After Manchester, the death of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and a called-off engagement with Pete Davidson, Grande gracefully considers how life could have been and how it turned out, tangling sweet melodies with embattled production. Fontaines DC’s debut album arrived in the thick of a post-punk revival that birthed a rich seam of furious, socially conscious guitar music. But its status in the band’s catalogue is beyond reproach. Can we be friends?” Rarely does an artist rap with their heart on show like modern day Tyler. Mixing dreamy R&B with modern rap production, she broke the mould with tracks such ‘Almeda’ and ‘My Skin, My Logo‘, which respectively featured rap heavyweights Playboi Carti and Gucci Mane. Yet there was strength in her vulnerability, heightened by Jack Antonoff’s minimalist production and the fact that tracks such ‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it’ featured only piano and her exposed vocals. See the list of GRAMMY Awards Winners & Nominees for the Album Of The Year. Where its predecessor ‘Still In Wonderland’ was a knotty, complex concept album, here she stripped everything back. With this well-crafted homage, the 24-year-old edged himself closer to his idols. The Practice of Love is Jenny Hval’s most ambient album, an eerie, euphoric spell sustained by new-age aura and trance beats. He resembles a heart-eyes emoji at various points, swooning over girlfriend Jameela Jamil on Power On and Can’t Believe the Way We Flow. But it summoned to mind that strain of 80s pop when older musicians would reach the top end of the charts with sophisticated, modern records that used production techniques from records for teenagers, and applied them to songs unmistakably written about adult life. On 18 May 2019, music fans in the UK took a look at Twitter and promptly lost their shit. Collabs with, Curry’s triumphant second studio album reminded us of the greatness within his home state of Florida – especially on the booming ‘CAROLMART’. “A lot of this record is about how you get to an age where you feel confident in yourself and comfortable in your own skin,” he told NME. That’s a banner year that most industry veterans would trade precious gifts for; Dave is only 21 years of age and Psychodrama was his debut. Music reviews, ratings, news and more. With a wicked sense of humour, she picked out her own flaws, as well as those of the men in her life (“Why wait for the best when I could have you?” she also purrs on that title track). The rollicking ‘Hero’ lamented brutality against black citizens and on the muted, elegiac ‘Solid Ground’ he insisted: “, “As with each of his albums to date, Kiwanuka navigates the past and the present, skilfully making sounds and subjects appear both classic and contemporary at once.”. But with ‘MAGDALENE’, her message was this: fuck with me at your peril. There’s a musicality to his delivery that suggests a man considering one side of the argument, then the other – but ultimately there is little equivocation as he condemns institutional racism, needless violence, and the difficulty of social mobility: “We’re Kunta Kintes in some Cuban links / The Balenciagas didn’t blend us in.” BBT Read the full review. Imagine that. The album is so much better than all other releases in 2019. With razor-sharp commentary that touched on everything from romance to success, exposed empty nationalism and even got nostalgic about the 99p Flake, ‘Nothing Great About Britain’ showcased the breadth of Slowthai’s focus and his ability to interweave humour and personality with the bleak and sometimes tragic. Amazingly, it makes for an exciting, coherent whole. Despite the departure of bassist Walter Gervers in the making of this record, Foals enhanced the rhythm as they explored new sounds and textures on the first and best of their 2019 duology. Best bit: The visceral, rip-roaring chorus of ‘Hands’. He gives more space than ever before to his vocalists, but he could never become a producer of straightforward backing tracks – his tumbling, symphonic funk is as impetuous and psychedelic as ever. EH. LS Read the full review. Despite the departure of bassist Walter Gervers in the making of this record, Old dudes in masks don’t age – they just get better. One of the UK’s greatest ever MCs ... Kano. The country artist won the coveted Album of the Year award at the Grammys on Sunday night for her critically acclaimed, genre-bending record (and EW’s pick for Best Album … 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. The airy production left space around her inspired lyrics. Best bit: In the closing track ‘Hollywood’, Cave concludes that no matter how profound grief may seem, “Everybody’s losing someone”. There’s ‘Bury A Friend’, a fear-fuelled tale told from the perspective of the monsters under Billie’s bed, and ‘Xanny’, a response to America’s teenage opioid crisis, on which she admitted that she was the only one at the party “who’s not stoned” and asked her friends to not “give me a Xanny – now or ever.” There were laughs to be had, too, though. Her production choices (she co-produced the album) made the feelings in her words palpable, be it through the impenetrable wall of auto-tune on ‘Closer To You’ to the dizzying distortion on ‘Sofia’. With appearances from Danielle Haim and Steve Lacy and no musical stone unturned, the band made sure to sidestep expectations. 