Pitchfork's 50 Best Albums of 2018

Pitchfork's 50 Best Albums of 2018

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50. SOB X RBE - Gangin

February 23, 2018
Critic Score
75
3 reviews

The four-man Bay Area rap crew delivers a breathless, irresistible, and highly defined record that hits your gut and your shoulders at the same time.

49. Georgia Anne Muldrow - Overload

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
78
7 reviews

48. Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth

June 22, 2018
Critic Score
83
25 reviews

As a listening experience, Heaven and Earth contains the most transcendent moments of his output thus far, as well as some of the gnarliest.

47. Skee Mask - Compro

May 15, 2018
Critic Score
85
3 reviews

This record’s emotional valence—between collapse and grace, unity and emptiness—will resonate with anyone who's ever caught an unexpected sunrise in a concrete room. Yet his depth and clarity of vision resists formula. Making music “to get lost in” is overrated—Compro takes you somewhere new.

46. Blood Orange - Negro Swan

August 24, 2018
Critic Score
85
26 reviews
Dev Hynes’ fourth album as Blood Orange focuses on black depression, sketching his anxious alt-pop, progressive R&B, indie hip-hop, downtempo rock, and spacey chillwave into a minimalist emulsion.

45. Cat Power - Wanderer

October 5, 2018
Critic Score
76
30 reviews

On her first album in six years, Chan Marshall roams the many moods of her songwriting with a careful, soft-spoken power.

44. Camp Cope - How to Socialise & Make Friends

March 2, 2018
Critic Score
79
12 reviews
Camp Cope’s windswept punk feels both retro and right now, like Courtney Barnett covering Tigers Jaw covering Ani DiFranco.

43. Sleep - The Sciences

April 20, 2018
Critic Score
85
10 reviews

The essential trick of The Sciences—and the reason it feels like more than an overdue cash-in—is these 40something dudes have managed to grow up without growing old. Their minds are still focused on weed and the escape that it offers, but that’s just the gag; these riffs, rhythms, and the mantra-like singing of Al Cisneros are a drug unto themselves, evidence of a band that’s improved upon their animating idea.

42. Adrianne Lenker - abysskiss

October 5, 2018
Critic Score
79
16 reviews

The latest album from the Big Thief singer evokes a singular, solitary chill. With a great imagination for melody, Lenker conjures a world of mingled trauma and love.

41. Jeremih & Ty Dolla $ign - Mih-Ty

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
76
5 reviews

40. Iceage - Beyondless

May 4, 2018
Critic Score
81
26 reviews

Beyondless sparkles like a champagne bottle smashed in slow motion.

39. The Internet - Hive Mind

July 20, 2018
Critic Score
81
29 reviews
There isn’t a single note or riff on the album that feels contrived or forced, and the entire thing is incredibly smooth and unsegmented, an endless string of hook-ups blurring together.

38. Kali Uchis - Isolation

April 6, 2018
Critic Score
85
20 reviews

Isolation is a star turn from an artist who has proven she’s ready for it.

37. JPEGMAFIA - Veteran

January 19, 2018
Critic Score
82
3 reviews
It makes for a breathless album, one that takes white-hot riffs and the most distasteful parts of our national politics, chops them up, and somehow scatters them perfectly into place.

36. Rico Nasty - Nasty

June 15, 2018
Critic Score
69
5 reviews

The ferocious 21-year-old shapeshifter comes through with one of the hardest rap records of the year.

35. A.A.L. (Against All Logic) - 2012 - 2017

February 17, 2018
Critic Score
78
7 reviews
These are thrilling, racing tracks, but they're also familiar, both functionally—every hi-hat in its right place—and emotionally, with the kind of crests and ecstasies you might find on 1990s labels like Nu Groove and Cajual.

34. Neneh Cherry - Broken Politics

October 19, 2018
Critic Score
76
16 reviews

Amid our tumultuous news cycles, the unevenness of Broken Politics is the best she can do, and it’s enough.

33. Sheck Wes - MUDBOY

October 5, 2018
Critic Score
68
8 reviews

MUDBOY delivers mosh raps with a cold, steely New York edge ... It’s its own coming-of-age album and the rare project from an über-hyped rap prospect that actually delivers on its promise.

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

June 29, 2018
Critic Score
80
27 reviews
The second album from the UK duo is future-pop at its best: kaleidoscopic production and incisive lyrics that swirl into marvelous, breathtaking songs.

31. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

May 11, 2018
Critic Score
69
31 reviews
Arctic Monkeys’ daring sixth album is a left-turn if ever there was one, but the way Alex Turner swaps witty sleaze for absurdist suave makes it a totally bemusing and fascinating listen.

