But busier tunes crowded her natural abilities as a melodicist and a writer of biting lyrics. The record continued the growth and self-actualisation evident on 2017’s ‘Flower Boy’ and showed us the artist Tyler the Creator had been trying to become for years. Hold my can, lads, I’m going in. –Braudie Blais-Billie, The thrill of 1000 gecs isn’t just the post-internet omnivorousness with which it connects its various reference points, but how profoundly dumb it is. Part the waves of distortion on “home with you,” and she is wailing, gorgeously, at the injustice of emotional abandonment. A queer singing cowboy who obscures his identity with a fringed leather face mask, it’d be easy to write Canadian singer-songwriter Peck off as a novelty were his music not so utterly sublime and delivered with such sincerity. A Written Testimony is the best-case scenario for a work people have been waiting a decade to hear. This summer’s Detroit 2, the sequel to the Motor City rapper’s 2012 ode to his hometown, is the result of time spent improving himself as a rapper and as a human being. On Imploding the Mirage, the Killers’ sixth album, lead singer Brandon Flowers & Co. stand strongly in their time-displaced rock-and-roll excellence, penning tunes that pull from new wave, synth-pop, and heartland rock alongside a list of esteemed guests that includes former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, the War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel, pop and country hybridist k.d. –Peyton Thomas, For their first album with legendary pop-punk label Epitaph Records, the Philadelphia quartet Mannequin Pussy swap fuzz-heavy thrashers for melodic, grand anthems of heartache and regret. © 2020 Vox Media, LLC. And he had a new album called, ‘IGOR’ was different from his previous albums. It’s both sweet and abrasive, a little bit rosy and a little bit thorny. The 20-year-old’s debut mixtape, Ho, Why Is You Here?, is a strong start and a half-hour blast of youthful exuberance and white-hot trash talk, from the role-reversed love song “Weak,” which samples the SWV hit of the same name as Milli runs through a list of emotional suitors nagging her for attention, to “Scuse Me,” which sounds like a fight in a crowded club set to music. Elverum is a Northwest indie-rock legend who had a rough couple of years after his first wife and longtime collaborator Geneviève Castrée succumbed to cancer, and he split with his second wife, actress Michelle Williams, last spring. Whirling a blade around on-stage, the razor-sharp edge whizzing within inches of her body, Twigs was putting on a killer performance. Basically: things are about to get really weird. If anger is an energy, reading this list should be like chugging a can of Monster with your finger stuck in a plug socket. Norman Fucking Rockwell! (That she also makes beautiful, droning synthesizer music isn’t surprising.) Kind of loveable, kind of disappointing, ultimately very endearing. In a year that saw BTS go from stars to superstars, the Korean seven-piece proved that they had the substance to back up the stats. –Mike Powell. is an album that arrived feeling like a greatest hits collection. Through 10 tracks that traversed orchestral grandeur, twisted country, psych-folk and old-timey piano pop, Mering welded together hope and despair. Record Of The Year. HM, In a nutshell: Oxford art-rockers find a new wave groove. “Bloodstream” and “Circle the Drain” are summery tunes about the elusiveness of happiness and the knuckle-busting difficulty of putting up a strong front in the face of adversity. The music retools Tame’s kitchen-sink psych-rock as booming dance music, leaning confidently into the sprightly step of Currents opener “Let It Happen” without coming off like an artist trying to bottle lightning in trippy tracks like “One More Year” and “Breathe Deep.” On “Instant Destiny” and “It Might Be Time,” Parker speaks to aging gracefully and shacking up, to knowing exactly when to duck out of the party and head home. Best bit: That sax solo on Hypersonic Missiles. When she first crash-landed into the public consciousness in 2011, breathily cooing about video games and blue jeans, the artist formerly known as Lizzy Grant was engulfed in heated debates over her authenticity, whether or not she was in control of her creative output, and whether she deserved her success at all. And, finally, she finds