Lemonade ... feels like a success, made by someone very much in control ... Beyonce sounds very much like a woman not to be messed with.
If you want to take it as an extended musical treatise on queer identity and non-binary sexual orientation, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied ... If you just want to treat it as a collection of beautifully wrought pop music, then it functions fantastically as that, too.
Views isn’t a perfect album – some judicious pruning of the less impactful tracks would make it more easily digestible, and there are certainly moments when you start to wish Drake would cast his gaze a little further afield than his own navel.
This album of digital anxiety and millennial unease is wrapped in something that feels both toweringly accomplished and heart-wrenchingly frail – and for that reason it should be treasured.
When The Life of Pablo is good, it’s very good indeed. What it isn’t is consistent. Perhaps it’s the sound of a man over-reaching himself. Perhaps it’s a document of a mind coming increasingly unglued.
It’s an album for whom “authenticity” is crucial, but it’s all the better for it.
Dystopia is an absolutely blistering return to the state-of-the-art bombast and refined technicality of past glories like Rust in Peace and Endgame.
If guitar music is condemned to skulk in the margins for the time being, it might as well do so sounding as spiky and agitated as this.
A hugely enjoyable album, potent-sounding, stuffed with tunes great enough to drown out the occasional lyrical shortcomings.
You’d hesitate to call it more poppy – this is still an album on which standard verse-chorus structures are very much subject to subsidence, and on which the instruments buried deep in the mix frequently seem to be playing an entirely different song to those in the foreground – but it’s certainly sharper and more focused.
Sometimes you get the frustrating sense that strong ideas are being deliberately short-circuited in the pursuit of a slightly self-conscious weirdness.