Dylan transforms everything on Shadows in the Night — 10 slow-dance covers, mostly romantic standards from the pre-rock era of American popular songwriting — into a barely-there noir of bowed bass and throaty shivers of electric guitar.
A concept album about history, memory, movement, loss and love, the emotional tone here — a wry, wistful melancholy — is pretty straightforward, a function of Newsom's tightened focus.
It's no big shock to hear him big-upping Wilco's Jeff Tweedy (and even nicking one of his tunes) on this album, where he cleverly juggles genres and often leans on his somber singer-songwriter side.
Chance the Rapper's 2013 mixtape Acid Rap marked him as one of the brightest new voices in hip-hop. For his next move, he's swerved left, collaborating with a crew of Chicago pals led by Nico Segal (a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet) on a warm, evocative pop-soul-jazz album that comes straight from the heart.
Upping the spectacle from Fear Fun, his 2012 debut, I Love You, Honeybear is an autobiographical set about love, marriage and derangement that's both ironic and empathic.
Yours, Dreamily, takes what Auerbach does at his best, in and out of the Keys — confessional, texturally enriched blues propelled with garage-rock force — and adds a riveting jump in eccentricity.
Whether she's holding notes with the strength of a suspension bridge or enjoying a rare lighthearted "whoo-hoo!" on "Sweetest Devotion," her incredible phrasing – the way she can infuse any line with nuance and power – is more proof that she's among the greatest interpreters of romantic lyrics.
If we're talking insurgent content and currency, Lamar straight up owns rap relevancy on Butterfly, whatever challengers to the throne barely visible in his dusty rear-view.