50 Best Albums of 2018 So Far

Including Janelle Monáe, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, the 'Black Panther' soundtrack and more

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U.S. Girls, 'In a Poem Unlimited'
50
33/50

U.S. Girls, 'In a Poem Unlimited'

Canadian recording artist Meghan Remy dishes up art-pop delights on her second LP as U.S. Girls. Songs are elegant yet forceful, full of shape-shifts but smooth, tuneful and fun. "Velvet 4 Sale" sets billowing synth noise over a moodily predatory groove as Remy makes the line "It's all just friction/but don't forget the revenge" sound like a viable pop hook. Scary Monsters-era Bowie, Madonna, Kate Bush and early-Eighties downtown NYC punk-funk pop up among the glistening touchstones. But Poem isn't just solid retro. Remy bounces between genres effortlessly, from the P.M. Dawn dreaminess of "Rosebud" to the rich, inviting synth-pop of "Poem" to the "La Isla Bonita"-tinged bounce of "Pearly Gates," holding it all together with songwriting chops, searching, self-possessed lyrics and a sense of old-school record-making craft. The result: Rewarding repeated listens. J.D.

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