These Are the 6 Albums You Must Listen to Now

Need something to soothe your jangled turkey-nerves during this year’s Thanksgiving goings-on? Fear not! The past couple of weeks have given us a bunch of great new albums, all guaranteed to entertain you (and maybe a few of your family members) while you’re gobbling ’n’ squabbling.

A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service

Hip-hop reunions have long been a case of sentiment winning over urgency; just because we’re excited to see ’90s titans working together again doesn’t guarantee that the results burnish their legacy. Think Outkast’s underwhelming 2014 festival tour or De La Soul’s solid-but-staid and the Anonymous Nobody from this year. So when A Tribe Called Quest announced the impending release of an album they’d secretly recorded before Phife Dawg tragically passed away in March, my first reaction was to worry. I shouldn’t have. It’s not that WGIFHTYFYS has a cameo list like a Vanity Fair Oscars party (Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, Busta Rhymes, Elton John, Jack White, etc.), it’s that everyone sounds vital. This isn’t a collection of e-mailed guest verses, it’s a warm, all-hands-in-the-studio effort, with Q-Tip and Phife sounding more engaged than either has in years, their bar-trading as playful as ever (though, on songs like “We The People….” and “Conrad Tokyo,” suffused with more than a little politically induced world-weariness). It turns out they do got it from here, and the group’s long-overdue fence-mending is a gift to us all. Represent-sent. —Peter Rubin

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Hip-hop reunions have long been a case of sentiment winning over urgency; just because we’re excited to see ’90s titans working together again doesn’t guarantee that the results burnish their legacy. Think Outkast’s underwhelming 2014 festival tour or De La Soul’s solid-but-staid and the Anonymous Nobody from this year. So when A Tribe Called Quest announced the impending release of an album they’d secretly recorded before Phife Dawg tragically passed away in March, my first reaction was to worry. I shouldn’t have. It’s not that WGIFHTYFYS has a cameo list like a Vanity Fair Oscars party (Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, Busta Rhymes, Elton John, Jack White, etc.), it’s that everyone sounds vital. This isn’t a collection of e-mailed guest verses, it’s a warm, all-hands-in-the-studio effort, with Q-Tip and Phife sounding more engaged than either has in years, their bar-trading as playful as ever (though, on songs like “We The People….” and “Conrad Tokyo,” suffused with more than a little politically induced world-weariness). It turns out they do got it from here, and the group’s long-overdue fence-mending is a gift to us all. Represent-sent. —Peter Rubin

Sad13, Slugger

Sadie Dupuis, the whip-smart lyricist and frontwoman of Speedy Ortiz, wanted to write an album where she was the only person responsible for every creative decision. So, under the solo moniker Sad13, she wrote, sang, played guitar, and produced every track on Slugger in a Philadelphia bedroom. It’s certainly more pop-tinged than her work with Speedy, but that’s a calculated decision—Dupuis cited “Genie in a Bottle” and “The Boy Is Mine” as songs with themes of toxic jealousy and ownership she wanted to stand against. Standout tracks like “Just a Friend,” quite literally a response to the Biz Markie classic that emphasizes the reality of cross-gender friendship, or “Get a Yes,” a strongly-worded positive consent anthem, accomplish her goal with aplomb. —K.M. McFarland

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Sadie Dupuis, the whip-smart lyricist and frontwoman of Speedy Ortiz, wanted to write an album where she was the only person responsible for every creative decision. So, under the solo moniker Sad13, she wrote, sang, played guitar, and produced every track on Slugger in a Philadelphia bedroom. It’s certainly more pop-tinged than her work with Speedy, but that’s a calculated decision—Dupuis cited “Genie in a Bottle” and “The Boy Is Mine” as songs with themes of toxic jealousy and ownership she wanted to stand against. Standout tracks like “Just a Friend,” quite literally a response to the Biz Markie classic that emphasizes the reality of cross-gender friendship, or “Get a Yes,” a strongly-worded positive consent anthem, accomplish her goal with aplomb. —K.M. McFarland

Alicia Keys, Here

If you still have Solange’s A Seat at the Table on repeat, good news: Alicia Keys is here to help you through the rest of 2016 with more soulful R&B. Sometimes the lyrics are on the preachy side, like on the Mother Earth-defending “Kill Your Mama” or the we-are-the-world ballad “Holy War.” But through the gospel on “Pawn It All” and the overlapping harmony of “She Don’t Really Care,” Keys succeeds as a melodic voice of protest and empowerment. —Charley Locke

