Our writers and editors favoured a broad cross-sections of sounds in selecting their albums of the year for 2016, with an eclectic mix emerging to claim our collective top 10 spots to ultimately represent our contributing community's tastes. 

There were some expected outcomes — late legend David Bowie's 27th and final studio set Blackstar shone ultra-brightly, to the point that you could see its ultimate victory atop the poll from a mile away, while both Beyonce and Radiohead also scored highly among the crew — but it wasn't just the big guns who brought the goods this year...

1. David Bowie — Blackstar

Blackstar was released worldwide on 8 Jan, coinciding with Bowie's 69th birthday. And then the world was shocked by Bowie’s death two days after the album’s release. This means our Starman was creating this album, which producer Tony Visconti described as Bowie’s “parting gift”, under the looming shadow of terminal cancer. Suddenly the opening lyrics from the album’s second single, Lazarus (“Look up here, I’m in heaven/ I’ve got scars that can’t be seen”), made us shiver. And that song’s accompanying video immediately became even more harrowing to watch. It’s remarkable that Bowie’s illness wasn’t made public until he died, especially considering he’d lived with liver cancer for 18 months. Lyrics during the harmonica-driven I Can’t Give Everything Away, the record’s closer (“I know something’s very wrong”), particularly poignant.

"A dark, torturous romp across seven jazzy and avant-garde tracks." — Cameron Cooper

As with his previous The Next Day set (2013), recording sessions for Blackstar took place in secret. Bowie recruited the Donny McCaslin-led New York jazz combo as his backing band, which resulted in jazz leanings throughout (McCaslin’s sorrowful saxophone prevalent). Bowie’s first and only album to top the Billboard 200 in the States, Blackstar also features percussion from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy.

The title track contains the following prophetic lyrics: “Something happened on the day he died...” Bowie perfectly orchestrated his departure from this mortal coil, leaving us with a collection of songs that simultaneously dazzle and devastate. — Bryget Chrisfield

2. Beyonce — Lemonade

Lemonade gives us an experimental, thought-provoking, invigorating, cinematic masterpiece.”
Tanya Bonnie Rae

3. Radiohead — A Moon Shaped Pool

“These songs are lovely … Fuck, they’re lovely.”
Liz Giuffre

4. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds — Skeleton Tree

“It sounds like rays of sunshine reaching down through the clouds to fetch the fallen.”
Bryget Chrisfield

5. A Tribe Called Quest — We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service

“Rather than reheated leftovers, it’s a risky, forward-looking experiment.”
James d’Apice

6. Camp Cope — Camp Cope

“Vivid insights and observations arising from being down-but-not-out in Melbourne’s inner west.”
Tim Kroenert

7. Violent Soho — WACO

“The slightly reined-in recording sounds well-drilled and precise without sacrificing character or spark.”
Steve Bell

8. Kanye West — The Life Of Pablo

The Life Of Pablo lets us love Kanye the greatest way we can.”
James d’Apice

9. Chance The Rapper — Coloring Book

“42 seconds into the release itself is the delivery I feel like I’ve been waiting years for.”
James d’Apice

(TIE) 10. Car Seat Headrest — Teens Of Denial

“Horns, soaring guitar riffs and gloriously angsty harmonies accompany maudlin, frenzied, sentimental and even humorous twists.”
Tyler McLoughlan

(TIE) 10. Childish Gambino — Awaken, My Love!

“This is not just some of Gambino’s best work, but some of the best out there.”
Nic Addenbrooke

previous winners

Tame Impala - Currents (2015)
Chet Faker - Built On Glass(2014)
Kanye West - Yeezus (2013)
Tame Impala - Lonerism (2012)
Bon Iver - Bon Iver (2011)