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  1. album review
    Kacey Musgraves Further Divorces Expectation on star-crossedHer fifth album suggests the intention was never to leave country behind but rather to devise a more balanced and varied approach to it.
  2. a long talk
    How Colson Whitehead Pulled It OffHis new novel is Harlem Shuffle, a very New York story about life in the gray area between legitimacy and hustle.
  3. album review
    Everything Is Exactly the SameCertified Lover Boy is a patient trickle of Drake lore and fan service that could have come out as is at almost any point along the last decade.
  4. album review
    Kanye’s Power and Glory Finally Feel FiniteDonda’s messaging clashes as much as its music.
  5. album review
    Halsey’s Rock Album Is Perfect AlchemyIf I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is proof Trent Reznor could have a pop career if he wanted. It’s also the best Halsey album.
  6. one great story
    The Reintroduction of Lorde, Reluctant RoyalSolar Power seems anxious to shatter our expectations, to communicate that Lorde isn’t and maybe never was the figure many assumed she was.
  7. essay
    The Smith Family Legacy Was Built for WillowWillow Smith is an oddity in music, and not just because of the pedigree.
  8. song review
    If Lizzo Still Makes You Uncomfortable, Oh WellLizzo and Cardi B use “Rumors” to remind the audience why they clap back as harshly and as routinely as they do.
  9. superlatives
    The Best and Worst of Hall & Oates, According to Daryl Hall“There are a lot of songs I would redo.”
  10. best of 2021
    The Best Albums of 2021 (So Far)The year’s themes of recovery and reconnection on top of unresolved rage have bled into the music.
  11. album review
    Billie Eilish Has Only Gone Quieter and More UnpredictableSo much of her sophomore album, Happier Than Ever, is a ruse.
  12. essay
    I Don’t See an End to ThisDaBaby’s vile remarks about gay sex and AIDS mixed with the furor over Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby” have made for the eye of a perfect shitstorm.
  13. backstories
    Welcome 2 Prince’s AmericaAs told by the band who helped make the late legend’s “lost” album Welcome 2 America over a decade ago — never released until now.
  14. review
    We’re Still Getting Woodstock ’99 WrongHBO’s Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage documentary feels drunk on chaos.
  15. song review
    Pop Smoke’s Vision Remains Crystal Clear, Even When Others Are Seeing It Through“Tell the Vision,” featuring Kanye West and Pusha T, like most of Faith, refuses to let its somber circumstances weigh it down.
  16. album review
    Vince Staples’s Best Talent Remains Never Letting Us Get Too ComfortableOn his new self-titled album, once again, the rapper is fine with being misunderstood.
  17. superlatives
    The Best of R&B History, As Told By Its Architects Jimmy Jam and Terry LewisFrom Janet and Michael Jackson’s sibling rivalry, to Prince’s genius, to Bobby Brown rushing takes to head to the strip club, and so much more.
  18. comedy review
    I Think You Should Leave Remains Impressively UnpredictableNo sketch-comedy show embodies our Main Character Syndrome like Tim Robinson’s.
  19. album review
    Tyler, the Creator Has Come Full CircleThe disaffected, lanky teen from Bastard is made now, but Call Me If You Get Lost feels like there’s still a chip on his shoulder.
  20. album review
    Doja Cat Refuses to Be Dragged Down to EarthPlanet Her makes a case for Doja as our new ice-cool pop-queen supreme.
  21. extremely online
    Our Chemically Imbalanced Romance With Trisha PaytasI pressed play on Trigger Warning on a lark and enjoyed it at a time when the H3 extended universe seems fraught with disputes and news of lawsuits.
  22. album review
    We Weren’t Supposed to Hear Bo Burnham Like ThisIndependent of the Netflix special, the songs of Inside feel strangely vital.
  23. album review
    Sleater-Kinney Is Whatever Sleater-Kinney Says It IsPath of Wellness flouts the accepted wisdom about what happens to bands when the most beloved lineup changes.
  24. song review
    Lorde Has Risen But Only Halfway“Solar Power” feels more like a carefree vacation update than the blockbuster comeback we’ve been anticipating since the simpler times.
