Billie Eilish is back this week with what is by far one of the year’s most anticipated releases, her sophomore full-length, Happier Than Ever. At just 19 years old, the singer has dominated the pop music landscape over the past couple of years with a singular sound, a fearless confidence and genuine grace. On this week’s show, we give a listen to Happier
Courtesy of the artist
Since releasing his debut album in 2017, Chicago rapper G Herbo has built his reputation on gritty tales of survival on the streets. But his biggest hit was 2020’s PTSD, an album that bared his softer, more introspective side as he
Here we are halfway through 2021, this year of stepping back across the threshold into the world. And what are we carrying with us as we emerge? Below, you’ll find two dozen albums that worked their way into the hearts of NPR Music’s staff during those in-between days. Just one pick per person, presented in alphabetical order by artist. (You can find the list of our favorite songs here. Follow NPR Music’s ongoing coverage of new songs at our #NowPlaying blog.)
Arooj Aftab, Vulture Prince
Born in Pakistan and based in Brooklyn, Arooj Aftab revises, adapts and otherwise
The artist known as Doja Cat is back this week with a vibrant, unapologetic celebration of youth and sex on Planet Her. We kickoff this week’s crazy-packed show with the song “Payday” and talk about the ways Doja Cat leans more into pop singing and less on the rap that has defined much of her career.
We’ve also got highly anticipated releases from Tyler, The Creator, SAULT, Lucy Dacus,
The rapper GoldLink’s latest studio album, Haram!, is a menacing and, at times, unsettling mix of dystopian hip-hop, with bouts of mania and violence. It’s also some of the most compelling and brilliantly executed music of his career. On this week’s program, we give the album a spin and talk about how the DMV rapper’s singular sound has evolved.
We also hear
Arooj Aftab – Vulture Prince
Following her 2015 debut Bird Under Water, Brooklyn-based Pakistani composer Arooj Aftab intended to make a more danceable second album. Then came the unexpected death of her brother, bringing new meaning to the Vulture Prince concept she had taken as her working title. Here, she reimagines Urdu ghazals over shuddering violin and tense harp, the production sombre, patient and heavily affecting – especially as a space for grief after a year of unfathomable loss. LS
Part of the current fecund strain of British art-prog alongside Black Midi and Squid, BCNR