Post Pop Depression feels like salt in an open wound. The only thing more frustrating about the thought of Iggy leaving the game is the ample proof he’s left behind that he can still deliver the goods.
Paradise is White Lung pushing their limits and coming out bloodied, hungry for more. It’s a record full of disease, doubt, dumpsters, and death, with the band rising above it all and reveling in their filth. Damn anyone who tries to get in their way.
Psychopomp is round and full, yet still light. Sure, it may have been smarter to crank out hits instead of inserting a few filler tracks, but at least she focuses on fullness over cheap melodies.
While FLOTUS may be Wagner’s calmest collection of music to date, his foray into a new genre is far from a safe bet. Full of meditative wisdom that he adds to his genre-blurring work, FLOTUS contains a restless energy that frequently surprises.
This music is powerful, eliciting physical responses, the feelings located in different parts of the body that the brain may otherwise tune out — arm hair bristling or the pulse booming in the ears.
Like Boosie Badazz’s Touch Down 2 Cause Hell or Freddie Gibbs’ Shadow of a Doubt last year, it’s a showcase of versatility that plays to its creator’s strengths enough to feel like a definitive statement, no matter how many other projects he’s released before it.
Like all impactful records, When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired elevates its words with sharp, aware, and plush instrumentation.
Gore could be the Deftones’ best album, but you can earnestly say that about any album they’ve ever created and make a strong argument. If anything, it’s the most modern, and a statement that style and substance are not mutually exclusive.
Adore Life is many things, but the thing it feels most like is a celebration. On one level, it’s a celebration of the fact that guitar-driven rock music is probably here to stay. But it’s also a celebration of life at its strangest, messiest, and most vital.
Potential not only makes a shockingly strong case for the top tier of contemporary sample-indebted achievements (alongside pillars including Burial’s Rival Dealer EP and Jamie xx’s In Colour), but does so while insisting that the universe, much like ourselves, will never be explored in its entirety.
Telefone shows a great sense of promise and complex beauty, Noname using her art to salve wounds — both her own and others.
Standards is by far the most bombastic album of Into It. Over It.’s career.
The massive Rot Forever gives Sioux Falls the capacity to be both: both sensitive and aggressive, messy and precise, cloyingly retro and fiercely modern.
Magma is the most accessible and varied Gojira album yet.
For a group whose bread and butter has until now been the musical equivalent of a whisper building to an H-bomb explosion over the course of twelve minutes, The Wilderness proves that Explosions in the Sky aren’t stuck in any creative rut.
Anybody still calling this novelty is either ignorant or in denial. BABYMETAL hone a fusion of technical metal, dance music, and power pop that’s both competent and emotionally invigorating.
Pinegrove builds and burns a lot on Cardinal, and they’re left with the hard-earned knowledge that everything’s probably going to be alright. It’s not the stuff teenage anthems are made of, maybe, but maturity comes with its own small pleasures.
You don’t have to understand Sirens to enjoy it, and Sirens doesn’t make listeners feel at odds for not understanding it in full either.
Frankie Cosmos solidifies her style by strengthening her voice. Next Thing gives short songs life, chasing the vibe of impromptu chirps thanks to cushioned, velvety delivery.
HEAVN itself feels like a happy secret, one that finds connection and joy despite the fuel of oppression.
Now that a broken heart’s left him wounded, the melancholic fissure of his music widens, dropping him into a pool deeper than any he’s ever found himself swimming in before. Yet here he is, splitting it up, sectioning it off, and presenting a work that feels equal parts natural and divine.
She experiments with darkness and various forms of liberation on the regular, particularly so in last year’s Apocalypse, girl, but Hval goes deeper on Blood Bitch while somehow staying lighter.
While certainly many will picture the ordeals of Mike, Nancy, and Chief Hopper while listening, this is music that also stands on its own, a work by turns eerie and sparse, but also tinged in the warm nostalgia of bike rides at dusk and the loyalty of friends. The score is ultimately more than a mood. It’s a world unto itself.
Teens of Denial takes its power from its absence of blind spots, its lack of Freudian suppression. Toledo looks long at himself and us, a sort of nauseous survivor of modernity.
Very few composers can achieve this kind of beauty or this kind of experimentation, and yet Hecker does both, time and time again. Love Streams feels a lot like drifting along a cool river under the Northern Lights on a sailboat, until the boat sprouts wings and zooms into the heavens.
The songs have chaos without ever being chaotic. This leaves room for some of Tweedy’s surliest (and best) one-liners that tie back to that idea of joyous negativity.
Built on that confidence and a bold, uncompromising vision singular in scope and execution, Freetown Sound stands concurrently as a deeply personal work and a striking representation of the struggles present in today’s society.
Only now does it seem like Radiohead, a group too big to break up, could call it quits after pouring everything into their music, ending with a record of personal exhaust examined through leisurely means.
It seemed like the best Tribe could hope for was an album that longtime fans would embrace, but excite few younger listeners unfamiliar with the group. As it turns out, We got it… is a triumphant defying of such expectations.
.Paak seems to be in total control of his talent. It might be a challenge for him to make something as relatable and soulful as Malibu again, but fortunately, the album has the kind of substance that suggests he’s built to last.
My Woman oozes unhurried glamour and moments of sweeping grandeur. Olsen shifts between genres with graceful precision, breaking down the limiting (and, sometimes, sexist) critiques that have dogged her career.
Throughout the record, Cave moves in and out of focus, though always clearly to his own ends ... As an artist, he needed to release the record in just this way in order to process his pain. Skeleton Tree was released for us, but it’s for him.
Blonde is R&B minimalism that only Ocean could have made, and he created it as such so that its details emerge when they feel comfortable to do so — namely when the listener is prepared to face their similarities to his autobiographical faults with the same lack of a need for exoneration.
Blackstar is a battle cry against boredom, a wide-eyed drama set in a world just beyond our scopes. It doesn’t get more Bowie than that.
Lemonade marks Beyoncé’s most accomplished work yet. It is the perfect combination of the sharp songwriting of 4 with the visual storytelling acumen of her self-titled record. Here, we see Beyoncé fully coming into her own: wise, accomplished, and in defense of herself.