2018. Usually, I have something profound to say about the end of the year or beginning to another. I don’t know if I’m getting older, or I’m getting crotchety but, I really don’t have much to say. This was not a blockbuster year for music. Don’t get me wrong, these 10 albums and several others are fantastic, but I’ll just say I didn’t agonize over my top 10 like I normally do. Personally, I had several ups and down. I was promoted in a job I very much enjoy, I celebrated my second year of marriage and my tenth year together with the woman I love more than anything in the world, but I also had to prematurely had to say goodbye to a cousin. You know that one cousin who’s like, the main cousin just because you two are the same age and was just always paired up by your family? That cousin. But just like every other year, music can make everything magnified. So here are my top ten albums of 2018. I hope everyone has an amazing start to 2019.
10. Antarctico Vespucci – Love in the Time of E-Mail
This album is 2018 in a nutshell. A concept based around the anxiety one feels around not receiving a reply back, and how those three little dots on your phone screen can tear you apart inside. This is in a way a supergroup from modern Eric Clapton, Jeff Rosenstock, and Bob the Music Industry’s, Chris Farren. Part pop/punk/ part fuzz rock, all 2018!
9. Soccer Mommy – Clean
Artists who are able to exist outside of the music industry landscape are becoming a dime a dozen so it’s tough to stand out. Singer/songwriter, Sophie Allison does so with ease with her debut under the moniker, Soccer Mommy. Much like the previous record, this comes from the perspective of a romance in 2018. A must listen for any trip to the coffee shop, or rainy day in.
8. Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs
I was reminded recently that Earl is 24 years old, which makes this album even more impressive. In a world of atrocious trap artists sullying the name of hip-hop stands a remaining few. Earl could have fallen down the rabbit hole of hip-hop obscurity the likes of people who don’t deserve to have their names listed here, but he clearly admires integrity over everything else. This album is dripping with character and raw emotion. Earl, a 24-year-old veteran, still has a lot on his mind.
7. Marissa Nadler – For My Crimes
Gothic folk. It exists! And Marissa Nadler is the face of the genre. This album is moody, to say the least, but almost confessional at times. She clearly takes her time on this, her 8th album. She takes a walk through the overgrown and murky forests of the darkest portions of the past and what came out the other sides is this beautiful album.
6. Gouge Away – Burnt Sugar
Dirty, dirty, dirty hardcore! I hate even calling it hardcore for a couple of reasons. It’s so much more than that, and that label could potentially turn people off to what is a great, rambunctious, noisy piece of art. If you like your music full of attitude and ferocity, this is the album for you. Hardcore for a fan of MC5 and The Sonics.
5. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
Speaking of The Sonics and MC5, perhaps the best American rock band today, Parquet Courts just keep pumping out near perfect albums. While this album certainly won’t be for everyone due to its sometimes preachy message, these guys deliver a powerful, politically charged rock record, worthy of 80’s Reagan era punk/hardcore. Definitely, give these guys a spin if you want some real rock and roll in 2018.
4. Lucy Dacus – Historian
Lucy Dacus was busy in 2018. She released this masterpiece of singer-songwriter gold in, Historian, but also teamed up with a true mastermind group of their craft; Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker to release easily best EP of 2018, the self-titled, Boygenius. So, if I had to name person of 2018, it would sure be Dacus. Historian, however, takes the sweet tones you’d expect from Dacus and injects it with some fuzzy heavy distortion to make this incredibly heartbreaking record.
3. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
This album is big. Really big. She brings with her on this journey, her normal wit, dancey synths, and slick riffs and turns it up to 11 with one of the best pop rock albums of this or any century. We will be talking about this album for a long time.
2. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
Singer/songwriter? Country? Folk? Who cares! This album is amazing. Easily one of the best albums of the decade. Everyone needs to give this album a listen, and everyone will get something different from the near perfectly illustrated lyrics. This is a must listen. Could easily be number one if not for…
1. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
If you know me you know my heart and soul will always be made of metal. It was the first genre I ever fell in love with. Every year there is a metal album that steals the show for me. I try and put it on its own list of best metal albums because I get it, not everyone likes metal. I just can’t ignore this outing by, in my opinion, the absolute best metal act to come out in the states in a long time. Deafheaven has been releasing masterpiece after masterpiece one right after the other, First with 2011’s Road to Judah where the band stumbles through a shoegaze laden album before discovering what they were meant to be on the 2013 tearjerker, Sunbather. They took a slight step back with 2015’s New Bermuda but came back stronger than ever this year with Ordinary Corrupt HUman Love. I’m getting chills as I type this thinking of some of the melodies that accompany this classic. To some, this may be hipster black metal but to me, this is two albums rolled into one. Depending on how you feel, or what you are going through you may hear a dark and emotionally bleak and depressing black metal tribute to the world we live in 2018. I, however, hear an album absolute overflowing with hope, beauty and reminded of all the wonderful aspects life brings to us in this flawed yet beautiful world (once again goosebumps as I type this). If metal isn’t your thing then ignore this album, and consider Kacey Musgraves to take the top spot. But I encourage anybody curious or anybody with an open mind to really listen to this masterpiece. I have a feeling you’ll get something from it.
So that’s it. I know we are all inundated with these top 10 lists. But I’m gonna keep writing them because I think it’s fun. Maybe you’ll discover something new and life-changing, or just some new music you really like. Did I miss anything? I listen to a lot of music, but this is less than half of a percent of the music that came out in 2018. Let me know your favorite album of 2018. Or if you hate one of these, tell me why. I always love talking about music. Below you’ll find two playlists; My top tracks of 2018, and my top metal tracks of 2018. Both go way above and beyond what you see here. Be good!