The boys of Animal Collective have mapped out some previously uncharted waters, producing a style of music that could belong to no one else; a distinctive, flawless fusion of the semi- automated and the wholly organic.
Replica catches Lopatin at the peak of his powers, realizing his esoteric vision with a newfound brazenness
Listening to Born To Die is like watching a movie billed as a comedy and discovering that the only funny scenes are in the previews
Anti takes risks and disregards convention in a way that only a true superstar like Rihanna could pull off.
On Invasion of Privacy, she breezes past the challenge of a highly anticipated debut by making one of the most exciting rap albums in years.
Capacity, the swift follow-up, also no doubt contains ideas that Lenker has had on the back burner for years, but while it shares much with Masterpiece in terms of her carefully detailed excavation of the past and her band’s instrumentation, it has its own urgent stories to tell.
Emotion rolls out banger after banger, all while sustaining a remarkable level of complexity and compassion for everyone in Jepsen’s solar system.
She embraces the messiness of growing up and taking responsibility for one’s actions and composes the apex of everything she’s accomplished thus far. Saint Cloud offers us the best possible version of Crutchfield she could possibly give us.
An album like RTJ2 is rare. Decades from now, this album may just be revered as one of the best hip-hop records of our era, the total synchronicity of two talented artists reaching the apex of their prime.
What separates the coven of sisters from their UK contemporaries, however, is that their debut doesn’t define them explicitly. It balances expectations with mystery, aligning their identity with a roulette of vantage points.
By closing the door on the philosophies and musical approaches he used to take, Tyler discovers an open window, leading him to new, peaceful strength and mastery of his craft.
Styles is a more confident and precise songwriter on Fine Line than on his debut, even if the progress is incremental rather than exponential.
Wasting Light has cornered the kind of ideas that make up the best of the band’s catalog in an earnest attempt to go as big as possible, while staying relatively grounded.
In less than 40 minutes of music, The xx have managed to offer an unforgettable debut and an album that deserves recognition come time for 2009’s year-end lists.
The more you spin it, the more you wear out that thin needle of your record player, you realize that Granduciel is discovering the problems of his life, not figuring them out or even reflecting on them. This all makes for an album that truly sounds like it’s coming to life.
If it sits well with him, it sits well with his listeners, and in that, Drunk is a record of R&B fusion that feels good from start to finish, masturbation jokes included.
It’s an album for the books, one that indicates West’s hunger for exploration while always sounding like it could become extraordinarily popular, even for him. This is the level that things could be at.
Sunbather is a developed, mature, and, above all, an original statement that truly lives up to the unbelievable amount of hype it has earned.
Whatever missteps there may be, Eilish’s commanding, yet vulnerable, performances easily overcome them to create one of the best debut albums of the young year.
BTS are both the world’s biggest and most interesting act in pop music right now: 7 solidifies this position and smartly looks towards the future.
At 10 breezy tracks, Care for Me isn’t just a collection of songs; it’s an honest-to-god album that develops ideas at its own pace.
On a songwriting level, Mitski — already established as a top-tier songwriter — has outdone herself on Be the Cowboy. The album is full of constructions that are simple, bold, sharp, and generous. She wastes not a single second, every moment is intentional, every instrument employed for a purpose.
SThe Gorillaz are hanging out on what looks like the coolest Play Mobile set of an island I have ever seen and have created a record that is just as amazing as the previous two.
On his new album, Big Fish Theory, Staples continues to perfect his brand of nuanced nihilism while exploring new sounds that should put the music industry on notice that the future is now.
Even though it’s only 36 minutes long, 4:44 is the first JAY-Z album where you’re hanging on every single word from start to finish, because the words have about four times as many meanings as they did on any of his dozen solo albums prior.
It trafficks specifically in lost arts like sequencing, pacing, and mastering. It’s not concerned with moving units. It’s concerned with Beyoncé’s self-exploration, in a complicated, incredibly intriguing way.
The pleasure of Room 25 is in hearing a master wordsmith turn words into feelings so that the feelings linger long after the words have stopped.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues will be remembered as a milestone not because it’s the first widely known punk record performed by a trans woman, but because it brandishes a genre saturated by empty, male-centered politics to broadcast the most punk statements possible: Fuck the haters, be who you are, hold fast to those who love you.
Each song grows richer the more you explore its open space. Its minimalism breathes buckets of color. After one listen or 10, In Colour reflects brightly, a phenomenally poised and universally approachable solo debut.
Madlib’s tricky blaxploitation production doesn’t only force Gibbs to push his abilities, but also gives him a space to explore a new perspective.
Yes, MASSEDUCTION is worthy of being treated like an event, but whether or not it tops her previous two excellent efforts is a little tougher to support.
They’ve taken some minor risks, tailored their sound, and emerged with a record that can stand confidently beside Boxer and Alligator, all without overdoing or losing any of its predecessors’ merits.