13 Moons is a celebration of fading detail, a reminder that we’ll only ever continue to forget.
By prioritizing rhythm over hooks, by turning away from looped vocal samples and toward a starker, more tensile vocabulary of snares and strings, Dark Energy immediately sounds like a benchmark, an outlier in terms of minimalist abstraction and intensity.
D’angelo’s music is soul against evil. Murder, racism, violence, oppression, hatred: Black Messiah is protest music, healing music, a bomb and a balm.
Age of Transparency is heady and dizzying, even more unpleasant than Anxiety at times, but it’s keyed in to the zeitgeist in a way that feels genuine, constructive even.
Half Free is a dudless, succinct record with nonetheless staggering scope.
With Piteous Gate, you hear an artist becoming strong to themselves, not as a strong icon or representation, but as a capable force across industrialized identities, one who extracts dances from the cosmos.
COIN COIN Chapter Three: river run thee is infinite and indispensable in its cultural worth and true-ly timeless and comprehensive in its scope. A masterwork of human history, still in progress.
Sometimes you have a dream and it’s not bad. It’s not wish-fulfillment, but you feel more alive for having had it. The memory of the dream’s worth nothing, but you’ll chase the feeling all day. This album is a lot like that.
Blackheart is ongoing and nearly seamless, unselfconscious in its refashioning of 80s guitar licks, steel drums, 256-bit EDM, flutes, and trap snares.
As last year’s attention-grabbing Adhesive EP intimated, the new Container is a richly rhythmic powerhouse of gleeful propulsion. The beats trump everything, including the tones that are so overdriven they might as well be more beats.
Divers is, to greatly oversimplify its project and to mention only one of its many mythic frames of reference, about the fall and redemption of humanity. That divine catastrophe is scaled down to the commonly human quantity of the sensible work of art, rich in emotional honesty and poetic complexity.
With If You’re Reading This, there is union between his effort to “mythologically aggrandize” himself and to relieve creative pressure by half-redundantly (and “meaningfully”) delivering what people what: Drake content, Drake lyrics, Drake beats… a Drake album.
Have You In My Wilderness is all about walking away and looking back, the content of desire and its form, the voice in search of clarifying itself.
SOPHIE’S PRODUCT relies on amiable, nonchalant, subconscious confusion.
DS2 finds a hellish, motivating power by articulating how it’s possible to have the best time of your life during the worst time of your life. And it all sounds so good.
[Church Service Meme]
If anything, Garden of Delete showcases how fragile the genre, the signifier, the “culture” is in 2015.
Underlying To Pimp a Butterfly’s system of contradictions is a narrative of hope against the brutality of the systematic destruction of the unity of the culture, the murderous cops and the drug wars — that hope is in the possibilities of consciousness, that ever elusive revolutionary power that makes us all rulers of this world.
Regardless of the form, Barter 6 offers a fantastic explication of the capabilities Thug has been honing — the capabilities of liminality.