AOTY 2018
Exclaim!'s Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums

Exclaim!'s Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums

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20. Shame - Songs of Praise

Shame - Songs of Praise
January 12, 2018
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

19. Bernice - Puff: In The Air Without A Shape

Bernice - Puff: In The Air Without A Shape
May 25, 2018
Critic Score
79
8 reviews

There is something innate about Bernice's music, full of Dann's knack for honesty, observation, and language that reflects on the natural beauty around us. It is a joy to hear Bernice's musical identity coalesce.

18. Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar

Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar
March 9, 2018
Critic Score
84
24 reviews

With Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers are still pushing the envelope and thinking outside the box, but more importantly they are doing all of this within pop's limitations. This is a fluid expression of both jarring and accessible concepts that hit you square in the jaw.

17. Soccer Mommy - Clean

Soccer Mommy - Clean
March 2, 2018
Critic Score
80
15 reviews

Clean explores feelings of infatuation, insecurity, and acceptance as Allison wearily enters adulthood ... Allison is promptly hitting her stride and clearly gaining confidence and showing it with strands of snarkiness and angst mixed within her delicate, vulnerable songs.

16. boygenius - boygenius EP

boygenius - boygenius EP
October 26, 2018
Critic Score
82
16 reviews

15. Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy

Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy
February 16, 2018
Critic Score
82
22 reviews

The age-old saying goes if something isn't broken, don't fix it, but the re-release of Twin Fantasy shows that, seven years later, Car Seat Headrest are capable of re-contextualizing their work in ways that cement the faith that we have in them as revolutionary musicians.

14. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!
May 18, 2018
Critic Score
85
27 reviews

Wide Awake! is a letter-perfect musical contemplation of modern times, where social uprisings are actually affecting positive change. It's urgent and potent music that's thought-provoking and danceable, and whose rage is measured by a pointed optimism

13. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
May 11, 2018
Critic Score
69
31 reviews

Before you write this off as exhausting or pretentious self-indulgence, give it a listen or two. Peruse the lyrics, dissect them and have a laugh. Commitment isn't as scary as you think.

12. Snail Mail - Lush

Snail Mail - Lush
June 8, 2018
Critic Score
79
28 reviews

Lush is unencumbered and honest, putting emotional pitfalls on full, nuanced display while remaining streamlined and filler-free.

11. Tirzah - Devotion

Tirzah - Devotion
August 10, 2018
Critic Score
80
15 reviews

In the sparseness of its haze, Devotion feels ephemeral, like a photo taken at golden hour that's just starting to fade.

10. Low - Double Negative

Low - Double Negative
September 14, 2018
Critic Score
85
21 reviews

Yes, Double Negative asks much of listeners, but what you get in return is positive to say the least.

8. Blood Orange - Negro Swan

Blood Orange - Negro Swan
August 24, 2018
Critic Score
85
26 reviews

Intentionally or not, Hynes has surreptitiously convinced listeners to deeply engage with his art; we're digging for the grooves, searching out the hooks while questioning our own habits and assumptions, as we look for our own meaning in the music. And there's plenty in Negro Swan.

7. Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer
April 27, 2018
Critic Score
85
33 reviews

With Dirty Computer, Monáe isn't afraid to get political, encourage empathy, explore her sexuality and have goofy fun, often doing all that and more in the same song.

6. Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears

Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears
June 29, 2018
Critic Score
80
27 reviews

Satisfying as both a sophomore effort and streamlined pop album, I'm All Ears establishes Let's Eat Grandma as a band that need to be heard.

5. Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams

Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams
October 5, 2018
Critic Score
82
20 reviews

Dose Your Dreams is by far the most over-the-top album the band have ever created and shows they aren't satisfied with pumping out subpar material or rehashing what they've done.

4. Beach House - 7

Beach House - 7
May 11, 2018
Critic Score
81
31 reviews

Beach House continue to explore new crannies of their familiar dream pop sound, occasionally highlighting a new aspect of their style without ever changing it completely.

3. Mitski - Be the Cowboy

Mitski - Be the Cowboy
August 17, 2018
Critic Score
84
32 reviews

Throughout Be the Cowboy, Mitski's voice remains as hauntingly evocative as ever, her songs still melancholic and tinged with themes of loneliness and nostalgia. But this time, she's made sure we know the experiences of the characters in her songs are narrative works — not unedited diary entries, as they've been unfairly described in the past.

2. Robyn - Honey

Robyn - Honey
October 26, 2018
Critic Score
86
23 reviews
As always, the club remains an inspiration, but here the focus is to soundtrack the night's comedown, not its ecstatic peak. The grooves are a bit deeper, the emotions remain true and, as the title suggests, the tracks are sticky as hell, stuck rattling around in your head for days.

1. U.S. Girls - In a Poem Unlimited

U.S. Girls - In a Poem Unlimited
February 16, 2018
Critic Score
84
23 reviews

Groovy and scintillating, but with depth and meaning to spare, In a Poem Unlimited is U.S. Girls — and pop music — at its very best.

Original Source: https://exclaim.ca/music/article/exclaim_s_top_20_pop_and_rock_albums_part_one-best_of_2018
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