XOXO succeeds at proving the band is more than an assemblage of talented players.
Overall, Reunions doesn't quite achieve the heights of Southeastern or The Nashville Sound, but that's only because Isbell has set the bar so damn high for himself. This is an excellent album in its own right, and I can't imagine any Isbell fan being disappointed by it.
On Taylor Swift's surprise Lock Down album, Folklore, the omnipresent, world-conquering princess of self-mythology embraces a brooding post-pop texture that strikes a balance between lusty exuberance and indie-folky introspection.
If Rough and Rowdy Ways is his valedictory statement to us, it's certainly in keeping with his traditionalist spirit.
Saint Cloud, like Car Wheels, finds an artist operating at the top of her game, embracing, as Crutchfield put it, "the contradictions and the unknown" to produce a thrilling and inspirational work.
Private Lives captures the spirit of the times in which we find ourselves—the weird world that like Low Cut Connie defies easy categorization—and offers musical solace to help us do more than just survive.