Terry’s Top 50 Albums of 2018

I may not be good for much, but I know how to inhale an album or two. I’ve listened to hundreds of albums this year, spending more time with some than others. If my top 50 isn’t the most eclectic collection of the year, I added a little stream of consciousness poem at the end for good measure. I’m weird like that, just like my list below of albums of the year. Please enjoy, and let me know what I missed. Without further adieu…

  1. Blood Orange: Negro Swan This is everything I want in an album: pitch perfect production, varying tones and musical elements unified by a common theme and spoken word snippets by none other than Janet Mock. Dev Hynes has done it again, and this could very well turn out to be the seminal piece of art in an already prolific career. 10/10 would recommend to anyone down with any of the above…
  2. Black Panther The Album This is the best soundtrack to come out since fuckin’ Wayne’s World in the ‘90s and shit. Zang…
  3. Lord Huron: Vide Noir This album has everything: existentially dreadful/exhilarating lyrics, spooky space folk instrumentation, the Secret of Life, an accompanying fictional main character worthy of literary praise, insightful inquisitions regarding our place in the universe, and more. Vide Noir accomplishes more philosophically in its 49 minutes of existence than most modern philosophers have in their entire body of work. This might be #1 by the end of the year. Multiple listens. Much good. “Tell me how does (a man) change the universe?”
  4. Tash Sultana: Flow State Oh, you like ‘90s R&B? Oh, you also happen to like ‘60s Carlos Santana and Led Zeppelin as well as ‘70s singer-songwriter hey day material? Well, does Tash Sultana have the album for you! This has literally all of the vibes…
  5. Poliça/s t a r g a z e: Music for the Long Emergency Seeing the majority of this album performed live certainly influenced this top 5 ranking, but when you combine the raw energy of Poliça with the the classically trained musicality of  s t a r g a z e, beauty ensues.
  6. Black Thought, Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 and 2 Black Thought reminds us all of what lyricism stands for and the power of words and thought out into action. He also reminds us that hip hop is juuuuuuuuust fine. 
  7. Young Fathers: Cocoa Sugar This is like TV on the Radio meets N.E.R.D. in both of their primes with splashes of totally unique sounds and blends. This was my pleasant surprise album of 2018. 
  8. Mac Miller: Swimming Full disclaimer: I had honestly never been into Mac. Then he died, and for some (probably sick and twisted) reason my interest piqued. There’s just something about dead rock stars that speaks to my soul. Throw in Thundercat throughout and really insightful songwriting, and I’m sold. 
  9. MGMT: Little Dark Age A band I’ve always liked (Oracular Spectacular might be a top 20 all-timer for me), MGMT fully evolves on this joint while simultaneously simplifying their signature 4th dimensional music with songs about existential dread and working out side by side…
  10. KIDS SEE GHOSTS Let’s have conversations that start out uncomfortable and then end up super productive. Kanye’s production and samples are once again as on point as ever, and him and Cudi feed off of each other really nicely. At this point in both of their careers, it’s a pretty perfect pairing and an opportunity to really examine mental health.
  11. Big Red Machine Speaking ofperfect pairings…Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National) deliver a celebration of both of their best abilities.                                              
  12. Evidence: Weather or Not Throughout the year, I just kept coming back to this album. It’s got lyrical depth for days, some dark and moody musical accompaniment, making for a quintessential time capsule album for 2018. 
  13. Khruangbin: Con Todo el Mundo Super chill while still super edgy and fun, this is literally “anytime” music, meaning this could come on at the 2am backyard barbecue doobie wind down session. It could come on first thing in the morning for a wake up call. It could appear on a Rick Famuyiwa score. Anytime, it’s super vibes. Ride this wave all day…
  14. Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth Kamari Washington is making the best jazz of all the jazz. This album is as epic as it is comforting.
  15. J. Cole: KOD J.Cole has always been on another level, and KOD is no different.
  16. CHVRCHES: Love is Dead I’m just super in love with CHVRCHES and their brand of electronica, which is equal parts ‘80s synth nostalgia, ‘90s freestyle vocal deliveries, ‘00s pop, and ‘10s experimentation, goes to another level here.
  17. Lupe Fiasco: DROGAS WAVE Who doesn’t love a good hip hop concept album, especially one that focuses on the afterlife of African slaves who die at sea and utilize their supernatural abilities afterward?
  18. Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer Funky R&B and female empowerment, I think we all can agree that we need more of both, please…
  19. King Buffalo: Longing to be the Mountain This album is a fuzzy Pink Floyd hoodie on a chilly autumn day. Das a metaphor.
