Nelly Furtado's sixth album, The Ride, feels a lot like the debut of a new rising star.
The Navigator evocatively captures the essence of the streets of New York's increasingly gentrified outer boroughs.
Eschewing I Love You, Honeybear's genre-hopping eclecticism, Pure Comedy's understated arrangements of barebones piano and acoustic guitar ensure the focus remains squarely on Tillman's lyrics and captivating voice.
It's Swift's willingness to portray herself not as a victim, but the villain of her own story that makes Reputation such a fascinatingly thorny glimpse inside the mind of pop's reigning princess.
Björk seems to have reconjured the elements that made her music so exceptional, and consistently enough that one can imagine a shorter, more curated iteration of Utopia that could stand with her very best albums.
Run the Jewels 3's status as a credible but not quite compelling call to arms serves as a reminder of how difficult hip-hop partnerships are to sustain and how much the genre relies on novelty and innovation.
While its 1970s and ‘80s influences, whizz-bang synths, and froggy vocals are entirely recognizable, American Dream finds Murphy pushing his compatriots and his own psyche into new, unfamiliar, and often uncomfortable territory. Which is exactly why, as far as reunion albums by aging bands go, this one is about as gratifyingly unpredictable as anyone could have hoped for.
Whether it's a party record disguised as a breakup album or a breakup album disguised as a party record, it's cathartic, dramatic, and everything else you could want an album titled Melodrama to be.
On Need to Feel Your Love, the Philly quintet fully embraces these dissonances, creating an album on which even their breeziest, most likeable hooks drip with tension and rage.
Jay-Z made 4:44 with producer No I.D., whose beats luxuriate in burnished soul and jazz samples; combined with the relatively light feature roster and the short running time, this makes for the most focused Jay-Z album since The Blueprint.
Precisely wielded hooks and polished production can only carry a song so far, and it's difficult for Something to Tell You to gain much traction when the Haim sisters convey heartsick sentiments in only the broadest and vaguest of terms.