It’s hard to believe that so much great music could be released in such a crazy year. That is a testament to the power of music, to rise above the craziness and make things just a little bit better.
The year began with another deadly shooting, this time at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The students came together to organize one of this nations biggest rallies, to march as if their lives depended on it. Women’s voices were raised this year, in corporate boardrooms, movie studios and Supreme court testimony.
This year in music there was less flash, but there were powerful sounds. Here is our Sound Waves Top 25 Albums of 2018.
1) Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour
The year’s biggest crossover hit from country, pop with a hip disco sheen.
Kasey writes personal songs of relationships, but never cries tears in her drink.
Picks herself up and moves through the sad times with flair.
2) Mitski Be The Cowboy
Mitski Miyawaki presents electronica loneliness and delivers smart powerful love songs.
3) Janelle Monae Dirty Computer
A tribute to Prince, Dirty Computer is Janelle’s funk pop masterpiece.
Iggy Pop, Stevie Wonder and Brian Wilson are fans.
4) Leon Bridges Good Thing
If a sold out show in Orlando next year is any indication, it’s a good thing Leon is working hard. This R&B soul singer from Forth Worth, Texas, is bringing soul back to the airwaves.
5) The War And Treaty Healing Tide
Michael and his wife Tanya Trotter have made one of the most soulful and spirited albums of year.
6) Snail Mail Lush
Lindsey Jordan makes fuzzy Maryland indi rock with bitter sweet songs in the style of Liz Phair.
7) Soccer Mommy Clean
Another indi rock new comer. Nashville Sophie Allison sings about young adults dreams and untangling young adult mysteries
8) BoyGenius BoyGenius EP
Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus form an indi rock superband.
They have individually made successful albums recently, but this a tour de force.
9) Amen Dunes Freedom
Shimmery low keys shadows by Damon McMahon. “Miki Dora”, a song about legendary 60’s surfer, is a stand-out.
10) Cat Power Wanderer
Chan Marshall’s 10th album as Cat Power. Wanderer is quiet, subtle and heartfelt.
11) Beach House 7
Baltimore duo makes dense, moody music for these times, Beach House most realized album to date.
12) Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever Hope Downs
With 2 EPs these Australian rockers make a near perfect debut album. Pulsating, jangly guitars that make rock fun again.
13) Parquet Courts Wide Awake
Glossy sound courtesy of Danger Mouse make Wide Awake Parquet Court’s catchiest album. In the spirit of early Talking Heads.
14) Sunflower Bean Twentytwo In Blue
Think indi rock Blondie with lead singer Julia Cumming taking over for Debbie Harry.
Young, full of ideas and rocking with it.
15) Amos Lee My New Moon
The tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School occurred while Amos was recording this album. He was so moved he, recorded several songs with new lyrics. “No More Darkness No More Light” was cut the next day.
16) Father John Misty God’s Favorite Customer
Father John’s 4th album is sharp, droll cynicism with a pop 70’s shine.
17) Death Cab For Cutie Thank You For Today
Another standout album from these indi rock pioneers. More songs about coming of age and dealing with changes.
18) Christine And The Queens Chris
French singer challenging male stereotypes.
19) David Byrne American Utopia
Byrne returns with Brian Eno at the helm. Songs about parties, dancing and chickens.
Everybody is coming to David’s house.
20) Lake Street Dive Free Yourself Up
Bluesy, pop, jazz and soul from a band that began at New England Conservatory Music in Boston.
21) Elvis Costello & The Imposters Look Now
Elvis returns with the Imposters featuring legendary songwriters Burt Bacharach
and Carole King. Not since 1982 Imperial Bedroom has Elvis sounded this good.
22) Paul McCartney Egypt Station
It’s been a while since Sir Paul made a frisky album. Full of silly love songs and observations. McCartney has certainly seen a few.
23) Neko Case Hell On
Neko’s rock album. Her house burns down while recording, so she turns up the amps. This time with electronic flourishes.
24) Rosanne Cash She Remembers Everything
Working with Sam Phillips, Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Elvis Costello and Kris Kristofferson, Cash explores her father’s Johnny Cash’s death and what it means to be a modern southerner. Exquisite production by Tucker Martine and John Leventhal.
25) Brandi Carlile By The Way I Forgive You
Another wonderful album in Carlile’s repertoire. Her big voice never overpowers her heartfelt songs.
Kamasi Washington Heaven And Earth
3 albums document a journey for a love supreme by this 37 year old saxophonist.
Greta Van Fleet Anthem Of The Peaceful Army
Hard rock from the midwest by Kiszka brothers.
Let’s Eat Grandma I’m All Ears
Two English teenagers make music that sound like a fun sleepover with beats.
Shame Songs Of Praise
Post punk with Gang of 4 and The Fall for reference.
The Beths Future Me Hates Me
Met at music school in New Zealand studying jazz. These young women rock.
Childish Gambino “This Is America”
Rapper/actor Donald Glover made the year’s most powerful, provocative video for this song.
RIP People we lost in 2018 who made an impact on our music.
Aretha Franklin - “The Queen Of Soul”
Anthony Bourdain - Food critic and gritty music lover
Avicii - Worlds most successful EDM DJ
Dolores O’Riordan - Singer of The Cranberries
Ed King - Co-wrote Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem “Sweet Home Alabama”
Mac Miller - Rapper
Pete Shelly - Founder of The Buzzcocks
Mark E Smith - Leader of The Fall
Marty Balin - Jefferson Airplane
Scott Hutchison - Frontman of Frightened Rabbits
Richard Swift - Musician and producer
Coming Soon Next Year Albums we are looking forward to in 2019.
J.S Ondara Tales Of America by a musician from Kenya
Maggie Rogers Heard It In A Past Life
Sharon Van Etten Remind Me Tomorrow
Jade Bird’s full length debut album
Grimes new album coming
Local Music Favorites for 2018 - Some of our local picks for spins
SWIMM Sentimental Porno
Zeddemore Debut EP
Tru Phonics The Album
Beebs “Life Is Too Short” (feat Kaleo Wassman)
Anja And The Dreamers Tyranny EP
Never Ender New Songs