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Best 15 New R&B Albums So Far (January-June)

As music has developed, nearly every genre has seen acts enter the scene with their distinctive sound and infuse the genre with their identity to stand out. Many incredible R&B, pop, hyper-pop, and afro beats albums were released in 2023.

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

It isn’t easy to select just a few must-listen albums from the year’s releases so far because readers often have different tastes or already have favorites. After beginning the year comfortably, R&B has been gradually heating up with fantastic projects from Kelela, Tink, and Liv. SZA’s brilliant SOS from December continued to rule alongside E, T-Pain, and other artists. There is no limit to how fantastic 2023 can be with new projects from Mahalia, Jorja Smith, and The Weeknd on the horizon.

Finding it difficult to compile a list of the R&B albums that have been influencing culture? Or are Spotify and user-created playlists much too long, and you need some music that remains ever-fresh to add to the rotation?

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

The article aims to shed light on some projects influencing the conversations surrounding R&B culture. The goal of “Keeping It Simple” and adding only the “best of the best” is to ensure you are alerted to outstanding R&B projects that will positively affect your playlist with minimal effort.

Let’s get into it.

SZA – SOS

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

Five years have passed since the release of her debut album CTRL, and while she hasn’t been completely absent from the music scene — she’s appeared on Summer Walker, DJ Khaled, and Doja Cat projects — it’s the first time we get to hear her perspective on her absence and everything that’s been happening in her world directly from her.

SZA has always worked in the experimental R&B genre, eschewing conventional song structures, strong vocals, and one-dimensional writing in favor of various methods. Even though SOS is experimenting with new sounds, there is a definite shift to a more pop-focused sound. SZA has demonstrated over the course of her ten-year career that her forte as an artist resides in her sharp lyrics and the fusing of genres to create her own distinct sonic universe. This forms much of SOS into a profoundly personal – often excessively so – testimonial of work, along with the stream-of-consciousness flow many of her songs exude.

Daniel Caesar – Never Enough

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

“Never Enough” serves as a break-up album and represents a man’s journey toward atonement for his broken character and misguided worldview. He took the time to come to terms with upsetting people in his fandom and his personal life before apologizing for the YesJulz remarks. The development is evident, notably in “Buyer’s Remorse” and “Pain Is Inevitable,” but the film’s protracted running time and erratic themes occasionally give the impression that Caesar had two distinct concepts that he blended into one voluminous work that spans four years of absence.

Tink -Thanks 4 Nothing

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

That Tink’s excellent album “Thanks 4 Nothing” would be released over a week after Valentine’s Day seems appropriate. It’s a tribute to a relationship’s jaded and bitter phase when it seems like the whole thing was a lie. Because of this, the 28-year-old singer and rapper’s opening line from the album opener, “Fake Love,” is simultaneously defiant and scathing: “These days, you can’t even trust who you’re fucking.” Tink unleashes her scathing, introspective stanza over a gleaming, piano-driven groove created by fellow Chicagoan Hitmaka, interwoven with flawless R&B vocal performance. Additionally, it establishes the tone for the remainder of the album, which is equally well-made and universal in its substance. It’s more evidence of how well Tink’s autonomous reconstruction works out.

Liv. E – Girl In The Half Pearl.

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

Liv. E creates a patchwork of frequencies on “Girl In The Half Pearl” by fusing drum & bass with stacked harmonies, going full techno to a fuck-haters tirade, and filling bottomless spaces with reverbed screams. She told Rolling Stone’s Matthew Ritchie, “I’m finally in a situation to talk my stuff with a fresh perspective of being able to say what’s on my heart. It’s not like the 25-year-old Los Angeles native hasn’t previously made her diaries public. But unlike on other projects, she isn’t drawn to dallying in romance. She’s had enough of talking about it. In contrast to her earlier works, “Girl In The Half Pearl” is a brasher and explores the secret, hidden areas of the author’s heart to look into the struggle within.

