If you’ve dismissed Beyoncé as merely a pop star, you missed the most rock ’n’ roll record of the year, and perhaps a definitive album of her generation. “Lemonade” wasn’t just a landmark recording achievement with some damn catchy songs, it was a bold feminist statement in a year that not even Queen Bey herself could have guessed would need such wonderful nastiness. There were many other great 2016 albums — many by noteworthy newcomers — but hers is for the ages. And so was her tour.

While the strength of “Lemonade” certainly helped, Beyoncé — who’s actually been a tad stiff in past performances — had a massive, creative production and the best stadium in town for turning in the most awesome concert of the year.

Best albums of 2016

1. “Lemonade,” Beyoncé

2. “We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service,” A Tribe Called Quest

3. “Teens of Denial,” Car Seat Headrest

4. “My Woman,” Angel Olsen

5. “Coloring Book,” Chance the Rapper

6. “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” Sturgill Simpson

7. “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter,” Margo Price

8. “Malibu,” Anderson .Paak

9. “Blank Face,” Schoolboy Q

10. “Why Are You OK,” Band of Horses 

Best concerts of 2016

Best for making the under-65 crowd look like ninnies: Iggy Pop, April 4, Northrop

Best in showiness: Beyoncé, May 23, TCF Bank Stadium

Most welcome comeback: Dixie Chicks, Aug. 27, Minnesota State Fair grandstand

Most bang and boom for your buck: Soundset, May 29, Minnesota State Fairgrounds (in particular: the Roots, Danny Brown, Anderson .Paak, Common, Lizzo and Atmosphere)

Best by a newcomer: Margo Price, Oct. 27, Turf Club

Best for closing your eyes and feeling it Jedi-style: Explosions in the Sky, Sept. 9, First Avenue

Best unannounced and unrehearsed gig: Retribution Gospel Choir, Red Herring Lounge, May 6 (Duluth Homegrown Festival)

Deepest connection with the audience: Cloud Cult, Feb. 12, State Theatre

Still challenging herself after all these years: Lauryn Hill, Sept. 4, First Ave

Best that really could’ve been awful: Metallica, Aug. 20, U.S. Bank Stadium


Don't miss the 14th annual Twin Cities Critics Tally, naming the best Minnesota albums of 2016, in Friday's Star Tribune.