Young Thug’s Beautiful Thugger Girls and 6 Other Albums to Listen to Now

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Young Thug. Photo: Prince Williams/Getty Images

Every week, Vulture gathers new albums you can listen to right now. We don’t have a problem admitting it: Keeping track of everything that’s released can be overwhelming, but finding out about interesting music doesn’t have to be work. Read our picks below, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Young Thug, Beautiful Thugger Girls (Atlantic)
The truth about Beautiful Thugger Girls, the supposed “all-singing” Young Thug album, is that Young Thug is mostly just doing what he always does, which is treating his voice as an elastic instrument, moving from drawn out croon, to yelp, to speedy vocal runs. It is what makes Thug such a notable stylist and an appointment listen pretty much every time he decides to record something. The concept bears out in the production, which, excluding the drums, is uniformly soft and often joyful. Is this the best Young Thug project? Maybe not, but the highs are very high. I’ve been compulsively pushing repeat on “Tomorrow Til Infinity” and “You Said” all day. —Sam Hockley-Smith (@shockleysmith)

Lorde, Melodrama (Universal)
From the moment “Royals” disrupted the pop scene, we’ve been watching Lorde grow up before our eyes. She was young then and she’s still young now, but the 20-year-old has just delivered one of the most sophisticated artistic visions of the year in Melodrama. The album takes wild risks — Jack Antonoff’s production on “Hard Feelings” and spoken-word chorus on “The Louvre” are jarring — that some pop stars twice her age wouldn’t touch. They pay off tremendously for Lorde, who is so in her prime on this album that even her pen and vocal abilities have improved. (Did you know Lorde could sound like that on “Writer in the Dark?”) Melodrama is the best pop album of 2017, no contest. —Dee Lockett (@Dee_Lockett)

Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up (Nonesuch)
It’s been over six years since we last heard from Fleet Foxes. The pastoral imagery and medieval harmonies of 2011’s Helplessness Blues scored the group a best folk album Grammy nomination, and then they took a break, but Crack-Up — which retains their core components and elevates them to epic new heights — is an often stunning return to form. It’s sonically and lyrically dense, layered, and confident. Front man Robin Pecknold described the making of Crack-Up as more of a team effort than their previous records (his own perfectionism and control over previous ones is well-known). If that group mentality and rapid jumping between ideas means that the laser focus of Helplessness Blues is dialed back, and that on Crack-Up the band gets lost in their own ideas every so often, at least they’re lost together. —Gabe Cohn (@gabescohn)

Big Boi, Boomiverse (Epic Records)
Big Boi is one of the more consistently great rappers alive, so consistent, in fact, that he sometimes has to find new ways to draw listeners in. His collaborations with Phantogram lost me, but Boomiverse is a welcome return to form. Featuring Dungeon Family luminaries like Killer Mike, Sleepy Brown, Scar, and, of course, a Big Rube spoken-word intro, Boomiverse is filled with guests, but it’s not a flashy album. The beats, which range from ominous thump to hyperactive funk, are uniformly solid, and there’s even a contribution from Mannie Fresh, who, on “Follow Deez,” continues to play with innovative forms of percussion (the track sounds like it’s built on some Tic Tacs rattling around a plastic cup). It would be wrong to say that Big Boi sounds revitalized, because he sounds exactly as good as he’s always been. —SH-S

Palehound, A Place I’ll Always Go (Polyvinyl)
Ellen Kempner, the singer-songwriter behind Boston-based Palehound, has a knack for taking mundane situations and imbuing them with meaning, elevating moments as simple as scooping hair from a shower drain into a reflection of her own humanity. A Place I’ll Always Go, Palehound’s sophomore album and the follow-up to 2015’s Dry Food, uses such moments to explore the death of a friend and the start of a new relationship. On “Feeling Fruit,” Kempner paints a picture of herself standing in a supermarket produce section, feeling the fruit for bruises and ripeness, using the moment to amplify the feeling of loss. On “My Room,” Kempner describes a relationship through the changing state of her bedroom, turning the physical space into a mirror for her relationship. But the line I can’t get away from comes midway through the record, on “Turning 21.” Kempner, referring to how her friend’s death has frozen them in her memory, sings: “You will always be a week away from turning 21.” —GC

2 Chainz, Pretty Girls Like Trap Music (Def Jam)
You don’t have to be pretty or a girl to like trap music. You don’t even have to know the genre’s origins — though awareness wouldn’t hurt — to fall in like with this music either. Both those facts make 2 Chainz’s third studio album under the name 2 Chainz some of his most accessible work to date. Which is not to say people will be able to relate to even half the harrowing stories he tells on it: “Stopped serving sacks overqualified / Have you ever seen a homicide? / Have you ever seen ya partna die? Have you ever been traumatized?” the rapper formerly known as Tity Boi raps on the blunt album opener “Saturday Night.” This album contains several trap tales as old as time told over slow, hypnotic beats, but it’s not stuck in the past. Trapping looks much different for the multimillionaire now, and he’s unashamed to widen the scope so he can pat himself on the back for his success. If there’s ever going to be a 2 Chainz biopic (imagine!), let Pretty Girls be the source material. —DL

Kevin Morby, City Music (Dead Oceans)
Every Kevin Morby album manages to evoke a strong sense of place, and this one is meant to touch on city life. The obvious assumption there is that City Music would be a hectic, frenetic album — but it isn’t. It sounds like the quiet moments of big-city living, when streets are inexplicably bare, and you feel like you could walk forever. Morby is not the first artist to capture this sentiment, but he does manage to conjure the specific sense of loneliness that comes from living wall-to-wall with strangers every minute of every day, and that’s an achievement. —SH-S

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