2016 may soon be drawing to a close, but the public’s love affair with vinyl records doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Whether it’s the warmth of the sound, the nostalgia of placing the needle on your favorite vinyl record or the satisfaction of owning a 12” physical art piece, vinyl records are still finding favor with music fans around the world. According to Nielsen, vinyl record sales jumped nearly 12 percent, reaching a total of 6.2 million units sold in the first half of 2016.
Vinyl revival still going strong in 2016
Vinyl sales jumped nearly 12 percent, reaching a total of 6.2 million units sold in the first half of 2016.
Source: Nielsen Music 2016 Mid-Year Report
If you’ve been looking to add some new life to your vinyl album collection, check out our top picks for the best new vinyl records released in 2016. From iconic classics like Radiohead to underground heroes like indie-pop sensation Birdy, we’ve curated a roundup of 2016's new vinyl albums that should satisfy any vinyl devotee.
Artist: David Bowie
Release Date: January 8, 2016
One of the best-selling new vinyl records of the year, David Bowie’s “Blackstar” serves as a bittersweet farewell before his passing just days after the album’s release. What’s even more special is that when you hold the vinyl sleeve under sunlight, the black paper beneath the LP cover’s cut-out star design reveals a secret, glittering star field. Producer Tony Visconti confirmed in a statement on Facebook that Bowie fully intended to create the vinyl album as a parting gift for his fans. According to Visconti, “His death was no different from his life — a work of Art. He made ‘Blackstar’ for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it.”
Release Date: March 25, 2016
At just 20 years old, British musician, singer and songwriter Birdy has already released three studio albums. Her most recent, “Beautiful Lies,” is proof that the rising star is a worthy contender in the indie pop realm, placing her right on the heels of artists like Lorde and Lana Del Rey. With melodies that span multiple octaves, instrumentation inspired by the East and lyrics that prove the depth of her emotional delivery, Birdie shows just how far she’s come since her days covering Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” as an introverted 14-year-old.
And as part of a Record Store Day 2016 exclusive, Birdy released a limited silver-foiled edition of the songs “Lost It All” and “Take You Everywhere I Go.” If your vinyl record collection is lacking some indie pop edge, consider snagging yourself a copy of this unique record.
Artist: The Lumineers
Release Date: April 8, 2016
After four long years, The Lumineers have finally released their sophomore vinyl album, “Cleopatra” — and the Denver-based folk rock band does not disappoint. Compared to their first self-titled album released in 2012, “Cleopatra” foregoes many of the band’s typical foot-stomping, ragtime elements and instead aspires toward something much more serious and meditative. With its slow-building beat and haunting narratives about love, loss and longing for home, “Cleopatra” is a thoughtful piece of craftsmanship worth savoring.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Release Date: May 20, 2016
After Bob Dylan’s release of “Shadows in the Night” in 2015 with cover tracks originally recorded by Frank Sinatra, fans aren’t as surprised to discover that his second volume, “Fallen Angels,” is another set of cover songs from a diverse array of writers such as Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn and Carolyn Leigh. While it takes a moment to adjust to the folk singer’s unique treatment of classic songs like “It Had to Be You,” Dylan’s commitment to these songs and the stories they tell is so heartfelt that he pulls off the rendition seamlessly.
“A Moon Shaped Pool”
Release Date: June 17, 2016
The vinyl edition of “A Moon Shaped Pool” was released at a global record store streaming event on June 17, featuring artwork designed by Stanley Donwood, the artist who has created all of Radiohead’s album and poster art since 1994. As an added bonus, the vinyl record comes with Stanley Donwood’s guide to how to create your own “A Moon Shaped Pool” artwork in 66 easy-to-follow steps. With lyrics that delve into themes of love, forgiveness and regret, “A Moon Shaped Pool” is a poignant masterpiece that you won’t want to miss.
Put a New Spin on Your Vinyl Record Collection
Now that you know which new vinyl records are worth adding to your collection this year, it’s time to think about upgrading your equipment to get the best listening experience possible. Sony’s PS-HX500 turntable is a complete turnkey system that would be ideal for any nascent audiophile. It features a newly designed tonearm that improves durability and stabilizes the cartridge for optimum sound. In addition to being able to play your favorite new vinyl records flawlessly, the PS-HX500 boasts another unique feature: it can convert all your favorite LPs into High-Res Audio digital files that you can store on your computer or portable music player. It’s the perfect solution for budding audiophiles looking to bridge the gap from analog LPs to digital files.