But when that certainty is impossible, For Those… acts as an antidote.
But the real feat of this record is the sequencing, beginning with the pillowy ambient of “A Sea of Love” and ending with a look to the stars via “The Sacred Dance.” In between, the album lurches and drifts through underwater atmospherics, subtle sonar pings, and blunted nostalgia trips via the sound of ’70s science films. See the list of GRAMMY Awards Winners & Nominees for the Best Pop Vocal Album. at the Disco, released Death of a Bachelor, a genre-spanning showcase for frontman Brendon Urie’s still-formidable vocal. But the full-length pop album was as healthy as ever, showcasing veterans like Rihanna and Britney Spears at their most revealing, and allowing a newer star like Tove Lo to come into her own. Welcoming of every experimental deviance, the album firmly establishes Tyler as a link in the chain of experimental American guitarists who know that sometimes, lyrics just spoil the fun. Kristin Kontrol, the new alias of former Dum Dum Girls mastermind Kristin Welchez, put out X-Communicate, which swapped out her former band’s swirl of guitars for otherworldly synths. From Radiohead to Frank Ocean to both Knowles sisters to Leonard Cohen, 2016 was an embarrassment of riches from major artists.
Confident and nuanced, it’s a self-contained piece of Bay Area hip-hop with clear lyrical nods to Too $hort, as the funkified, fleshy beats recall DJ Quik. Cardinal contains that power and hope. But when that certainty is impossible, For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), Frankie Cosmos: “Outside with the Cuties”, For Those of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have). When Staples sings in that wounded croak, “this little light of mine,” it’s hard to imagine anyone else so artfully distilling the darkness. –Marc Hogan, Greta Kline is the girl on the F train scanning the subway car’s bounty for inspiration, scribbling her thoughts in a notebook. Sign up for our newsletter. This summer, when Pitchfork interviewed the band’s frontman, Evan Stephens Hall—a 27-year-old of highly enthusiastic, bookish charisma—he said he’d thought about publishing a pamphlet on Pinegrove iconography. Swan Gallet/WWD/Rex The two biggest pop releases of 2016 came in the form of semi-sneak attacks from superstars whose boldface-name status transcends music. Near the end of her brief, brilliant album Next Thing, backed by a simple backbeat and ringing guitars—think the Strokes minus any and all machismo—the 22-year-old breaks down nothing less than the paradox of life in two tidy lines: “When you’re young, you’re too young/When you’re old, you’re too old.” The record’s 15 songs all clock in around the two-minute mark, a brevity born of wisdom rather than laziness.
Rihanna, Lady Gaga and the 1975 made some of 2016's best pop albums. Pinegrove songs are appealingly episodic. It demands we learn how to talk with one another. The narrative leading “Size of the Moon”—moving furniture to dance, the liminality in love—is basically Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods.” When people call Cardinal “emo,” what they mean is there’s bracing lucidity to lyrics such as “I saw Leah on the bus a few months ago/Saw some old friends at her funeral,” or “Maybe I should have got out a bit more when you guys were still in town/I got too caught up in my own shit/That’s how every outcome’s such a comedown.” Life, as ever, demands such clear-headedness.
–Erin Macleod, Since Aaron Maine began releasing music as Porches, his style has evolved from down-home alt-country, , Porches’ second album and first on the indie mainstay Domino Records, was another shift, diving headlong into the lacquered keys and prickly guitars of quintessential ’80s pop in a way that recalls circa-2009 chillwave. With mixing by ace Chris Coady, the bid for professionalism paid off in a set of elegantly restrained, melancholic synth-pop tunes that showcase Maine’s aching falsetto. winner, 1989. –Marc Hogan, Greta Kline is the girl on the F train scanning the subway car’s bounty for inspiration, scribbling her thoughts in a notebook.
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