7 is the band’s darkest, messiest, and most varied album to date.
The result is compulsively listenable stuff, and Knock Knock may be his best work yet, a sonic snapshot of a day spent in a permanent magic-hour paradise.
On Dirty Computer, the erstwhile Electric Lady loses the metal and circuitry, but none of her power or artistry, cementing her status alongside Prince in the hall of hyper-talented, gender-fluid icons who love and promote blackness.
POST- is an album about finding hope in the future. Not in a passive, pacifying way, but by challenging yourself to step up and take action, day in and day out. While that sounds incredibly daunting—and like a really tiring listen—the album’s most impressive trait is that it makes all that vital work feel joyous and communal.
There’s no prescribed narrative, but Singularity still tells a grand story—a synesthetic evocation of how it feels to be alive.
Heaven And Earth is shorter than his powerful, three-hour debut, but it might be even more ambitious, splitting its 16 tracks into a two-part concept album: the first reflecting the world as it is, the second depicting Washington’s optimistic vision of the world as it should be.
Now Only is just as devastatingly direct, but there are glimmers of catharsis—of light gleaming in tears, as Elverum puts it. Where Crow occupied a numb, purgatorial present tense, the new record leaps around like a wandering mind, to vivid anecdotes from the singer-songwriter’s past.
All constraints are off for All Melody, a vibrant, exploratory album born from Frahm’s newly constructed Berlin studio and the freedom to experiment it allowed.
Rather than retreading the duo’s winning formula of ruthless hooks, primitive drums, and guitars looped into endless strata, Snares makes it bigger, brighter, and more polished than ever.
Uncomfortable as Age Of often is, it’s far from unlistenable. Lopatin deftly balances the scathing and the soothing, couching these pessimistic critiques in collages that feint at commercial appeal, without ever tipping into rote, art-school irony. And you can even sing along to some of them!
It’s all dope-boy come-up stories, subliminal shit-talk, and luxury at a level only possible to convey via fine-art name-dropping and whatever the fuck a “caviar facial” is. For the first time since going solo, it all feels of a piece.
Persona is uneasy listening, with heavier rhythms and more fragmented melodies than West deployed on previous works like Howl and Night Melody, yet it’s equally engrossing. It leaves a deep psychic impression—a truly “arthouse” album that begs repeated revisiting, to explore its many conflicting faces.
There’s an introspective urgency to Saba’s songs, like they’re the only thing keeping the 23-year-old from succumbing to the systemic and social madness that surrounds him on Chicago’s West Side, and that rawness has only expanded on sophomore effort Care For Me.
Although not every song is essential in its own right, as a whole, All At Once congeals beautifully; in the era of the single, this is a real album, touching on themes of autonomy and control both in a personal and a wider political context.
The crushing sameness of the existence described in Snail Mail’s music means that not every song on Lush is essential, but when Jordan hits, she hits a bullseye, with mini-indie masterpieces like “Pristine” and “Heat Wave” set to inspire another generation of songwriters.
As with The Avengers, your previous investment in the Carters will dictate your current enjoyment. But it’s hard not to feel something when the duo ... ends its impossibly luxurious extravaganza by simply repeating that the two are “happy in love.” It’s a pop fairy tale just real enough to believe in.
On the thrilling Stranger Fruit, elements of gospel and the blues coil like twisted roots around the album’s tallest pillars of fury, resulting in anthems at once heavier and more soulful than the “Satanic spirituals” on last year’s Devil Is Fine.