- Following the death of his bandmate Chester Bennington last year, Linkin Park singer/rapper Mike Shinoda released the Post Traumatic EP - a short offering trying to deal with the loss. The songs from that EP have made it into this longer release and, in his own words, the album is “a journey out of grief and darkness, not into grief and darkness. If someone went through something like that, I hope you feel less alone. If it has not happened, I hope you feel grateful." Not dissimilar to the last Linkin Park album, this is largely less nu-metal and, instead, more spangly rap-rock-meets-pop - although there are low-key moments too, like the poignant and tender "Nothing Makes Sense Anymore". This was doubtless cathartic for Shinoda to make and, with it’s uplifting sounds, it should be cathartic for fans to hear too.
- Christina Aguilera is one of the pop voices of our time: who among us doesn’t still know all the words to Stripped, or get the warm fuzzies listening to "What A Girl Wants", or have some kind of dance routine for "Genie In A Bottle"? Wait, just us? In any case, the pop royalty is back with her eighth full-length, and a lot has changed in the mainstream since her last release six years ago - and, after several albums that have comparatively under-performed, you might speculate whether 2018’s Top 40 has room for Xtina. Thankfully, Liberation is an album that finds the singer-songwriter embracing the best contemporary sounds (with smooth production from the likes of Anderson .Paak and even Kanye, and features as far-ranging as GoldLink and Demi Lovato) while also luxuriating in her distinctly powerful vocals. Welcome back, queen.