Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox used to bury his voice under raging feedback swells or oceans of whooshing reverb. But he's grown far more confident in recent years – and on his third solo disc, Cox takes another step in the direction of unabashed pop, singing about modern love in a molten-candy croon that could almost belong to a Fifties teen idol. He uses his newfound swagger to sell a set of surprisingly sticky hooks: Nearly every tune features a bright, immediate melody, leaving behind the diffuse musings he's favored in the past. Cox values songwriting ahead of texture these days, and the effort is paying off.
Listen to "Mona Lisa":