2018 was hot garbage.
Across the board the world took a collective shit on this year but there was one bright spot left, that of the new music that blessed our ears. I don’t know how often I share this, but music really is my therapy. I have a playlist to listen to while experiencing any emotion, something to support me through sadness, foster happiness, or to just sit and enjoy the rain. While it is impossible for me to critically rate the songs and albums that were released this year, I will instead write about the ones that stayed with me. This is the music I came back to again and again because they captured the parts of my soul that needed healing and brought me my greatest joys.
Top Albums of 2018
I’m going to start with my top albums of the year because to me the album is quintessentially what defines a good musician. Anyone can release a one off song to capture the attention of the masses, but it takes real talent to construct a solid album tracking that creates a sonic narrative from top to bottom. Because it was impossible to narrow down just ten, I also have included five honorable mentions.
Wild Child - “Expecations”
The 1975 - “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships”
Future Generations - “Landscapes”
Cher - “Dancing Queen”
MNEK - “Language”
I’ve listened to all of these albums numerous times over since each one was released and they are all wonderful records in their own right. From Cher’s stunning collection of ABBA covers which will all be new club classics to the quiet tenderness that Wild Child bring to their third studio album. I rediscovered my passion for album interludes and the expert blending of songs through MNEK’s debut album and was comforted by the steady greatness of the 1975 and Future Generations.
10) Twin Shadow- “Caer”
With Caer we get a thoroughly polished introspective album that is studio perfection. It is in this absence of error that I find fault as Lewis Jr.’s voice is so great when on the edge of gravelly. Otherwise a solid collection of songs and I’m excited for this new pop take on Twin Shadow. Standout tracks are Saturdays (feat. HAIM), Runaway, 18 Years, and Little Women.
9) Porches - “The House”
Aaron Maine’s solo project Porches is my favorite kind of synth-pop. Sad, dark, and all in your feels. It is the music that is worthy of all of the looking out your window at the rain sort of moments. As it was released in January of this year it was one that I immediately grew fond of then let standby as other albums came to take its place, but I found myself listening more and more this last month. Notable songs include Country, By My Side, Wobble, Goodbye, and Anything U Want.
8) Blood Orange - “Negro Swan”
Negro Swan is a masterclass in storytelling. Through very experiential songs and audio clips, especially one from trans activist Janet Mock puts the listeners in the story of something they might not be fully aware of initially. Every listen I feel like I’m learning more about the African American culture that I am still very much not fully educated on, but is something I strive to understand in order to gain greater awareness. Dev Hynes you are perfection. Standout songs are Out of Your League, Family, and Saint.
7) Troye Sivan - “Bloom”
Troye is our gay representation in the mainstream music scene and thankfully he’s a good one. (Thank u, next to Sam Smith) his first album Blue Neighborhood brought clarity to my own struggle with coming out in a religious house so it is only natural that Bloom documents the growing comfort in my queerness. From the dance bop title track to the resentful Postcard Troye documents a series of moments in queer life. Consider a collection of short stories almost. Thankfully our king created this wonderful collection that I will continue to listen to forever. This was also my most played album of the year so 🤷🏻♂️. Notable songs are, My My My, Bloom, Animal, Dance to This (ft. Ariana Grande), and Postcard.
6) Janelle Monae - “Dirty Computer”
Another masterpiece by a queer artist, Dirty Computer tracks a futuristic feminist future that I am dying in wait of. Best tracks are Make Me Feel and Screwed.
5) St. Lucia - “Hyperion”
Okay I know I put this in fifth place but it could easily be first. With Hyperion St. Lucia have naturally progressed in their dance pop to the best rock anthem album the 80’s ever produced. Throwing back to greats like Oasis and Styxx this South African band brings bright energetic rock to 2018. From bangers like Bigger and Paradise is Waiting to tender moments like Next to You this album is a winner. Every track is the best track.
4) Kacey Musgraves - “Golden Hour”
My sweet Yeehaw queen, I’m so happy you’re finally getting recognized. From the Daft Punk stylization of Oh What a World to the tender Slow Burn and Mother, Kacey has done the job of combining pop and country like no one has since Taylor left the scene. Notable tracks are Oh What a World, Space Cowboy, and Happy and Sad.
3) Matt Corby - Rainbow Valley
I need Matt Corby to be recognized by the world. He is the most phenomenal artist I’ve ever had the pleasure to see live. He’s come a long way from his Australian Idol days to become the man that can sing and play every instrument and co-write every song on his whole album. Rainbow Valley is his self admitted Willy Wonka moment, combining psychedelic rock into his singer songwriter tendencies. This is a perfect album and only shows how close this list was. Take this for a spin the next time you have a long car ride or flight and you won’t be disappointed. Best songs are All Fired Up, Miracle Love, and New Day Coming.
2) Parcels - “Parcels”
Australian born, Berlin based band Parcels groomed by the greatness that is Daft Punk pulled no punches on their debut album. They float between the best disco soul group of the seventies and the electro pop acts of today to create something that could exist in either era and is very enjoyable to listen to. From the highs and lows of life they are all explored through very danceable tracks. A sonic masterpiece.
1) Hellogoodbye - “S’only Natural”
JUSTICE FOR HELLOGOODBYE
I think everyone overlooked this album this year which is a damn shame. Ever since they took the world by storm with their single Here (In Your Arms) they’ve quietly been making hits. The best of which have culminated in this album. I enjoy this one so much because of the thought put into the album tracking. It is one that is meant to be enjoyed in a certain order which doesn’t happen all the time these days and makes each listen that much more special. My favorite songs are Close, Let it Burn, and Mysterious You.