2019 was a relatively quiet year when it came to album releases from the biggest stars in music. ‘Heavy Is The Head’ delves into the Croydon rapper’s experiences with fame and the responsibility that comes as part of the package, a multi-textured musical package that shows vaulting ambition. Jubilant opener ‘You Ain’t The Problem’ saw him shed off old insecurities as he vowed to stop getting in his own way, no longer willing to give in to self-doubt, beaming: “No need to play myself… I used to hate myself… Break out the prison”. This, her debut, was billed as a break-up album, and in some ways that was true: the music video for ‘Lilo’ co-starred Marika Hackman, her IRL ex, and ‘We Talk All The Time’ was plainly a banger about not having sex. Best bit: The cinematic, Steve Lacy-featuring tracks ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Flower Moon’. Our aim is to highlight the trad recording industry and to showcase the large amount of albums that are released each year in the trad/folk music genre. Packed with hooks, life mantras and one-liners to bellow from the depths of a moshpit, Pup’s third album finally earned them a seat at punk’s top table. Best bit: When ‘Winners Circle’ samples ‘90s gangster movie A Bronx Tale: “You’re only allowed three great women in your lifetime. Pushing her sonic boundaries, she crafted one of the year’s stand-out albums from a British rapper. Chicago rapper Jarad Higgins perfected the emo-rap sound he’d helped create with his second album which, tragically, will be the last released during his lifetime. Best bit: The bit in ‘Arabesque’ when jazz hero Femi Kuti lets rip on the sax. American Love Call is full of modern classics, from the falsetto raptures of How Can I Be Sure to the perfect country soul of Long Way Home. The album format has been stretched to its limitations, but still it stands, a potent vehicle for fresh expression. ‘Morbid Stuff’ was joyous and positive – a handbook to help you get by. Remind Me Tomorrow was a grown-up record that didn’t sound jaded. Michael Hann Read the full review. 19 OF 19. Fellow Midlands native Jaykae’s fiery appearance on ‘Grow Up’ also indicated that part of this record’s charm lays in its distinctly anti-London perspective, which enabled Slowthai to speak from a more inclusive perspective. It lands alongside a string of high profile collabs which have made 2019 Burna Boy's year. AJ Tracey started out making grime and, in February, told NME: “I’m a legendary grime MC”. After Igor’s release, he tweeted that he’d recorded nine different versions of the bridge for ‘I THINK’ (a song that sounds like it was plucked from the mind of 1980s Quincy Jones), an indication of his commitment to this project. Grimes-featuring techno-pop (‘nihilist blues’) and mellow ambient (‘fresh bruises’) share the tracklist with a moving orchestral ballad (‘i don’t know what to say’) and gothic rock (the Danii Filth-assisted ‘Wonderful Life’). Rex Orange County won over swarms of fans with knowingly schmaltzy love songs that apparently described a golden period in his life. Super-saturated and drenched in theatrical flourishes, Angel Olsen’s ‘All Mirrors’ skewered heartbreak with brutal precision. Fans had been waiting five years for a new Charli XCX album, a time in which the singer-songwriter moved away from the radio-ready synth-pop of hits like ‘Boom Clap’ and ‘I Love It’ towards crystalline, PC Music-affiliated experimental pop. Carl Anka, NME said:  “‘IGOR’ sees the 28-year-old expressing his flourishing musicianship, showcasing his strength as a songwriter with a keen eye for detail.”. ‘Sad day’ used warped syntax to depict a sad wank: “Faux my cunnilingus,” she said, scrawling out the verbs and flipping word orders back to front, giving the whole song a disjointed quality. Best bit: When, on the title track, he sends up those Dizzee Rascal comparisons: “I’m just a boy in the corner.” Natty Kasambala, NME said: “Guiding you on a whistlestop tour of his life, community and resultant beliefs, the record serves not only as a statement of identity, but also an indication of the sprawling possible paths for his career to grow into.”, In a nutshell: A lush tapestry of swoonsome sounds and killer wit from America’s most underrated songwriter. Best bit: The bold takedown of the patriarchy in ‘The Man’. Lines such as “one shot turn Steve Bannon into Steve Hawking” (from ‘PRONE!’) affirmed Peggy’s notoriously brazen wit. feel less like a history lesson and more like a glimpse into a beloved photo album. From the opening squelches of ‘Imminent Spirit Arrival’, it was stuffed with exuberant house licks, drum ’n’ bass beats and techno soundscapes. Stood tall amid her inimitable back catalogue as waterlogged as its title implies, Titanic Rising ’ Natalie! 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