We’re finally here! After a year of truly terrific musical releases, we’ve been poring over all of them to bring you what we think are the best albums released in 2018. It’s an eclectic list – A-List rappers rub shoulders with underground singer-songwriters and some of the world’s most exciting popstars – but it’s all full of quality. But after plenty of discussion, so many tough decisions and at least one tantrum, we’ve finally come out with a list of 50 albums that we believe you need to listen to from this year, which we will be revealing day-by-day through the website over the next week and a half. Here are The Edge‘s Top Albums of 2018.
#50: Pale Waves – My Mind Makes Noises
An exciting blend of synth-pop and indie rock that balances the genres with just enough soul to keep you hooked from start to finish from one of 2018’s most exciting new bands.
#49: Jack White – Boarding House Reach
In his third solo album, the former White Stripes frontman moves away from the bluesy rock of his last couple of records to go full madman. Boarding House Reach is a mercurial album that jumps from one experiment to the next, never sitting still and never failing to keep you enthralled and bewildered from the first song to the last.
#48: Lupe Fiasco – DROGAS Wave
Lupe Fiasco’s Drogas Wave didn’t do big numbers upon its release in September, and it’s easy to see why – at nearly 100 minutes long and being lyrically denser than treacle, the album is certainly intimidating. Nevertheless, Drogas Wave is quite an experience, telling the story of the ‘Longchains’ – Africans who drowned themselves in the sea rather than be enslaved, but supposedly lived on in an underwater society – as well as Lupe’s own struggles in freeing himself from his old label, Atlantic Records. The concepts are fantastic, and Lupe raps effortlessly over the album’s mellow production, packing layers upon layers into every song and showing why he’s one of the best lyricists alive. We’ll be deciphering this one for years.
– words by Rob Tucker.
#47: Gorillaz – The Now Now
#46: Mac Miller – Swimming
Much like David Bowie’s Blackstar, released just days before his death in 2016, Mac Miller’s Swimming seems to take on a whole new level of melancholy in the wake of the rapper’s tragic passing in September. It’s one of the year’s most beautifully mellow hip-hop albums, with a funk-inspired, minimalist sound, yet has an underlying sadness to it; given Mac’s fatal drug overdose whilst apparently on the road to recovery from addiction, lyrics like “You could have the world in the palm of your hand, you still might drop it” are especially haunting. Although overshadowed by the bigger releases this summer, Swimming remains a special album and proof that hip-hop lost a great talent in 2018.
– words by Rob Tucker.
#45: Pusha-T – Daytona
Pusha-T was one of the most important names in hip-hop this year, not only for obliterating Drake in their rap beef, but also for releasing Daytona, the first of five Kanye West-produced seven-track albums and the rapper’s best work yet. It may be short, but there’s nothing sweet about Daytona: it’s a cold, dark, grimy project, that could act as Pusha’ very own super-villain soundtrack. Kanye’s production is fantastic – the sampling throughout is a joy – and Pusha raps over every beat masterfully, with his aggressive delivery and cutting lyrics sounding better than ever. As a pure rap album, Daytona is one of the year’s best.
– words by Rob Tucker.
#44: Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
Mendes may only be 19 years old, Shawn Mendes is his third full-length record, and it tells. Far more mature than any of his previous work, Mendes’ latest album proves why he’s here to stay.
#43: Amen Dunes – Freedom
This album has made me cry more than rubbing onions into my eyes whilst watching the final moments of Shrek 2 on repeat. The layers, Wilson. The layers. Seriously though, Freedom is a complex, complete work of art that resonates on personal, political and historical levels. An utterly unmissable triumph and an evocative portrait of an artist in motion.
#42: Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
This album does to Black Metal what Duchamp did to art. Messed it up real good. All the songs are great. Mixes lots of textures in real cool ways. 10/10 would listen again.
#41: Death Grips – Year Of The Snitch
Death Grips dish out another steaming hot serving of music that sounds like a headache. In the best possible way.
#40: Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations
Expectations brought Hayley Kiyoko her status as a rising star. This is her first full length album and its honesty resonated with fans new and old.
#39: Ariana Grande – Sweetener
Coming just over a year after the devastating attack at her 2017 Manchester concert that killed 22 people and left Ariana Grande “permanently affected”, one of pop’s most inspiring stars returned this August with Sweetener. Headlined by the quite sublime ‘God is a Woman’, Grande’s fourth record is filled to the brim with love, positivity, hope, strength and womanhood, and its an album you’ll find hard to put down once you’ve picked it up.
#38: Jungle – For Ever
One hour of chilled-out funky grooves ranging from ‘Heavy, California’ to ‘Better Man’ and everything in-between – Jungle have improved in every way upon their 2014 debut, and what more could you ask for?
#37: Superorganism – Superorganism
In their self-titled debut album, the eight-piece band with members from Australia, Korea and Burnley mix a bewitching array of kaleidoscopic instrumentation and samples and somehow end up delivering the goods. Superorganism may be a little uneven at times, but when it comes off it makes for an utterly entralling listening experience.
#36: Khruangbin – Con Todo El Mundo
Blissful, serene world-pop/funk/fusion from a band that have showed consistent growth since their debut. A name that is impossible to spell, let alone pronounce means they may shy from mainstream success, but they deserve a listen.
#35: Black Honey – Black Honey
Black Honey‘s debut represents the unleashing of a carefully and cleverly cultivated sound in a debut that provides the band with a perfect platform to continue to grow and eventually conquer.
#34: Blood Orange – Negro Swan
Breathtakingly honest, surprisingly accessible, and astonishingly creative, Blood Orange’s Negro Swan is a terrific experimentation in barebones alt-R&B that dives into the problems faced by people of colour (and people worldwide) in a refreshingly engaging and authentic way.
#33: Years & Years – Palo Santo
It’s difficult to make a second album better than the debut, but Years & Years managed it and surpassed all expectations in the process. The album toys with the ideas of coming out, broken hearts and resolution.
Read our full review of Palo Santo by Jack Nash here.
#32: Panic! At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked
Pray For The Wicked showcases a new sound for Panic!, yet retains their old essence from previous albums; Brendon Urie gives the fans exactly what they want and that’s absolutely fine by me.
#31: Yungblud – 21st Century Liability
It is the direction rock as a genre should be heading, and Yungblud keeps it relevant to 2018 with powerful political lyrics packed with purpose and direction. The album has tracks that bring up so many issues for our generation, from depression and drugs, to sexual consent and freedom of speech, 21st Century Liability covers all bases.
Read our full review of 21st Century Liability by Jack Nash here.
The Edge‘s Top 50 Albums of 2018: Playlist Edition
Want to listen to all of this musical goodness? Follow our shiny Spotify playlist for highlights of our Top 50 albums, with new songs added as we approach that No. 1 Spot…