It's a bit early for a year in review in music, and it's a bit late for summertime jams, but there's never a bad time for good music.
In a climate of relative political turmoil, 2018 similarly produced an upheaval of albums ranging from a monumental pairing betwixt Beyoncé and Jay-Z to striking debuts, like that of breakthrough singer producer, King Princess.
Make My Bed - King Princess - 16 min TRT
King Princess lands squarely between Lorde and Hundred Waters, but with a wallop of sincerity that hits in songs like the honest, bass-heavy Talia and 1950. Every track reveals a deeper musical mastery, like Upper West Side floating along loose guitar riffs and reverberated harmonies. If you like Tash Sultana, Børns, or Jorja Smith (see below), check her out.
Lost My Mind - Jorja Smith - 46 minutes
If you ever combined the vocal flexability of Amy Winehouse with Missy Elliot and Doja Cat, you'd have an idea of what Jorja Smith can do. From freestyling the Tom Misch (below) beat Lifeboats to the now iconic Blue Lights, Jorja Smith has talent oozing off every track.
The Now Now - The Gorillaz - 41 min TRT
With a sort of relentless tension, London natives Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett produced an alternative rock template through their projects like Plastic Beach then injected The Now Now with just enough house to create a countryside trance. Most tracks appear to find inspiration in the American West (Kansas, Idaho, Hollywood), reflected in the haunting melodies blended behind Albarn's pulling vocals.
Geography - Tom Misch - 53 min TRT
From the first track Tom Misch breathes life into the world - soft vocals over rising bass, catchy riffs, and a good ol' touch of funk. Somewhere between Kaytranada and Haitus Coyote, Misch is straight space-funk, with vibing drums that can keep dancing going for quite a while. Also, a fantastic show - would recommend.
Negro Swan - Blood Orange - 49 minutes
You like Frank Ocean? Check out Blood Orange, a pen name for Dev Haynes, who describes Negro Swan much more eloquently than I could; "... an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, as well as an honest look at the corners of black existence and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color."
EVERYTHING IS LOVE - THE CARTERS - 39 minutes
First Beyoncé and Jay-Z album EVER. Does not disappoint, and how could they? All the music videos are worth checking out as well, most notably the renting out of the Louvre for APES**T. SUMMER starts slow and steamy, and then The Carters masterfully dance from calls for racial equality, shows of black excellence, to hopes for their children, and an affirmation of their dedication to each other. Oh, and it sounds AMAZING.
ONEPOINTFIVE - Aminé - 35 minutes
Maybe you remember Caroline, and the artist who delivered it, Aminé. One of my favorite albums of the year, competing heavily with most of the albums on this list. Check out Aminé's dizzying vocal acrobatics on BLACKJACK, or his ability to speak emotionally in DR. WHOEVER, and the treasure trove of bangers hidden between the 13 track EPLPMixtapeAlbum (self-proclaimed).
NASIR - Nas - 27 minutes
Masterpiece from a master, words of wisdom delivered over masterful samples of Richard Pryor, Slick Rick, and more make NASIR in competition for his best work.
J. Cole - KOD - 43 minutes
DAYTONA - Pusha T - 22 minutes
TESTING - A$AP Rocky - 53 minutes
Wouldn't be complete without the return of New York's finest, A$AP Rocky. Complete with the bravado, the swagger, and the charm now typical with the Harlem-native, TESTING marks Rocky's return with an explosively psychedelic vibe.
Hive Mind - The Internet - 58 minutes
The Internet, the LA funk and roll band that can produce about whatever they like, came out with Hive Mind this year to make everyone dance. Led by vocalist Syd and Steve Lacy, put The Internet in your library if they're not already.
- For further listening pleasure -
Heaven and Earth - Kamasi Washington
Random Beats - Emapea
Awake - Alison Wonderland
Invasion of Privacy - Cardi B
Vibras - J. Balvin
Aura - Ozuna
KIDS SEE GHOSTS - KIDS SEE GHOSTS
Care For Me - Saba
Dirty Computer - Janelle Monae
WUT WUT - Dillon Francis
- Songs Worth Honorable Mention -
Bubblin' - Anderson .Paak
Like Suga - Shaka Kahn
I Like It (Dillon Francis Remix) - Cardi B
God is a woman - Ariana Grande
Andis Solomon - Media Intern, Undergraduate Admission