Blood Orange, Negro Swan (Domino) –
Dev Hynes, recording as Blood Orange, warned that his new R
&B release would focus on depression, and the 16-track result is definitely an exercise in vulnerability. While the album is not always as wildly diverse as 2016’s Freetown Sound, this new album often outdoes artists like Frank Ocean in its sincerity.
Eminem, Kamikaze (Aftermath/Interscope) –
The real leap beyond late 2017’s Revival isn’t the greater fury in Eminem’s political delivery, but the production by Justin Vernon (AKA Bon Iver — who later denounced one of its track’s homophobia), giving the entire album a cyclonic ambience. Eminem’s anger is less self-centered with each outing, and Vice President Mike Pence is a particular target here.
Walter Salas-Humara, Walterio (Rhyme & Reason) –
Walter Salas-Humara, Walterio
The founder of the late-1980s punk-country pioneers The Silos offers his most impressive solo work to date, with 10 punchy bilingual pop tunes as charming as Silos’ best work. The hardest-rocking tracks may garner the most listens, but wistful tunes like “El Camino de Oro” represent the real highlights.