Saying Goodbye to 2018
Here we are, the first day of the new year. Well, it is if you’re here in America. To my readers on the Eastern Hemisphere, how’s 2019 treating you so far?
Normally this article would have been written and posted a few days ago, but this time I decided to wait until 2018 was officially over to do my annual retrospective.
This past year has has had plenty of ups and downs all across the board. I mean, we had the Olympics, that weird thing with the Tide Pods, we lost icons like Aretha Franklin and Stan Lee, and Elon Musk sent his Roadster into space just because he could.
Naturally it’s also been a crazy year for music as well. So, without further adieu, let’s get right to it!
My 10 Favorite Albums of 2018
10. “Love is Dead” by CHVRCHES
The third album from the Glasgow based Synth-Pop trio is their strongest release yet. Incorporating Indie pop, Indietronica, and electronic dance combined singer Lauren Mayberry’s unique vocal style, “Love is Dead” immediately piqued my interest and was an enjoyable listen through time and again. The single “Get Out” has made quite a few playlists I’ve constructed this year as well.
9. “Primal Heart” by Kimbra
Despite my opinions of the Pop genre, I have been a longtime fan of the New Zealand singer Kimbra. I think she has a great voice, her songs aren’t cookie-cutter and generic, and she doesn’t put all the emphasis on sex appeal and choreography. You can tell she puts actual effort into her songs, and the results are albums like her phenomenal “Vows” and now “Primal Heart.” Songs like “Good War,” “Top of the World,”and my personal favorite “Recovery” really showcase her talent as a singer, songwriter, and her range as a performer.
8. “Rainer Fog” by Alice in Chains
Grunge icons Alice in Chains are back with their third album post the late, great Layne Staley, and prove yet again that they’ve still got it. The Seattle based powerhouse band fronted by founding member Jerry Cantrell punched the world of rock in the face again when “Rainer Fog” dropped back in August, and they’ve been going strong with now three Singles released off the album, including the crunchy opener “The One You Know.” Alice in Chains has, and always will be, one of my absolute favorite bands from the 90’s, and I’m so glad they’re still around making great music!
7. “Years” by Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
That’s right, for the first time in That Music Junkie history, a Country album made the list. It’s for good reason though. “Years,” to me, is a truly unique listening experience. Sarah Shook seamlessly combines her Punk attitude with the Outlaw Country vibe to bring an album the likes of which I’ve never would’ve thought possible. With tunes like “Good as Gold” and “The Bottle Never Lets Me Down,” she expertly portrays the ugly side of toxic relationships and breakups, and not in the stereotypical “My dog died, my truck broke down, I’ve got cold beer” kind of way. Trust me on this one, you’ll want to check it out. I think we can expect great things to come from Sarah Shook & There Disarmers.
6. “Prequelle” by Ghost
I made a big deal about Ghost early on in 2018. They released a fantastic live album, then almost immediately started hinting at a new full length release. They dropped all these teaser videos, introduced new characters to their “mythos,” and were the “hot topic” of almost every hard rock and metal YouTube channel until, and well after, they finally released “Prequelle.” Now this album is heavy on the 80’s retro rock/metal sound in a way that works. Many critics of Ghost have said they’re “Spooky Scooby Doo chase music” but honestly I’ve always been a fan, and the new album plays into the cheesiness without actually being cheesy. Besides, songs like “Faith,” “See the Light,” and the instrumental “Miasma” really showcase the band’s growth and legitimacy in their genre.
The Top 5
5. “Marauder” by Interpol
What?! Interpol isn’t my number one pick?! I know, I know, this may come as a bit of a shock to my long time readers and friends. Everyone who knows me knows Interpol is one of my absolute favorite bands of all time. Hell, “Obstacle 1” off of their fantastic debut album “Turn on the Bright Lights” IS my favorite song! There were just SO many albums released this year, and honestly there are those on this list that I just listened to and enjoyed more than “Marauder.” Now that’s not to say that the album is bad in any way, shape, or form. It’s fantastic! I mean, come on, it made my top five! Songs like “If You Really Love Nothing” and the single “The Rover” prove that the NYC based Indie icons can release hit album after hit album.
4. “Ordinary Corrupt Human Love” by Deafheaven
I didn’t think it was possible to outdo an amazing album like 2013’s “Sunbather,” but the San Fransisco experimental metal band did just that. I was immediately drawn in by “Ordinary Corrupt Human Love” from the moment the needle on my record player hit the album, and those I’ve talked to about the album told me they felt the same. From the solid single “Honeycomb,” to bringing in the fantastic Chelsea Wolfe on “Night People” I feel like the band really knocked it out of the figurative park with this one.
3. “The Sciences” by Sleep
I raved about this album when it came out, and to this day it remains in regular rotation. The Stoner Rock juggernauts came back with a vengeance with this album, and it is easily on par with their iconic albums “Holy Mountain” and “Dopesmoker.” Not to mention frontman Matt Pike found time between recording this and touring to record and release “Electric Messiah” with his other powerhouse band High on Fire this year!
2. “Be More Kind” by Frank Turner
Out of all the albums that dropped this year, and all the songs with political tones, I truly believe that this is the one that we needed the most. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of everything that’s going on, particularly in this country, the English Singer/Songwriter takes a different approach and encourages us to improve, to progress, and to, well, be more kind! This album, to me, is incredibly important, and I feel like it’s Frank Turner’s best one yet. I mean, I raved out it in my unboxing video and it’s been my go-to recommendation.
Now, before I reveal my number one pick, I want to list some honorable mentions. As I said early, there were so many great albums released this past year that I could probably write a book with each chapter focusing on an album!
For the sake of time, however, I kept it to ten, but I still want to give a shout out to these albums: “Eat the Elephant” by A Perfect Circle, “Vultures EP” by 18th & Addison, “LiE” by Mudhoney, “Twin Fantasy” by Carseat Headrest, “Firepower” by Judas Priest, “Boarding House Reach” by Jack White, “KOD” by J. Cole, “Bad Witch” by Nine Inch Nails, “The Now Now” by Gorillaz, “Oxnard” by Anderson Paak, and “The Wake” by Voivod.
Okay now, on to the main attraction!
“Ember” by Breaking Benjamin.
Is anyone really surprise by this one? I went on a rather lengthy review praising the genius of this album! Musically, lyrically, and emotionally Benjamin Burnley and Co. bring what I feel is to be their best album since 2006’s phenomenal “Phobia,” (not to say that the two albums in between are bad!) and I just can not stop listening to it! I’m probably going to have to replace my copy soon because it’s just going to get worn out! Thank the music gods that we have digital formats too, right? This album is fantastic, and I predict will go down in History as one of their best, if not the best!
Well, there yo have it! My rather long-winded list of my ten favorite albums of 2018. I hope you enjoyed my list, and I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us!
What were some of your favorites from this past year? Let me know in the comments below!