Kelela – Raven

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

Raven is a mesmerizing music to interpersonal communication, human connection, and Black femininity. It is brimming with synth undercurrents, translucid melodies, and deliciously startling production alterations. The L.A.-based Ethiopian American singer’s second album reflects a different mental state than when she wrote her 2017 debut LP Tear Me Apart.

Musically, it’s the same atmospheric electronica slamming up against progressive R&B; in other words, dance music works equally well in the bedroom, whether alone or with a partner. At its core, Raven is a retort to anyone who believes Kelela’s absence was an ominous warning for her professional future. In her search for a representation of rebirth, she discovered the raven. Some see it as ominous and a sign of loss, yet it’s also the talking bird and a link between the spirit worlds. Kelela is one of the few storytellers who can use that level of detail successfully.

Don Toliver – Lovesick

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

The Jackboys affiliate maintains his trend of selecting euphoric, seductive, entertaining, yet outstanding songs with Don Toliver’s third studio album, Lovesick. In contrast to previous work, the Houston native tries singing about love and all the accompanying feelings, including trust, betrayal, and letting go. The LP, an ambitious endeavor, is another substantial addition to his catalog and includes significant collaborations like Afrobeat’s wizkid on one of the tracks.

Summer Walker – Clear 2: Soft Life

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

Atlanta artist Summer Walker is back with her extended play “Clear 2: Soft Life,” less than two years after releasing her sophomore album “Still Over It.” In the nine-track album, Walker wades through a sea of feelings in search of clarity and calm in her romantic relationships. In contrast to earlier works that focused on the toxic nature of her romantic relationships, “Soft Life” shows Walker in the midst of her path to recovery. She still feels unfulfilled but is much more conscious of how guys perceive her. “Soft Life” proves to be a smoother listen than Walker’s prior bodies of work because live instruments support it, feature some of her most introspective lyrics, and feature her soulful autotune-free voice on full show.

T-Pain – On Top Of The Covers

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

T-Pain, responsible for making autotune music popular, experienced severe depression a few years ago. The rapper, producer, and singer-songwriter’s enormously successful career may have been built on a foundation(use of autotune) that diminished him in the eyes of his peers. He battled despair and anxiety for the following few years. The effects of the conversation are still apparent on “On Top of the Covers,” released four years after his 16-bit-infused “1UP” album. T-Pain showcases his vocal prowess entirely without autotune on an unfiltered and unreserved compilation of cover tunes. The outcomes also speak for themselves.

Coco Jones – What I Didn’t Tell You

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

“What I Didn’t Tell You” (Deluxe) by Coco Jones demonstrates Coco’s Versatility and musical variety with her strong vocals, beautiful beats, and thoughtful lyrics. The album offers everything for everyone and showcases Coco’s development as an artist with soulful ballads and lively pop songs. “What I Didn’t Tell You” is definitely worth checking out if you’re searching for an intense and memorable listen.

Kali Uchis – Red Moon In Venus

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

“Red Moon in Venus” is an interstellar exploration of the endless paths of love. On her third genre-defying studio album, Kali Uchis takes listeners through the emotional highs, lows, and all in between while adorned with a feminine elegance that anchors this trippy release. Having once allowed herself to get carried away in the fantasy of love’s course, Kali Uchis deftly describes the unfettered voyage of passion and loss. She now knows what it means to keep a level head. With an infinitely omniscient presence, Kali Uchis describes the catastrophe in “Red Moon in Venus” as a stark show of emotional unraveling.

It is evident throughout the entire piece that she is luring us, the listeners, into a world she has created but one in which she no longer resides. It just serves as a reminder of a world full of indulgent lovers, urging people to experience love, unravel, heal, and finally learn.

