AOTY 2019
The Guardian's 50 Best Albums of 2018

The Guardian's 50 Best Albums of 2018

Original Source →

50. Goat Girl - Goat Girl

April 6, 2018
Critic Score
77
17 reviews

49. Jon Hopkins - Singularity

May 4, 2018
Critic Score
81
27 reviews
Too much of this album is the sort of thing people stick on to make their drug comedowns feel meaningful.

48. Cat Power - Wanderer

October 5, 2018
Critic Score
76
30 reviews

It feels ... as if Marshall is drawing on music that comes naturally to her and shaping it to her own ends.

46. Tracey Thorn - Record

March 2, 2018
Critic Score
75
15 reviews
The lyrical mix of emotion and wisdom is matched by the elegant dignity of the soundtrack, and producer Ewan Pearson places Thorn in the lineage of classy electronic torch singers from Alison Moyet to Marc Almond.

44. Neneh Cherry - Broken Politics

October 19, 2018
Critic Score
76
16 reviews

Cherry’s sage perspective weaves through these tender, bristling tracks, and elevates Broken Politics from being simply a beautiful record to a revelatory one.

43. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain

March 23, 2018
Critic Score
76
8 reviews

May Your Kindness Remain confirms Andrews’ rise. It’s a brilliant record, proof that old forms can still be timeless.

42. Skee Mask - Compro

May 15, 2018
Critic Score
84
4 reviews

41. Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

July 13, 2018
Critic Score
83
27 reviews
Clarke, McCoy and co have made one of 2018’s most ambitious and urgent albums.

40. Lily Allen - No Shame

June 8, 2018
Critic Score
70
23 reviews

No Shame is a slightly odd album, where the horror of divorce is laid bare next to cheery pledges of everlasting love, where stuff wrapped in cliche coexists with songs that are painfully honest and revealing. Still, as Allen would doubtless point out, she never claimed to be perfect. What she is, No Shame strongly suggests, is ready and able to tough it out.

39. Gwenno - Le Kov

March 2, 2018
Critic Score
80
14 reviews
It’s the melodies that will keep people coming back: purposeful and direct, but deliciously blurry, reminiscent of Broadcast in their creation of a psychedelia that looks backwards and forwards simultaneously.

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

February 16, 2018
Critic Score
84
23 reviews
It’s protest music, in the guise of joyous, life-affirming pop.

37. Troye Sivan - Bloom

August 31, 2018
Critic Score
83
15 reviews

The results are characterful. Bloom is done and dusted in 35 crisp minutes – a time at which some pop albums are reaching their mid-point – and feels like a coherent, artist-led album rather than a bet-spreading collection of songs designed to hit every popular musical base.

36. Snail Mail - Lush

June 8, 2018
Critic Score
79
29 reviews

35. Lonnie Holley - MITH

September 21, 2018
Critic Score
80
7 reviews

34. The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

November 30, 2018
Critic Score
82
32 reviews

A Brief Inquiry is not the unqualified triumph the 1975 had in mind. It’s stronger and punchier than its predecessor, but has moments where the group overreach. You could argue it’s rather confused, but, as Healy would doubtless point out, it is meant to reflect the times we live in, and they’re pretty confusing.

33. Tirzah - Devotion

August 10, 2018
Critic Score
80
15 reviews

Making magic out of minimal patterns – with the help of old friend and producer Mica Levi – the singer spins alluring stories of intimacy and love.

32. Confidence Man - Confident Music For Confident People

April 13, 2018
Critic Score
87
9 reviews
They certainly aren’t subtle, but Confidence Man’s broad brush strokes belie a sophisticated and skilful distillation of dance-pop joy.

31. ROSALÍA - EL MAL QUERER

November 2, 2018
Critic Score
85
6 reviews

It’s not terribly straightforward and it’s a very long way indeed from Despacito. Or anything else in the charts. But that’s its appeal. Whether it heralds the arrival of a new pop phenomenon or not, El Mal Querer is the calling card of a unique new talent.

29. Blood Orange - Negro Swan

August 24, 2018
Critic Score
85
26 reviews

Just when you settle into Negro Swan’s groove, it changes tack, leaving you feeling weirdly unmoored from it and, worse, emotionally disconnected.

28. Travis Scott - ASTROWORLD

August 3, 2018
Critic Score
83
20 reviews

27. Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel

May 18, 2018
Critic Score
80
32 reviews

There is a sharp edge to much of the Australian musician’s brilliant, potent second album, the follow-up to 2015’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. The matter-of-fact malaise of her debut remains, but where before it felt aimless, here it has hardened into something pointed and direct.

26. Nao - Saturn

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
80
12 reviews
With the rise of R&B classicists in the form of Jorja Smith, Ella Mai and Mahalia, Nao presents a compelling alternative to the mainstream.

25. Virginia Wing - Ecstatic Arrow

June 8, 2018
Critic Score
83
7 reviews
As well as the solid rhythms, the anchor amid the sonic burble is singer Alice Merida Richards. Her voice has touches of Broadcast’s Trish Keenan, Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier, and Julia Holter: what at first sounds girlish, naive and open-hearted is revealed to be rather jaded and wary.

