The Top 25 Albums of 2018

2 Jan

25. serpentwithfeet, “soil”

24. Adrianne Lenker, “abysskiss”

23. Blood Orange, “Negro Swan”

22. Lucy Dacus, “Historian”

21. Superorganism, “Superorganism”

20. Hop Along, “Bark Your Head Off, Dog”

19. Jon Hopkins, “Singularity”

18. Liza Anne, “Fine but Dying”

17. Low, “Double Negative”

16. Brandi Carlile, “By the Way, I Forgive You”

15. Denzel Curry, “Ta13oo”

14. Mitski, “Be the Cowboy”

13. Kali Uchis, “Isolation”

12. Snail Mail, “Lush”

11. 공중도둑 (Mid-Air Thief), “무너지기 (Crumbling)”

10. SOPHIE, “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides”: An emphatically glorious burst of sound that flows in between blaring synths, ferocious bass, and glitchy, experimental pop. It’s extremely catchy in a slightly off kilter way, and the entire production is a strong, firm embrace of the intersections of Sophie’s identity.

9. Natalie Prass, “The Future and the Past”: A deliciously fun, unabashedly political fusion of R&B, jazz, and funk wrapped inside an indie music package and delivered straight to your post-2016 election door.

8. Tomberlin, “At Weddings”: If you know me, you know that female vocalists singing slow, melancholic songs is my thing. But more than that, this is simply a beautiful album, one that aches with tenderness and ephemerality as the question of faith takes its place front and center.

7. boygenius, “boygenius”: Yeah, there was no chance this would be anything less than great. Both a heart-stopping showcase for each of the artist’s solo talents and a collective sad, warm embrace from amazing musicians who clearly love each other to death. This is Harmony Heaven right here. Seeing these women live, especially with people you care about, is an unforgettable experience.

6. Florence + The Machine, “High as Hope”: Intimate yet powerful, both in lyrics and voice. This is an album that bares its soul without being overpowering, working through raw introspection as Florence Welch continues to cement herself as one of the great vocalists of our time.

5. Father John Misty, “God’s Favorite Customer”: A hauntingly smooth croon dominates this album, one that I’d argue is a significant rebound from last year’s “Pure Comedy.” It’s about self loathing and deconstruction of identity and ego and it’s also slightly obnoxious because Josh Tillman is just that way, but it all works beautifully.

4. Kacey Musgraves, “Golden Hour”: “Follow Your Arrow” made me fall in love with Kacey, and I’m so glad she’s raking in the accolades now for this incredible fourth album. It’s so calming and hummable, yet also bare and heart-wrenching. Also just so much respect for Kacey being who she is in the genre she’s in.

3. Beach House, “7”: If there’s a Beach House album out, chances are I’m going to describe it as “transcendent.” That’s exactly the case for “7,” a swooning and spirited ride that both marks a departure from their past work and a natural extension of it. There’s a dark, immersive energy to this that is so damn infectious and so Beach House.

2. Janelle Monáe, “Dirty Computer”: It’s joyful, ambitious, and oozing with pride: pride in herself, pride in others, and pride in the progress that we have made and will make together to ensure that the world is a better place. It doesn’t shy away from the problems that plague our society, instead confronting them with an unapologetic fervor that Monáe captures like no other. “Americans” is a masterful closer and one of the best, if not the best, songs of the year.

1. Typhoon, “Offerings”: It’s kind of shocking and disrespectful how little attention Typhoon gets, even on the indie-loving Internet. They don’t even have a Metacritic profile. Just know that “White Lighter” is a masterpiece and “Offerings” gets close. The album is a 70 minute force of nature, expansive yet deeply personal, clear yet complex, an interrogation of memory that sweeps you in with its orchestral statements and grounds you with its words. First album I listened to this year, and it remains unmatched.

Honorable Mentions: Albums from Big Red Machine (Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner), Saba, Kamasi Washington, Pusha T, Miya Folick, U.S. Girls, Anderson .Paak, Say Sue Me, Noname, Haley Heynderickx, Pinegrove, Camila Cabello

Others Considered: Albums from The Voidz, Parquet Courts, JPEGMAFIA, Death Grips, Tierra Whack, Tirzah, Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay, Tracyanne and Danny, The 1975, Borns, Gorillaz, Phantastic Ferniture (Julia Jacklin), Gorillaz, George Ezra, Mount Eerie, CHVRCHES, Young Fathers, Half Waif, Yves Tumor, Neko Case, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt, Empress Of, MGMT, Lykke Li, Leon Bridges, Troye Sivan, Jeff Rosenstock, Anna von Hausswolff, Armand Hammer, Soccer Mommy, Sidney Gish, Julia Holter, Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, Robyn, Christine and the Queens, Wye Oak, Let’s Eat Grandma, Dirty Projectors, Iron & Wine, Foxing

Score Shoutout: Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood), If Beale Street Could Talk (Nicholas Britell)

A few other great EPs: Sugar & Spice (Hatchie), Heaven’s Only Wishful (MorMor), Antisocialites B-sides (Alvvays)

Doesn’t count since it’s a re-recording but great: Twin Fantasy (Car Seat Headrest)

Too much for me: Joy as an Act of Resistance. (IDLES), You Won’t Get What You Want (Daughters)

No thanks: KIDS SEE GHOSTS (Kids See Ghosts), Invasion of Privacy (Cardi B)

2 Responses to “The Top 25 Albums of 2018”

  1. MovieManJackson January 2, 2019 at 9:44 pm #

    Lupe Fiasco’s DROGAS WAVE may be my favorite rap album of the year. It’s kind of dense (as is much of his work), but man, I feel like the guy is a lyrical mastermind and assassin. So much awe in this album.

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