Caleb Campbell

85
The record finds the band radiating both love and fury, at their most powerful and at their most vulnerable.
75

With Weird Faith Madi Diaz once again gives all that she’s got, crafting a stormy and searching chronicle of falling headfirst into new love.

80
Like many anthologies, it may be best to take what you love and leave the rest. However, if you dig into the collection, you’ll find some of this year’s most joyous, inspired, and life-affirming music, the kind that will make you feel like the main character of your own cinematic drama.
85

Yard is the sort of album that surprises with how simply and fundamentally excellent it is. It doesn’t shock, it invites, making you feel as if you know every corner of the record even on its first play.

70
While not a startling stylistic reinvention, the album does feel like a rewarding artistic waypoint from an exceedingly consistent singer and songwriter.
75

With In The End It Always Does, Bain brings you into these moments, inviting you to enjoy the rhythm of its cycles of queer joy, fantasy, and heartbreak, immersed in the chilled harmonies and fractured synth melodies.

80
Befitting its title, Lily’s scope seems wider than before, yet just as focused and intimate.
90
It is the sound of an artist finally getting to let loose and say the things that have stayed locked up inside for too long. In turn, Teitelbaum offers an exciting introduction to a talented songwriter and a thoroughly rewarding debut.
90

Baker, Dacus, and Bridgers are each intensely personal songwriters. Each album from them has felt like a map of themselves and their lives. In turn, the record feels like a map of their relationship with each other, littered with treasured memories, callbacks, inside jokes, and shared inspirations.

85

The manic and swaggering rock cuts that colored Superstar and their preceding record, LONER, give way to thoughtful and layered shades of art pop, fused with some soaring arena-worthy highlights.

70

It would be easy to write off parts of Shook as too overwrought, too abstract, or too experimental. The numerous spoken-word passages and free-jazz soundscapes certainly don’t lend themselves to easy listening.

90
She delivers an effortless balance between ambition and accessibility, offering a record that is both a deeply layered work of art and full of euphoric escapist joy.
75
Taken together, the record paints an affecting picture of a promising young talent, one capable of effortlessly blending genuinely creative textures and lyrical gems with the striking allure of pop music.
75

In some respects Flood expects less of its listeners, laying much of its charm and sweet melodies on the surface, but it also begs to be discovered, re-discovered, and treasured by those who dare to dive deeper.

85
It’s a record that operates in extremes, with the highs ascending to ultra-catchy pop bliss and the lows exploring barren depths of depression. Each emotion and each moment is transient, leading seamlessly into the next in an overwhelming rush.
80
At a time when the world of indie is often more subtle and subdued than ever, Strange seems ready to take his music to the biggest stage possible, crafting music with broad appeal while retaining the stirring emotion beneath.
85
The Smile’s looser creative approach offers a new light and welcoming side to Yorke and Greenwood, all while showcasing the enduring creative chemistry behind two of their generation’s most celebrated musicians.
75

When they all come together, the results are truly special, and Running With the Hurricane offers enticing glimpses of a more settled band, one teeming with soft hope and resolute joy.

80

Once again, the band finds healing and beauty in their own chaotic vortex, and once again they invite everyone listening to do the same, joining them on their most exploratory and cathartic ride yet.

85
In the world of Silk Sonic, the champagne never stops flowing, the grooves go all night long, and everybody is having a great time. It doesn’t get much more complicated than that, and it doesn’t need to. Take the trip back in time and you’ll find escapist pop at its finest.
90

Valentine is a big, ambitious album centered around big, overwhelming feelings, but some of its most resonant moments come when Jordan strips away the layers of drama.

85

Even with all its ambitious themes and artful genre explorations, the appeal behind Mercurial World is fundamental and immediate; Magdalena Bay are quite simply talented pop songsmiths.

80

As Sling unfurls each new intimate detail, the album freely offers that same welcoming refuge to any who desire it, inviting each listener into the world of Clairo’s quiet reprieve.


February Playlist
AOTY Discord