2018 music recap

The top ten music releases of the year


Photo via Flickr (Drew York-Slader) under Creative Commons license

In March 2018, superstar rapper Post Malone released his sophomore album “Beerbongs and Bentleys. ” This pop/rap album is packed full of great songs, earning a spot on the top ten best new releases of 2018.

With the huge quantity of high caliber albums that released this year, it’s hard to condense them into a top ten list. However, looking back at 2018’s biggest hits, this is just one music enthusiast’s music recap of 2018.

  1. “Swimming” – Mac Miller

Starting off the top ten list is Mac Miller with his eighth album, “Swimming.” Since his debut in 2010, Miller has been a well-known rap artist. This newest album, through a combination of his musical talent and, unfortunately, his death in early September, will be remembered as one of his best albums. Using an outdated rapping style, Miller focused more on his lyrics and their flow rather than just on electronic beats like many rap artists do today. In most of his previous music, he always used a lot of upbeat music, however, “Swimming” has a lot more mellowed-out songs.

Noticeable songs on the album are “Ladders” and “Self Care,” as well as the more melancholy “Hurt Feelings” and “Come Back to Earth.”

  1. “Blue Madonna” – Borns

Next in the list is indie star Borns with his sophomore release “Blue Madonna.” The artist out of Michigan gained massive popularity with the release of his first ever album “Dopamine” in 2015.  Combining elements of pop, electronica and indie music, Borns creates a dreamy, happy feeling all brought together by his falsetto-driven lyrics. “Blue Madonna” uses all of these elements to create yet another memorable album.

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Early this year Australian singer/songwriter Vance Joy released his second album “Nation of Two.” With his storytelling lyrics and amazing voice, Joy’s album is one of the best releases of 2018.

Noticeable songs on the album include the upbeat, dreamy sounding songs “Second Night Of Summer,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “God Save Our Young Blood.”

  1. “East Atlanta Love Letter” – 6lack

With his second ever album in only two years, the R&B singer out of Atlanta makes the top ten list with the release  “East Atlanta Love Letter.” While much of the Atlanta music scene is fast-paced rappers, 6lack, pronounced “Black,” is just the opposite with his mellow beats and vocals. The entirety of the album is laid back and also features some of the most talented artists in both the R&B and rap worlds. With his previous album having no features at all, “East Atlanta Love Letter” features superstar R&B singer Khalid, as well as rap superstars J. Cole, Offset, and Future.

Noticeable songs on the album include the warm tunes “Seasons” and “Pretty Little Fears,” as well as the melancholic “Loaded Gun,” “Disconnect,” and “Balenciaga Challenge.”

  1. “Shawn Mendes” – Shawn Mendes

At the end of May, recent star Shawn Mendes released his fourth album, the self-titled “Shawn Mendes.” Since his debut in 2015, Mendes has sprung onto the scene with his pop singer-songwriter style. This newest album shows off Mendes’ tremendous vocals backed by the talent of his musical skills with him writing as well as playing instruments in his songs. Using both pop sounding songs as well as mixing genres together, Mendes’ album is definitely one of the best this year.

Noticeable songs on the album include the upbeat “Lost in Japan,” the guitar-driven “Where Were You In The Morning?,” as well as the powerful duet “Youth” featuring another young star, Khalid.

  1. “Collection 1” – Saint Jhn

Coming in the number six spot on the list is “Collection 1,” the first project of up and coming R&B/rap artist Saint Jhn. Combining the best parts of Rap and R&B, Saint Jhn creates his own unique blend of the two genres. “Collection One,” the first-ever full album by Saint Jhn, uses electronic beats with heavy bass, cocky lyrics, all brought together with his unique, echoed voice. The overall style and sound of Saint Jhn earn him, with his debut album, the title of one of the best releases of 2018.

Noticeable songs on the album include the upbeat songs “3 Below,” “Roses,” and “I Heard You Got To Litt Last Night,” as well as the calmer “Reflex.”

