Six months into a superb year in song, we’ve seen ordinary, galactic statistics from R&B innovators Solange and Flying Lotus. In the crowded hip-hop area, emerging abilties like Denzel Curry, Little Simz, and Zelooperz have separated from the %—not to mention Tierra Whack. Her five singles widened the view of her singular, surreal global. In indie and rock, it’s been a year of massive returns:
The National and Vampire Weekend regarded herald compelling new eras as bands, while Sharon Van Etten, Jenny Lewis, and Weyes Blood issued ambitious, arguably quality-but works in their personal. And every other 12 months in pop, an album like Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next might easily reign through December, however.
2019 is the 12 months 17-12 months-vintage Billie Eilish interrupted to ask, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? If 2019 ended right here these days, we’d already have a fulfilling list of albums of the year. Luckily, there’s a good deal more to come back. However, there are 30 or so that have stood out thus far.
The past few years have visibly increased interest in “city pop,” the Japanese subgenre of sprightly, polyglot ’80s pop. On his album The Equal Call, Dutch R&B artist Benny Sings reclaims the idea from YouTube compilations and vaporwave samplists, crafting a stretch of lithe, funky pop cuts held collectively via his translucent voice and categorically masterful musicianship. It’s the singer’s 6th album but the first for Stones Throw.
A setting that facilitates clarify his secret factor: This stuff knocks, like Steely Dan, had they come upon beat tapes. More than something, though, Benny’s guileless attitude makes the album so imminently listenable. City Pop is an uncommon album designed to be as sensible as it’s far exciting and succeeds wildly. [Clayton Purdom]