- Following Zayn’s Mind of Mine and Harry Styles’ self-titled effort, Niall Horan now becomes the third member of One Direction to share his solo debut. It will come as no surprise to anyone who saw his guitar-wielding performances with 1D that Niall’s largely dabbling in Americana and acoustic-rock in the vein of Mumford and Sons and early Ed Sheeran, instead of, say, exploring R&B like Zayn or a love of Lennon and McCartney a la Harry. Also in keeping with Niall’s persona in the group, Flicker is affable, displays a sensitive side and possesses definite cross-generational appeal. Ok, so Flicker probably won’t be topping the Best of 2017 round-ups, but it’ll likely be one of the year’s biggest sellers. Resistance is futile.
- With last year’s Midwest Farmers Daughter, country singer-songwriter Margo Price received acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork and the Guardian, and her album even made it to various “best of 2016” lists. One year later, she shows no signs of slowing down: All American Made is a record that ebbs and soars with Price’s sweet vocals atop rich instrumentation. Her attempt to get political lets her down somewhat: while "Pay Gap" seems an admirable topic to tackle, when she laments women being “treated like slaves since 1776” (a time when actual slavery was very much still rife), she shows a failure to understand intersectional feminism. Aside from that misstep, though, with breezy production and even a feature from legendary Willie Nelson, Price continues to shine.