The Seduction of Kansas follows its evocative title ... into wide-open new territory via multi-faceted explorations of what Greer calls “the manufactured mythology of Americanism.”
The rapper’s third album further demonstrates his gift for turning dreamy darkness into Top 40 gold.
This overpowering 18-minute release reveals Rico and Kenny to be the most high-voltage rapper-producer combo around.
“Let’s Rock” is in the emotional tradition of most Sixties garage-rock: the singer on a bummer, the band making a noise to raise him up.
Easily one of the best rap records of the year, it’s the sound of a skilled artist becoming a vital one, and asserting her place not only in the genre but in the world.
At its core, Heard It In a Past Life is a collection of self-searching moments: miniature mental flashbulbs of realization from a young adult striving to adjust to the swiftly shifting world around her.
While his melodrama tends to grow old over the course of a 22-track, 72-minute album, it is captivating in small doses.
Purple Mountains is the sound of that guy starting to come to terms with his reality, and maybe building a new emotional architecture in the wreckage. In any case, keep ’em coming. The journey is worth it.
The 13-member “boy band” zips between sounds, signifiers and moods, usually staying on the surface but sometimes showing real depth.
While the sound of Lux Prima feels unexpected based off these artists’ distinct histories, Karen O and Danger Mouse have unlocked a new creative force within each other.
Building on their prior LP, Sheer Mag broaden their scope just a little more on A Distant Call while retaining the DIY grit and edgy concision that made them so arresting in the first place.
Her fantastic new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, ups her ambitions even further, pushing toward a grand, smoldering vision of pop that can bring to mind Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent ... and the New Wave warrior-queen spirit of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O.
Ode To Joy shows off some of Wilco’s prettiest and most comforting songs, Tweedy’s enlarged heart transplanted back into a band ... that’s never sounded more empathic.
Legacy! Legacy! is about community, about legacies as heritage but also as that which is forged on the ground in the moment.
Western Stars shows Springsteen pulling back the curtain on his craft in much the same way Springsteen on Broadway did. In fact, in its elliptical narratives, it might have the makings of a good musical itself.
The album feels like a hinge, a turning point, for better or worse, as Thug has finally garnered the mainstream acceptance and exposure to match his talent.
Simultaneously the most left-field, decisively non-country offering of Simpson’s career and precisely the record anyone who has been paying any attention to his career over the last several years would have expected him to make.
It’s a total departure, her kaleidoscopic mix of decades’ worth of R&B, hip-hop, blues, and gospel, steeped in trippy laptop sonics and deeply personal political urgency.
It’s worth the investment; the emotion’s as visceral as it is complex, and it ranks among the best sounding records this year, deserving to be cranked on a good sound system — an album to spend time with, to fall into, to shut up and let yourself be kissed by.
As glorious as the sound of this thing is, glinting with letter-perfect ‘70s-’80s rock sonics and touches of 21st-century psychedelic irony, the songs are the show, written by a woman of a particular age from a perspective well past jaded.
Across IGOR, he achieves a happy balance by tempering his wonky song structures bordering on the surreal and dogged pursuit of synthgasms with a clear narrative arc and careful calculated swerves in tone and texture.
His latest ... seems like a broader, and altogether more stunning reaction to losing his son.
What’s most impressive about The Highwomen... is how artfully, and matter-of-factly, it engages social issues.
Father of the Bride is so zealously detailed and meticulously contoured that you easily sink into its inventions.
Cuz I Love You follows through on the legend she’s been steadily building over the past few years.
X100PRE is everything you could possibly want from a debut album: Plenty of the stuff that initially brought Bad Bunny fame along with some impressively executed forays into new styles — no small feat, considering how many genres he has already infiltrated.
Lover is, fittingly, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. But nevertheless it feels like an epiphany: free and unhurried, governed by no one concept or outlook, it represents Swift at her most liberated, enjoying a bit of the freedom she won for her cohort.
The long-awaited Norman Fucking Rockwell is even more massive and majestic than everyone hoped it would be. Lana turns her fifth and finest album into a tour of sordid American dreams, going deep cover in all our nation’s most twisted fantasies of glamour and danger.
It’s an album full of dressed-down avant-pop with D.I.Y. immediacy and intimacy that can still hold its own amid Top 40 maximalists like Ariana Grande and Halsey.