Best album 2018

Best songs of 2018

Okay I’m really hitting the deadlines here but 2018 is almost over and I promised myself I would write a post about my top songs and top albums and though the post itself is rushed I spent the whole year carefully curating these lists. Please enjoy!  

I only wrote in length on my favorite five songs of the year and this is not a tier list like my best albums but just the songs I feel deserve the most attention here at the end of the year.  

https://open.spotify.com/user/nicholas_arcos/playlist/3qomofup8y3zu1bwhlhzkM?si=JywcX-LCQCmDukBUVOIpjg 

 

Hellogoodbye- “Close”

Are we building or breaking, destroying or making?  / Is it entropy or ecstasy?

I’ve been listening to Hellogoodbye since the beginning and though they started by producing  infectious pop hits, I’ve been most invested in their second act where they’ve gone more the indie synth route. Close is the best song they’ve created- ever. It’s sexual and demanding and steady and haunting and occupies those moonlit moments beneath the sheets with your lover. Lead singer Forest Kline’s whispers throughout the track opening just barely over the sparse instrumentation leading you into this moment before the drums kick in and bring the song to its full vision. I can’t even be objective while writing this as I’ve listened to this song over a hundred times this year and it always brings me to tears. It’s just wonderful.

 

Parcels- Tieduprightnow

Australian born Parcels is the disco funk electropop boy band you never knew you needed to exist. Straddling the line between the heyday of the seventies (long hair included) and the electronic dance music of today this five piece have made great waves since their debut in 2015. This was their first single of their debut album and it instantly calls you to a sock hop in early summer. This uptempo track is light and springy and pushes forward with an adept bass line and perfect high hat matched by a crooning falsetto. Though these aussies have relocated to Berlin, this song is a perfect tribute to the summer joy that is Australia.

 

Matt Corby- All Fired Up

You’ve never heard music until you’ve listened to Matt Corby. He is by far the greatest musician in the world and there are no exceptions. I’ve never been to another concert like his, pure vocal angst and instrumental talent, this man is a dream. Combined with his insane good looks there is nothing he can’t do. All Fired Up was the second single release in advance of his second album, Rainbow Valley, and describes the yearning a lover finds in his partner and the urge to know someone so completely and lovingly while being apart. It’s another song about sex but who cares after he lures you in with a beautiful piano intro and his perfect voice.

 

Maggie Rogers- All Fired Up

Maggie Rogers is an angel and I’m so excited for her debut album this upcoming January but the singles released in advance are good enough. Fallingwater is the pop single we deserve but so often the one ignored by the traditional radio market. Following the game accrued through the now viral Pharrell masterclass she attended while in college it’s clear that she’s continued to strive to bring together the harmony of nature sounds with the studio perfect pop she excels at. The layered vocals on the last half of the track are pure ear candy and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for her next release.

 

Yoke Lore- Concrete

I’ve seen Adrian, who’s monicker is Yoke Lore perform now four or five times and he is something of a musical and rhythmic phenom. How many times have you heard electronic banjo on the radio? Probably not many, but this is the man bringing that magic to the mainstream. Between his eclectic dancing and electronically enhanced vocals he creates an amazing live show environment. Concrete is a single off of his newest EP, Absolutes and delves into the struggle of having to be in the city to do your job and live like a normal human while your heart and soul ache for the country. The struggle of the heart and mind is one long fought, but eloquently put in this song.  

2018 was a minute but I’m excited to see the amazing music released in this new year! 

Best of 2018 Lists

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.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Wild Child - “Expecations”

  2. The 1975 - “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships”

  3. Future Generations - “Landscapes”

  4. Cher - “Dancing Queen”

  5. 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.

Top Ten

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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