We’re halfway through the year, if you can believe it, but this has already been a big year for music. It’s tough to narrow down the best, but we’re giving it a shot. Here’s what’s been dominating our sound waves for the past six months.
Lana Del Ray, Ultraviolence
This hazy, languid offering from Lana Del Ray has proved to her many critics that she’s no one hit wonder. Del Ray’s incomparable sound allows her to stand from the crowd of melancholy twenty-something singers, and it’s never sounded more at home than in this album of atmospheric ballads. It may not have the catchy feel that brought several of her Born To Die hits to the radio, but Ultraviolence is a more adult album altogether.
The Black Keys, Turn Blue
You’d be forgiven for thinking The Black Keys are relative newcomers to the scene, but Turn Blue is actually the eighth studio album from the rock duo. This highly anticipated follow up to their breakthrough album El Camino is confident, mature and soulful, cementing The Black Keys’ place in the rock mainstream without sacrificing nuance and complexity.
Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots
Following on from a long and illustrious career with Blur and Gorillaz, Damon Albarn has finally taken on a solo project, and the resulting album is outstanding. Everyday Robots exposes a more personal, autobiographical style of songwriting than we’ve come to expect from Albarn. It’s full of intricate melodies and poetic lyrics, with an attention to detail that’s rare, revealing the genuinely great musician behind the hooks.
Conor Oberst, Upside Down Mountain
The days of emotional indie rock are far behind Conor Oberst, who’s now all grown up and producing introspective, lyrical folk music that continues to impress. Upside Down Mountain is a marked improvement on Oberst’s previous solo offerings. It has an honesty and resonance that feels less self conscious and more bold than ever, referencing the sadness that dominated his earlier work without becoming overwhelmed by it.