Dierks Bentley, 'Black'
If there's a baby-making LP this year, it's Dierks Bentley's captivating Black, a concept album that covers all the twists and turns of a relationship. With intense, often sexy lyrics made even more potent by the singer's intoxicating, gravelly voice, Black takes listeners on a journey through love lost and found — a trip that includes infidelity, rebounds, self realization and, ultimately, redemption. Foreplay — provided most notably by the seriously sensual title track, along with mesmerizing Maren Morris duet, "I'll Be the Moon" — is balanced with just a touch of play, as Bentley doesn't completely stray from his party-guy past. (See the cheeky "Somewhere on a Beach.") But the serious, introspective moments are the standouts here, whether he's offering a sympathetic shoulder to women post-breakup in the clever Elle King duet "Different for Girls," or waxing poetic on soul-saving love in the poignant, album-closing "Light It Up."