At turns thrilling, smug, clever and oddly cold, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is only a qualified success.
Camila is one of those moments where the committee approach strikes gold: smart enough to avoid smoothing out the quirks and slavishly chasing trends, it’s a product of the pop factory that doesn’t sound run-of-the-mill.
May Your Kindness Remain confirms Andrews’ rise. It’s a brilliant record, proof that old forms can still be timeless.
Vaguely gothic themes of loneliness, miscommunication and isolation are channeled into warm, quirky electronic pop that’s more gently uplifting than melancholy.
Regardless of genre, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better collection of pop songs this year. Everything clicks perfectly, but the writing has an effortless air; it never sounds as if it’s trying too hard to make a commercial impact, it never cloys, and the influences never swallow the character of the artist who made it.
It’s not a comprehensive pop overhaul: Bridges expands his palette while staying true to his soulful roots.
No Shame is a slightly odd album, where the horror of divorce is laid bare next to cheery pledges of everlasting love, where stuff wrapped in cliche coexists with songs that are painfully honest and revealing. Still, as Allen would doubtless point out, she never claimed to be perfect. What she is, No Shame strongly suggests, is ready and able to tough it out.
You can trace its musical roots, but The Future and the Past never feels self-consciously retro, never sounds like pastiche.
Yet another high-point in Case’s unstintingly stirring career.
An intriguing instrumental set that mixes minimalism and melody with bursts of furious energy and experimentation, with echoes of anything from ambient styles to free jazz. This is music that ebbs and flows like the sea.
Despite his success, Pusha T is still rapping about drug dealing – but the sheer pleasure of his flow, and Kanye West’s productions, smooth over any quibbles about authenticity.