words by reese gorman
Well, this has surely been one hell of a year for music, our ears have been truly blessed with some great new music. From The 1975's industry-changing album all the way to the melodic ballads of Father John Misty's release, we have received it all this year.
I find it humorous how over the course of a year how we tend forget about albums. We don't forget the songs, but we forget about the album as a whole. We hear something and think to ourselves, "Wait that came out this year?" and then we are mind blown at the realization of just how long a year truly is. That's why I'm here to give everyone a reminder of just how great this year in music was. Starting from the very beginning
The first quarter gave us some long-awaited albums from the likes of EDEN, Vance Joy and The Wombats.
EDEN released their third album and reminded us once again what heartbreak feels like. This album had some acoustic vibes mixed with a lot of electronically produced beats. Behind each acoustic guitar or synth beats laid the same sad lyrics we've grown to love and expect from EDEN.
Vance Joy's "Nation of Two" gave us instant classics in "We're Going Home," "Lay It On Me," and "Saturday Sun." In large the whole album is a true classic and was well worth the four year wait from his previous release. The Wombats "Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life" presented us with the same upbeat nostalgic songs we have learned to love. "Turn" an upbeat love song, Matthew sings about the things he loves and admires about this girl and their memories together.
The second quarter was stocked full of releases from powerhouses in the music industry. With what seemed to be a new release every week, we were far from disappointed in these months.
The Paper Kites released two albums this year "On the Train Ride Home" and "On the Corner Where You Live" both of which deserve an equal amount of applause. Their dark and deeply melodic style is prominent in every song on both these albums. Singing with such emotion to each song, you feel what they intended you to feel; sadness and yearning, yearning for someone, whether that be someone specific or not these songs make you miss something. These two albums are perfect for those rainy days inside cuddled up by the fire.
We were blessed to receive the long-awaited debut album of the melodic goddess, Bishop Briggs. Her album "Church of Scars" gave us the hit's "River" and "White Flag." Briggs came out swinging in her debut album and leaves us excited for the road ahead.
In May, Arctic Monkeys came out with their first album in over five years, and it was a big letdown. After how great all their previous albums had been I expected that from "Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino" and it did not live up to those expectations. Obviously my opinions are not shared by many others as it was nominated for a Grammy in the category of “Best Alternative Album.”
James Bay and CHVRCHES were a different story though. James Bay gave us his long-awaited sophomore album, and let me tell you, there was no sophomore slump in this album. "Electric Light" gave us a story in album form. With the "Intro" and "Interlude" both being conversations between Bay and a girl, we see the progression, or more accurately digression, of their relationship. CHVRCHES gave us, in my opinion, one of the top three albums of the year in "Love Is Dead." Every song was a banger and had such meaning behind them. The lyrics in each song presented us with a true sense of what Lauren was feeling when writing this album.
Snow Patrol released their first album in nearly seven years earlier this May, that’s not counting their greatest hits album released in 2013. Though "Wilderness" seemingly flew under the radar this album was still overall really good. They didn't give us another "Chasing Cars" but they did give us some solid tracks in "Don't Give In" and "What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?"
Now June was crazy. Right off the bat on June 1, we were hit with new releases from Father John Misty and Ben Howard.
"God's Favorite Customer" gave us the Father John Misty we all love, not getting nearly as political as he did on "Pure Comedy" but still touching on subjects such as politics, religion, and drugs. The biggest hit from the album is a comedic track titled "Mr.Tillman."
Ben Howard gave us the guitar-heavy "Noonday Dream" and nothing has changed with him either. Sticking to his roots of using his deep dark voice that overtakes you as a listener then mix that with how lyrical each song is and it truly takes you multiple listens before you can grasp the meaning of each song. Howard continues to show his love for longer songs, with multiple songs on this album being over five minutes, the longest being over seven.
Ending the quarter with two albums from two legends, Panic! At The Disco, and Florence and the Machine.
Panic! At The Disco, gave us "Pray For The Wicked" and it is full of great song after great song. The most successful song on the album "High Hopes" is still topping the Billboard Alternative charts today. Brandon Urie didn't change a bit, he has stuck to the upbeat emo party (that's a sub-genre now) music that has made him a fan favorite since his first release in 2005.
Florence Welch's voice is truly magnificent, but this album wasn't. The lackluster lyrics mixed with an almost indecisive beat behind each song did not go well. "Hunger" was, in my opinion, the only song that was worthy of a second listen, and it was damn good. But after that, it just went downhill. Her voice is too good to put out albums like this, and it was extremely disappointing.
The third quarter music seemed to take a little hiatus with the only notable release being that of BROCKHAMPTON. "iridescence" is the classic BROCKHAMPTON, the boy band hip-hop style the produce is so different. They're doing something no one else is doing, and it's beautiful.
The fourth quarter gave us albums that had been being teased all year. The likes of LANY, Twenty-One Pilots, The 1975 and Mumford & Sons were just the tip of the iceberg in this stacked quarter of releases.
LANY's "Malibu Nights" was the best breakup album to date. Paul Klein opens his heart and pours it out to us. Not a single song on this album will leave you disappointed, it only leaves you wanting more. It takes you on a ride through the emotional turmoil and stages one faces when in the midst of a breakup.
Twenty-One Pilots made us wait three long years, but am I complaining? No. They have this special talent of addressing and helping people deal with issues that are so common. Their cult following loves everything they put out and enjoy each release more than the last.
Muse and Imagine Dragons both dropped albums that were long anticipated. Both of which became successful and were comprised of many solid hits.
Now in this quarter four of my top five albums were released, Young the Giant's "Mirror Master," Mumford & Sons "Delta," Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus "boy genius" and The 1975's "A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships." Each one of these albums deserves applause and praise that is beyond any one person’s doing.
"A Brief Inquiry" changed the music game forever, and this is the truth. The cross-genre album broke barriers not only instrumentally but also lyrically. With such depth to each song, it became an instant classic.
"Delta" proved all the Mumford haters wrong. It changed the folk game, plugging in and adding electric guitars and synth created beats, that mixed with Mumford's unique and defiant voice created a masterpiece.
"Mirror Master" is a self-reflective (no pun intended) album about ones struggles through a relationship and what went wrong. Gadhia sings with such emotion behind each song and uses such introspective lyrics to describe how he is feeling.
"boy genius" is one hell of an album. Each one of these girls brings something so special to the album. The depth behind each song and the pure grit that they're sung with brings you such joy. The lyrics are just so true, you feel them. Although the songs are relatively sad they still leave you feeling this sense of joy, not from the lyrics themselves but just how they were sung, with passion and soul.
So, we've come to the end, the end of 2018. A year, that in my opinion will go down in musical history forever. I want to leave you with my top ten albums of 2018. These are the albums that I feel broke barriers, made an impact in my life and in others, albums that will be remembered for years down the road. I hope that when you listen to these albums you feel how I feel from song to song.
10. Father John Misty - God's Favorite Customer
9. Vance Joy - Nation of Two
8. James Bay - Electric Light
7. The Paper Kites - On the Train Ride Home
6. LANY - Malibu Nights
5. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus - boy genius
4. Young the Giant - Mirror Master
3. Mumford & Sons - Delta
2. CHVRCHES - Love Is Dead
1. The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships