On the evidence of The Book of Souls, The Acceptance of the Inevitable isn’t on Iron Maiden’s agenda.
The chunky bass of Dammn Baby hits the dancefloor spot – but otherwise, Unbreakable’s highlights are low-key moments of reflection and nostalgia.
In a year of impressive solo rap albums, Staples has managed to create one that’s arguably the most idiosyncratic of the lot.
It’s an hour-long demonstration that Dr Dre’s skills as producer and curator alike are still as potent as ever.
It’s provocative, but these are ideas rarely heard in pop, which makes it all the more compelling.
It’s an assured follow-up to their US-conquering debut, The Bones of What You Believe, picking out its predecessor’s stadium-pop moments and turning up the intensity without ever overselling its charm.
The touchstones here, such as Dusty in Memphis, are all records that revel in a particular kind of musicality, yet this is a record that never feels retro, just timeless.
It’s less musically intense than its predecessor – as well as the usual neo-Brit folk rock, there’s spindly and angular rock and even, on Gurdjieff’s Daughter, an unmistakable debt to Sultans of Swing.
It is more than bluster: Perpetual Motion People is the restless sound of a genuine one-off in a generic world.
It’s a little long, there’s the odd duff track ... But Music Complete still feels like the freshest thing they’ve done in ages.
Ten Love Songs shows a command of artpop, chilly synthpop, and that simultaneously joyous and desperate disco that seems to seep out of Scandinavia in an unending flood.
Her voice is fine, rather than outstanding. She doesn’t do anything to stamp her identity on the songs: good as they are, you’re struck by the sense you could be listening to anyone.
Although In Colour flirts with being overly tasteful, it usually manages to stay just the right side of strange – much like the xx themselves.
There are so many straightforwardly commercial-sounding songs here that Fading Frontier could conceivably be an album that turns Deerhunter from cult concern into mainstream success.
His previous albums were sonically scattered and eclectic, but Wildheart mints a signature musical style; moreover, it’s a signature musical style that doesn’t sound much like anyone else.
Dedicated to bringing jazz to the uninitiated, Epic features soul and gospel vocals, boiling drumming, swing, funk, and voicelike free-jazz blowing.
You could say there’s something gimlet-eyed about a woman who realises her relationship is collapsing and automatically thinks: still, great material. But it’s nothing if not honest. And besides, on the evidence of Vulnicura, she has a point.
For all the layers of irony on I Love You, Honeybear, the biggest irony of all might be that such an ostensibly knotty and confusing album’s real strength lies in something as prosaic and transparent as its author’s ability to write a beautiful melody.
The music matches the lyrics, managing to be both overwhelming and understated: melodies match sentiment with perfect judgment. Carrie & Lowell is a delight in every way, surely one of the albums of the year.
Time will tell whether in decades to come, To Pimp a Butterfly is still being spoken of in the same breath as the kind of epochal albums it’s currently being compared to, but for the moment, he’s certainly achieved his aim in impressive style.