As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back on the albums that won over fans and impressed the critics. We’ve put together seven of the headline albums that will get you into the holiday groove.
Adele’s – 25
The welcome return of the Brit songstress, following a break after throat surgery, 25 is an undisputed crowd-pleaser, which has even been attributed to stopping family arguments over the Thanksgiving dinner table. The Independent calls it a pleasing return to Adele’s smoky sound, adding: “Adele does what she does best, belting out emotional tales of love and loss.”
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
Rapping wunderkind and Compton MC, Kendrick Lamar explores black politics and the entire realm of African American musical history with the assistance of music legends George Clinton and Thundercat. Rolling Stone calls it a masterpiece, and a “densely packed, dizzying rush of unfiltered rage and unapologetic romanticism, true-crime confessionals, come-to-Jesus sidebars, blunted-swing sophistication, scathing self-critique and rap-quotable riot acts”.
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
American singer-songwriter, lo-fi folk artist and electronic musician, Stevens uses this album to explore his grief over his mother’s death, and his childhood memories. NME says the album joins the canon of “sublime sadness” and is “consistently stunning”. No matter how dark it gets, the emotion is “swathed in glistening guitar tones and angelic harmonies, spooling out his genius as casually as breathing”.
Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Florence Welch blends alt-pop, soul and art-rock with her trademark introspective melodrama in 11 songs ranging from soulful belters to measured electro-pop ballads. Rolling Stone calls it a “sexy record that sticks to some familiar themes: a woman wrestling with lovers and emotions”, adding that it features a “magnificent bit of British brooding, backed by ghostly choral vocals”.
Songhoy Blues – Music in Exile
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