by Josh Gann–
With the 2019 Grammys on Sunday, Feb. 10, it’s a good time to reflect on the 2018 year in music. Nowadays, the Grammys tend to be part popularity contest and part recognition of true creative genius. This blog post takes a slightly different approach, as I review the 10 albums I enjoyed the most in 2018.
10. Black Panther Soundtrack ~ Various Artists
The soundtrack to the Best Picture nominee, Black Panther, wasn’t used for the movie itself but made for a highly enjoyable, 14-track playlist. Produced by Kendrick Lamar, this album features Lamar himself, SZA, Travis Scott, and several other Hip-Hop stars.
9. Lauren Daigle ~ Look Up Child
Lauren Daigle put out her best work yet with her fifth studio album. This combination of spiritual empowering songs and upbeat, dance-themed songs, like the album-title song “Look Up Child” make this a great listen.
8. The Paper Kites ~ On The Corner Where You Live
The Paper Kites also released On The Train Ride Home, but the follow-up project, On The Corner Where You Live, is the superior album in my opinion. This quiet, alternative rock project offers some jazz undertones that make this album consistent, but with a little flare.
7. Anderson .Paak ~ Oxnard
The follow-up the critically-acclaimed Malibu, allowed .Paak to really shine. There were some songs that, honestly, got slightly annoying. But, the majority of this albums slaps together incredibly rhythmic baselines and powerful percussion in this rap/funk/jazz project that left me coming back for more.
6. Pusha T ~ DAYTONA
The Norfolk-product, Pusha T delivered in the Kanye-produced album, DAYTONA. Pusha T has never rapped about much more than being a former drug-dealer, and that’s the case here. Yet, his lyricism and flow are unmatched as he owns every track.
5. Kacey Musgraves ~ Golden Hour
I had never thoroughly listened to Musgraves before this album, but Golden Hour is an amazing listen. This country/folk project can almost sound pop-ish at times with extremely catchy tracks like “Lonely Weekend” or “Love Is a Wild Thing”.
4. J Cole ~ KOD
The follow-up to a slightly underwhelming 4 Your Eyez Only, KOD is a gripping album that speaks on the drug-culture within Hip-Hop and beyond. Cole speaks on his friends, and mother, who have dealt with substance abuse that makes great dialogue.
3. The 1975 ~ A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships
This album is a bit of a change in direction for The 1975, but it completely delivers. The album offers epic, guitar-driven ballads, as well dance-inspired hits like “Give Yourself a Try” that make this a versatile listen, throughout.
2. Saba ~ Care For Me
For those that don’t know, the Chicago-native rapper, Saba, has an absolute gem in Care For Me. The album allows Saba to process through the loss of his cousin. While very emotional, the album is also a musical masterpiece with beat switches and authentic instrumentation.
1. Mac Miller ~ Swimming
Swimming is, tragically, Mac Miller’s best work. The late rapper opens the album with “Come Back to Earth”, a soothing track as he begs to “get out of his own head”. The album continues to tell of Miller’s demons, but also his triumphs over melodious and smooth instrumentation.