As much as confirmed us to be living in a streaming-dominated, sales-declining universe, the event album still reigned as paramount: Whether it was the G. Call a time of death on the LP format if you want to, but then don't also call us to complain about all the big-ticket releases you still have to catch up on before the year's end -- some of which might even be yet to drop. In lesser hands the album could feel claustrophobic, but nobody knows how to let the top down for some ventilation like Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi. Whether reminding us he's still randy at 76 with "Come On to Me" or painting a timely portrait of a loud-mouthed, myopic leader on the seven-minute omnibus "Despite Repeated Warnings," Sir Paul is as affable, effortlessly melodic and rewarding as ever. On what's undoubtedly his most ambitious project to date, J. Music series, it seemed destined to get buried under the prior month-plus of new Kanye West-produced mini-LPs. It all makes for one of the rare pop albums that, in the age of cherry-picked playlists, demands a true start-to-finish listen. The music might sound like disaffected s slouch rock, but Allison trades the distancing cynicism typically associated with that style for words that reveal straightforward feeling, both tender and ferocious. That's 18 tracks, by the way -- nine of which entered the top Malone's album also debuted at No.
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
A new identity for the genre has emerged, and its vision of the future is extraordinary. On their third album, the show off their growing ambitions as a pop group. A mixture of both new originals and covers of classic standards, the LP follows a general theme of political upheaval. She went back to the midth century on Back to Basics and explored futurepop on Bionic , but the themes and hoopla, while fun, distracted from the real Aguilera. Liberation , her first album in six years, is a perfect reintroduction, where she finds a way to stay current while letting her greatest instrument lead the way. After his underwhelming debut Nine Track Mind , Charlie Puth finally finds his signature style the second time around on Voicenotes. Thankfully, the music matched the persona.
Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
This year felt more like a changing of the guard than any year in recent memory. It was a fantastic year for ambitious Latin-pop, psychedelic Southern rap, Gen Z indie rock and boundary-defying country. After three albums, 34 songs and Guitarist Matt Pike, who also put out an excellent High on Fire album this year, plays measured, wah-wah—inflected solos, drummer Jason Roeder keeps everything on track and Cisneros spaces out, singing his fantasies in a gloriously stoned monotone. Instead, Tweedy used the scaled-down setting—smaller sounds and a slighter audience—to reveal more of himself than ever. Lil Wayne needed a win almost as much as the world needed Lil Wayne.
Whatever your taste, has been a great year for music. Pop goddess Robyn returned from an eight year break with an instant classic in Honey and St Vincent flipped her excellent album to give each track a more melancholy sound. The German musician's ninth solo album mixes classical and electronic music in a way that is both arresting and soothing. Skip to: 'All Melody' - The title track unfolds around a throbbing central force which expands and shrinks away inviting in different instruments to slowly melt into one. Three years since their slightly disappointing second album and the London-based pop-rock-indie-psychedelic band are back. From the jazzy riffs and laid-back chords of 'Sundials' to the moody grunge-pop in 'Beam Me Up' to the extraterrestrial and bouncing 'Real Gone', Marble Skies straddles every genre within reach - and it works. Skip to: 'Futher' - The opening melody instantly draws you in and then delivers you to a euphoric and memorable chorus. The debut album from south-east London hailing Shame is a wild ride of grungy punk.