24. Shame - Songs of Praise

January 12, 2018
Critic Score
82
21 reviews
There’s ... seething post-punk that recalls early Fugazi, and the lyrics – full of blood, spunk and dirt – are far too jaded and contradictory to make for easy indie-disco fodder.

22. Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love

September 5, 2018
Critic Score
83
12 reviews
It is refreshing to hear someone so emancipated from the rules of genre.

21. Kali Uchis - Isolation

April 6, 2018
Critic Score
85
20 reviews

20. Ariana Grande - Sweetener

August 17, 2018
Critic Score
75
22 reviews
It makes for an uneven album that attempts to balance the desire to – as Grande put it – “make the weirdest thing we can” with something infinitely more straightforward. It sounds like the work of an artist torn between doing exactly what she pleases and, perhaps understandably under the circumstances, giving her audience what they want.

19. Julia Holter - Aviary

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
80
24 reviews

The majority of Aviary is designed to be mused on mindfully, but there are a handful of more immediate moments.

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

June 29, 2018
Critic Score
80
28 reviews

While missed connections litter the album – missed calls, disembodied names on screens – I’m All Ears is about abandoning fear and leaping boldly towards desire. It is remarkable.

17. Pusha T - Daytona

May 25, 2018
Critic Score
84
21 reviews

Despite his success, Pusha T is still rapping about drug dealing – but the sheer pleasure of his flow, and Kanye West’s productions, smooth over any quibbles about authenticity.

16. Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar

March 9, 2018
Critic Score
84
24 reviews
The end result is fascinating and forbidding in equal measure, and there’s clearly an argument that it’s also very timely.

15. Natalie Prass - The Future and the Past

June 1, 2018
Critic Score
80
20 reviews

You can trace its musical roots, but The Future and the Past never feels self-consciously retro, never sounds like pastiche.

14. Noname - Room 25

September 14, 2018
Critic Score
85
16 reviews

13. The Internet - Hive Mind

July 20, 2018
Critic Score
81
29 reviews
When rhythmically charged with the tambourine-shaking bounce of Roll, Come Over and Beat Goes On, the Internet tie their talent together and find a unique voice, interweaving subaqueous synths with high-pitched guitars and sludgy bass lines. Yet when they frequently turn downbeat they can stray into pastiche.

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

June 15, 2018
Critic Score
83
22 reviews
Despite software advances, so many electronic producers are content to lapse into nostalgia or a safe, compromised emotional range; Sophie has crafted a genuinely original sound and uses it to visit extremes of terror, sadness and pleasure.

10. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

May 11, 2018
Critic Score
69
32 reviews

At turns thrilling, smug, clever and oddly cold, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino is only a qualified success.

9. Low - Double Negative

September 14, 2018
Critic Score
85
22 reviews
This ranks alongside the likes of Anselm Kiefer and Cormac McCarthy as a document of contemporary social collapse, and as such is the most important, devastating album of the year.

8. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour

March 30, 2018
Critic Score
80
13 reviews

Regardless of genre, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better collection of pop songs this year. Everything clicks perfectly, but the writing has an effortless air; it never sounds as if it’s trying too hard to make a commercial impact, it never cloys, and the influences never swallow the character of the artist who made it.

7. Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth

June 22, 2018
Critic Score
83
25 reviews
Whether his success will lead audiences to further explore music that usually exists on the fringes is an interesting question. What is more certain is the quality and accessibility of his own music.

6. Idles - Joy as an Act of Resistance

August 31, 2018
Critic Score
89
26 reviews

For anyone in need of music that articulates their concerns or helps them to work through their troubles – or anyone who simply appreciates blistering, intelligent punk – they might just be Britain’s most necessary band.

5. Mitski - Be the Cowboy

August 17, 2018
Critic Score
84
32 reviews
It is hard to sing at a remove and maintain emotional directness – Mitski is famously private – but like St Vincent or even David Lynch, she specialises in the bait-and-switch of delight and obfuscation.

4. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy

April 6, 2018
Critic Score
81
20 reviews
Her album continues to show off a rounded, emotionally complex human being.

3. Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

April 27, 2018
Critic Score
85
33 reviews
She is as elusive as ever, and her mystery remains intact. Without a true loosening of her poise, her position on the margins of pop could remain intact as well.

2. Robyn - Honey

October 26, 2018
Critic Score
87
24 reviews

By manipulating the modern pop palette to craft a complex heartbreak album, Robyn shows her imitators how it’s done.

1. Christine and the Queens - Chris

September 21, 2018
Critic Score
86
29 reviews
A swaggering masculine alter-ego delivers Letissier’s punchy statement of intent, wrapping themes from gender fluidity to female agency in heady electronic pop.
Original Source: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/dec/04/best-albums-of-2018
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11mo
How do they give Singularity a 2/5 on their actual review and still put it on their list?
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