Here Are The Best And Worst Albums Of The Past Five Years, According To Critics

by 2 years ago
Kendrick Lamar

Twitter / Kendrick Lamar


The Razzies commemorate the worst movies of the year. Baywatch and The Emoji Movie, flaming dumpster fires masquerading as entertainment and flat-out insults to our collective intelligence, cleaned up this year.

But there is no corresponding non-award in music. Well, not really. Review aggregator Metacritic essentially decides what the worst album of any given year is based on critical reception. Business Insider laid out the worst album of every year since 2000 based on these metrics and plan to give you the best and worst of the last five years.

2013

BEST

Deafheaven — Sunbather

Critic Score: 92/100

You can spend hours dismantling Sunbather and cooking up a neat sub-sub-genre for it (post-black-metal-gaze-death-dreamcore-whatever). Or you can just call it one of the year’s best records.

NOW Magazine

WORST

Megadeth — Super Collider

Critic Score: 41/100

While there’s nothing abhorrent about this album, it’s so unobtrusive that it’s practically not there, just one more forgettable release from a guy we’re all secretly rooting for.

-Exclaim

*****

2014

BEST

D’Angelo — Black Messiah

Critic Score: 95/100

It is masterful, it is heartening and it represents today’s best from an R&B/soul perspective.

Exclaim

WORST

Jennifer Lopez — A.K.A.

Critic Score: 45/100

The songwriting is lazy (“I feel good,” she coos, “’cause I don’t feel bad.” Logic!). The double entendres don’t make sense (is “Troubeaux” what they call trouble in Bordeaux?). And the guest stars, including Nas, Rick Ross, and Iggy Azalea, are so much more engaging than their hostess that Lopez sounds like she’s been relegated to playing the hook girl on her own album.

Entertainment Weekly

*****

2015

BEST

Kendrick Lamar — To Pimp A Butterfly

Critic Score: 96/100

This is an important–a very important–piece of work that will stand the test of time. It’s also an utter blast to listen to and live with.

-Drowned In Sound

WORST

Kodaline — Coming Up For Air

Critic Score: 51/100

It feels as if this is as calm as a placid lake. Sometimes, the record is as pretty as that, too, a nice, polite collection of adult alternative pop designed for young girls and their moms.

-AllMusic

*****

2016

BEST

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds — Skeleton Tree

Critic Score: 95/100

From the first note to the last, you’re transported back to a time you lost someone close to you and then retrace the path you traveled as you dealt with it. I doubt this album inspires anyone to pick up a guitar or start a band and the experience it details is too personal to inspire other bands to make a similar album. But, if this isn’t a masterpiece… I don’t know what it is.

-Punknews.org

WORST

Charlie Puth — Nine Track Mind

Critic Score: 37/100

Nine Track Mind whimpers like a sick kitten.

-Q Magazine

*****

2017

BEST

DAMN — Kendrick Lamar

Critic Score: 95/100

Countless rappers claim to have transcended the game. Kendrick Lamar actually does. There’s the sense his ambitions on DAMN. are even larger, reaching toward something more universal, fateful even spiritual in its reach to find the link tying all contradictions together.

NOW Magazine

WORST

The Chainsmokers — Memories: Do Not Open

Critic Score: 43/100

Whether the album’s title is a plea or a warning does not matter, as the effect is the same: The Chainsmokers have one song, and if you don’t want to hear 12 versions of it, please do not un-click the latch holding this box closed.

Spin

*****

2018 [to date]

BEST

Hookworms — Microshift

Critic Score: 87/100

Microshift manages to be both their most accessible work and their most intense: the sound of an already powerful band gaining not just clarity, but focus.

The Guardian

WORST

Justin Timberlake — Man Of The Woods

Critic Score: 55/100

JT’s smug family life is the single thread uniting this 16-track jumble of songs that swing between batshit and bland, and romance comes in two forms: soppy odes, or sloppy humblebrags about shaggings.

The Skinny

Too often, Timberlake sounds adrift.

Chicago Tribune

Too much of Man of the Woods is musically and thematically shallow; at 66 minutes, it’s a mile wide and an inch deep.

Pitchfork

It’s pretty clear that Britney’s ex can’t make good music anymore, the whole album is a mess.

-User review

[h/t Business Insider, Metacritic]

 


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