The solo electro-pop musician was an enigma when she first arrived, but this accomplished debut album makes damn sure you won’t forget her.
This will be the moment that solidifies his status as one of rap’s most exciting new stars.
He's spoken of feeling trapped and frustrated, but the 21-year-old wunderkind has channelled his struggles into a jubilant collection of hope-laced tunes.
The result of years of experimentation, this album enlists established stars and emerging talents to create a work that is quintessentially Charli XCX.
A marked progression from her previous (brilliant) post-punk albums, Eva Moolchan’s third record is a woozy masterclass in understatement, endlessly inspired and fizzing with ambience.
Bold, bizarre, self-referential and unlike anything Madonna has ever done before, 'Madame X' finds the star with a glint in her eye.
These songs are sometimes more exciting in theory than in practise, but ‘Everyday Life’ regularly steps to the left-field, proving that Coldplay are more adventurous than they’re often given credit for.
It succeeds in spite of its clunkier moments because Swift’s melodies are frequently dazzling and her loved-up lyrics are ultimately quite touching.
‘Hot Pink’, on the other hand, sounds lush and considered. It seems like Dlamini might have actually broken a sweat with this one.
Stormzy isn’t aiming to be the biggest name in grime, or UK rap, or indeed even be one of the biggest UK artists; Heavy Is The Head is him trying to go for everything and become the sort of culture-defining talent that only pops up a couple of times in a generation.
Eight months on from their last album, the Bangtan Boys explore the idea of artist versus idol, roping in a couple of high-profile cameos – from Halsey to Ed Sheeran – to craft a record that sees them continuing to raise the bar.
The 24-year-old Floridian rapper combines dreamy, ethereal beats with hard-hitting sounds and rhymes to relay his unique – and compelling – life story.
It’s actually the more fragile moments on ‘Deceiver’ that ultimately prove to be the most emotionally resonant.
It could easily be a self-pitying album, one ready to dwell in the wreckage of incidents, but instead keeps picking up and moving on; providing a guide to how to keep on keeping on even when it feels like whatever you do is going to end in devastation.
A refreshing, sarcastic antidote to fighting misery with the usual greetings card-meets-motivational poster sentiment, ‘Morbid Stuff’ secures PUP’s position at the top of the present-day punk rock pile.
‘Ghosteen’ is one of the most devastatingly accurate accounts of grief that you’ll ever listen to. Yet it’s also, astoundingly, one of the most comforting.
Ultimately this record – her best yet – is about finding a different kind of love: the quiet self-examination after the dust of a break-up finally settles.
As a document of British rap’s indefinable present ... AJ Tracey’s debut is perhaps the best of the current crop; twisted, vibrant and ever-shifting, but linked with that confident voice.
The first five-star album of 2019! Proof that James Blake is one of the world’s greatest producers, this loved-up fourth record, featuring Andre 3000 and Travis Scott, sees him finally in control as a brilliant songwriter and emotive lyricist
'Jesus Is King' lacks his trademark goofball sense of humour, but that's partly compensated for with warmth and hope for the future.
The futuristic Manchester duo return with another spell-binding and forward-thinking collection of festival smashers, still light years ahead of their peers.
A moving, quasi-concept album, this debut from the 20-year-old rapper is bold and thought-provoking, the kind of record that comes along only rarely.
On her self-love anthem-packed third album, Lizzo proves she's the electric, complex pop star that the world needs.
This surprise-released, self-produced record is a reminder that Solange is an R&B frontrunner in her own right. It’s a celebration of women, black culture and – above all – music.
The 'Knot's sixth album is an astonishing record: a roaring, horrifying delve into the guts of the band’s revulsion, a primal scream of endlessly inventive extreme metal and searing misanthropy.
Depending on your mood, there’ll be songs you’d happily lop off for a more streamlined listen, but by and large, all of these songs make the patchwork much more vibrant.
‘Immunity’ is an album to burrow into and become resident in its songs. It’s a comforter that wraps itself around you when you’re feeling low and a resilient reminder that there are brighter times ahead.
‘Titanic Rising’ harnesses convention and refashions it into something singular. At once a document of this “wild time to be alive” and an escape from it, it’s often remarkably good.
As well as being his most reflective album, it’s also Kiwanuka’s most hopeful.
The Irish troubadours come good on a debut album that offers both a storyteller’s narrative voice and a snarling new vision of youthful disillusionment.
London MC Simbi Ajikawo has come true on her early promise with this confident and unapologetic album, the best rap record of the year so far.
Lana Del Rey is large – she contains multitudes, and the way she balances and embodies them on her fifth album is nothing short of stunning.
‘IGOR’ is an accomplished and evergreen record that’s well worth putting your phone down, turning the TV off and devoting your full attention span to.
‘When We All Fall Asleep…’ is a memorable and game-changing debut record, with Billie's disruptive streak front and centre. We'll no doubt see the mainstream scrabbling to replicate it.