There were a lot of great things about Barack Obama’s presidency, and the music that came during his time in office is just one small yet everlasting reminder of his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. These are the best albums that came out between the time of his inauguration and the time he left office, so no, there’s sadly no Merriweather Post Pavillon representation here. (That album came out in the final days of the Bush presidency.) In fact, no album from 2009 was good enough to crack this list, which features everyone from Arcade Fire to The War On Drugs, D’Angelo to Fiona Apple, and of course the heavyweights, perhaps the four biggest artists from 2009-2016: Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and Beyoncé. Continue reading “The Obama Years: The Best Albums from 2009-2016”
With honorable mentions to Alison Crutchfield, Arca, Beth Ditto, Big Thief, Charli XCX, The Courtneys, Dua Lipa, Drake, Future, Future Islands, Harry Styles, Hater, Jay Som, Johnny Jewel, Jens Lekman, Julie Byrne, Mac DeMarco, The Menzingers, Priests, Sampha, (Sandy) Alex G, Sorority Noise, Spoon, Slowdive, Stormzy, Syd, SZA, Tennis, TOPS, and Young Thug, there can only be ten albums in the “10 best albums of 2017.5” chart.
These are the 10.
Young Thug’s “singing album,” Beautiful Thugger Girls, is not a country album, despite what you may have heard. Yes, the excellent opening track “Family Don’t Matter” carries with it traces of country, but the album largely adheres to the hues he played with on Jeffery cuts “Wyclef Jean” and “Kanye West,” as well as his More Life collaboration “Ice Melts.” Continue reading ““Do U Love Me” is another winner for Young Thug”
From the beginning, Lorde has shown a deft ability to wring the drama, the poetry out of the smallest moments. Her new album, Melodrama, arrived this morning and is a masterful extension of the bedroom pop she made on her star making debut Pure Heroine. Continue reading “Lorde paints a masterpiece on “The Louvre””
Perhaps it has to do with outsized expectations, or artists struggling to find a common musical vocabulary, but supergroups most always are more exciting on paper than on record. So it was with trepidation I took the news last year that Swedish pop heavyweights Lykke Li, Miike Snow and Peter, Bjorn and John had recorded an album together. And as nice as the group’s first two singles were, the project – known as LIV – didn’t feel essential. On their newest single, though, LIV has their first truly great song, “Heaven.” Continue reading “LIV makes good on their potential with “Heaven””
Phoenix returns in two days with Ti Amo, their first new album since Bankrupt! (2013). The album has been preceded by three singles, the title-track, lead single “J-Boy,” and now the whimsical, spiraling “Goodbye Soleil.” Continue reading “Phoenix rides off into the sunset on “Goodbye Soleil””
Torres has often toed the line between being introspective and throwing her arms around the world. Her music feels deeply personal, but Torres builds skyscrapers of sound around them to the point where her tracks become public record. Continue reading “Torres reaches out on her stunning new single “Skim””