Who will take out this year's number one spot?
Each year, our writers and editors sit down, cast their memories back and think about the year that was — in music, of course. While there were plenty of big international acts to choose from for The Music's Album Of The Year, we were more than happy to see a 50/50 split between local and international artists taking out this year's top 10.
Well, DAMN. Literally. Rapper Kendrick Lamar has rarely taken a misstep in his (relatively short) career and this year, he struck gold again with his fourth output, DAMN. His third consecutive #1 album in the US and our top album of the year, DAMN. nearly doubled its nearest competitor (The War On Drugs' A Deeper Understanding, but more on that later) in votes and also saw Lamar topping our Artist Of The Year list.
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Featuring wide-ranging production contributions from the likes of James Blake, BadBadNotGood and blockbuster pop producer Greg Kurstin, DAMN. is at once remarkable for the sheer simplicity with which Lamar conveyed a myriad of complex personal matters. In April, we wrote, "Perhaps the biggest advance here is how clearly and simply he communicates. It can be no coincidence that every album track has a single word title... With clarity, his message has become more focused, more direct, and when delivered with such urgency, as on FEEL. where he breathlessly unloads as if he can't unburden his chest fast enough, all the more compelling."
Lamar's ability to dip his toe into pop waters (such as in Rihanna collab LOYALTY. and soaring single LOVE. featuring Zacari), while simultaneously maintaining his hip hop roots and the ethos of "keeping it real" and humble (hence HUMBLE.), meant DAMN. even survived an inclusion of U2 on the song XXX. - no mean feat. DAMN.'s been certified double Platinum in the US, debuted at #2 on the ARIA Charts and just won an AMA for Favourite Hip Hop Album. It's a simple beast, at least compared to the many whirring cogs and gears of To Pimp A Butterfly, but it's no less enthralling. Lamar even stated you can listen to the album backwards in its entirety, changing its sonic arc and deepening the lines of its meaning. — Uppy Chatterjee
2016: David Bowie, Blackstar
2015: Tame Impala, Currents
2014: Chet Faker, Built On Glass
2013: Kanye West, Yeezus
2012: Tame Impala, Lonerism
2011: Bon Iver, Bon Iver