liberation in feeling equivalent to an annual plant, blooming once briefly and then fading into the forest. HM. –Stacey Anderson, On his major label debut, North Carolina rapper DaBaby is tireless behind the mic, weaving words with a boxer’s nimble intensity. From the future first-dance favourite that was the title track to the tongue-in-cheek ode to IRL boyfriend Joe Alwyn ‘London Boy’, it was a gorgeous collection of shimmering pop tunes. Nevertheless, human decency still feels close at hand – not least from the man singing. Love is the message; haters can snack on grenades. Big Sean, Detroit 2. These albums won’t change the world, but they do offer us a different perspective and help us to stand in someone else’s shoes for little while. –Vrinda Jagota. Huge. Like Vampire Weekend’s Father of the Bride, Women in Music, Pt. No Home Record shows that the 66-year-old Kim is still hellbent on chasing new musical ideas, wherever they may lead. Fuzzy guitar, looped strings, and expansive guest spots from fellow vets Blood Orange and Run the Jewels underscore a new phase of Brown’s work without blotting out the high-pitched urgency that made him a compelling figure in the first place. Later, on “Venice Bitch,” she’s “fresh out of fucks forever,” like so many of us aspire to be. –Katherine St. Asaph, Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR is an album about heartbreak, but the bright chords and harmonies suggest hope, not self-pity. His simple arrangements for guitar, strings, and percussion are filled with purpose: Every new note and lyric is in service of communicating a pure thought. At times, listening to PROTO can feel like being immersed in a language you’re only just beginning to understand, where obvious phrases seem to stick out of inappropriate contexts and the familiar is not quite so. Until this year, rapper Dave was a singles artist – he managed 11 before his debut album was released – but Black marked a sea change: serious, reflective and grown-up. When drummer Janet Weiss quit Sleater-Kinney prior to the release of their ninth studio album, it cast an unfair pallor on a record mired in suspicion, every new dazzling synth or poppy refrain regarded as the possible straw that broke the camel’s back. Ludwig, Coyne, Ghenea, and Hanes are the only people to win the award three consecutive years. Purple Mountains, the final album of new music from David Berman, released 26 days before he took his own life at age 52, offers no such luxury. – and in our world of lies and gaslighting, we need that north-star constant more than ever. His publicity stunts—like brandishing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decapitated head at an awards ceremony—can’t help but recall the Sex Pistols (and Sid Vicious got a namecheck in one of his songs). Years ago, the idea of Tyler making music this intimate and reflective seemed like a stretch, but on IGOR, he gives in to the grown-up uncertainty that eventually comes for us all. A resident DJ at Berlin’s hallowed techno haven Berghain, he has voiced his skepticism of kick drums and drops—the utilitarian elements that so often trigger lizard-brain reactions on a dancefloor. Best bit: The brilliant synthesised vocals that open ‘Shake It’. His death is tragic, his legacy indisputable. As she put it on ‘Ecstasy’: “Long live Sneaks.” JB, Best bit: The demonic voices that chant the album’s name on the title track. She finds solace in the frequent repetition of phrases and calls on powerful forebears for guidance, be they Alice Coltrane, Steve Reich, or DJ Screw. The comedian chatted with us on Instagram in front of her glorious wall of hats. Producers Danger Mouse and Inflo make his retro soul sharp enough to strike a match on, giving it an edge to match Brittany Howard’s equally expansive Jaime (see No 32 below). 2000 was the year of White Pony, a crowning achievement of the rap-rock era. The Album invites and invokes the legends, and these introspective hooks and verses are more than worth it. CA, In a nutshell: The soundtrack to your 2019 pub brawl. The latter’s title alluded to the hymn that the Titanic’s house band supposedly played as the ship sank. –Nathan Smith, After the lonesome folk of her 2009 debut, Sharon Van Etten’s subsequent albums mostly offered modest tweaks to a familiar strain of heartland-flavored indie.

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