The Londoner’s debut, featuring funk enigma AK Paul and a series of voice memos, combines the honeyed with the industrial, her contorted grooves veering between Dam Funk’s scratchy sonics and Stevie Wonder’s spiritual soul.
Indeed, for all Tegan and Sara’s adoption by the queens of teen pop, Love You to Death feels like a distinctly grownup album, unafraid to explore nuanced, mature themes.
It plays out like a counterpoint to the wracked alienation of Bon Iver’s recent Auto-Tune-heavy 22, A Million, filled with warmth, wistful nostalgia and soft, autumnal light.
It’s an album for whom “authenticity” is crucial, but it’s all the better for it.
This is not a lazily retrogressive record however: its melodies burst with the fidgety energy of youth and ambition.
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.
Unlike his own debut, Love & Hate never feels like an album screwing its eyes shut and trying to make believe that it’s 1971. The retro affectations are bound up with stuff that sounds very modern.
Whether he’s going by Young Thug or Jeffery, the artist formerly known as Thugger has carried on his run with a mixtape that features gems among run-of-the-mill trap fodder.
Perhaps it’s almost too personal a project: in fact, listening to Freetown Sound feels not unlike reading someone’s diary. It’s often passionate, illuminating and fascinating, it frequently bears the hallmarks of self-indulgence, and some of it, you get the feeling, might only make sense to its author.
Sunny yet substantive, Anderson .Paak’s second studio album shows he is as at home settling into a breezy club groove over euphoric brass or unleashing James Brown-esque funk yelps as he is waxing autobiographical tales of family hardship.
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.
You could never describe You Want It Darker as merely more of the same. As striking as the sense that its themes are of a piece with the rest of Cohen’s oeuvre is the sense of an artist willing to move forward.
Every track on We Are King putters and glides by quite smoothly. It’s only gradually you notice how complex this dream state actually is.
His music has always had what you might call its Kid A side. His third album represents the point where the thinking behind something like 2009’s Babys, an abstract assemblage of keening harmonies, icy electronics and crashing cymbals, takes over his music completely.
On Skeleton Tree, the Bad Seeds sound shattered, barely capable of holding themselves together.
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.
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.
Sometimes you get the frustrating sense that strong ideas are being deliberately short-circuited in the pursuit of a slightly self-conscious weirdness.
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.
Lemonade ... feels like a success, made by someone very much in control ... Beyonce sounds very much like a woman not to be messed with.