  1. “My Dear Melancholy” – The Weeknd

Bringing us into the top five is R&B superstar The Weeknd with his EP “My Dear Melancholy.” The six-song EP dropped without any warning and shocked even his biggest fans. As with almost all of The Weeknd’s other music, “My Dear Melancholy” is as the title would suggest, pretty sad. The entirety of the album revolves around the idea of breakups, heartbreak, and depression. Many fans credit the sad theme of the EP to the breakup of The Weeknd and Selena Gomez who split only a month before the EP came out. Though heartbreak is awful and we feel for him, The Weeknd creates once again some great music for us to cry along to.

Noticeable songs on the album include “Privilege,” “Hurt You,” “I Was Never There,” and the powerful “Call Out My Name.”

  1. “Astroworld” – Travis Scott

To wrap up the summer, rapper Travis Scott released the project he had been promoting for the last two years, “Astroworld.” The Houston native has been a star on the rap scene since the release of “Rodeo” in 2015. After the release of his second album in 2016, Scott announced his newest project that he was working would be titled “Astroworld.” Throughout the next two years, nothing was heard regarding the album until two weeks before the album dropped. Being an album that fans waited on for years, many expected it to exceed their wildest dreams.

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In September 2018, Irish folk/rock singer Hozier released a new EP, “Nina Cried Power,” four years after his last album. Despite only having four songs, the EP is one of the best releases of the year.

While it may not have been as good as some hoped, it was good enough to earn itself the number four spot on the best releases of 2018. Using the same style that made Scott popular years ago, “Astroworld” uses the autotuned voice of Travis Scott behind fast-paced beats. While Scott drives the majority of the songs, his album also features a variety of talented artists, from rap star Drake to the up-and-coming Gunna.

Noticeable songs on the album include the fast paced “SICKO MODE,” “STARGAZING,” and “YOSEMITE.” Other noticeable although more relaxed songs include “R.I.P SCREW” and “5% TINT.”

  1. “Nina Cried Power” – Hozier

In early September the singer-songwriter Hozier dropped his second ever release and with this EP earns the number three spot on the best in music this year. The release of “Nina Cried Power” is a big deal for Hozier fans as, though he’s very popular, the quantity of his content is limited. This newest EP has many of the things from his previous music that fans came to love. The sheer power of Hozier’s vocal range, along with vastly alternating tempos, are among them.

Noticeable tracks on the four-song EP include the high energy namesake song “Nine Cried Power,” the bluegrass reminiscent “Moments Silence,” and the slow, acoustic-driven song “Shrike.”

  1. “Nation of Two” – Vance Joy

The number two spot on the top releases of this year belongs to Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy. The release of “Nation of Two” marks the artist’s second release since “Dream Your Life Away” in 2014.  Both in this album and in his previous one, Joy tells a wonderful story with his lyrics and uses either an acoustic guitar or ukulele to accompany his soothing voice. “Nation of Two” is one of the few albums where every song delivers. The high caliber nature of this album could easily place this song as the number one release of 2018, if it weren’t for one album that just managed to steal the top spot.

All of the songs on the album are wonderful. However, the ones to take particular notice of are the heartbreakers “One Of These Days,” “Lay It On Me,” and “Bonnie & Clyde,” as well as the more upbeat ones such as “Like Gold” and “Saturday Sun.”

  1. “Beerbongs and Bentleys” – Post Malone

It’s not a big surprise that the number one spot belongs to one of the biggest stars in not only the rap game but music in general. While it took a while for Post Malone to reach his current status, he doesn’t seem to be coming down anytime soon. Although the release of his debut album “Stoney” was back in 2016, it took until 2017 for his album to become well known. Since his music was in high demand, he released his second album “Beerbongs and Bentleys” with a fairly quick turnaround.

Combining happy upbeat background music with both rapped and sung lyrics, Malone creates and perfects his own version of pop-rap that people can’t get enough of. The talent of Malone as a singer, rapper, and songwriter gives him the ability to create an album packed full of amazing songs. This album, along with Joy’s, is one where all the songs in the album are worth listening to. With all the great songs packed into this album, it’s no question that this one is the best album of the year.

Particularly exemplary tracks include “Sugar Wraith,” “Candy Paint,” “92 Explorer,” “Ball For Me,” “Better Now,” “Psycho,” and “Rich and Sad.”