I don't know yet if I can say that 2016 has been a better year for music than 2014 or 2015, but there have been some spectacular releases. It's been a year of change in terms of how new albums are announced and released. Most artists still adhere to the typical path of announcing an album a few weeks or months before its release, usually touring, and releasing singles and videos in promotion of the album. Many are doing away with that tradition, however, releasing albums with little forewarning or promotion.
I prefer the traditional timeline, but there have been some amazing surprise records this year. There have also been many great traditional albums. In no particular order, or limit, here are my favorite albums so far this year!
Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
Suuns - Hold/Still
Rihanna - Anti
Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression
James Blake - The Colour in Anything
Adult Jazz - Earrings Off!
Savages - Adore Life
David Bowie - Blackstar
Beyonce - Lemonade
Chairlift - Moth
Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
Marissa Nadler - Strangers
Shearwater - Jet Plane and Oxbow
Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered
Andrew Bird - Are You Serious
The Kills - Ash & Ice
Animal Collective - Painting With
Santigold - 99¢
Poliça - United Crushers
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive
Lucius - Good Grief