The Aussie pop singer’s 15th album is content to bask unapologetically in nostalgia.
The restless punk spirit and flippant, downtrodden ethos that prevail over the project render Protomartyr’s painstaking intellectualizations as fuel for a visceral winding up and release of discontent.
Allison’s progression as a songwriter is more acutely evident in the album’s darker, weightier subject matter.
HAIM’s instincts to veer a little more left of the dial on Women in Music Pt. III result in an album that strikes a deft balance between the experimental and the commercial, the moody and the uplifting.
The album instantly feels more purposeful than its predecessor: Where Blood can feel labored over, perhaps too hungry for hits, Lianne La Havas isn’t seemingly beholden to such expectations.
Gaslighter may not have been the album that country music needed, but it’s clearly the one that the Chicks needed to make.
It might not live up to its lofty goals, but the sheer amount of daring on Notes on a Conditional Form solidifies the four guitar-wielding dudes of the 1975 as the biggest, boldest, and brashest purveyors of something resembling what we used to call rock n’ roll.
No matter how roomy or tight the mix is, or whether he’s caught in a moment of self-doubt or soaring confidence, he brings a sweet buoyancy to his music that carries Shamir, while also peeking into the torment of being inside his own head.
While Stevens often reaches great heights on The Ascension, he almost as often seems to get lost in his big ideas.
Dark Hearts opts for a different kind of escape. Ten years on from her last full-length album, the singer is reckoning with the present by diving headlong into her past with equal parts regret and wonder.
Adopting a free and easy Americana style marked by both twangy guitars and dreamy keys, the songs here are at once deeply intimate and broadly accessible, like selections from an alternative universe where modern mainstream country radio isn’t all pandering, homogenized slop.
The end of the world is a central detail on Punisher, an influence over the uncertainty that falls over these dark but gorgeous songs.
Future Nostalgia leans into the latter half of its oxymoronic title, offering a well-timed escape hatch to pop music’s past.
It isn’t the weight of the subject matter alone that makes the album feel so vital—it’s the exemplary caliber of her writing. She may sing of wasted potential, but Folklore finds Swift living up to all of the praise she earned for her songwriting earlier in career.
What’s Your Pleasure? is an album that, just a few months ago, might have felt like a nostalgia trip or a guilty pleasure, but now feels like manna for the soul.
On an album as sonically diverse as Miss Anthropocene, the most significant thread that holds it all together, more than the topic of climate change or its creator’s personal relationships, is Boucher’s wild imagination and commitment to experimenting with her sound.
On a purely musical level, it’s a bold experiment in pop craft, a collection of songs on which Apple stretches her talents in adventurous new directions ... Most importantly, the album is a vituperative catalog of the failures and pointless cruelties of a society propped up by fragile, nihilistic, patriarchal ideology.