Vedo – Mood Swings

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

The album “Mood Swings” by Vedo is a quality work that displays the singer’s melodic diversity and adaptability. The album, which combines R&B, soul, and pop, addresses love, heartbreak, and self-discovery themes. Each tune is a unique work of art because Vedo’s powerful vocals and expressive delivery give the lyrics life. For aficionados of smooth R&B and soul music, “Mood Swings” is a must-hear.

Janelle Monae – The Age Of Pleasure

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

The Grammy-nominated artist’s most enjoyable album to date is arguably The Age of Pleasure. Monáe has permanently transformed the narrative of who she and her peers are and how they want to be remembered as musicians by experimenting with new sounds and achieving higher transparency in her life and work. With this album, the LGBTQIA+ community is given a place to feel comfortable, and people from other groups can learn to appreciate and respect different viewpoints. Genuine connection is another theme in the Age of Pleasure. It serves as an appropriate metaphor for inclusivity, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual preference, as each track blends and appears to become one.

Bonus:

Giveon – Give or Take

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

“Give Or Take” has Giveon sharing “Family time” with his fans. Giveon decided to collaborate with his mum for his debut full-length project after having fruitful collaborations with Drake and Justin Bieber. The music on “Give or Take” is mixed with voice notes from his mother. She compliments and counsels him as he experiences butterflies, parties excessively, and discovers white lies during the fifteen-track endeavor. Giveon, whose full name is Giveon Dezmann Evans, uses straightforward language with heartfelt inflections to convey these emotions.

He is one R&B act that many relate with his themes as he tries to make them as relatable as possible. No surprise that he once said, “I think what makes a good lyricist is knowing how to paint the nuances of everyday situations, and just knowing what words to say that’ll feel like conversation or real,” to Brenton Blanchet in a June interview with Spin.

Muni Long – Public Displays of Affection: The Album

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

The refined romance is the focus of Muni Long’s Tiktok-friendly “Hrs & Hrs” from the 2021 EP. Long addressed the aspects of love that won’t contain any timeline in her full-length “PDA” album, released in September 2022. On the project, hopes, threats, and promises are skilfully woven together. You believe her when she sings of wanting to be with a partner forever and is bound to agree with her as she sings the thuggish threats like “Usually I don’t do drama/But bitch I’ll kick yo ass in this Balenciaga.”

In summary, this project will have you analyzing the lyrics and applying real-time comparisons to them.

Tank – R&B Money

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

Singer-songwriter Durrell Artaze Babbs’ magnificent project is his final one. After suddenly losing his hearing in his right ear in May 2021, he announced that he would be retiring from performance. In a May episode of the Drink Champs podcast, Tank emphasized the value of “Brown love.” On this iconic R&B record, he honored that love. It is brimming with the contrite and grateful sentiments occasionally absent from modern “revenge & B.” He stated to Billboard that the album “channels the sex, love, and pain that I’m known for,” alluding to his 2007 album “Sex Love & Pain.”

Steve Lacy – Gemini Rights

Best 15 New R&Amp;B Albums So Far (January-June), Yours Truly, Articles, April 21, 2024

According to Mankaprr Conteh in Rolling Stone, “Gemini Rights” has the feel of “the product of a grand jam session and is, in fact, Steve Lacy’s most collaborative solo effort to date.” He collaborated on this album alongside Diana Gordon, Matt Martians, Dahi, Dacoury Natche, Ely Rise Britanny Foushee, and John Carroll Kirby. Stepping outside his aural minimalism and being open to playing with others benefit Steve Lacy, whose real name is Steve Thomas Lacy-Moya.

Lacy couldn’t have imagined this album’s grandeur when he was a young fan of the music business. During an interview for Billboard in October, he expressed to Lenny Kravitz his belief that there was no room for his music. “As time passed, I began to doubt my ability to find a home in Autotune and 808s. Like, perhaps I’m too late,” Lacy remarked. Fortunately, he miscalculated, and Gemini Rights is one of the most impressive R&B projects out there of recent timing.

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