It's beautiful, spectral, dreamy, but never makes your pulse quicken.
Virtually every instrument is caked in distortion, but not the warm, familiar fuzz of an overdriven amplifier. It feels digital, alien, the sound of modern machines going wrong. All this is underpinned by genuinely great songwriting.
From its ambitious narrative arc to its fine linguistic detail, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is a honed and deliberate major label debut.