2018 has been a strong year for music and it has proven that if you want to find great music you just need to work a bit harder. Albums and songs of great quality will no longer be found on the radio and with the event of streaming services there is a host of great artists at your fingertips.
I have listened to many albums this year but of course I have not listened to them all because that would be impossible so therefore this list is just a top 10 of what I have enjoyed.
10. Primal Heart – Kimbra
Kimbra returned with another fascinating effort full of synthy production and the main weapon which is her unique and interesting voice.
There are a few real high points on this effort with the opening song “Good War” really setting the tone for what is a highly enjoyable affair. My favourite track is “Right Direction” which is an 80’s sounding ballad that has some rich and layered production especially when the strings kick in at the end.
Must Listen Tracks: Good War, Everybody Knows, Right Direction
9. Geography – Tom Misch
The extremely talented Tom Misch continues to see his reputation build with his debut album “Geography”. It’s an album where I find myself continuing to return to with there being some deliciously great songs with some clever and smooth production.
The exciting thing about this album is that you know it is just the beginning and if this is what Misch can do with his debut you wonder what other brilliant things he is going to be able to achieve.
A very London sounding album which is difficult to fully articulate but that’s the feeling you get flowing through the set.
Must Listen Tracks: Runs Through Me, Water Baby, Disco Yes
8. Boy In Jeans – Ryan Beatty
If you’re a fan of 90’s R&B and Neo Soul then this album is going to appeal to you and if you’re not it might just be a bit too background noise for your liking.
But I am the former and I was taken away by this album. I love his voice and I love the production on the track. It’s so cool and chilled which is evident from the very first song “Haircut”.
It helped me going into this album not knowing a thing about Beatty as I just took the whole thing on its musical merit which of course is what we should always do when listening to an album but it would be naïve to think that external factors do not change opinions.
Must Listen Tracks: Haircut, Camo, Crash
7. Take This And Grow Flowers – Jodie Abacus
This album meant a lot to me given how long I had enjoyed the music of Abacus from all the way back in 2007. It had taken a long time for him to release a full-length debut album but it didn’t disappoint and even included some old favourites of mine. It’s a positive album full of brightness and hope.
It’s a beautifully produced album with plenty of funk, soul and R&B to please me greatly.
Must Listen Tracks: Skin, She’s In Love With The Weekend, You’re Crazy
6. Voicenotes – Charlie Puth
Ah my dose of real pop music. This is an artist that if you told me a few years ago I would be listening to after the horrific “Let’s Marvin Gaye and Get It On” I would have thought you were mad but after the track “Attention” hit I was hooked, and this album did not disappoint.
It’s such a easy listen as the great hooks and groove flow over the track list. Includes both a song in both the top 10 of the year from 2017 and 2018.
Must Listen Tracks: Attention, How Long, BOY
5. Good Thing – Leon Bridges
Whilst I had respected his voice on his debut album, I found the styling of Leon Bridges not something I would enjoy in album form, but he has come back with something that whilst retro still feels very modern with the awesome track “Bad Bad News” being an example of this.
When he sings those heartfelt soul songs, he is absolutely outstanding and this album captures some of the most gorgeous songs of 2018. The way he connects with a song really makes you listen as it seems as if he means every word he is saying.
A beautiful album.
Must Listen Tracks: Bet Ain’t Worth The Hand, Beyond, Bad Bad News
4. Bloom – Troye Sivan
I feel as if Troye Sivan’s music is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me as it doesn’t seem to fit into anything I else I really enjoy yet I was eagerly anticipating this album after the promo singles “My My My” and “Bloom” came out.
His voice is sometimes stoic in its delivery but this is the way it is meant to be when dealing with some of the subjects he delves into on here.
Must Listen Tracks: My My My, Bloom, Dance To This
3. Dirty Computer – Janelle Monae
The top 3 are all albums that I found extremely creative and break the boundaries of what music should sound like as things get put into genre brackets.
This is just a fantastic album from a fantastic artist who has created a concept album about being yourself and the prejudices that we face in today’s society. It’s a socially conscious piece of work and I think Janelle Monae is a genius.
Must Listen Tracks: Screwed, Django Jane, Pynk
2. A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships – The 1975
This album only came out in late November 2018 but it is still more than qualified to be at number 2 in my list because it is utter fantastic.
This album has everything I wanted, and I didn’t even realise it. It’s introspective and thoughtful, funny, sad, and knows what it wants to be.
The production is just exquisite and Matty Healey brings everything to the table with his vocal which I think is just wonderful.
Must listen Tracks: Love It If We Made It, Sincerity Is Scary, It’s Not Living (if its not with you).
1. Little Dark Age – MGMT
Of all the albums on the list this was released the earliest yet has stood the test of time as MGMT delivered a quite masterful piece of work.
Laden with synth pop sounds, stunning production work and just great songs “Little Dark Age” is one of the finest album I have heard in the last decade.
It’s such an exceptional album in it’s delivery of all elements of it’s instrumentation and it sounds so fresh and like nothing else I have ever heard despite that air of familiarity hanging around it.
A fine album.
Must Listen Tracks: Me & Michael, TSLAMP, When You Die
That is my top 10 albums of 2018. I hope you check some of them out as there is some great work being produced by hard working artists who continue to create new and interesting sounds and great songs.