NME’s Albums of 2016 in stats: What our list says about the year in music

Wondering what fun facts lie behind NME‘s Albums of 2016 list, are you? Well, wonder no more: we’ve looked at the data in loads of definitely scientific ways to give an insight into what the musical landscape of 2016 has offered the world. Let’s go:

1. New music wins!

Almost one in three albums on the list are debuts (30%) – like Nao’s, who’s below. Nearly one in five are second albums (18%), and one in 10 of the artists on the list have released more than 10 albums.

Andy Ford/NME

2. British music is more than holding its own

Almost half (46%) of the albums on the list are by American artists, while well over a third (38%) are by Brits. The remainder is completed by four Canadian artists, two multinational artists, one from France (Christine And The Queens) and one from Sweden (Goat).

3. Solo artists and bands are almost evens

Solo artists account for almost half of the list (48%); the ‘bigger half’ are bands (52%).

4. Goat are awesome – and big

The largest band on the list is Swedish oddball psych troupe Goat, with seven members.

Pooneh Ghana/NME

5. Talent runs in the family

There are six sets of relatives on the list. Allocating points to family members on the list according to where they fall (one point for #50 and 50 for #1), Kings of Leon come top with the Followills’ 76 points (19 each). Almost unfair, really, with four of them. Here’s the rest of the talented relatives, in order:
Tegan And Sara – 66 (33 each)
Radiohead’s Greenwood brothers – 58 (29 each)
Beyoncé (40) and Solange (10) – 50
Biffy Clyro’s Johnston brothers – 50 (25 each)
The Lemon Twigs’ D’Addario brothers – 14 (7 each)

6. Self-titling may not be the key to success

There are just two self-titled albums on the list: Blossoms’ ‘Blossoms’ and Soft Hair’s ‘Soft Hair’. They’re both debut albums.

7. If you have enough conviction, even a silly album title won’t hold you back

The Longest Title Prize goes to the album that’s also in our Number One spot – The 1975’s sixteen-word-long ‘I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It’. More power to you, Matt Healy.


8. Rihanna is proper glib

The shortest album title is Rihanna’s ‘Anti’, just four letters long.

9. Drake’s albums are longer than some Disney films

The longest album on the list is Drake’s ‘Views’, at a whopping 81 mins 15 secs.

10. White Lung don’t fuck about

The shortest album on the list is White Lung’s ‘Paradise’, at 28 mins 24 secs. Snippy.

11. Let’s Eat Grandma are prodigious

They’re the youngest artists on the list – both just 17.

Francesca Allen

12. Getting old doesn’t stop the greats

The oldest living artist on the list is Iggy Pop, who’s 69; David Bowie was the same age when he died in January.

13. Solange loves a good interlude

The album with the most tracks is Solange’s ‘A Seat at the Table’, with 21. Many of these are interludes.

14. You say it best when you say nothing at all

…something like that, anyway. Three albums on the list share the coveted ‘fewest tracks’ accolade – with just eight perfectly crafted songs on each. These are ‘Soft Hair’, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ ‘Skeleton Tree’ and David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’.


15. Bowie remains a legend

11 of the 50 albums hit Number One in the Official UK Albums Chart. Of all the albums on the list, David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ held the spot for the longest: three weeks.

16. Brevity is good

Just over a third of the albums on the list have one-word titles (34%).

17. Yeezy is truly unique

Kanye West’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’ is the only album on the list that starts with ‘The’ – but it’s also the only one that’s been altered since it was released.