Meek Mill, Wins & Losses

The title of Meek Mill’s third album reflects a life notable for its peaks and valleys. But the Philadelphia rapper is a fighter, and you can hear his passion through much of Wins & Losses, whether he’s dropping trap hammers with Rick Ross and Yo Gotti on “Connect the Dots,” or acknowledging the failure of his relationship with Nicki Minaj on “Heavy Heart.” “Back when I was broke they was cool with it/Now every move I make, I’m in the news with it/Even if I didn’t do it, they be like ‘You did it’,” he shouts on “1942 Flows” in reference to his frequent troubles with the law. Meek Mill mostly sticks to street rap, which will please his hardcore fans. However, he also reconnects with Chris Brown – who helped make 2015’s “All Eyes on You” a hit – and Ty Dolla $ign for “Whatever You Need,” a silky update of Tony! Toni! Toné’s R&B classic “Whatever You Want.” --Mosi Reeves

Lana Del Rey, Lust For Life

Lana Del Rey isn’t the first artist to make a quintessentially Los Angeles album: The Beach Boys, Love, the Doors, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Motley Crue and the Go-Gos all got there first. But none of them mythologized the City of (fallen) Angels the same kind of slurry, blurry spectral beauty that the Twenty-ten’s It girl has. Always a culture vulture, this time Del Rey unapologetically references '60s girl groups, Hollywood’s most glamorous suicide and even gives a sly wink to Iggy Pop—(only fair, since she did commandeer his most famous album’s name). She even went so far as to convince '70s It girl, Stevie Nicks to duet with her on “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems ” to give the record some West Coast witchy panache. Yet, Nicks isn’t even the most distinguished guest. Del Rey also invited The Weeknd, Sean Ono Lennon, superstar producer Benny Blanco, A$AP Rocky, who makes makes two appearances, including on the album’s best track “Summer Bummer.” But this album is anything but that. -- Jaan Uhelszki

Romeo Santos, Golden

Romeo Santos’ third studio album Golden makes its grand entrance in the perfect time for summer--and on his birthday. With tropical dance-infused instrumentals and sensual lyrics, the Bachata King seduces his listeners with his falsetto singing style in English and Spanish. He recruited a bevy of celebrity guests including Swizz Beatz, Nicky Jam, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, and the legendary Latin singer Julio Iglasias on their magical duet, “El Amigo.” For the most part, each track is fun and upbeat, full of bachata guitar chords, maracas, and bongos like chart-topping hit single “Imitadora,” but his tone notably changes on the final track “Sin Filtro” or “Unfiltered,” where he gives his haters the middle finger and lets everyone know; “when you are the f-ing greatest, many question that you’re great.” He also lets his naysayers know that he deserves all of his blessings and doesn’t care for them nor their opinions. With so much anticipation and positivity around the release of his album, it’s no question why Santos decided to debut Golden on his birthday and believes "it's probably by far my most complete production yet.” No disagreement there, King! --Jazmyn Pratt

Foster the People, Sacred Hearts Club

Sacred Hearts Club is a slyly complex record as it finds Foster the People both embracing and subverting bigtime dance pop moves. Proof of the former comes in the form of the cheekily titled “Doing It for Money,” an unapologetic, hooked-laden summer hit co-written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and shot through with swaggering vocals from lead singer Mark Foster. As for the latter, simply check out “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy,” a bass-thumping electronic jam whose fidgety groove, wheezing strings and swirling samples only grow more complex and eccentric with each successive spin. On top of all this, Foster the People also manage to toss in a handful of nods to ’60s psych-pop, like the bobbing “Static Space Lover,” which will have you daydreaming of skipping merrily through fields of poppies. There’s no two ways about it: Sacred Hearts Club is the band’s most deeply immersive album to date. -- Justin Farrar

In This Moment, Ritual

Still rarities in the world of gold-plated metalcore for their female front-voice and industrialized beats, the L.A. fivesome frame their sixth album with storm sounds — in both opening instrumental “Salvation” and closing power ballad “Lay Your Gun Down”. Between, they turn dancey and upbeat in “Witching Hour,” though the pained whines that come next in “Twin Flames” seem their preferred mode. They also follow “Oh, Lord”’s “We Will Rock You” stomping with a Rob Halford-assisted chorus quoting “White Wedding,” then a cover of “In The Air Tonight” – mostly whisper-slurred by Maria Blank as if an orthodontist wired her jaw shut. --Chuck Eddy

Nine Inch Nails, Add Violence

Much like the exquisitely dark Not the Actual Events, released towards the end of 2016, Trent Reznor’s latest EP sees the brooding icon folding his art rock tendencies back into the chilly, percolating electronics of old school industrial. The approach makes for some awfully riveting (and seething) moments, like when the grimy, static-blurred guitar riffs cut across the relentlessly pounding EBM groove on “Less Than.” But perhaps the hardest-hitting entry is “Not Anymore,” a hellishly grinding cyberpunk anthem extolling the virtues of absolute negation over mountainous drums. To call Add Violence a throwback would be inaccurate; the music is just too deliciously contemporary, yet it does feel like Reznor is tapping the same sinister anger that courses through his earliest industrial rock. -- Justin Farrar

Parmalee, 27861

Borrowing the title of their second album as country stars from the zip code of the hamlet that also provided their name, the North Carolina trio open amid ‘80s Don Henley production in “Sunday Morning,” then later invite us over for Sunday brunch in “Mimosas.” That tune’s got a warm groove, and the undertow of “Heartbreaker” approximates ‘70s yacht-disco even more. They namecheck Nelly, Skynyrd and Glen Miller classics in the slavering bro-country “Hotdamalama,” and wind down to two more alcohol songs before finishing up explaining that retaining their “Roots” means still dropping the “g” at the end of gerunds. --Chuck Eddy

Tyler, the Creator, Flower Boy

Tyler, the Creator’s fourth album has a clear gardening theme. Many of the track titles are inspired by horticulture, like “Pothole” and “Where This Flower Blooms,” and it seems like Tyler is in an introspective space. Of course, his early work like Goblin often begun with the sound of him talking to a psychiatrist. But save for a few hard-edged numbers like “I Ain’t Got Time,” the sound is bright and melancholy as well, with chiming sunshine pop choruses and synth-funk melodies inspired by NERD; on “911/Mr. Lonely,” he samples The Gap Band’s “Outstanding.” He doesn’t get too lost in himself: “Don’t get it twisted, n*gga, I’m still hungry,” he reminds us on “Pothole.” But after the jarring sonic experiments of Cherry Bomb, Tyler seems to be focusing on his musical strengths as he figures out his next direction. --Mosi Reeves