  20. Jean Grae & Quelle Chris: Everything’s Fine If you’ve liked either of these two in their solo element, you’ll love this. If you love self aware, scathing, humorous, satirical bars and verses with skits and passes at societal practices, you’ll love this. If you love people who are beyond the beyond and way past woke to another realm where we can laugh at everything, you’ll love this. If you don’t love those types of sets, I’m not sure what you’re doing here…
  21. SLV: Piece of Mind Latinx empowerment and undefinable, genre-bending musicality, this album speaks to the equalitist in all of us.
  22. Pusha T: DAYTONA This one bangs from front to back with King Push pushing the boundaries of what hip hop can be…
  23. Kali Uchis: Isolation Kali Uchis is a name we’ll be hearing for a long time and with good reason…
  24. Logic: Bobby Tarantino II A voicemail from Elton John and the greatest album intro in the history of album intros gives Bobby Tarantino II kind of an unfair advantage to the field, but regardless, this album is a perfect blend of “mix tape Logic and album Logic,” to paraphrase Rick & Morty who star in the aforementioned intro…
  25. Jungle: For Ever Let’s dance to this one…forever?
  26. DEATH GRIPS: YEAR OF THE SNITCH Sounds like Wu Tang Clan at a rave with Nine Inch Nails and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien providing the soundtrack. Undeniably powerful punk rock undertones amidst a frenetic series of punches to the auditory system on a visceral level. This is hip hop redefined.
  27. Anderson .Paak: Oxnard Easily my most anticipated album of the year, it doesn’t live up to the buildup from Malibu and Venice, but it still features one of the best Trump disses money can buy (6 Summers).
  28. Gorillaz: The Now Now Gorillaz bounce back from a relative slump over the last few outputs with a solid endeavor into the sounds of now.
  29. Ghost: Prequelle I was able to reconnect with my inner metalhead this year, and Ghost was the catalyst.
  30. islandman: Rest in Space This is like part Tarantino film soundtrack, part tribal sounding world music, part Little Dragon and De La Soul-sampled electronica. All set in an after-futuristic dancehall in outer space…
  31. Peter, Bjorn, and John: Darker Days Indie rock on a mainstream budget, it works…
  32. Bishop Nehru: Elevators: Act I & II Bishop Nehru provides some of the smoothest flows over MF Doom and Kaytranada production.
  33. Thee Oh Sees: Smote Reverser I honestly can’t even keep up with all the new music they’re putting out, but I was feeling this joint.
  34. Tune-Yards: i can feel you creep into my private life Soulful thinkpieces aplenty about our current digi-society and beyond, Tune-Yards is Nina Simone meets Jamiroqui in the 21st century for some scathing social commentary and lively dance-offs.
  35. CZARFACE and MF Doom Czarface Meets Metal Face If you’ve been following either or both artists career, this is exactly as good as you’d expect it to be.
  36. A Perfect Circle: Eat the Elephant Not as good as any of their previous albums, but they’ve set the bar rather high.               
  37. Tobe Nwigwe: MORE ORIGINALS If Big Boi and Three Stacks combined vernaculars and were from the west coast, it’d sound like this. “I swear the whole squad went from EBT to BET.”
  38. Kimbra: Primal Heart Weird pop at its finest.
  39. RJD2: In Rare Form, Vol. 2 This is the ambient, hip hoppish DJ section of the countdown, apparently…
  40. Cut Chemist: Die Cut Hip hop instrumentation and some solid features including Biz Markie, Chali 2na, Mr. Lif, and Edan (among others).
  41. Dabrye: Three/Three Longtime fans of Dabrye won’t be disappointed with this sci-fi hip hop collection…
  42. Fischerspooner: Sir Full self-reflection and realization to a soundtrack of retrospective dance.
  43. Sun Ra: Of Abstract Dreams Sun Ra is a legend, and legends never die. Of Abstract Dreams showcases the energy of immortality through music, and I dig that. I dig that heavy.
  44. Pan Amsterdam: The Pocket Watch Whereas Lil Dicky is a comedian who’s a decent rapper, Pan Amsterdam is a rapper who’s pretty fucking hilarious.
  45. deM atlaS: Bad Actress I always wondered what a black Jim Morrison would sound like…
  46. Andrew W.K.: You’re Not Alone Andrew W.K., as we know, parties. Hard. He takes a short break to remind us all that we don’t have to go it alone…
  47. N.E.R.D. No One Ever Really Dies Lemon feat. Rihanna opens the album with a bang after the line: “The truth will set you free, but first it’ll piss you off.” Truer words have never been spoken.
  48. Somni: Bloom 
  49. Nao: Saturn Neo-Soul (Nao-Soul?) focusing on the power of Saturn’s power as a planet to provide rebirth through introspection.
  50. A$AP Rocky: Testing It was only a matter of time before I came around to A$AP. 2018 was the year…
Did your favorite music publications include a stream of consciousness poem about music for you? Because I did. Much love and luck in 2019, y’all…
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