As recently as his last record – Love This Giant with St. Vincent – he produced a glorious, real masterpiece. So, strangely, this is just business as usual for a man who, at this stage, would find it impossible to make anything less than amazing. Long may he continue.
As impressive as No Burden was on its own merits, independent of and regardless of its creator’s youth, inexperience, and slapdash conception, Historian is a monolith of American songwriting. Lucy Dacus strikes peerlessly at the core of our emotions at once with wit and gravity, loftiness and plain-spokenness.
Depending on your taste, and depending on how you like your Vile, this could be his best record in ages, or you could be a tad put off by the spaced-out, long-winded nature of it.
It’s a most welcome and inevitably stunning missing chapter from one of jazz’s finest quartet.
The Anteroom is often a challenging listen. Its constantly adapting sonic landscapes are fitting for an urgent political and ecological moment.
In Infections..., AURORA has crafted a uniquely textured and markedly positive response to troubling times.
As Neko Case gets older, her songwriting and overall musicianship have no intention of plateauing. Instead, they grow with her, and the end result is always something organic and strangely beautiful.
Ultimately, Re:member succeeds through the brilliance of its composer’s craftsmanship. The technological advances incorporated are, if not incidental, then very much secondary to an outstandingly humane creativity so consistently in evidence here.
An album that sees Years & Years revisit the musical, lyrical and aesthetic concerns of their debut and refresh them with unprecedented confidence and self-knowledge.
These young Mancunians have perfected what makes pop such an addictive, essential genre, and My Mind Makes Noises is both immediate and idiosyncratic. Pale Waves’ presence may be gloomy, but their songwriting and ambition could not be brighter.
With East Atlanta Love Letter, the artist has trumped his opponents and influences with a fragile grace and solid talent for songwriting, echoing that of our most decorated balladeers.
Golden Hour imagines a world much sweeter than the one we’re living in; and for 45 minutes, it can just about take you there. Kacey Musgraves’ golden hour is far from over.
Clean showcases what it is to be stuck in a quicksand of self-loathing, and have it stop you from seeing your own accomplishments and more importantly, being proud of them. If Allison isn’t already chuffed with this debut, she should be.
Songs of innocence and experience make Amen Dunes’ Freedom a devastating listen.
I Don’t Run is cut from precisely the same musical cloth as Leave Me Alone, all languid vocal takes, chirpy lo-fi guitars and scratchy production. The overall feel of it, though, is different, and sounds every inch the work of a band who came off the road not worn out and ready for a break, but itching to dive back into writing whilst the engine was still running.
Bloom is an exceptional pop album, but maybe more importantly it’s a beacon for queer people who struggle to reconcile our neuroses – societal and personal – with our potential for joy and love.
On her resoundingly beautiful debut At Weddings, Tomberlin charts an adolescence and young adulthood spent casting off the confinements of youth.
A powerful documentation of letting relationships, jobs and regrets go, Saturn is an emotional journey through struggle and empowerment, through loss and rebirth.
At its core, Lush is partly a remarkable debut, for the solid shape it's delivered in, mostly cohesive, conceptually speaking, but it's true that the cohesiveness of Lush lacks any true dichotomy to "spice" up the album.
Despite the huge burden of expectation, Turner and co. sound cocksure on TBH&C. Sadly, this doesn’t equate to anything resembling brilliance.
On first listen, the absence of a nihilistic mantra to grasp onto may disappoint fans, but the deceptively simple pleasures of Honey open up with each listen.
The richness of the source material and the deftness of interplay of each member of the band ensures that Your Queen is a Reptile leaves you with a sense of having been a part of something truly special.
The past few years have seen Dev Hynes become one of the most prominent, important voices in pop. Negro Swan builds upon this legacy.
Chris is the sound of an already accomplished artist pushing things even further, exploring new territories rather than resting on their laurels.
It does exactly what it says on the tin. Fifteen tracks that put a smile on your face and a tear in your eye.
Kevin Abstract is so often the mastermind, but on Iridescence, there’s no reliance on one member to take centre stage and in turn, some who were prone to lingering in the shadows have burst into the limelight.
Whip smart, furious and, most importantly, fun, Songs of Praise is the first essential album of 2018. And what an album it is.
Reflecting Walton and Hollingworth’s growth and maturation over a period of approximately two years, it is a creative and infectious record, which after repeat listens, moves from being intriguing to simply irresistible.
Comparisons will be made to Radiohead’s OK Computer, another era-defining third album that examines the internet’s effects on our interpersonal lives. But A Brief Inquiry… actually resembles Kid A’s best two tracks, “How to Disappear Completely” and “Motion Picture Soundtrack” – music that wrenches magnificence from the barest bones of humanity. By interrogating the strategies we employ to keep on living in an impossible world, this astonishing album has become one.
With the success that “Bodak Yellow” brought her, this album could have been filled with 13 carbon copies. But it isn’t; instead, Invasion of Privacy is filled with carefully crafted tracks which ably show her many sides. Cardi B knows who she is and where she came from and she isn’t trying to hide it from anyone.
Although on initial listen, Cocoa Sugar appears a somewhat sparse and restrained affair, there is in fact little restraint to be found in the record’s emotional depth; and its ability to explore and convey a plethora of intangible human experiences.
Joy… delivers on the momentum that they have been building, and seizes a piece of the zeitgeist in the process.
We wind up with an album much like its title; Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides is difficult to comprehend, and even knowing the meaning doesn’t make “I love every person’s insides” any less weird. But there always is a meaning, and that’s what makes SOPHIE vital as an artist.
Tirzah has made 11 raw, honest, and beautifully unusual pop songs that will remain with you whether you like it or not, bringing you back time and time again, motivated by your devotion to this record.