Robin Hilton

Fifty-five years after first forming in London, The Who is back with an album of brand-new songs. WHO, due out later this fall, will be the band's 12th studio record. It includes the first single, "Ball & Chain," a gritty swamp-rock critique of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the powers that have kept it open.

"Down in Guantanamo," Roger Daltrey sings, "we still got that ball and chain. That pretty piece of Cuba designed to cause men pain."

The 2010s are almost over, so we want to know: Which albums, songs and artists defined the decade? What moments (the death of David Bowie or Prince, for example) or trends (streaming, social media) will we most remember?

To be clear, we're talking January 2010 to the end of December 2019.

Tells us about it in the poll below. (You don't have to fill out every field unless you want to.) We'll feature some of your ideas in an upcoming episode of All Songs Considered.

Capitol Records is sharing an early take of The Beatles song "Oh! Darling," along with a completely remixed version of the track. The two cuts appear on a 50th anniversary edition of the band's penultimate studio album, Abbey Road.

Note: With hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton away this week, we've got an encore presentation of The Worst Songs Of All Time, from Feb. 2014.


Guitarist, actor, writer (and former Monitor Mix blogger) Carrie Brownstein joins us, along with NPR Music's Stephen Thompson, to do something we don't normally do: Talk about the songs we really, really don't like.

For the past year, NPR has been taking a deep look at American anthems and all the forms they can take. These are the songs that unite us, inspire us or say something about what it means to be an American — songs as traditional as Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," or as defiant as Public Enemy's "Fight the Power."

In the summer of 1973, Carole King was at the peak of her popularity and influence. She had ushered in a new era of singer-songwriters that dominated popular music; Tapestry, which she'd dropped two years earlier, was still a top-selling album, well on its way to becoming one of the most-loved and best-selling albums of all time. King had also just released Fantasy, a thematic album recorded with a jazz-funk band, and embarked on her first-ever live concert performance outside of the United States.

Our shortlist of the best new albums out this week includes a deeply moving celebration of African American culture and history from the singer Jamila Woods, the sparkling, soul-searching guitar rock of Charly Bliss, composer Holly Herndon's brilliant collaboration with the AI known as "Spawn" and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on May 10.

Featured Albums:

  1. Charly Bliss: Young Enough
    Featured Song: "Hard to Believe"

Our shortlist of the best albums out on May 3 includes Vampire Weekend's first new album in six years, life-affirming "pep talks" from Judah & The Lion, the interdimensional sounds of Big Thief's latest album U.F.O.F., the profound lyricism of Nashville singer-songwriter Caroline Spence, former Civil Wars singer Joy Williams and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the week's best new albums.

Featured Albums:

The Prince Estate has announced plans to release another album of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1981 and 1991. The album, titled Originals, will be available June 7 exclusively on Tidal's Hi-Fi subscription tier, with physical copies, downloads and wider streaming services following on June 21. It features 15 demo versions of songs Prince wrote and recorded for other artists, including Sheila E., The Time and Kenny Rogers. Fourteen of the tracks have never been released before.

The Boss is back with his first new studio album in five years. Western Stars is due out June 14 on Columbia Records and, according to a press release announcing the record, will be largely influenced by the Southern California pop sounds of the late '60s and early '70s.

"This record is a return to my solo recordings," Springsteen says in a statement, "featuring character-driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements. It's a jewel box of a record."

When singer Norah Jones dropped her much-beloved debut album Come Away With Me in 2002, she won over legions of fans with her soul-soothing croon and blend of jazzy pop and bluesy folk. In more recent years she's explored a much deeper and sometimes darker sonic landscape. You can hear this remarkable range on her latest album, Begin Again, an inspired and often moody collection of songs she wrote and recorded with a number of collaborators, including Jeff Tweedy and Thomas Bartlett.

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy is surprising fans with a new album this week. WARMER is due out April 13 and will initially be available on vinyl only as a Record Store Day exclusive limited to 5,000 copies. The album is a sequel to Tweedy's previous full-length, WARM, which came out less than five months ago.

We open this week's New Music Friday with a quick spin of Love Keeps Kicking from the self-described queer, straight edge, vegan, anarchist punk band Martha. One of the week's best guitar rock albums, it's bursting with hooky melodies and memorable meditations on (among other things) the end of times.

It's a packed release week with a whole bunch of notable albums to highlight, including the rock guitar heroics on Ex Hex's It's Real, the wistful wisdom of Jenny Lewis, Andrew Bird's "finest work yet," mind-blowing sonics from the genre-bending composers Emily Wells and Lafawndah, the German electronic artist Apparat and much more. Hosts Robin Hilton and Stephen Thompson share their top picks for the best albums out on March 22 on this episode of New Music Friday.

Featured Albums:

This week's somewhat abbreviated edition of New Music Friday includes an ambitious collaboration between Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O and producer Danger Mouse; the British electronic duo The Cinematic Orchestra returns with its first new album in more than a decade, featuring singer Moses Sumney, rapper Roots Manuva and other guests; and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus injects his woozy rock with a strange jolt of electronica. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson as they share their picks for the best new albums out on March 15.

Juice WRLD, the reigning prince of emo rap, is back with a follow up to last year's Goodbye & Good Riddance. Deathrace for Love is bleak, brutal and the rare sequel that lives up to the original. The Oxford rock band Foals takes a big swing in one of the group's most ambitious albums to date; and singer Patty Griffin has a beautiful and profoundly moving, new self-titled album on growing old, the frailty of life and perseverance.

