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Robin Hilton's Top 10 Albums Of 2016

Wilco's <em>Schmilco </em>was among Robin Hilton's picks for the best albums of 2016.
Courtesy of the artist
Wilco's Schmilco was among Robin Hilton's picks for the best albums of 2016.

A lot of the releases I loved most in 2016 felt like they could only have come out this year. They were inward-looking, personal albums informed by where the artists find themselves at this specific moment in time. Some, like Beyoncé's Lemonade or Solange's A Seat At The Table, were reflective but spoke to bigger discussions and events that emerged and unfolded as the year lurched on. Others, like Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool or Wilco's Schmilco, were middle-aged meditations on misspent youth or loss. In short, these were the right albums at the right time for each of these artists.

I had a hard time keeping my list to 10 and should mention some of the ones that could have just as easily appeared on it: Weezer's self-titled white album was one of the year's most infectious pop records and in heavy rotation on my iPod in 2016; Margaret Glaspy and Big Thief put out a couple of the year's best debuts, while LVL UP, Hannah Georgas and bed. were among my favorite discoveries.

You can find a lot more highlights from the past year in NPR Music's Best 50 Albums and Top 100 Songs lists.

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Robin Hilton
Robin Hilton is the Senior Podcast Producer for NPR Music and hosts the New Music Friday episodes of All Songs Considered. He is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose original scores have appeared in podcasts, films, radio programs and other works. He arranged and performed the theme for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and composed and performed its elections coverage theme. You can hear more of his music here.