Did your favorite albums make the list?
2018 is over, and that means every single one of the world’s newspaper publications will be creating some sort of top blank list. Top movies, top albums, top top lists. They are never ending, devoid of any sort of creativity, and serve zero purpose apart from giving both the writer and the reader that oh so sweet validation that we all crave. Here at the Reporter, we are no different. So, here we go.
Top 10 Albums
This year was surprisingly great for music. Hip-Hop became overtake Rock as the most popular genre of music, artists like Kanye West and Taylor Swift took hard political stances, and Travis Scott finally dropped “Astroworld”. A lot of great artists dropped extremely well crafted albums, personal albums this year and since we are choosing to highlight just the top five albums of the year, I want to take this next paragraph or so to highlight some of my favorite projects.
In Hip-Hop, artists like Denzel Curry and Saba proved they were here to stay with intensely personal records that excelled on nearly every front. Earl Sweatshirt and Travis Scott dropped long awaited albums with production quality that rivals some of the genre’s best of all time. Kanye West produced some incredible albums as well, like Pusha T’s spectacular Daytona, or Kid Cudi and Kanye’s joint album “Kids See Ghosts”.
Outside of rap, artists such as Snail Mail and Father John Misty brought some much needed vigor to the rock genre with their records “Lush” and “God’s Favorite Customer”. Meanwhile Mitski and U.S. Girls created incredible pop albums, “Be the Cowboy” and “In a Poem Unlimited”, that deserved a much brighter spotlight than they got. Speaking of pop, Kacey Musgraves’ album “Golden Hour” combined that genre and country in such a unique way that you kind of forget it is a country album at all. Kamasi Washington dropped yet another spectacular jazz album, “Heaven & Earth”, as he continues to reinvent that genre. Finally, in the indie scene Kero Kero Bonito dropped their best album to date with the inventive “Time ‘N’ Place”.
All of those albums were wonderful in their own way, but these five we have chosen to highlight really added something special to music as a whole. So, without further ado…
“Room 25” -Noname
Noname crafted maybe the greatest female rap album of all time this year with her amazing, introspective work on Room 25. Dealing with problems such as legacy and what remains of a person, she was able to create her own space in the genre. Her unique voice and delivery gave her a much needed listenability quality that many of her contemporaries lacked. Her production also really helps paint out the scene her rhymes are trying to create.
Peggy, as his fans call him, had already found a very loyal fanbase in the underground rap scene before he dropped his incredible album “Veteran” early last year. Since then, largely due to a very positive review from renowned music reviewer Anthony Fantano, he has rocketed into the indie scene as one of their favorite artists. Is that really deserved? Is the album really that good? Yes. Yes to both. The album is a little hard to listen to on a first try, but if given time, it grows on you like almost no other. Incredible on all fronts, the album may be the best rap album of the year.
“Dirty Computer” -Janelle Monae
After a brief musical hiatus, in which she focused on her acting career, Janelle Monae came back to the music world last year. Sorely missed, her unique perspective as a black LGBT+ artist is at the forefront of her new album. The way she sings about the issues she faces everyday and has faced everyday is admirable, while also being extremely well done from a music point of view.
“DROGAS Wave” -Lupe Fiasco
Free of the confines a label creates, Lupe dropped arguably the most important rap album of the year. Dealing with racial issues, the album articulates many problems others have that they cannot discuss themselves. On top of that, he takes the second half of that album to talk about hip-hop as a whole, and what it means to him personally.
“I’m All Ears” -Let’s Eat Grandma
As admittedly the most obscure artist listed here, most people don’t know much about the group. From the UK, this dream pop collective creates a vibe few other artists are capable of. Their synth riffs and vocals combine in a way that is definitely not mainstream. Something about this album, be it the actual music or the vocals, keeps you coming back for more.
Looking forward, 2019 should be just as good if not better than 2018 was for music. Hopefully it lives up to this year’s amazing resume.
Feature Photo: Travis Scott performs on the “Astroworld” tour at Minneapolis’ Target Center Dec. 8. (Mansoor Ahmad|MSU Reporter)