It feels ... as if Marshall is drawing on music that comes naturally to her and shaping it to her own ends.
Cherry’s sage perspective weaves through these tender, bristling tracks, and elevates Broken Politics from being simply a beautiful record to a revelatory one.
May Your Kindness Remain confirms Andrews’ rise. It’s a brilliant record, proof that old forms can still be timeless.
No Shame is a slightly odd album, where the horror of divorce is laid bare next to cheery pledges of everlasting love, where stuff wrapped in cliche coexists with songs that are painfully honest and revealing. Still, as Allen would doubtless point out, she never claimed to be perfect. What she is, No Shame strongly suggests, is ready and able to tough it out.
The results are characterful. Bloom is done and dusted in 35 crisp minutes – a time at which some pop albums are reaching their mid-point – and feels like a coherent, artist-led album rather than a bet-spreading collection of songs designed to hit every popular musical base.
A Brief Inquiry is not the unqualified triumph the 1975 had in mind. It’s stronger and punchier than its predecessor, but has moments where the group overreach. You could argue it’s rather confused, but, as Healy would doubtless point out, it is meant to reflect the times we live in, and they’re pretty confusing.
Making magic out of minimal patterns – with the help of old friend and producer Mica Levi – the singer spins alluring stories of intimacy and love.
It’s not terribly straightforward and it’s a very long way indeed from Despacito. Or anything else in the charts. But that’s its appeal. Whether it heralds the arrival of a new pop phenomenon or not, El Mal Querer is the calling card of a unique new talent.
Just when you settle into Negro Swan’s groove, it changes tack, leaving you feeling weirdly unmoored from it and, worse, emotionally disconnected.
There is a sharp edge to much of the Australian musician’s brilliant, potent second album, the follow-up to 2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. The matter-of-fact malaise of her debut remains, but where before it felt aimless, here it has hardened into something pointed and direct.
The majority of Aviary is designed to be mused on mindfully, but there are a handful of more immediate moments.
While missed connections litter the album – missed calls, disembodied names on screens – I’m All Ears is about abandoning fear and leaping boldly towards desire. It is remarkable.
Despite his success, Pusha T is still rapping about drug dealing – but the sheer pleasure of his flow, and Kanye West’s productions, smooth over any quibbles about authenticity.
You can trace its musical roots, but The Future and the Past never feels self-consciously retro, never sounds like pastiche.
At turns thrilling, smug, clever and oddly cold, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is only a qualified success.
Regardless of genre, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better collection of pop songs this year. Everything clicks perfectly, but the writing has an effortless air; it never sounds as if it’s trying too hard to make a commercial impact, it never cloys, and the influences never swallow the character of the artist who made it.
For anyone in need of music that articulates their concerns or helps them to work through their troubles – or anyone who simply appreciates blistering, intelligent punk – they might just be Britain’s most necessary band.
By manipulating the modern pop palette to craft a complex heartbreak album, Robyn shows her imitators how it’s done.