Written by Carmen Mueller
The year is finally coming to a close and despite it being super hectic and sometimes frustrating, it is safe to say that music was a highlight of the year. While it’s hard to listen to and analyze every album that was released there are a few that stuck with us and stood out. Here is a list of our top picks of the year.
15. The Great Depression – As It Is
Many artists attempt the daunting task of releasing a concept album, but in 2018, As It Is successfully dropped their project The Great Depression. The album focuses heavily on the words of “The Poet” who guides the storytelling which revolves mental illness, death, suicide, and society’s stigma surrounding these topics. It’s a brilliant album that packs a punch both in concept and execution.
14. Bloom – Troye Sivan
After releasing his debut album Blue Neighbourhood back in 2015, the Australian singer embarked on tours and starred in Boy Erased. Many fans had been wishing for new music from Sivan, and that came true on August 31st. Bloom shows off Sivan’s great musical skill with his interesting beats and heart breaking lyrics. He uses his unique voice to tell worthwhile songs about love, relationships, queer identity, and much more. Because of this, Sivan has made it into our top 15.
13. Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
The third studio album by the Canadian heartthrob is a standout for this year; a perfect mix of acoustic guitar and more full blown pop anthems. He plays with different styles and has shown just how much he has matured through the lyrics in the project. The songs are guitar driven which is his signature sound, but he plays around with unusual beats which gives the album an edge.
12. Love and Loathing – With Confidence
The Australian band had just finished Van’s Warped Tour and ended that chapter of their life with the banger that is Love and Loathing. The band mixes acoustic ballads with heavier rock songs and stunning vocals by Jayden Seeley. The sheer amount of playability has created an album that cannot be ignored.
11. A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships – The 1975
The band released an album that not only dives deep into personal issues such as drug addiction, relationships, and love, but they created an album that goes even deeper than that. Shots are taken at American politics and gun violence that was rampant in 2018. They juggle various musical styles and dropped project that was just as much fun as it is haunting.
10. A Star is Born Soundtrack – Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Lady Gaga has been a pop icon ever since her hit single “Just Dance” and Bradley Cooper has been featured in many films before A Star Is Born came out in theaters, but this film not only stunned viewers with the story, but also with the incredible soundtrack. It is a mix of country, rock, and pop. There’s something for everyone and Gaga and Cooper’s dynamic is brilliant.
9. Beerbongs and Bentleys – Post Malone
Post Malone has been one of the biggest rappers of the past few years and his latest album Beerbongs and Bentleys. His unique style has made the album incredibly enjoyable as he switches between hip hop, to more rock heavy tracks, and even an acoustic track. The features on the project add to the greatness and proves that he knows exactly what a song calls for. One of the best hip-hop albums of the year.
8. Youngblood – 5 Seconds of Summer
A three year hiatus, a few world tours, and growing up has led the Australian band, 5 Seconds of Summer, to release their best album to date. The group has created a project that draws from old school rock and made it their own by having modern production and a pop charm. It’s risky to change a band’s signature sound, but they have done it with so much confidence and were able to create a great album.
7. 21st Century Liability – Yungblud
One of the most promising artists from this year has been 21 year old Dominic Harrison, also known as Yungblud. His debut album 21st Century Liability tackles issues like anxiety, sexual assault, and gun violence. Dom has reinvented the term “rock n’ roll” for himself and finds a way to deeply connect to his listeners. It might be his first big time album, but this project shows that he is off to a fantastic start.
6. Expectations – Hayley Kiyoko
You might know her from Disney’s Lemonade Mouth or as an evil wizard on Wizards of Waverly Place but the star has been making a name for herself as the internet’s “lesbian Jesus”. Kiyoko’s debut album showcases the singer’s love for cinematic flare, powerful pop beats, and meaningful lyrics. She makes sure that the LGBT community is well represented and has proved that songs about girls loving girls is much needed in the music scene.
5. Pray for the Wicked – Panic! At The Disco
Panic! At The Disco has had a tremendous year, with the release of Pray for the Wicked. Not only does Brendon Urie continuously kills it both vocally, and lyrically, but this album has such a uniqueness to it that separates it from the pack. The star has taken to this album with a Broadway-esque flair that has made him a top 5 pick.
4. Spider-Man into the Spiderverse Soundtrack
Despite being released later in the year, the soundtrack for the film Spider-Man into the Spiderverse has been gaining a lot of attention. The project is made up of many big names including Post Malone, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Juice WRLD, and Vince Staples, among many others. It’s a mix of hardcore tracks that you’d expect for a superhero film, but also more personal tracks that follows the story of the film. Its replay factor is high and is the perfect soundtrack for anyone.
3. Trench – Twenty One Pilots
Back in 2015, Twenty One Pilots released Blurryface and within the three year hiatus, fans of the duo have been eagerly awaiting more music. In October, the band dropped Trench, a concept album that paints the picture of a dystopian society, while sprinkling in more personal tracks that relate to Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. They cover suicide, personal growth, family loss, love and more on this project that is a mix of hip-hop, alternative, and rock music. It’s heartbreaking and cinematic and a must listen to album.
2. Dirty Computer – Janelle Monáe
Singer, songwriter, and actress, Janelle Monáe, had released Dirty Computer earlier this year and it stands as one of the best pop albums of the year. Monáe has crafted a wonderfully cohesive concept album that focuses on self-expression, racism, women’s issues, and so much more all within the world of the “dirty computer”. Her vision for this album not only take form in her album but also in a film project which shows how dedicated and passionate she is for her art. Her voice is powerful, raw, and brilliantly weird which puts her high on the list.
1. Sweetener – Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande has probably had one of the most successful years in terms of her musical career. Her album Sweetener has received countless praise, she stirred the pot with her track “God is a Woman”, and stunned many with her “Thank u, next” music video which tugged at the heartstrings of a ton of people who adore cult classic chick flicks. Her songs have focused on female empowerment, anxiety, and relationships, while including a tribute to those who were killed in the Manchester bombings last year. Grande’s ability to harness her pain into beautiful pop music not only makes her incredibly relatable but also shows just how vulnerable she is allowing herself to be through her art. Her work is incredibly appreciated and she receives our top pick for album of the year.