Favorite Albums 2018

I listen to a lot of music. It’s one of my biggest hobbies. I’m old school, and don’t just listen to songs individually, but instead listen to albums as complete works. Looks like I thoroughly listened to at least 44 albums this year, with 24 of those having also been released this year. A lot of albums that I enjoyed, but I’ve whittled my list of favorite albums for this year:

Lucy Dacus – Historian

Lucy Dacus had a pretty good debut album (No Burden) back in 2016, which showed she was a pretty good songwriter. I think album is even a step up above that. I had the privilege of watching her headline with her band (at the Tractor tavern), as well as perform the opening set with the “Boygenius” supergroup (Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker). They’re all pretty amazing musicians (especially for being 23, 24, and 23, respectively), but I think Dacus has the most mature songwriting that I really respect.
Favorite songs: “Historian”, “Timefighter”

Mitski –
Be The Cowboy

I first heard about Mitski when she released “Puberty 2”, which was a pretty good album. This album is pretty great too. Only reason I didn’t put it first is there’s a number of less notable songs that I almost consider as interludes between my favs, which are “Geyser”, “A Pearl”, and “Remember My Name”. For better or for worse, if I were a musician, I think I would be Mitski. The same sentiments she expresses for her craft in “Geyser” and “Remember by Name”, I think I can use to draw inspiration for my craft of science.

IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance

This was a late listen, in December of this year (and is currently peaking for me now). But man, this is EXACTLY what punk rock should be. Fast, visceral, mocking (“Gram Rock”), and critical (“Samaritans”), but vulnerable (“June”), inclusive (“Danny Nedelko”), positive (“Television”), and reaffirming. I almost feel like they’re the perfect, leather-clad, sweaty and wise life coach. I mean, the first lines of “Television” are “If someone talked to you / The way you do to you / I’d put their teeth through / Love yourself”. Point made.

Brockhampton –

I’m so over Kanye. So I’ve instead gotten into a group that apparently got together on a Kanye online forum. Kevin Abstract seems to have the same kind of drive as Kanye (but isn’t Kanye), and has brought a bunch of talent around him to make a “Boyband”. All I know is that the songs are pretty decent, it’s not Kanye (am I repeating myself here?), and I thing this whole album is pretty awesome to run to. I also like it anytime my own musical preference and those of popular culture intersect. Looking through the track listing, I can’t say there are clear standout tracks (that I get 100% behind), though if I have to choose one it’s “Tonya”.

Let’s Eat Grandma –
I’m All Ears

The average age of musicians on this list is already preeeeetty low (I think everyone is quite easily under 30 except for IDLES), and these 18/19 year old are no exception. But well crafted, dreamy pop with good subject matter / perspective / crafting.
Favorite songs: “Hot Pink”, “Donnie Darko”

Individual, favorite songs of 2018:

Four Fists – “6666”: Doomtree is a gem of a record label / rap collective out of Minneapolis, and Astronautalis and P.O.S are two absolute professionals. It’s inspirational how good they are at what they do, yet have not reached mainstream success. I always draw inspiration from seeing these two perform (usually individually, but this time together). I think Astro was a history major at Rice, and it sometimes shows this super clearly, including “6666” and “Dimitri Mendeleev”.

Dessa – “Fire Drills”: Turns out this part of the post is the Doomtree section. Dessa is an amazing all-around person, writer, poet, musician, everything. Her album “Chime” is pretty good, but still not exactly my cup of tea, stylistically. Still, this track pulls together a lot of the great elements about her and puts it on a single track.

Edit 1/13/19: I’ve been listening to Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer” for the first time in a long while, and was totally reminded about how good of an album it is, and how it should probably be in my top 5 list as well.