With On Your Own Love Again, Jessica Pratt has crafted a record that is as accessible as it is complex, two traits that she proves are not mutually exclusive.
No, TMLT is not as precise as The Monitor, nor as pleasurable. It does, however, surpass it in imagination and aim. This alone cements The Most Lamentable Tragedy as one of this year’s greatest rock records.
There are no stomping blues-rockers here, no rockabilly or harmonica hoedowns as there were on Same Trailer; everything’s pretty low-key. Sometimes this restraint can be tantalizing in the best ways.
Every song on How Big How Blue How Beautiful instead strives to be a thermonuclear warhead. And Welch’s struggle, with heartbreak and sobriety, is their emotional payload.
Thug’s entire approach to his music has never sounded so polished and potent as it sounds on Barter 6.
The biggest thing that Sound & Color seems to have going for it is how agreeable it all seems. Alabama Shakes don’t rock the boat necessarily, but by refining the formula, they’ve proven they can succeed with a model that has become all too easy to fail with in recent years.
Every Open Eye does feel as though it is trying to reach everyone all at once, and hits its marks less frequently than its predecessor.
It’s a funny and effortless mixtape. But there are little glints of excellence—parts of songs, particular grooves—that make it a substantial entry into the Erykah Badu canon.
We’re given exciting stuff throughout the hour long run time of Compton—blockbuster material—there’s plenty of action and drama to go around. And although fat definitely needed to be trimmed from this animal, it’s humbling to know Dre hasn’t let his ego get the best of him musically.
Goon is adept enough to say what it wants to, and flawed enough to appear derived from reality.
Vile’s music is deeply emotionally evocative, inviting the listener to use their own wild imagination to dissect the shades of joy, sadness, and confusion dotting Vile’s portrait.
Have You in My Wilderness’ best quality is that it won’t let you down if you get up close and sit with it for a while.
With the excellent Depression Cherry out just two months ago, Beach House would have done better to sit on Lucky Stars, or maybe even have turned the whole thing into one crazy, sprawling double album.
The only resource Mackenzie Scott needs to make a beautiful song and tell a cathartic story is herself.
I Don’t Like Shit moves at a stroll not because it’s lazy but because its creator knows exactly what he’s doing, such that there’s no need to show off.
Its highs are high enough that its lows can be forgiven, or forgotten entirely. Ratchet consolidates Shamir's many talents: the sassy lyricist, the virtuosic tunesmith, the unperturbed diva. Those talents are singular, and they’re sure to flourish on future releases.
If she has indeed made her most musically rewarding album since the first one, it’s telling that Divers doesn’t stretch Newsom’s music any further than the last two albums have. It’s just more organized, is all! Praise be!
Despite an overarching shagginess, this is an almost seamless artistic and conceptual exercise. Poison Season makes its predecessor appear minor by comparison, like a tuneful lark.
Minor sonic updates don’t entirely compensate for the lack of deep cuts, but it’s hard to fault Depression Cherry for playing to Beach House’s well-established strengths.
Grim Reaper is Panda Bear’s most aggressively electronic work to date, full of clattering rhythms and corroded keyboards, no computer-derived sound or structure permitted to masquerade as anything other than what it is. But this makes it, oddly, his most embodied work, too.
Me is an album of crushingly introspective songwriting set to certifiably exciting dance music.
Immediately, Multi-Love introduces its polyamorous priorities in multiple senses, equally emphasizing real-life interpersonal relationships as Nielson's many-tendriled affection for multi-instrumentation and electronic layering.
Night School doesn’t go down like a third album. It goes down like a reimagined debut, because it introduces a newly carefree, naturally focused Neon Indian. And as third albums go, that’s just about the best mentality you can employ.
Wildheart is his finest and most stubborn statement yet — a provocative, swooning mess, the 45-minute manifestation of that alternately deranged and inspired five-minute SNL performance. It also just might be one of the best rock albums of 2015.
The Woods remains Sleater-Kinney’s grandest statement. The trio, however, triumphs in short bursts of joy, rage, and those lesser, in-between emotions. No Cities to Love replaces its predecessor’s sweep with blood, fire, and melody
It’s also the best gift you never asked for, or even knew you wanted in the first place. I could say the same about CRJ herself, a minor pop star who’s emerged as the genre’s newest MVP.
Sometimes I Sit and Think lends further support to the argument that women are the last, best hope of a once vital genre.
No matter your proclivities for this new style, it’s hard to deny that Currents sounds fantastic. Parker isn’t using any new instruments here, he’s reappropriating instruments he has been using all along. Only this time, everything is curated cleanly.
Stevens has finally revealed himself to be the person in his first-person pieces, and his songwriting lifts itself to new heights for that admission.
She’s crafted a glorious pop monster entirely by her own mind, hand, and voice. Part dazzling confection, part snarling beast, Art Angels is a stitched together, hook ridden masterwork.
Is this the Second Coming of Sly, or Prince, or Stevie, or Marvin? No. This is the Second Coming of D’Angelo, not a close second, but a continuation of that lineage. We’ve waited fifteen years for his finest album to date.
Its politics may offend and its sonics may perplex, but there is no doubt that Butterfly is one of the year’s most fascinating and impressive musical artifacts.