30. Christine and the Queens - Chris

September 21, 2018
Critic Score
86
27 reviews
The kinetic French singer Hélöise Letissier lets us into the whole of her life, creating an electric blend of unforgettable imagery, emotional depth, and lurid pop-funk.

29. boygenius - boygenius EP

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
82
16 reviews

For anyone still struggling to tell any woman with a guitar apart, the deft collaboration and complex collective songwriting on the boygenius EP is a great place to learn.

28. Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

July 13, 2018
Critic Score
83
27 reviews

Five years removed from their landmark Sunbather, Deafheaven have never seemed less interested in being fashionable—as a result, they sound newly content.

27. Soccer Mommy - Clean

March 2, 2018
Critic Score
80
15 reviews

Still trading in piercing vulnerability, Clean is Allison’s excellent studio debut: a compact album of clear melodies, plainspoken lyrics, and the impossibly tangled logic of infatuation.

26. Vince Staples - FM!

November 2, 2018
Critic Score
77
14 reviews
Vince has made an album that’s true to himself, one that represents his image of Long Beach, his love for the music of the West Coast, and that unleashes the complete personality of Vince Staples.

25. Playboi Carti - Die Lit

May 11, 2018
Critic Score
71
9 reviews

The Atlanta rapper’s official debut is an album that works almost completely from its own lunatic script. It is a perversely infectious sugar high, rap that fundamentally recalibrates the brain’s reward centers.

24. Julia Holter - Aviary

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
80
24 reviews

If Holter’s preceding records were novellas, Aviary feels more like a meticulously organized compilation of mind-altering field notes in which a single page can be a world, and its depth is stunning.

23. Travis Scott - ASTROWORLD

August 3, 2018
Critic Score
82
19 reviews
Travis Scott’s third album is inarguably his strongest to date. His skill as a curator helps sculpt a sticky, humid, psychedelic world with dazzling production and odd pleasures at every turn.

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

February 16, 2018
Critic Score
84
23 reviews
It is the rare political pop record that looks toward the future and offers us something new.

21. The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

November 30, 2018
Critic Score
81
29 reviews
The British band’s outrageous and eclectic third album attests to the worth of putting in an honest effort in the face of near-constant gloom.

20. Beach House - 7

May 11, 2018
Critic Score
81
31 reviews
Beach House remain masters of the indefinable and their seventh album is their heaviest and most immersive-sounding of their career.

19. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy

April 6, 2018
Critic Score
81
20 reviews
Cardi B’s remarkable debut places her, without a doubt, in the pantheon of great rappers. It is both brazen and vulnerable, filled with wild amounts of personality, style, and craft.

18. SOPHIE - OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES

June 15, 2018
Critic Score
84
21 reviews
The experimental music of SOPHIE relaxes into new forms on her debut album. It is sprawling and beautiful, while still keeping the disorienting, latex-pop feel of her fascinating production technique.

17. Pusha T - Daytona

May 25, 2018
Critic Score
84
21 reviews

Daytona is Pusha’s best work as a solo artist, a tightly wound record that doesn’t recapture the highs of peak Clipse, but finally makes ideal use of the now middle-aged rapper’s considerable skills.

16. Jon Hopkins - Singularity

May 4, 2018
Critic Score
81
26 reviews
Pitched between heat-seeking acid house and ambient bliss, the techno auteur’s first album since 2013 is a beat-music odyssey that thrums with spiritual resonance.

15. Noname - Room 25

September 14, 2018
Critic Score
85
16 reviews
The Chicago rapper’s second album is a transcendent coming-of-age tale built around cosmic jazz and neo-soul, delivered by a woman deeply invested in her interiority and that of the world around her.

14. Amen Dunes - Freedom

March 30, 2018
Critic Score
80
13 reviews
The widened scope of the music is matched by an increased vulnerability in McMahon’s voice, a tenderness that can imbue even his vaguest incantations with a cosmic tenderness.

13. Tirzah - Devotion

August 10, 2018
Critic Score
80
15 reviews

Tirzah Mastin’s debut album Devotion is a compelling vision of what imperfect pop music can be—joyful in both sound and feeling precisely because both seem so out-of-step and asymmetrical.

12. cupcakKe - Ephorize

January 5, 2018
Critic Score
78
8 reviews
The fearless Chicago rapper offers her best album yet, with terrific production and a barrage of raps that reveal Elizabeth Harris to be far more than her hilarious and absurdly raunchy one-liners.

