Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2016 So Far

4. Radiohead
A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead have long been known for their doom and gloom, and past albums have cryptically addressed social alienation, political paranoia and technological encroachment. On A Moon Shaped Pool, the celebrated English art-rockers find a new focus for their misery: romantic loss.

Thom Yorke's lyric sheets here are riddled with some of his most plaintive lines ever, from "Desert Island Disk" and its mumbling coos that "Different types of love are possible" to "Identikit" and its pained crescendo of "Broken hearts make it rain." Lines like these are complemented by devastatingly beautiful arrangements; the band's synth-driven experimentation is toned down, replaced instead by delicately tinkling pianos and swooning orchestral strings.

It's as lovely as it is sorrowful, meaning that A Moon Shaped Pool's heartbreak is comforting rather than emotionally draining.
Alex Hudson