A lot of the songs we loved most in February illuminated some of life's darker or at least more complicated corners. Rapper Quelle Chris pondered America's love affair with guns, while hip-hop artist Mahawam released a vivid meditation on living with HIV. The Brooklyn-based rock group Charly Bliss explored millennial burnout, singer Molly Sarlé preached the importance of embracing disappointment, and Aldous Harding dropped a strangely alluring song called "The Barrel," all about a relationship falling apart.

Much of the best new music we heard in February was deeply personal, with lots of room for reflection. Ariana Grande delivered the most anticipated album of the month, a highly polished pop diary on the need for hope. On the other end of the sonic spectrum was singer Julia Jacklin's uncluttered call for strength and resilience in a post-Me Too universe that's still very much evolving.

Our picks for the best albums out this week include an epic treatise on Americanism from Gary Clark Jr., the delicate and beautiful sounds of Julia Jacklin, Atlanta rapper Gunna, a gorgeous study in the healing powers of restraint from Lowland Hum, and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael and Stephen Thompson as they share their top picks for Feb. 22.

Featured Albums

  • Gary Clark Jr., This Land
    Featured Song: "Gotta Get Into Something"

On this sprint through the week's best new albums, host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Lyndsey McKenna and Stephen Thompson for a whole lot of guitar rock, with a little bit of melancholy, acoustic beauty on the side. This includes Spielbergs, a group from Oslo, Norway, that makes its US debut with a fantastic squeal of feedback on This is Not the End; the L.A. quartet Cherry Glazerr, which just dropped its most emotionally potent and fully formed album ever; Girlpool, Le Butcherettes, the beautifully transporting songs of Tiny Ruins and more.

Welcome to the first in our new series of roundups highlighting the best new songs of each month. January is often a slow time for releases, as labels and artists come off the holidays and start to tease bigger projects on the horizon. But the first month of this year still delivered plenty of memorable and surprising tracks. Singer Lana Del Rey, known for her lush, layered arrangements, released a devastatingly spare track about holding on to hope in times of darkness; Australian singer Stella Donnelly's "Old Man" gives a wink and a smile while eviscerating lecherous men; rapper J.

Every December, the NPR Music team peruses 11 months' worth of albums and songs and crams its collective reflections and critical assessments into a handful of big lists. This year we've decided to dissect the torrent of new releases as they're happening and share a list of the most notable albums and songs from each month.

On this week's program, host Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Sidney Maden and Stephen Thompson to talk about the must-hear albums out on Jan. 25. This includes hard-driving riff rock with a healthy sense of humor from FIDLAR and Mike Krol, the Compton rapper Boogie, woozy synth-pop from The Dandy Warhols, the shape-shifting sounds of New Orleans singer DAWN and more.

Featured Albums:

  1. FIDLAR: Almost Free
    Featured Song: "Can't You See"

Sleater-Kinney has confirmed it's releasing a new album sometime this year, produced by St. Vincent. Guitarist Carrie Brownstein tells NPR, "We always planned on getting back in the studio — it was just a matter of when. If there is an overarching principle to this album, it's that the tools on which we were relying proved inadequate.

From standard-bearing singers and instrumentalists to genre innovators, from businesspeople who introduced new ways of listening and sharing to activists who made performance their platform, vital voices from all over the music map left us this year — some far too soon.

Ever wonder what albums your fellow NPR fans listen to? We asked, you voted and below are the results our year-end listener poll for 2018. The list mirrors the NPR Music Top 50 Albums more than I've noticed in previous years. Like that list, listeners put Janelle Monáe, Kacey Musgraves, Mitski and Lucy Dacus all in the top positions.

It's our final New Music Friday for 2018 – barring any big surprises, December is a pretty slow release month – but we end with some phenomenal new albums, including The 1975's Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, singer Alessia Cara's affecting coming-of-age manifesto The Pains Of Growing, an exercise in minimalism from rapper Earl Sweatshirt and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined this week by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Sidney Madden and Lyndsey McKenna as they do a quick look at the most essential new albums dropping on Nov. 30.

Gobble gobble! Our Thanksgiving weekend edition of New Music Friday includes the warped and wild pop sounds of My Brightest Diamond, stunning instrumental records from Ed Harcourt and Jacco Gardner, punk with heart and humor from Art Brut and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined this week by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson as they do a quick sprint through the essential albums dropping on Nov. 23.

Featured Albums:

  1. My Brightest Diamond: A Million And One
    Featured Song: "It's Me On The Dance Floor"

This week's list of essential new albums includes one of the year's most anticipated releases – Anderson .Paak's Oxnard, plus Mariah Carey's Caution, a lost Glen Campbell record he made for Elvis, a career-spanning retrospective on the late singer Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave), The Good, The Bad And The Queen's first new album in more than a decade and more. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael, Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson as they run through the best releases out on Nov. 16.

This week's sprint through the best new albums, out on Nov. 2, includes a collection of outtakes and rarities from Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks period, the Flamenco-pop of Rosalía, profoundly moving reflections from Marianne Faithful, the prepared piano of Kelly Moran, fuzz-pop from Stove and more. Host Robin Hilton is joined for this week's New Music Friday by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson.

Featured Albums:

  1. Rosalía: El Mal Querer
    Featured Song: "Que No Salga La Luna"

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