Absolute Loser restores the Fruit Bats name, and thankfully this new start doesn’t come with attempts to concoct new tricks, but instead unfolds as a rock-solid example of what Johnson has done best for more than 15 years.
The songs on American Band, for the most part, are well constructed, catchy-enough tunes that don’t quite rise into the first rank of the group’s deep and impressive catalog.
Sea of Noise is a powerful testament to the unflagging power of music borne from faith and conviction.
What gets left out of their pop experimentation much of the time are simply hooks. The callbacks to other artists and eras are easy to recognize, but it’s often hard to remember which song they are attached to.
Like its predecessors No Time for Dreaming and Victim of Love, Changes is a strong entry into the canon of modern soul with a vintage heart. Even better is what the album represents for Bradley: after decades of struggle, the Screaming Eagle of Soul has come fully into his own.
Without a doubt,Stranger to Stranger is a testament to an artist who refuses to be ordinary and pigeonholed. With this LP, Paul Simon has created his best work in many years.
This isn’t just a collection of b-sides: this is Kendrick’s What If version of his own mythology, flaws as alternate histories, unrealized retcons.
Hinds makes music that is very much about capturing a mood and evoking a feeling: namely, those youthful, carefree times that loom large in our memories, or maybe only in our fantasies.
A Man Alive is an endearing listen and has all of the elements of a complete work—even pop-centric singles in “Astonished Man” and “Nobody Dies.”
Schmilco is an acoustic record but not a slow one—thank God—which proves the right vehicle for the band’s loosest, most unadorned set of songs since its debut.
It took a childhood-and-a-half to come to fruition, but Wildflower is another album that snatches elements from the past but sounds like the future.
Because it so directly explores matters of the heart, Are You Serious will likely end up as the “Andrew Bird Grows Up” album, even if it annoys him. But there’s beauty in the honesty of that evolution.
Skeleton Tree ... isn’t something listeners can likely dislodge from their minds anytime soon ... There’s something to be said about Skeleton Tree and its starkness, which is as familiar as life and death, an elegy, and a hell of a thing to forget.
As a whole, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is simultaneously eclectic and of a piece: It’s big and bold and sometimes messy, but never unfocused.
The songwriting is masterful, with some new compositions like “It’s Better That Way” in every way equal to the best work he has ever recorded.
The Life of Pablo is a fucking mess—the scattered, contradictory work of an icon straining to keep up with his own brilliant pace.
Beautifully more simple than any of our mythmaking delusions, Blonde is Ocean’s life as he experiences it: fluid and fluctuating, one man in motion. This is what freedom sounds like.
If it seemed incongruous that Justin Vernon was rolling with Kanye West on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010 and Yeezus in 2013, Vernon’s new LP as Bon Iver shows that the indie-folk singer and megastar rapper are, in many ways, kindred spirits.
With No Burden, Lucy Dacus challenges the little boxes everyone seems forced into at one time or another, exposing them for the weak material they’re built from. In the process, she’s created a debut record with an abundance of heart that should speak to anyone with a pulse of their own.
Angel Olsen’s fearless and eloquent embrace of raw emotions in all their messy splendor ultimately feels oddly uplifting, the way it always does when you witness a gifted artist at her best.
With A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead have resumed the greatest winning streak in modern popular music. Not by flaunting any new tricks—just by delivering their normal quota of catharsis.
With Teens of Denial, Toledo has practically guaranteed himself a viable career for years to come. The fact he did it while still in his early twenties after laying a foundation of solid self-released records proves even further that his most creative days are probably still ahead of him.
True to the tone of the record, Bowie is almost a spectre throughout ★. His vocals are often doubled in tight harmonies, or given an alien-like echo that might as well be broadcasts from the beyond. He never sounds less than marvelous, through.