Album Reviews

Explore album reviews of new releases by notable singer/songwriters across musical genres. Dive deep into the lyrics to find the meanings and messages of albums by artists who pay careful attention to their lyrics, create strong concept albums, or have something thought-provoking to say through their music.  Listen here or subscribe through your favorite podcast app

LIBERTY
Lindi Ortega

 

 

Critics are calling Lindi Ortega's tribute to the music of spaghetti westerns one of the best concept albums of 2018. But what IS a concept album? And what's the concept behind Liberty?

Genre: country

RETROSPECTIVE: BOOKENDS

 

Simon and Garfunkel

 


Was Bookends inspired by Sgt. Peppers? On the surface, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends are about as different as two albums can be. But on closer inspection of the lyrics, the similarities are striking.

GENRE: FOLK

AMERICAN UTOPIA
David Byrne



Have you ever noticed how often David Byrne uses the word house in his songwriting? Host Bobby Waller takes an in-depth look at the former Talking Heads frontman's favorite word and how its use in Byrne's new album reflects a change of thinking from burning down to building up our metaphorical homes.

genre: art rock

By the Way, I Forgive You
by Brandi Carlile

How much is Brandi Carlile's new album about forgiveness? And how much is it about something bigger?

 

Genre: Folk rock

RETROSPECTIVE:
THE KICK INSIDE

by Kate Bush

 

Forty years ago this week, Kate Bush released the album that would make her the first woman in UK history to chart with a song she herself had written. But what made this hugely influential album so different than the standard pop fare of the day?

GENre: artrock

I Like Fun
by They Might Be Giants

 

What happens when the troubling zeitgeist of our time catches up with the world's most beloved fun-time band.

Genre: alt-rock

 

SOUL OF A WOMAN
By Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

 

In 2016, three musical legends hammered out their final albums in the face of death, but only one of them stayed focused on a brighter future.

GENRE: SOUL

RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW: SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN
by Leonard Cohen

 

 

Fifty years ago, Leonard Cohen shocked the world by mixing the language of sex with the language of religion. But was he the first person ever to do that? 

GENRE: Folk, Soft rock

POST- 
by Jeff Rosenstock

 

Jeff Rosenstock takes an inward look at politics in what some critics are calling the first great album of 2018.

Genre: punk/post-punk

 

SONGS OF EXPERIENCE
by U2

This album brings the theological themes of 18th century romantic poet William Blake into full focus within the context of recent political events and lead singer Bono's brushes with death.

 

GENRE: ROCK

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
by Julien Baker

Almost every reviewer makes a big deal out of how Julien Baker identifies herself as queer and Christian. But is "Turn Out The Lights" a queer Christian album? We analyze the lyrics in this heart-wrenching sophomore album to find out.

genre: slowcore

MASSEDUCTION
by St. Vincent

Annie Clark says that the thesis for her new album as St. Vincent is "I can't turn off what turns me on." But what does that mean?

genre: pop

 

I TELL A FLY
by Benjamin Clementine

A strange comment on a U.S. work visa application led to one of this year's most compelling–and unusual–concept albums. 

Genre: Avant-Garde

AROMANTICISM
by Moses Sumney

In a society that glorifies romtanic love, being alone is seen as failure. But for this artist, solitude is a pathway to authenticity. 

Genre: electro-Soul

BRICK BODY KIDS STILL DAYDREAM


by Open Mike Eagle



This is Open Mike Eagle exploration of a complicated relationship with the place called home.

Genre: art rap

 

SCIENCE FICTION
by Brand New

This album explores the uncomfortable state of being on the verge of a breakthrough.

Genre: alt rock

DARK MATTER
by Randy Newman



In his first album in nine years, can a post-Disney Newman fully return to his dark roots?

Genre: pop

EVERYTHING NOW
by Arcade Fire

Explore the connection between getting more and having less in this album full of paradoxes.

Genre: alt rock

 

MELODRAMA
by Lorde

The teen superstar who gave us "Royals" is growing up -- and giving the green light to both hedonism and humility.

Genre: pop

FREEDOM HIGHWAY
by Rhiannon Giddens

With this highly anticipated second solo album we ask the question: does Rhiannon Giddens avoid the sophomore slump?

Genre: Americana

COLTER WALL
Self-Titled Debut Album

With a voice and wisdom beyond his years, Colter Wall is one of alt-country's hottest young songwriters.

Genre: alt-Country

THE NAVIGATOR
by Hurray for the Riff Raff

A sudden stylistic shift in the middle of track five signals a rediscovery of singer Alynda Lee Segarra's Puerto Rican roots.

genre: folk

PURE COMEDY
by Father John Misty

What did choking on a piece of candy in a JCPenny store teach Father John Misty about life? A lot, apparently. 

genre: folk

THE ORDER OF TIME
by Valerie June

According to Valerie June, spiritual growth is commensurate with our ability to understand how time works.

genre: Americana