He’s been pushing the envelope for most of his career, but on ye, he’s consolidating old skills, not testing out new ones. The lack of wow-factor, combined with the short length, makes the album feel somewhat slight.
The end result sees Misty at his most desperate, heartbroken state, making a solid comedown record from I Love You, Honeybear and Pure Comedy that doesn’t quite hit the profound highs of its predecessors, but gets carried quite a long way on the backs of its honest songwriting.
The allure of Gangin’ lies not in what SOB x RBE are saying, but how they’re saying it. The throwback production and relentless energy of the group’s four MCs set them apart from their more leaned out, chilled out brethren on the opposite coast. Supernovas indeed.
As expected, Tell Me How You Really Feel still finds Barnett writing “Courtney Barnett” songs, but there’s an unmistakable growth in the Aussie’s compositions.
Rock music has a bad habit of looking backwards, and the same can be said of Car Seat Headrest’s Twin Fantasy. But this album flips that rearview gaze on its head, suggesting that the past may well contain new and exciting paths forward. It’s a neat inversion that yields some of the most thrillingly ambitious indie rock compositions of this decade, though one that occasionally exhausts the listener into submission.
Lush is one of the most engaging and relatable indie rock debuts in quite some time.
Though informed by the blaxploitation soundtracks of the ‘70s and the label-driven hip-hop soundtracks of the ‘90s, Black Panther: The Album is very much of its time: a well-produced and incredibly cohesive album with the loose swagger of a curated playlist.
Age Of is easily Lopatin’s most ambitious album. The composer has always combined highbrow and lowbrow art in a way that utilizes the former to validate the latter, and Age Of continues showing that true art shouldn’t have either boundary.
On Invasion of Privacy, she breezes past the challenge of a highly anticipated debut by making one of the most exciting rap albums in years.
Decidedly less commercial than its immediate predecessor, Paranoia 2 returns to the Kairi Chanel mixtape vibe that initially endeared him to lyrically minded hip-hop heads.
After 17 years as a solo artist, Stephen Malkmus still has the ability to delight, if perhaps not outright surprise, his audience. Sparkle Hard is at once his most sonically adventurous and structurally tight set of music in over a decade and easily stands among his most rewarding work with the Jicks.
Testing is loud, frenetic, spastic, and about as vibrant as rap can be. The songs are busy, crowded with radiant instrumentation and stacked vocals, and rarely take time to breathe. It’s a welcome addition to a genre that has become so occupied with spacey, bare-bones operations and overly simplistic results.
Musgraves hits one high note after another on Golden Hour; her talent as a songwriter and melody-maker is second to none, and each song is thoughtful, well-formed, and a delightful experience on its own.
Uchis builds off a classic foundation of soul, R&B, funk, and blues, bursting outward in dozens of innovative contemporary directions. On Isolation, she never sounds trapped in another era; she sounds free and inventive.
At 10 breezy tracks, Care for Me isn’t just a collection of songs; it’s an honest-to-god album that develops ideas at its own pace.
Monáe is, as always, a true master of melding genres, influences, and styles. Her central themes of identity and internal conflict are as tangible on Dirty Computer as they ever have been.