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If you still have Solange’s A Seat at the Table on repeat, good news: Alicia Keys is here to help you through the rest of 2016 with more soulful R&B. Sometimes the lyrics are on the preachy side, like on the Mother Earth-defending “Kill Your Mama” or the we-are-the-world ballad “Holy War.” But through the gospel on “Pawn It All” and the overlapping harmony of “She Don’t Really Care,” Keys succeeds as a melodic voice of protest and empowerment. —Charley Locke

American Wrestlers, Goodbye Terrible Youth

American Wrestlers’ 2015 debut was a low-fi la-la-land of crisp, twisting guitar lines and smeared hooks; it sounded like your favorite ’80s Walkman having a fever dream. But for Goodbye Terrible Youth, the group’s amped-up follow-up, frontman and songwriter Gary McClure has doubled down on spectral keyboards and fuzz-muscled riffs—pretty much always a good idea. “Give Up” is a soft-power-pop jam that starts out like the Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love,” and ends up like Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” while “Vote Thatcher” is a synth-hymn so gorgeous, you may not notice its stark-hearted lyrics. Equal parts diffuse and direct, Youth ages nicely with each listen. —Brian Raftery

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American Wrestlers’ 2015 debut was a low-fi la-la-land of crisp, twisting guitar lines and smeared hooks; it sounded like your favorite ’80s Walkman having a fever dream. But for Goodbye Terrible Youth, the group’s amped-up follow-up, frontman and songwriter Gary McClure has doubled down on spectral keyboards and fuzz-muscled riffs—pretty much always a good idea. “Give Up” is a soft-power-pop jam that starts out like the Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love,” and ends up like Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” while “Vote Thatcher” is a synth-hymn so gorgeous, you may not notice its stark-hearted lyrics. Equal parts diffuse and direct, Youth ages nicely with each listen. —Brian Raftery

NxWorries, Yes Lawd!

Anderson .Paak is LA rap’s sixth man, putting in stellar appearances on Dr. Dre’s Compton, The Game’s The Documentary 2.5, and ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP. It’s not accidental—his funk/soul/R&B mix, and its energizing smoothness, elevates every track. But on Yes Lawd!, his second full-length release of the year (he released the incredible Malibu in January; NxWorries is his two-man project with producer Knxwledge), he runs into long-albumitis. “Suede,” “What More Can I Say,” and “Get Bigger/Do U Luv” all have the stop/start soul samples that feel distinctively NxWorries and bring the kind of style we’ve come to expect from Anderson .Paak. But feel free to stop there. Yes Lawd! has some solid tracks, but there’s also way too much filler on this 19-song release. —Joseph Bien-Kahn

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Anderson .Paak is LA rap’s sixth man, putting in stellar appearances on Dr. Dre’s Compton, The Game’s The Documentary 2.5, and ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP. It’s not accidental—his funk/soul/R&B mix, and its energizing smoothness, elevates every track. But on Yes Lawd!, his second full-length release of the year (he released the incredible Malibu in January; NxWorries is his two-man project with producer Knxwledge), he runs into long-albumitis. “Suede,” “What More Can I Say,” and “Get Bigger/Do U Luv” all have the stop/start soul samples that feel distinctively NxWorries and bring the kind of style we’ve come to expect from Anderson .Paak. But feel free to stop there. Yes Lawd! has some solid tracks, but there’s also way too much filler on this 19-song release. —Joseph Bien-Kahn

Lady Gaga, Joanne

Having spent years using her various personas to provoke, Lady Gaga keeps it simple on her latest offering. People like to call Joanne her country album, but that’s just one of its pieces of flare. Gaga’s latest collection isn’t as flashy (The Fame) or overwrought (Artpop) as her previous works, but that’s for the best. From the cheeky, feeling-myself fun of “Dancin’ in Circles” to the throwback vibe of “Hey Girl” to the anthem power of “Perfect Illusion,” this is Gaga now, and music is lucky to have her back. Gaga has always had big hits and big misses—and this album has both—but it’s always a joy to watch her swing. —Angela Watercutter

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Having spent years using her various personas to provoke, Lady Gaga keeps it simple on her latest offering. People like to call Joanne her country album, but that’s just one of its pieces of flare. Gaga’s latest collection isn’t as flashy (The Fame) or overwrought (Artpop) as her previous works, but that’s for the best. From the cheeky, feeling-myself fun of “Dancin’ in Circles” to the throwback vibe of “Hey Girl” to the anthem power of “Perfect Illusion,” this is Gaga now, and music is lucky to have her back. Gaga has always had big hits and big misses—and this album has both—but it’s always a joy to watch her swing. —Angela Watercutter

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