While certain elements—a distorted rhythm here, a shuddering synth there—can be traced back to those rough-and-tumble live shows with the xx, the LP as a whole is strikingly melodic and often beautiful, even in its most frantic moments.
The 21-year-old singer-songwriter’s third album is serene folk-pop with a mellow soul tinge and the melancholy clarity of someone twice her age.
PUNK is a record written in earnest about being yourself, loving your friends, and not caring about what anyone else thinks about the way you live your life.
PROTO is Herndon’s most technologically adventurous work to date, but it is also by far her most ecstatically humanistic.
Anger Management is a hell of a rap-production slapper, but most of all it’s a turning point in Rico’s evolution.
The third album from the impressionistic New Zealand singer-songwriter eludes easy classification, which makes her delicately built and beautifully rendered songs all the more alluring.
The UK duo’s ambitious second album has an alluring and unclassifiable sound. Rarely has a hybrid of new wave and experimental electronic music led to such an introspective place.
The rapturous debut from the British singer-songwriter takes adventurous pop-rock crucibles to new heights with her illusory songwriting and stunning voice.
The South Florida rapper puts on for his city and delivers the best, most dynamic, and altogether hardest album of his career.
The Philly band has achieved a balance between seething chaos and quietly devastating vulnerability. It’s one of the best punk rock records of the year.
The Bajan-British rapper’s debut tackles the UK’s pressing crises—a looming Brexit, class hostility, widening poverty—with great jokes and writerly candor.
Polo G blends pop and drill with ease and delivers a standout Chicago street rap debut that is meticulously crafted and honestly told.
The Bronx rapper drags himself back and forth between agony and breakthrough on his latest record, the fullest and most realized album of the 20-year-old’s career.
Released five months after the catharsis of Sweetener, these songs of affirmation feel lighter, freer, and more fun, carried effortlessly by Grande’s undeniable voice.
Forty years into his career, Nick Cave emerges with one of his most powerful albums yet, an endlessly giving and complex meditation on mortality and our collective grief.
Her latest album as Florist grapples with change, death, and uncertainty with some of the most arresting songwriting of the year.
There are still moments of conflict, but in general, you get the sense the band is just relieved to have run the gauntlet of their existential doubts and come out relatively unscathed, grateful to be here.
After 38 years of making music, Kim Gordon’s thrilling solo debut lives at the vanguard of sound and performance, shot through with the beautiful, unsparing noise that has always defined her art.
Tyler, the Creator’s sixth album is impressionistic and emotionally charged, the result of an auteur refining his style and bearing more of his soul than ever before.
On her fifth album, the Welsh musician is at her best. The more elaborate and eccentric her music becomes, the more she sounds like herself.
The debut album from the meteoric pop star lives in a world of its own: gothic, bass-heavy, at turns daring and quite beautiful.
The Norweigan artist brings her heady, personal text into the world of dance music to create an affecting, transcendental album that lives on the boundary of pop and the avant-garde.
On her debut album, the young viral star moves beyond the lo-fi bedroom-pop of her early recordings and into a restrained, detailed style of songwriting all her own.
The enigmatic songwriter’s latest album is full of vignettes that shift to reveal and conceal themselves in ways too unpredictable to be easily faked. It might be his best yet.
A peerless storyteller gazes deep into domestic life and offers a long, sun-warmed double album that is a highlight of his career.
Beyoncé’s historic Coachella set is preserved as a stunning live album that captures an artist at her peak, flexing her catalog and shining a light on the genius of black artists that came before her.
The exceptional solo debut from the Alabama Shakes singer-songwriter is a thrilling opus that pushes the boundaries of voice, sound, and soul to new extremes.
The Chicago artist marries political commentary with deep introspection, resulting in a richly composed R&B album about the echoes of the past and the promise of the future.
David Berman’s first new music in over a decade is a marvelous collection of heartbreak, grief, and bitterness. His careful writing has never sounded so exacting or direct.
Natalie Mering’s fourth album is a grand, sentimental ode to living and loving in the shadow of doom. It is her most ambitious and complex work yet.
Roberto Carlos Lange’s sixth and best album as Helado Negro deepens and expands upon the imagistic nature of his lyrics and cosmic synth-folk. It is a sublime, masterful piece of music.
The expertly sequenced and always vibrant debut from the Puerto Rican rapper collects every fascinating side of Bad Bunny into one singular statement.
Solange’s fourth album is unhurried, ambient, and exploratory. Using everything from spiritual jazz to Gucci Mane, Solange conjures her hometown with exceptional songcraft and production.
With limitlessly innovative songwriting and production, the cinema of twigs’ music has never been more affecting. MAGDALENE is not just on the vanguard of pop, it’s in a breathtaking class of its own.