Happy New Year! We’re back to give you our favorite albums of 2018 from our totally biased points of view. These albums ended up here based on how much we listened to them, what they meant to us, what they meant to the world, and how great we thought they were. Unlike last year, we didn’t rank these, so don’t read into the order. These 10 albums all rule and you’ll be doing yourself a favor by checking them out.
– Evan & Pat
Jeff Rosenstock – POST-
Jeff beat everyone to the punch and dropped POST- on New Years Day, 2018. POST- opens with a five-second song that quickly blows away any expectations and drops you into a seven-and-a-half-minute epic that questions his fellow Americans. Lyrically and musically, POST- is Jeff Rosenstock at his finest. To us, it feels like a time capsule of the past few years. Frustration, exhaustion, and sometimes just needing to scream your heart out.
Let’s use that energy that POST- brought us in 2018 and continue it on to the future.
Black Panther: The Album
While not technically a Kendrick Lamar album, Duckworth himself writes and performs on every track (even if he’s not credited) and this soundtrack serves as the most recent project Kendrick’s already impactful career. When was the last time we got a soundtrack like this? Black Panther, the movie, was a cultural phenomenon this year and director Ryan Coogler made a wise move in asking Lamar to work on the soundtrack. Whether it’s a Bay-born anthem for Killmonger, a sweet bop for the women of Wakanda, or a certified SZA banger, this album has something for everyone who liked Black Panther, which should be everyone. It’s Kendrick in Hollywood, Lamar’s latest statement, and we love what he’s done with the place.
illuminati hotties – Kiss Yr Frenemies
This album is exactly what the name suggests. Love songs engineered by a secret worldwide organization hell-bent on getting you to kiss yr frenemies. Sarah Tudzin leads the “tenderpunk” charge with an album containing lyrics like “all my favorite socks have holes in them” (relatable!) and the riffs will get you dancing. Is it mind control? Probably! And we are here for it!!
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
To call this Monáe’s breakout album would be disrespectful her previous work, but with Dirty Computer, and its accompanying “emotion picture,” we may be getting the most complete picture of this multi-hyphenate star yet. Featuring several anthemic bops, a treasure trove of R&B and pop influences, and guest appearances from Brian Wilson, Zoë Kravitz, Grimes, and Pharrell, Monaé has given us everything he hoped for with this anticipated release and more. We went to see her live earlier this year in NYC and she brought the house down. Janelle Monáe has arrived, retained her android funk, and grown even beautifully more human in the process.
Screaming Females – All At Once
This New Jersey trio was kind enough to unleash All At Once early in the year to give us time to dive deep and obsess. Some songs on the album are minimal while others ramp up the chaos and become thunderous behemoths. Fuzz cuts through the air and Marissa Paternoster unleashes riffs that rival Black Sabbath.
Listen to it from front to back. Flip a coin and listen to it on shuffle. Listen to every track at the same time. All At Once never gets old.
Camp Cope – How to Socialise & Make Friends
The first track from Camp Cope’s sophomore effort, “The Opener,” does more than *just* highlight how women are viewed in the world of punk and call bullshit on the men that uphold it, but it also serves as the tractor beam that drags you into the rest of the album. While navigating difficult subjects like sexual assault and the loss of a loved one, singer Georgia Maq uses her emotionally expressive voice and a captivating Australian accent to great effect, creating an album that oscillates between gentle and giant. Just one more of a reason to keep a close ear on the punk scene down under in 2019.
Retirement Party – Somewhat Literate
Retirement Party (the best name?) wrote a song about Passion Fruit Tea and it will be stuck in our heads forever. This is not a bad thing, it just happens to be a reality and we love it. Somewhat Literate is full of catchy pop songs that require you to sing along about tea, anxiety, and wondering if maybe you’re the asshole.
Retirement Party played a packed venue at Fest this year and had everyone at The Atlantic dancing. Light your lighters, wave your hands, and belt your heart out about Passion Fruit Tea.
Teyana Taylor – K.T.S.E
How Teyana Taylor does so much with a 23-minute album is truly something to behold. The sultry vocals, the old school samples, the engaging production, the whole damn vibe: it’s all there on this short R&B statement. K.T.S.E is the sexiest thing we’ve heard all year and even has hooks catchy enough to take you right out of the moment. The whole thing was written and produced with Kanye West as a part of his “Wyoming Sessions” and while the jury is still out on his trajectory, Taylor is clearly on the rise.
Mipso – Edges Run
The corner of Americana that Mipso has carved for itself is only getting deeper and richer as they continue to release albums and Edges Run might be their most complex offering yet. Filled with darkness in many of its lyrics, this album balances those words with beautiful arrangements and gorgeous voices from the band’s three lead vocalists. We had a chance to see Mipso right around the time this album dropped and were in awe to witness their stage show that so deftly mixes heartfelt moment with touches of hootenanny. We also got to interview vocalist Jacob Sharp in the studio and record him playing music for with brother Josh live on stage.
- Hirs – Friends. Lovers. Favorites.
- War on Women – Capture the Flag
- Katie Ellen – Still Life EP
- boygenius – s/t
- Blood Orange – Negro Swan
- Caroline Rose – Loner
- Ella Mai – s/t
- Emma Frank – Ocean Av
- Kitten – Pink Champagne EP
- Gladie – Everyone Is Talking About You EP
- Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog
- John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once
- Robyn – Honey
- Converge – Beautiful Ruin EP
- Ratboys – GL
- Thou – Magus