Sometimes you get the frustrating sense that strong ideas are being deliberately short-circuited in the pursuit of a slightly self-conscious weirdness.
Packed with unique ideas and brilliantly realised, Miss E...So Addictive is further evidence of Elliott's refusal to play male rappers at their own game and her desire to change the rules entirely. It's an album that sets its own agenda and sounds like nothing else in hip-hop: an incomparable achievement.
With adventurous ideas, noisy thrills and eclectic guests, Charli XCX shows that cheesy pop can be truly creative.
On 1989 the reasons she’s afforded the kind of respect denied to her peers are abundantly obvious.
On Skeleton Tree, the Bad Seeds sound shattered, barely capable of holding themselves together.
Like the rest of Late Registration, Drive Slow suggests an artist effortlessly outstripping his peers: more ideas, better lyrics, bigger hooks, greater depth.
Drake is insipid as a singer ... As a rapper, he is inert to the point of catatonia and his foregrounded voice becomes swiftly intolerable.
As apocalyptic as his vision can be, the thrill as he pushes his sounds further outwards proves to be as seductive as it is forbidding.
Even at its weakest moments, Kala sounds unique - and, thrillingly, like an album that could only have been made in 2007, which is not something you can say about many albums made in 2007.
There's not an ounce of fat here. What's left reaffirms the Neptunes' credentials as fearless sonic innovators ... and fast-tracks Clipse into the pantheon of great rap lyricists.
What Born to Die isn't is the thing Lana Del Rey seems to think it is, which is a coruscating journey into the dark heart of a troubled soul. If you concentrate too hard on her attempts to conjure that up, it just sounds a bit daft. What it is, is beautifully turned pop music, which is more than enough.
The Marshall Mathers LP is semiredemeed by producer Dr Dre's tenebrous backing tracks, but they're wasted on these self-obsessed rants. Still, it's more lucrative than going into therapy, isn't it, Em?
There are contradictions - but it's hard not to hear the honesty and soul that resonates throughout this album.
The decaying guitars and analogue synthesisers create a crepuscular melancholy. These are impassioned songs, but they steer clear of Bruce's bombast or lighters-aloft choruses.
The music here feels taut and meticulous, devoid of self-indulgence.