He is yet ... to enjoy a mainstream moment like those had recently by Stormzy and Skepta. The reflective, ambitious Hoodies All Summer isn’t likely to change that, but it will cement his reputation as one of grime’s wisest truth-tellers.
Always known for Technicolor hip-hop odysseys, Flying Lotus has now gone fully cinematic.
There simply isn’t a weak or even middling track, and the strongest can go toe to toe with the best of Al Green or Bobby Womack.
Life has tested David Berman, and he translates it into songs of mordant wit on this fantastic collaboration with Woods.
Full of dust-shaking beats, layered vocals and sticky melodies, the record is every bit as rousing as Heavn, with even more intricate production flourishes. But as ever with Woods – who is also an acclaimed poet – her words hold the greatest weight.
On Good at Falling, her debut album, the walls come tumbling down, with Bain picking at the scabs of a broken relationship with the sort of direct candour that would have seemed unimaginable when she arrived in 2015.
It feels less like a lunge for the charts than another stopping point on an increasingly fascinating musical journey.
A hugely exciting album that underlines Simpson’s status as a daring, restless and unique artist.
Incidental Music is like a rollercoaster ride you want to get straight back on and do all over again.
As a whole, Schlagenheim is an imperfect, intriguing debut: behind the overheated prose lurks a young, self-conscious band who clearly aren’t as fully formed as the hype suggests.
Big Thief’s power is in how they understand duality, both in the macro (with their two albums), and in the micro details. This record is best heard alongside its twin, but it’s equally powerful alone.
It’s an outstanding debut from a great new band who play it like they mean it.
Humour and subtly shattering insights into a new life as a parent add profundity to Callahan’s expansive album.
A wonderful solo debut takes in race, religion and boozy excess, all with searing lyricism.
Assume Form feels like Blake opening out, adding fresh, noticeably brighter colours to his palette. Whether or not a smidge more commerciality turns this album into the kind of hit he was predicted to have at the start of the decade, it is immensely pleasing to witness an artist who seemed to be at a dead end now moving forward.
Many artists of her stature retreat from contemporary horrors to the comforts of the past, but Gordon relishes new raw material to remake in her own, inimitable image.
Cuz I Love You keeps its foot pressed down hard on the accelerator for half an hour in an attempt to ram-raid the charts. It’s hard not to hope it’s a success ... and hard not to hope that next time, she occasionally changes gear.
As it is, Lover offers plenty of evidence that Swift is just a better songwriter than any of her competitors in the upper echelons of pop, but its something-for-everyone approach feels like consolidation, not progress, designed to keep Swift as one of the world’s biggest stars without provoking the kind of backlash that led her to start evoking the end of days in her diary.
UFOF sees them pare things down further still, in a collection of gentle folk that seems dazed by its own exquisite beauty.
Her lyrics are inscrutable and her vocal and visual stylings eccentric, but Harding’s third album is a thing of beauty.
In between the mock adverts, Miss Universe throws up a ragged miscellany of styles – rackety alt-rock, radio-ready pop, saxophones that appear to have escaped from a Sade album, jagged left-field guitars, primitive drum machines and what sounds like an attempt to make the kind of 80s AOR ballad that’s popular with Magic Radio on a lo-fi, bedroom-bound budget – all blessed by the melodic facility already in evidence when Yanya made her debut.
This is the kind of songwriting quality that bands can take years to reach, or never reach at all: brilliant, top to bottom.
The embattled singer reveals her anxieties and coaxes brilliance from various guests in a candid, confident third album.
Pretty Girl’s bruised naivety was charming but would have grated over numerous similar tracks. Thankfully, Clairo impressively broadens her sound on this strongly written debut album.
The songs frequently sound like jams or extemporisations on a theme, where melodies float away vaporously or get stuck in repetition.
Lovely, airy, occasionally rocking songs are underpinned by elliptical lyrics and seeping loneliness on Le Bon’s remarkable album.
This feels like the work of a pop star previously happy to act as conduit for other people, finally working out who they are and what they want to say. Here, Grande finds her voice.
Dawson adds pop-facing elements to folk on this brilliant album, full of stories of a benighted Britain.
At once soft and hard, fiery and vulnerable, Grey Area finds Little Simz thriving in her multi-facetedness.
Its 18 tracks seem to belong in an august tradition begun by the Beatles’ eponymous 1968 release: the double album not as grandiose conceptual statement, but a crowded, loose scrapbook of ideas, not all of them fully baked.
The soulful singer’s third LP is timeless and contemporary at the same time, with shades of everything from What’s Going On to Screamadelica.
Overall, Pang is a vivid and melodious portrait of a restless heart.
Clever, bleak, funny, bracing, aware of a broad musical heritage but never in thrall to it: after you hear Nothing Great About Britain, it’s even more obvious why Slowthai stands out.
On one level, it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s as good as it is ... Nevertheless, listening to Ghosteen, it’s very hard indeed not to be taken aback.
Sometimes the results are stunning ... Sometimes, however, the songs are weirdly stifling.
It is rewarding: the sound of Angel Olsen skilfully mapping out an unanticipated new territory for herself, further out on the left-field. Nothing on All Mirrors ends up quite where you expect, including the artist who made it.
It’s no bad thing that Igor downplays Tyler’s indomitable personality – but the writing and execution do not quite replace what has been lost. What’s left is a fine showcase of ingenuity that too rarely burrows very far into your consciousness.
The highs are thrilling, and despite their obvious pedigree, arranged unlike anything else in contemporary pop. They also reveal the lows more starkly.
Fearless and incisive, Dave’s reportage-style tracks sketch out race, prison and abusive relationships, resulting in a landmark record.
Listening to Norman Fucking Rockwell! is an alternately beguiling and frustrating experience.