AOTY 2018
The Guardian's Best Albums of 2018 So Far

The Guardian's Best Albums of 2018 So Far

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Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

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

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

Camila Cabello - Camila

Camila Cabello - Camila
January 12, 2018
Critic Score
70
11 reviews

Camila is one of those moments where the committee approach strikes gold: smart enough to avoid smoothing out the quirks and slavishly chasing trends, it’s a product of the pop factory that doesn’t sound run-of-the-mill.

Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy

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.

Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain

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.

Daniel Avery - Song For Alpha

Daniel Avery - Song For Alpha
April 6, 2018
Critic Score
79
17 reviews
The old bodily pleasure is here, but it’s approached in altogether sterner, more serious ways.

Eleanor Friedberger - Rebound

Eleanor Friedberger - Rebound
May 4, 2018
Critic Score
73
17 reviews

Vaguely gothic themes of loneliness, miscommunication and isolation are channeled into warm, quirky electronic pop that’s more gently uplifting than melancholy.

Elysia Crampton - Elysia Crampton

Elysia Crampton - Elysia Crampton
April 27, 2018
Critic Score
79
5 reviews
It’s a revelation, and, if you want it to be, a history lesson, too.

Fatoumata Diawara - Fenfo (Something To Say)

Fatoumata Diawara - Fenfo (Something To Say)
May 18, 2018
Critic Score
83
3 reviews
I suspect that Diawara will produce more adventurous work in the future, but this is an entertaining and welcome return.

Gwenno - Le Kov

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.

Hookworms - Microshift

Hookworms - Microshift
February 2, 2018
Critic Score
85
18 reviews
On their third album, the Leeds band shed some distortion to reveal powerful vocals and tough pop melodies – without sacrificing any intensity

Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour

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.

Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet - Landfall

Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet - Landfall
February 16, 2018
Critic Score
81
9 reviews
The composer’s song cycle on the 2015 storm that devastated New York has the power to make us shiver with empathy.

Leon Bridges - Good Thing

Leon Bridges - Good Thing
May 4, 2018
Critic Score
71
17 reviews

It’s not a comprehensive pop overhaul: Bridges expands his palette while staying true to his soulful roots.

Lily Allen - No Shame

Lily Allen - No Shame
June 8, 2018
Critic Score
72
22 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.

Marmozets - Knowing What You Know Now

Marmozets - Knowing What You Know Now
January 26, 2018
Critic Score
74
8 reviews
There are still plenty of their trademark screams, distorted guitars and blast beats, which enthusiastically nip at pop like a pack of pesky Jack Russells. However, the rapidly maturing band are also dabbling with rave-type breakdowns, euphoric pop rushes, and even – in Me and You – a (gulp) tender ballad about dreams of a better world.

Migos - Culture II

Migos - Culture II
January 26, 2018
Critic Score
66
21 reviews
For such a gargantuan album, it’s surprisingly light on its feet, skipping nimbly between musical styles.

Mr. Fingers - Cerebral Hemispheres

Mr. Fingers - Cerebral Hemispheres
April 3, 2018
Critic Score
69
5 reviews

Natalie Prass - The Future and the Past

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.

Neko Case - Hell-On

Neko Case - Hell-On
June 1, 2018
Critic Score
82
22 reviews

Yet another high-point in Case’s unstintingly stirring career.

No Age - Snares Like a Haircut

No Age - Snares Like a Haircut
January 26, 2018
Critic Score
78
19 reviews
No Age are one of those rare bands who can be all things to all punks, from art-school noise types in their lofts to teenagers squabbling in the streets below – and they are in the form of their lives.

Park Jiha - Communion

Park Jiha - Communion
March 2, 2018
Critic Score
70
3 reviews

An intriguing instrumental set that mixes minimalism and melody with bursts of furious energy and experimentation, with echoes of anything from ambient styles to free jazz. This is music that ebbs and flows like the sea.

Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

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

Pusha T - Daytona

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.

Shame - Songs of Praise

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

SOPHIE - OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES

SOPHIE - OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES
June 15, 2018
Critic Score
84
21 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.

The Vaccines - Combat Sports

The Vaccines - Combat Sports
March 30, 2018
Critic Score
73
13 reviews
It all adds up to their best album yet.

Virginia Wing - Ecstatic Arrow

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.

Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar

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.
Original Source: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jun/20/best-albums-of-2018-so-far
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