The Independent Variable
✖︎ 2018 Top Ten - Albums
6 January 2019
If you want to get a good sense of this list here is my Spotify playlist with a song from each album.
- M A N I A - Fall out Boy
- FOB’s last album was a huge disappointment for me. I thought they went way too far into the poppy sensibilities ravaging the top forty. M A N I A doesn’t really bring them back to the band I loved growing up, but it’s experimental nature makes it something I can enjoy.
- Ezra Bell - Ezra Bell
- Most of this top ten features artists I really hadn’t heard of before this year. Ezra Bell being the first. His voice is so unique, and when a lot of music sounds the same, imo, it’s a breathe of fresh air to hear something that doesn’t feel over produced but lets the scratchiness of his voice shine.
- Staying at Tamara’s - George Ezra
- George Ezra is another new one for me, but he is almost the complete opposite of Ezra Bell. His deep, booming voice is mesmerizing. He may have the best voice I’ve heard in a really long time and Shotgun is going to be a summer car jam for years to come.
- Can’t Wake Up - Shakey Graves
- Offbeat seams to be the best way I can describe Can’t Wake Up. I don’t mean this in the typical musical sense, but in the oddball sense of the word. Similar to Ezra Bell, the voice is something unique, in a non-perfect way, but Shakey Graves lends itself much more to the indie scene I gravitate towards.
- Tearing at the Seams - Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats
- I heard Nathaniel Ratliff for the first time when my cousin brought me with to a small show in Chicago a few years ago. The huge band lends itself so much to the live environment, so much so I’m glad I didn’t try to look him up before going. There may not be a huge hit like SOB on Tearing at the Seams but there isn’t a bad song on the whole record.
- Future Me Hates Me - The Beths
- DIdn’t know about this at all until I started to see it show up on some top ten lists towards the end of the year. The title track is enough to earn itself a top ten spot on this list, but the whole album has songs that elevate your mood.
- DAYTONA - Pusha T
- Kanye West’s whole album deal over the summer was a complete bust, except for DAYTONA. The production is excellent and Pusha T excels more than he has in a very long time.
- Anthem Of The Peaceful Army - Greta Van Fleet
- A lot of hate seemed to be passed around for Greta’s first full length release, and it honestly baffled me. It’s a fun rock record that takes you back to the days of Led Zeppelin. The inspiration is obvious, but it’s a great sound that no one else makes anymore these days.
- Whack World - Tierra Whack
- Probably the most fun album of the year. If you haven’t heard it I definitely recommend watching the accompanying video. It’s a fifteen track album, each track a minute long and the fifteen minute video is worth way more than the price of admission.
- How to: Friend, Love, Freefall - Rainbow Kitten Surprise
- Combine Dispatch, Sublime, and Iglu & Hartley, and the result is Rainbow Kitten Surprise (great band name too). This is the first I’d ever heard of them, but their second album is a thing of magic. I haven’t seen this on any other lists which really bums me out because it deserves some recognition.
Honorable Mentions (alphabetical by artist)
- Francis Trouble - Albert Hammond Jr.
- Call It Home Vol. 2 - The California Honeydrops
- This Is It - The Greeting Committee
- Bark Your Head Off - Hop Along
- Black Panther: The Album - Kendrick Lamar
- A Safety Meeting - Manwolves
- Room 25 - Noname
- Wide Awake - Ryland Baxter
- Alright - Spooky Mansion
- Flow State - Tash Sultana
- TPC - Tokyo Police Club