Imagine a mirror which distorts not just the reflection, but reality itself, and you have a fair idea of the stunning legacy to which Syro triumphantly belongs.
Caution feels like the album Mariah has wanted to make all along: one that literally throws caution to the wind and sees her embracing her inner weirdo.
It's Swift's willingness to portray herself not as a victim, but the villain of her own story that makes Reputation such a fascinatingly thorny glimpse inside the mind of pop's reigning princess.
RTJ2 is a steamroller of an album, packed with enough assonance and alliteration to school an AP English literature class.
One listen to Vulnicura confirms what's been evident for a long time, but will still continue to come as a disappointment for many: Björk firmly belongs to the world of the avant-garde.
The culmination of 50 years of moody, often melancholic music, You Want It Darker stands out as the musical equivalent thereof, a wry reckoning of a lifetime's worth of damaged relationships, upheld vows, and broken promises from pop's preeminent emotional accountant.
While Trouble Will Find Me remains well crafted and satisfying, there's something inherently stultifying about it as well.
For much of Bon Iver, Vernon takes his cues from Volcano Choir, using an array of disparate instrumentation and looping effects to beautifully eerie effect.
Shaking the Habitual isn't so much "Shake Your Love" as it is Shakespeare...translated into alien biometric rhythms tapping out iambic pentameter.
As with Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, another work whose laser-focused assuredness counterpoises the ambivalence on display here, Wildheart stands out as a collection of songs about the significance of roots, using an assortment of West Coast imagery to communicate the splintered state of the artistic psyche Miguel presents.
On Need to Feel Your Love, the Philly quintet fully embraces these dissonances, creating an album on which even their breeziest, most likeable hooks drip with tension and rage.
Jay-Z made 4:44 with producer No I.D., whose beats luxuriate in burnished soul and jazz samples; combined with the relatively light feature roster and the short running time, this makes for the most focused Jay-Z album since The Blueprint.
Cave and the Bad Seeds have been responsible for a lot of great albums, but nothing they've ever released matches Skeleton Tree's sonic cohesion, consistent front-to-back quality, or gut-level resonance.
Even beyond the chances Simpson takes, A Sailor's Guide to Earth remains a sonically stunning album.
Björk seems to have reconjured the elements that made her music so exceptional, and consistently enough that one can imagine a shorter, more curated iteration of Utopia that could stand with her very best albums.
Granduciel is clearly still drawn to his rock roots, but as the gap between him and those influences widens, it become suffused with anxiety and dread, the sort of existential ambivalence that Lost in the Dream masterfully conveys with its vast distorted spaces.
Hive Mind is the Internet's most musically diverse and synergetic album to date.