Top 10 Albums of 2018

It wasn’t hard to find good music in 2018 as there were many artists pushing the boundaries in pop, hip-hop and rock. In a year of the “algorithm” artists, many artists sought inspiration from both the classics and the traditional approach to songwriting, to the modern use of technology for collaboration and taking advantage of the advances in technology to create sounds that were never-before heard. New artists made strong debuts in 2018, some of which made our year-end list, demonstrating that once again showed that the full-length format is not only just as strong as it was in the past, but also essential for taking in the journey for each artist’s snapshot of creativity.

10 Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs

Earl Sweatshirt’s first album in three years also happens to be his best work to date. A trance-like, loop based production, with sounds reminiscent of J-Dilla. The songs here weave so seamlessly between each other, that sometimes it’s hard to tell where one song ends and another begins. Earl’s delivery is more calm and confident than ever, effortlessly gliding over the fifteen tracks that play out in less than twenty-five minutes; he spits some of the most personal and introspective lyrics he’s ever written. It’s nice to see Earl pull off the sweatshirts hood and reveal himself with a career high for a 24 year old who’s already put out an incredible body work. -Logan O’Brien

9 The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry To Online Relationships
The 1975 reaches countries across the world as heartthrobs and music geniuses. Their creativity spikes each song with either mesmerizing beats or beautiful lyrics you can’t help but belt out. “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” was a remarkable experience for fans because the band released many as singles before the full album debuted. It was almost like they released the obvious hits first and left the metaphorical songs bursting at the seams with meaning and feeling for the listener to understand all together. “I Couldn’t Be More In Love ” and “I Always Want To Die (Sometimes )” are the last two tracks on the album and showcase the band at its finest , from the raw bare-bone approach of the former to the anthemic of the latter. Almost straying away from pop meets alternative, “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” changed the game for The 1975 and reached an even larger audience in 2018. -Cayla Martin

8 Cardi B- Invasion of Privacy

Cardi B became an icon in pop culture with her comic and eccentric personality and the hits she was releasing just added to the fandom. “Invasion of Privacy” has 5 songs featuring major artists like Chance the Rapper, Migos, and SZA, making it inevitable that pairing Cardi with chart-topping artists was going to create something unstoppable. As misunderstood and confusing Cardi can be, her music speaks for itself and as the skeptics arise and fans become more dedicated, her albums like “Invasion of Privacy” become one of a kind. -Cayla Martin

7 Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

Janelle Monae’s third studio album opens up with the self titled song “Dirty Computer”. The key to understanding Monae’s concepts is to accept that nothing is set in stone. Believe it or not, “Dirty Computer” is not written about a piece of technology, instead a deeper meaning behind her journey of self acceptance. The album contains hits topping millions of streams like, “Make Me Feel” and “I Like That”. “Dirty Computer” was an important step in Monae’s life to portray her true feelings as the day before its release, she came out as pansexual. Paving the way for her true expression, “Dirty Computer” plays a major role in the music industry and Monae’s life. -Cayla Martin

6 Soccer Mommy – Clean
Soccer Mommy, also known as Sophie Allison, has a brilliant way of portraying stories and feelings that are backed behind her empowering voice on the album “Clean”. The vision of each song seems to blend together in Allison’s desire to find herself. Such as in “Last Girl”, “she’s got everything you’ll ever need” is repeated over and over again forcing the listener to feel for her envy. The 2018 release of “Clean” gave Soccer Mommy the chance to express real and raw emotions that listeners need hear in song after song. -Cayla Martin

5 Beach House – 7
Can Beach House miss? The band perfectly embodies the phrase, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” The dream pop duo has an incredibly unique way of completely reinventing their sound, while somehow totally maintaining it at the same time. This Lynchian soundtrack whirls sounds together like black and white paint on a spin wheel. An audibly dizzy, droning, psychedelic trip through LA’s seediest streets at their shadiest hours, it feels less like a Beach House, and more like Norma Desmond’s haunting mansion in “Sunset Boulevard.” -Logan O’Brien

4 Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations
From Disney star to chart-topping inspiration for the LGBTQ community, Hayley Kiyoko showed the world her new journey and message through “Expectations”. Meshing various sounds throughout “Expectations (overture)” Hayley builds the anticipation of what the album contains with accents of ocean and birds in the distant. “What Need” (feat. Kehlani) was an instant hit with not only the music video portraying the pop stars as lovers but the overall sensation of energy radiating from the pairings vocals. “Expectations” is Kiyoko’s debut major label album and just the beginning for her. -Cayla Martin

3 Vince Staples – FM!
Vince Staples latest continues his run as one of raps most exciting artists in the game. With a bright pink, beach scene cover seemingly inspired by Green Day’s “Dookie,” and the beats to match, it would be easy to hear this album as a buoyant, sunny summer album. Don’t be fooled though, lyrically, it’s still the same ole’ Vince. Bouncing around the 8 songs that he’s actually featured on, he balances the dance vibes of the music, with grim lyrics like “Summertime in the LB wild, we gon’ party till sun or the guns come out.” The album feels like a perfect representation of America’s public conscience, where having a good time can’t completely quell the sense of doom consistently lingering in the air. -Logan O’Brien

2 Snail Mail – Lush
Lindsey Jordan is 19 years old, and she’s better than you. She cruised into the hearts, and year end lists of millions(yea that’s right, millions. Check the stream count dog.) with her silky, sulky, hook laden indie debut “Lush.” Perfect for rainy days inside, or late nights staring out at the beach, you’d be hard pressed to find a better guitar pop album from the last couple years. Rent a cherry red convertible, and take a ride down to the shore, turn “Pristine” up to 11 and then try to tell us we’re wrong. -Logan O’Brien

1 Lucy Dacus – Historian

Lucy opens the album “Historian” with a melodic pairing of thought out lyrics and peaceful guitar acoustics. “Historian” reaches an assortment of sentimental feelings with her beautiful voice and subtle instruments leading each songs vision. With a voice that enhances the meticulous storytelling throughout the album from the opener “Nightshift” to the eloquent “Pillar of Truth”, leaving Dacus’ album at the top of 2018’s releases. -Cayla Martin

B-Sides Staff
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