Here are my favorite songs that came out in 2018, separated into lists for the 50 best Alternative, Hip-hop, and Pop song. Full playlists can be found on Spotify, are updated frequently and include additional songs. As always, thanks for listening!
Cute Thing – Car Seat Headrest
Ullswater – Hookworms
Your Dog – Soccer Mommy
Last Ride – Beach House
Bodys – Car Seat Headrest
Art of Doubt – Metric
We’re Not Done (End Title) – Mogwai
Breadwinner – Everything Everything
Nobody – Mitski
Six Wave Hold-Down – Hot Snakes
Nameless, Faceless – Courtney Barnett
If You Really Love Nothing – Interpol
Fly – Low
Silhouettes – American Football
Noid – Yves Tumor
Suspirium – Thom Yorke
Let Them Win – Jeff Rosenstock
Fast Slow Disco – St. Vincent
Lemon Glow – Beach House
Dark Saturday – Metric
When You Die – MGMT
Sober to Death – Car Seat Headrest
Leave It In My Dreams – The Voids
Now or Never Now – Metric
Dancing and Fire – Low
Need a Little Time – Courtney Barnett
Right Now – Dirty Projectors, Syd
Drunk In LA – Beach House
Tenderness – Parquet Courts
Decompose – Preoccupations
I Need a Doctor – Hot Snakes
Burn – The Soft Moon
Wide Awake – Parquet Courts
Talking Straight – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Far Away Truths – Albert Hammond, Jr.
Risk – Metric
She Works Out Too Much – MGMT
Pain Killer – Iceage, Sky Ferreira
Mardi Gras Beads – Parquet Courts
Never Fight A Man With A Perm – IDLES
Two Slow Dancers – Mitski
Loading Zones – Kurt Vile
60 & Punk – Death Cab of Cutie
Danny Nedelko – IDLES
Dissarray – Preoccupations
Funeral Singers – Sylvan Esso, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees
I don’t think 2018 produced nearly as many great albums as the previous 3 years had, making it an average or somewhat below average year. It felt like there was an endless supply of albums that I felt were fine but didn’t fully capture my attention. That said, there were 11 that stood out to me over the crowd. For a Spotify playlist of highlights from each album, scroll to the end of the article.
Double Negative, Low
It’s rare, but ever once in a while you find an album that for whatever reason hits on everything you’re looking for in music, even if you can’t explain why. Double Negative did that for me, and reminded me a lot of how I felt the first time I listened to Radiohead’s Kid A in high school. The sparse and vast soundscapes Low is able to create are powerful and awe-inspiring. I don’t think any of the individual songs are classics on their own, but as a collection the record really works on a level that’s different than any album in a long time. Double Negative is not an album I would ever call fun or uplifting, but its one I’ve loved listening to and appreciating, and are a cut above the rest of the 2018 pack in my book.
Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers
Young Fathers is a group that really can’t be defined by a standard genre—they loosely make songs that mix hip-hop and R&B over alternative and electronic beats—so it’s hard to describe their appeal to someone who’s never listened to them. I hate using the words “unique” or “experimental” when talking about music, but there really isn’t much out there like them. On Cocoa Sugar pianos, organs, MIDI horns, and vocal harmonies and rounds create the melodies, while drum machines and samples drive the music. Frantic songs like “Wow,” “Wire,” and “Toy” are panicked-sounding dance tracks with fantastic beats and telling lyrics. “In My View” and “Lord” are tortured-sounding gospel songs, with grand instrumentals and subdued, reflective vocals. Cocoa Sugar also made me appreciate how creative the trio has been since day one. I love when an album forces me to go back and listen to an artist’s older works I hadn’t really given much of a chance. Ever since hearing “LOW” on Minnesota Public Radio back in 2014 I’ve liked most of the Young Fathers songs I had heard but never bothered with their albums. That was a mistake I rectified in 2018.
From the first time I heard it (when it was released Sept. 1) to the last time (about 10 minutes before writing this), American Dream was my favorite album of the year. It’s rare I like something that much on first listen without getting sick of it, and coming from LCD Soundsystem, who’s albums and songs typically go on for a bit too long, this is easily their most concise and accessible. From the opener “oh baby”, a classic LCD Soundsystem slow-build track, through “tonight,” a classic dance-punk anthem, and the pulp-inspired single ‘call the police,” to the 12 minute electronic ballad that closes the album out, there isn’t a sour moment.
Here are my favorite songs that came out in 2017, separated into Alternative, Hip-hop, and Pop lists. Full playlists can be found on Spotify and are updated frequently. As always, thanks for listening!
Cool Your Heart – Dirty Projectors
call the police – LCD Soundsystem
Star Roving – Slowdive
Nothing To Find – The War On Drugs
Something To Remember Me By – The Horrors
Guilty Party – The National
ameriacn dream – LCD Soundsystem
Up All Night – The War On Drugs
Funeral Pyre – Julien Baker
Hologram – The Horrors
The Body Is a Blade – Japanese Breakfast
In Undertow – Alvvays
emotional haircut – LCD Soundsystem
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness – The National
12 Steps – Japanese Breakfast
Gwan – Rostam
S.H.C. – Foster The People
Up In Hudson – Dirty Projectors
Song – Sylvan Esso
Hot Thoughts – Spoon
No Longer Making Time – Slowdive
Beach Life-In-Death – Car Seat Headrest
Machine – The Horrors
Don’t Delete The Kisses – Wold Alice
Darling – Real Estate
Slip Away – Perfume Genius
Thinking Of A Place – The War On Drugs
Paradise – ANOHNI
Diving Woman – Japanese Breakfast
Villains of Circumstance – Queens of the Stone Age
I’m about to start my drive from Minnesota down to Austin, Texas to start my new job at Community Impact Newspaper. I’ve lived in Mankato and worked as a reported in St. James, Minnesota for the last three years, and have found a lot of really awesome music while I was in the land of 10,000 lakes. To celebrate, I made a playlist with a lot of the songs I discovered or got into along the way.
It’s definitely not everything I’ve listened to, but the songs that made a big impact, that when I first heard them I listened to over and over again, and that I associate nostalgically with a certain time or place or action in Minnesota.I tried not to double up on albums too much, so it’s a pretty good mix of indie, rock, Hip-hop and pop songs.
The order is loosely chronological, starting with the first songs I discovered back in July 2013, and ending with the most recent song. Coincidently, the first and last songs are Beck tracks. “Defriended” was the first song I heard on the Current when Melissa and I were looking for apartments in Mankato and I thought it was amazing right away. (“Default” came on right after and I knew it would be a great radio station.)“Wow” is the song we’ve been singing and joking about the last three weeks. You can trace the kinds of music I listened to, how the styles/tastes kind of change over time, which I thought was neat.
I think it’s pretty cool. Maybe no-one else will, but it’s still a good assortment of music if anyone’s looking for something cool to listen to.