- Though packed with the sad emotional punch of Jones knowing this would be her last record (the singer passed away in 2016 following two bouts of pancreatic cancer), there is a certain joie de vivre about the self-eulogising Soul of a Woman. Indeed, to record this goodbye album Jones came off her medication, feeling that it drained her of the energy that had remained a consistency throughout her body of work. The result is a fiery, rich vivacity, with bluesy, gospel undertones nodding to her strong religious belief, shuffling percussion, the swinging warmth of the Dap-Kings (who famously featured on releases from Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson), all topped with her unfaltering, powerful vocals. For fans of classic soul, dreamy doo-wop and old-school R&B, this is a must.
- If any contemporary popstar could pull off a spangly, sugary-sweet Christmas album with original songs, it was always going to be Sia. The eight-time Grammy nominee's follow-up to This Is Acting finds her paired up with Adele-writer Greg Kurstin to serve up a sometimes-silly seasonal special of jaunty alternatives to the overplayed classics. These are sing-song, nursery rhyme-esque lyrics that stick in your head like candy canes to your teeth, as well as more ballad-like tracks with pianos and vocals as delicate as snowflakes melting on the ground. Whether you’re warming up by the fireside, getting merry on a festive pub crawl, or frantically online shopping for the perfect gift, Sia’s got your soundtrack sorted with this fun and schmaltzy holiday special.