Exclaim!'s Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part One Best of 2016

(Secretly Canadian)

Six years since her last LP and the first without her backing band, the Johnsons, British chanteuse ANOHNI has abandoned her brand of gentle and sleek chamber folk for something more visceral, both thematically and sonically. Produced by electronic producers Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never, HOPELESSNESS finds ANOHNI turning her pain into a raw, powerful document that holds to task all of humanity, from those who aim to benefit from the misery of others to those who've pledged to make the world a better place but have come up short — including herself.
But, as on her earlier work, ANOHNI comes off achingly honest and brave, as she expands her repertoire of recurring themes like environmental ruination and political strife to include topics like drone warfare and masculine violence, and even President Obama isn't spared from her pointed indignation. Many albums succeed at sounding powerful, but HOPELESSNESS feels it, too.
Daniel Sylvester