  25. a long talk
    It’s Peter Rosenberg’s Job to Be PolarizingThe HOT 97 host on his debut album and remaining one of hip-hop radio’s key voices, hate him or hate to love him.
  26. vulture lists
    All the Verzuz Battles, RankedFrom best to worst to absolutely doomed.
  27. album review
    DMX’s Exodus Isn’t a Final Word But a Striking Parting MessageIt was the groundwork for a new career path, not the unexpected end of the road.
  28. a long talk
    Just the Two of UsOn their new album, Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker recommit.
  29. album review
    Olivia Rodrigo Studied All the Right MovesAs her debut album Sour opens up, the Disney star’s varied talents begin to flower.
  30. radio vulture
    Mistrusting Joe BuddenIn hip-hop media, irreverence and toxicity go hand in hand.
  31. album review
    J. Cole and the Limitations of Millennial RapHe doesn’t have to attempt, and be good, at everything. He knows it, but he’ll never stop trying.
  32. comedy review
    That Damn Michael Che Has a Good Heart. But …The sketch-comedy show is fun when it’s not second-guessing and overthinking itself into a liberal fog.
  33. album review
    DJ Khaled Will Never Change. Why Should He?The garrulous personality, the faithful positivity, and the seemingly bottomless thirst for self-promotion have been there all along.
  34. song review
    Billie Eilish’s Real Power Might Be Her Ability to Still Surprise“Your Power” is another unexpected turn, one of the singer’s most direct and revealing bits of writing to date.
  35. q&a
    Flying Lotus’s Yasuke Soundtrack Is His ‘Full-Circle Moment’The Grammy winner on working on Netflix’s new anime, seeing himself in the historic Black samurai, and why this is his synth album.
  36. superlatives
    Ghostface Killah on the Most Memorable Moments of His Incomparable Career“I’d rather take the movie route or paint-the-picture route before I give you a bunch of street raps.”
  37. superlatives
    Billie Joe Armstrong on the Best and Most Misunderstood of Green Day“To say you’re a pop-punker … it never sat well with me.”
  38. q&a
    Brockhampton Is Ready to Leave a Hell of a Legacy BehindAll boy bands come to an end, but there’s never been a boy band like Brockhampton.
  39. obits
    A Man Named EarlDMX was a once-in-a-lifetime rap genius who saw hell on earth.
  40. album review
    Demi Lovato’s Redemption Arc BeginsOn Dancing With the Devil… The Art of Starting Over, it feels like we’ve met a new person.
  41. pearl clutching
    Lil Nas X, Cardi B, and the Anti-Pop Conservative Outrage MachineHow music’s biggest stars are using the attention around their “controversial” songs to slingshot to the top of the charts.
  42. tv review
    Did Genius: Aretha Really Need to Exist?It’s not awful, but it’s very messy.
  43. album review
    Justin Bieber’s New Album Is Mostly Peace, No Justice (Phew)Cut the intro and interlude and, for better or worse, you’ve got as shrewd of a move to reposition himself at pop’s center as 2015’s Purpose.
  44. album review
    The Curious Case of Lana Del ReyIt could be lighter for her if she adapted a bit and explained herself less. But keeping the same energy remains core to the LDR experience.
  45. radio vulture
    Pop’s Millennials Are Suddenly at Another Sharp CrossroadsThe stars we met in the ’00s and ’10s are changing their tunes in the ’20s.
  46. grammys 2021
    The Grammys Would Be Wise to Get Out of Its Own Way More OftenSunday’s ceremony felt like a sharp turn in the right direction. But those come with turbulence.
  47. a long talk
    The Passion of Serj TankianSystem of a Down’s front man on 25 years of finding truth in political tension, even if it means within his own band.
  48. review
    The Obama-Springsteen Libcast Is One Long Dialogue That Can Only Say So MuchBarack and Bruce speak candidly about America’s problems — and stop short of suggesting that America itself is the problem.
  49. a long talk
    Tuma Basa Changed Spotify With a Playlist. YouTube’s Next.“We’re past that moment where people used to wonder if the Negro League would do just as good as the MLB.”
  50. review
    Biggie’s Story Finally Gets a Proper RetellingNetflix’s new documentary I Got a Story to Tell visualizes the making of the artist more than the unmaking.
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