20 Best R&B Albums of 2015

The Weeknd, Erykah Badu, Janet Jackson and more

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Mizan K, 'Dark Blue’
20
19/20

19. Mizan K, 'Dark Blue’

Mizan K's terrific six-song EP debut is stark and frank. At numerous times it's just her and her keyboard, confessing neuroses and finding faith that they will subside. The Ethiopian-born New York musician makes confessional songs that resemble the winsome and melancholy electro-pop of Erlend Øye and Junior Boys as much as left-of-center R&B voices like Solange Knowles. She comforts a depressed friend on "Awe" as she sings, "All the color, the golden of the sky/How could you see it, if your darkness never lights." And she knows how to make songs that make you move, too: "Looking For" casts her as the seductress over a throbbing club beat, but her "what are we looking for" chorus reveals unease over whether she'll be embraced or rejected. M.R.

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