Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Gritty but still gentle, an instant touchstone of UK electronic music.

Released in 2007, Untrue immediately became a touchstone of UK electronic music, aided by the mystique surrounding Burial’s anonymity (to this day, William Emmanuel Bevan rarely grants interviews). The album is gritty without being abrasive, with house-like vocals that lend a gentleness to the thundering, muddy bass. The album’s second track, “Archangel,” is perhaps one of the most recognizable songs in electronic music, with its pitched-down soprano sample consisting of the lines “Holding you/Couldn’t be alone/Couldn’t be alone/Couldn’t be alone.” (Bevan apparently wrote and produced the song in 20 minutes, following the death of his dog.)

On much of Untrue, Bevan sounds like he’s attempting to triangulate the sound of isolation after dark. He wrote and produced the record nocturnally, insisting on getting to work long after the sun went down. Tracks like “In McDonalds” and “Homeless” are indicative of that approach: They evoke something quietly desperate, both in their titles and their spare compositions; the result is electronic music that’s deeply human and affecting.