11. Ariana Grande - Sweetener

August 17, 2018
Critic Score
75
22 reviews

After years of searching, Ariana Grande has found her true voice. Sweetener is an exemplary pop album, radiating with low-key joy and newfound love.

10. Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love

September 5, 2018
Critic Score
83
11 reviews
Yves Tumor’s latest album is a benchmark in experimental music. It is searing and borderless, music that is aware of oppressive confinement, and music with an intoxicating urge to be free.

9. Tierra Whack - Whack World

May 30, 2018
Critic Score
79
5 reviews
The surreal, audiovisual album from the Philadelphia artist is only 15 minutes long, but it is overflowing with hooks and a powerful sense of imagination.

8. Low - Double Negative

September 14, 2018
Critic Score
85
21 reviews
The austere trio has profoundly warped their slowcore sound to create an ambitious, modern wonder of an album, an exploration of the song as an imperfect conduit of feeling.

7. Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs

November 30, 2018
Critic Score
83
19 reviews
With his latest record, the onetime teen prodigy reemerges as the face of a new sound and scene that blurs the line between avant-garde jazz and hip-hop.

6. Rosalía - El Mal Querer

November 2, 2018
Critic Score
86
5 reviews
It is one of the most exciting and passionately composed albums to appear not only in the global bass tradition but in the pop and experimental spheres this year.

5. Snail Mail - Lush

June 8, 2018
Critic Score
79
28 reviews

With Lush, Jordan earns her place as a leader in the next generation of indie rock, the ones who are keeping the genre’s honorable ideals alight while continuing to expand its purview beyond straight white dudes.

4. Robyn - Honey

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
86
23 reviews

Robyn presents her first solo album in eight years subtly, with slight builds and light hands. But her masterful command of emotions on the dancefloor slowly reveals itself across another enthralling record.

3. DJ Koze - Knock Knock

May 4, 2018
Critic Score
83
20 reviews

If Knock Knock is a more conventional album than the more psychedelic and twisted Amygdala, it’s also a more affecting one.

2. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour

March 30, 2018
Critic Score
80
13 reviews

The mystical grandeur of Golden Hour creates a magnetic effect as Kacey Musgraves sings simply about the world as if she’s the first person to notice, and you’re the first one she’s telling.

1. Mitski - Be the Cowboy

August 17, 2018
Critic Score
84
32 reviews
These 14 complex compositions warp the pop textbook into something more knotty and internal, creating a unique zone where the 27-year old thrives: She’s never sounded so large, even in the record’s quietest moments.
Original Source: https://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/the-50-best-albums-of-2018/
Comments
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1w
P4k has become a zombie of a music website that music writers just end up at. Like a machine printed out this list and said 'yes, this is the acceptable end year list for 2018'. Like, I don't believe anyone actually thinks Musgraves or Snail Mail has any notable impact in music whatsoever. It's there because 'hey, it looks good in that spot'
3w
Pitchfork has been desperate to rebrand itself ever since the disastrous people's choice list about six or seven years ago that revealed its readership didn't much care for female artists and heavily favored a kind of uncool white-guy dad rock. And so, in 2018, Pitchfork gave some of these white-guy-with-guitar acts a "best new music" label but carefully omitted most of them from the year-end list. Jeff Tweedy, Father John Misty, Car Seat Headrest, Mount Eerie, the 1975, Iceage ... shuffled away in service to a higher purpose. The staff might have been dismayed to find these acts in the year-end reader's poll.
1mo
Does anyone else feel like pitchfork just really didn't give a fuck this year? Less the contents of the list, more that in the past they usually devoted a whole week to year end stuff, had a cute little design motif and user interface. This year they just went completely bare bones, earlier than usually, no honorable mention or anything. Seems like they know they have less influence and just have pivoted away from the lists toward more video content.
1mo
By which I mean not good. This is troublesome... I think the worst list they have put out. Sure, I like a lot of these albums, but it’s more what they snubbed.
1mo
Wack
1mo
Not complaining because I think it's a great album, but Neneh Cherry only got 7.3 and yet gets #34 for the year, weird.
1mo
just no
1mo
Albums that received the Best New Music tag that are missing:

Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy
Mount Eerie - Now Only
Jean Grae & Quelle Chris - Everything's Fine
Saba - Care for Me
Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer
The Carters - Everything Is Love
Joey Purp - QUARTERTHING
Tim Hecker - Konoyo
Jeff Tweedy - WARM

Am I missing any others?
1mo
not even an obligatory 40-something ranking for Ms. Dirty Computer?!?! :(
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