Although it’s not quite the perfect pop record ‘Video Games’ might have led us to wish for, ‘Born To Die’ still marks the arrival of a fresh – and refreshingly self-aware – sensibility in pop.
This album is, foremost, about songcraft. Rather than reinventing Bowie, it absorbs his past and moves it on, hungry for more.
While ‘Blunderbuss’ isn’t that definitive, unarguable document we’ve been seeking, it still feels like his most candid and personal record yet.
‘Carry On The Grudge’ is an inspired modern breakdown album in the vein of such cathartic classics as the Manic Street Preachers' ‘The Holy Bible’. It’s London low-life viewed from the other end of the telescope, and the view is dejected but divine.
If all you can see is a tangle of influences then you’re standing too close to the picture, and when ‘Skying’’s visions come into focus, it not only reaffirms that ‘Primary Colours’ was far from a fluke, but that they could go so much further.
You’re struck by the strength of the songs, and the roguish, self-assured charm with which they’re delivered.
'Once I Was An Eagle' is an intense, internal record with a clear emotional arc. The portrait it paints of the author is not always flattering, but the truth rarely is.
They’ve made an absolutely magical record – the jagged edges of their past have been smoothed by the sea, making ‘Teen Dream’ a soft shore gem in the crown of the great chronicles of youth.
It is also miles better than ‘Innerspeaker’, and quite possibly the best album released so far this year.
Darker and more introspectively brooding than ever, in places it’s the most immediate National effort since their overlooked eponymous debut.
Cranking the urgency and confrontation of last year's self-titled debut to neck-breaking levels of intensity, 'RTJ2' is an urgent, paranoid album for a violent, panicked time.
What Cave and co have managed here is no mean feat: a masterpiece that merges the experimentation and freedom of their side projects with Cave’s most tender songcraft.
As with some modern art, you may find ‘Silence Yourself’ leaves you whispering, “I appreciated it, but I didn’t love it.”
The crap filter has been whacked up to 11 and the groove-o-tron set to interstellar for the band’s slickest offering to date.
At times it feels as if there is no arena, stadium or field big enough to contain the songs on ‘Holy Fire’ - although you get the feeling plenty of them will be filled with these songs over the next 12 months.
This fourth Caribou record encapsulates his whole career. Unwrap its rainbow artwork and you’ll find the plush harmonics of 2007’s ‘Andorra’ (‘Second Chance’), ‘Swim’’s cold, oscillating synths (‘Dive’) and Daphni’s strict beats (‘Mars’).
‘Syro’ is amazing: bug-eyed, banging rave that sounds quintessentially Aphex while not quite sounding like anything he’s done before. It makes zero concessions to the modern day.
This is a gorgeous album, but sacrifices had to be made. They’ve undeniably lost something that made them special in the first place.
It’s this combination of unforced sonic gorgeousness and a refusal to settle for the obvious that puts Clark in a field of her own, and makes for a strange and wonderful record that shows no mercy in blowing your mind.
2011’s ‘Slave Ambient’ may have been a cult success, but this follow-up is a fast-flowing gully to mainstream domination.
Sweet, soulful little man that he is, Mac knows better than to let his bellyaching get in the way of everyone else's good time — instead, he’s simply dialled down the quirk and written his best record yet.
By assembling a cast of their favourite musicians and delving into their adolescent memories, Daft Punk have created something as emotionally honest as any singer-songwriter confessional – and a lot more fun to dance to.
‘The English Riviera’ is a deep sea of ideas and imagination: a far-flung, limitless dreamworld full of romance, nostalgia, lovers’ tiffs and good old-fashioned shagging.
It might lack the raw appeal of Kendrick’s 2011 mixtape ‘Section.80’, but it’s also a big-budget reminder that the 25-year-old hasn’t forgotten his roots.
Clark’s readiness to be freakish and alone has translated into her songwriting, which is bolder than ever, and out to connect.
‘Yeezus’ is so tight, so bold, that with a few tweaks Kanye could’ve made his rock for the ages. As it is, he’ll have to settle for one of the best records of the year.
It’s like skipping through a thousand excellent tracks on your iPod shuffle and isolating 13 perfect moments.
Sounds phase in and out, drums thunder, guitars chime with warm, valve amp bite, voices are multi-tracked into luscious harmonies, snatched sentences of speech burble in the background, loops repeat and vocals echo distantly, like they’re drifting in from a radio in another room.
‘Let England Shake’ is a record that ventures deep into the heart of darkness of war itself and its resonance throughout England’s past, present and future.
It’s the best thing he’s done since his game-changing debut, and heartening evidence to suggest the self-professed Louis Vuitton don is in a good place right now.
Arctic Monkeys’ fifth record is absolutely and unarguably the most incredible album of their career. It might also be the greatest record of the last decade.