie – Blackstar
3. Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
4. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial
5. Frank Ocean – Blonde
6. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
7. Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome
8. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
9. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
10. Young Thug – Jeffery