Vulnicura honors her pain and the necessary path through and away from loss with some of her bravest, most challenging, and most engaging music.
An even more consistent album than Kiss, E-MO-TION further defines Jepsen as an equally stylish and earnest pop artist.
A convincing argument that rock & roll doesn't need reinvention in order to revive itself, Courtney Barnett's full-length debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. falls into a long, storied rock tradition but never feels beholden to it.
This brilliant kaleidoscopic LP, which was recorded in under a year, focuses on the veteran producer's connection to the modern world as it references Eric Garner, frames it with N.W.A.'s history, and decides that little has changed.
Where The Outsiders was designed to dazzle, Mr. Misunderstood is built for the long haul: it settles into the soul, its pleasures immediate but also sustained.
I Love You, Honeybear, despite the occasional double entendre, is as powerful a statement about love in the vacuous, social media-obsessed early 21st century as it is a denouement of the detached hipster charlatan.
Elaenia is fated to become one of those albums that inspires ritualistic listening parties held by small groups of audiophiles. That shouldn't be held against it.
What holds it all together is solid writing that sticks close to stock pop/rock methodology.
As it moves from reflective to engaging and back again, In Colour covers the entire spectrum of Jamie xx's music, delivering flashes of brilliance along the way.
Just as potent and lasting as Fearless and Love Me Back, Reality Show completes one of the most impressive first-three-album runs.
Without words or structures, A Year with 13 Moons translates a wealth of emotional content, achieving the rare feat of communicating pain, loss, yearning, and nostalgia with a noisy sonic palette that few can turn into anything besides confusion and chaos.
At nearly an hour long, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure is a dense, rewarding listen from an artist who's becoming more complex, and more direct, with each album.
While it's tempting to say Have You in My Wilderness is her most personal music yet, it might be more accurate to say that it's her most approachable: this time, her brilliance demands a lot from her listeners, but also meets them more than halfway.
Holistic in breadth and deep in vision, it provides a way into this music for many, and challenges the cultural conversation about jazz without compromising or pandering.
To Pimp a Butterfly is as dark, intense, complicated, and violent as Picasso's Guernica, and should hold the same importance for its genre and the same beauty for its intended audience.
B'lieve I'm Goin Down... is an impeccably arranged album beneath its soothing, sleepy surface, with every element assisting in an illusion of deep, shimmering, and alluring melancholy.
This is the album where it all changed, as the one they call Young Sinatra comes into his own and proves his nearly perfect debut was no isolated fluke.
They're an unabashed country act, gliding between heartbreak harmonies and punch lines with aplomb, the gilded ease masquerading the careful craft behind these 11 songs, every one of which bears songwriting credits by the duo.
On Are You Alone?, Majical Cloudz pick up where the exceptionally beautiful Impersonator left off two years prior, and issue more sparse arrangements of hypnotic, minor-key electronics under plaintive cries and intimate observations, like a subdued, post-apocalyptic offspring of the Blue Nile.
Natalie Prass is the work of a distinctive new artist with a vision that embraces past and present, merging strength and vulnerability to powerful effect.
The way he transforms different sounds and eras into something nostalgic yet new has always been one of his greatest strengths. He goes one better on Garden of Delete, imbuing these songs with powerful, wide-ranging emotions.
Hairless Toys opts for a more personal approach that is so powerful in part because it's so quiet.
Ratchet is a fully realized, entertaining portrait of an artist who knows where he's from and where he's going.
Carrie & Lowell is the most harrowingly personal work Stevens has offered us to date; it also ranks with his most skillfully crafted albums despite its spartan approach.
One of the best noncommercial R&B albums of 2015, Ego Death is perfectly timed, in sync with -- and distinct from -- other standout releases connected to the thriving L.A. community.
Blowing the promise of his Hell Can Wait EP into an extraordinary double LP, Summertime '06 finds rapper Vince Staples with all the pieces in place.