As far as American Dream being better than that estimable trilogy that preceded it, well, it depends mightily on how you define “better.” It’s a beautifully produced, masterfully realized album, but it’s also a bit of a downer and an unusually slow burn.
V maintains a distinctively elegant gloom, The Horrors continuing to find intoxicating new shades within their gray moods. It’s an album that confirms them as one of the most consistently surprising, most artistically sophisticated, simply greatest rock bands working today.
What Melodrama confirms most of all is Lorde’s uncanny ability to drill down so precisely on grand emotional themes that would fell lesser songwriters. Tackling a bad breakup certainly isn’t new in pop music, but it’s delivered here with an honesty an energy that is uniquely her own.
Guppy, the debut album by Charly Bliss, is a nearly flawless exemplar of its kind, a record that captures a certain sound, mood, and energy with the passion and exuberance of a teen as-yet-uncrushed by life.
Wondrous and intense, Utopia is as Björkian as it gets.
It’s by turns harsh and sweet, downcast and uplifting, angry and resigned. In spite of how quiet it can be, and what the title might instruct, Sleep Well Beast is never restful. In fact, it may be The National’s most agitated album yet.
Process is an exercise in finding beauty in even the tragedy of a parent’s death, a record of singular probity and hard-earned optimism. It’s the best R&B debut since FKA Twigs’ LP1.
Each Waxahatchee album has felt like a big step forward, and Out In The Storm feels like the biggest one yet.
Big Fish Theory veers off the course set by its predecessor, bucking the sophomore slump by ditching the vast majority of his old collaborators and peers in favor of the sort of whole-cloth artistic reinvention generally associated with canonical greats like Kanye or Bowie. What’s even crazier is that he sticks the landing. It’s his second classic LP in a row.
Whether hopeful or wallowing, Turn Out The Lights is beautifully crafted throughout, full of the kinds of songs that linger long after they’ve ended.
She is now alive, raw, and unmistakably human, and she revels in all the desires and tribulations this implies with a radical bluntness that, if Shaking’s subject matter is anything to go by, is meant to explode any old-fashioned societal norms for how women should love, live, and express themselves. And of course, she’s going to do it while completely defying any assumptions we may have about her music.
Ctrl is as tough as Damn is tender, and it knocks as hard as The Sun’s Tirade swoons. It’s weirder than any of them, and maybe funnier, too.
Where Sylvan Esso collected some great songs, What Now feels like a statement of purpose, a duo stretching into the shape it was meant to be and bringing it all purposefully together.
Understanding’s songs are so towering and dense they threaten to topple over into soupy monotony, but what’s most impressive about these 10 tracks is the way frontman Adam Granduciel and his bandmates prop them up with an endless supply of electrifying, ear-catching details.
Clark creates her own internal logic, ensuring each record inhabits a unique, Narnia-like universe. Masseduction is no different; in fact, this latest record is Clark’s best, most cohesive musical statement yet.
As on its predecessors, Damn. is packed tight with thoughts, anxieties, and anecdotes, but this time Lamar doesn’t even try to shape them into a big picture ... Lamar trusts every idea to stand on its own. When you’re making art this substantial, vital, and virtuosic, there’s no need to wrap a tidy bow around it.