Suuns have created a record which doesn’t thumb its nose at the existential problems of listener in enjoying and listening to music, but identifies with it and mounts the only truly acceptable response: make music reflective of, and worthy of, our scattered brains.
It’s that sense of timelessness—and, yes, mood—that makes Lovers such an essential collection both for Nels Cline fans and anyone who believes in the beauty and power of jazz.
The rest is, as mentioned, colorless and tedious, with Blake’s typical lugubriousness added in.
There aren’t many explosions here, but there’s plenty of dynamic songwriting, which is more than enough for a rewarding listening experience.
She never bends or clouds her feelings in a barrage of words. Lyrical economy and an air of emotional realism work best in her regard.
The way all these elements of self-reference and anxiety and nostalgia and celebration come together make the album strikingly complex, but there’s also the simple joy of these riffs, these choruses, the sheer, unstoppable, catchy speed of these songs.
It’s the high-concept eclecticism, however, that makes this record so cumbersome. Amidst unprecedented stylistic leaps and machine-gun rapping, comprehending the meaning of Splendor & Misery is a true challenge.
Oh No aims for pop and hits it squarely. This might not be usual top-40 fodder, but any song will seamlessly fit into the rotation of music whose primary aim is to be as appealing as possible.
That he keeps getting better is just frightening, as he’s had a song that’s suggested a peak every year since 2011. And yet, here we are, continually marking the progress of Young Thug.
The album just sometimes sounds flat uncomfortable with its focus. And that, finally, is what drags the record down. When it fails, Harvey isn’t living in a world. She’s just a tourist.
Some have labeled True Sadness as the Avett Brothers’ worst album ever, while others have labeled it as their very best. While there is room for such polarization in such a varied overall career as the brothers have perpetuated thus far, what matters is that they are still finding ways to reinvent themselves while remaining true to the values that have made their music theirs since 2002’s Country Was.
Hearing the duo’s take on megalithic electronic epics not only makes for a worthy listen, it helps to illuminate other parts of their catalogue and adds nuance to our notion of who the Radio Dept. are and what they can be.
Even though he doesn’t do every genre he attempts equally skillfully, there’s a pop music core to most of these songs that keeps 99.9% listenable throughout.
No one out there is crafting visceral street tales like he is, and if he could just trim his track lists a bit, he has the talent to make a gangster rap classic in the future.
There are enough highlights to make And the Anonymous Nobody worth revisiting, but as a whole, the album is just barely above average.
Rashad’s wheelhouse has expanded since his understated 2014 masterpiece Cilvia Demo, and he tries things on The Sun’s Tirade that show he’s learned from his TDE brethren about stretching the boundaries of hip-hop.
A musical success, Teenage Feelings sits alongside artier predecessors as well as bottled lightning like the Exploding Hearts or the Shackletons’ under-appreciated debut.
Pretty Years is a document of Cymbals Eat Guitars’ most accessible music, D’Agostino’s richest vocal performances, and his ever-deepening lyrical acuity. It’s the best release yet from one of America’s most promising bands.
Blood Bitch is a record that doesn’t try to be anything. Whereas Apocalypse, Girl was contrived and Viscera was uneventful, this record is dreamy and memorable, both through its illusion of simplicity and its gentle invitation to listeners.
Esperanza has now proven, five recordings into her career without one dud and without a single one that seems like treading water, that she is the exception: a critical and potent force in modern music.
Sadly, with Anti the intent and promise is more admirable than the end result. There’s a certain dreary joylessness to it that saps any energy the songs might possess.
Field Music have always brought a kind of regional dialect to the rock, pop and, on Commontime more than ever, R&B they so dexterously bend to fit them, and that remains one of their greatest assets.
It makes perfect sense that Love Streams is Hecker’s first record with label 4AD, as it sort of sounds like the Cocteau Twins if they decided to live inside a glacier, communing with Old Norse land spirits and subsisting exclusively on psychedelic mushrooms. Love Streams is at once familiar and totally alien; a work of art that reminds us why we need art in the first place.
There are moments on I Had a Dream when their perspectives lock together and strike you in the gut.
Preoccupations makes strides to shore up Preoccupations’ identity without losing the crucial spontaneity of their debut.
The Triad is not the type of album that holds up to any enthusiastic hype. It’s tone is quiet and tender, reserved beyond the point of typical downtempo standards, and its 10 long songs are agonizingly, excruciatingly tranquil. It’s a record that mutes listeners’ excitement by design.
Afforded creative freedom many felt would be stifled, Simpson’s latest musical offspring is a love letter we can all cherish.
Not only are all her greatest idiosyncrasies on flattering display throughout My Woman, but the album offers dozens of new reasons to fall deeply, unreasonably in love with her music.
Skeleton Tree offers little solace, but as the Bad Seeds’ 16th album, it gives the listener an experience that is unshakable.
To anoint Toledo the voice of a generation is premature; Teens of Denial looks no further forward than the next update to Cards Against Humanity with the First World problems of album opener “Fill in the Blank”.
Jaar has been a formidable producer since releasing his earliest singles, but Sirens, more than any other previous release, proves that he is every bit as capable as all the artists mentioned above in creating a true masterpiece.