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Top 50 Albums of 2018

Photo Credit: Michael Lamertz, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

50. Prince - Piano & A Microphone 1983

Although it was recorded over thirty-five years ago, this deep cut deserves special mention.

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Best Tracks: “A Case of You,” “Mary Don’t You Weep”

49. Tierra Whack - Whack World

The only thing keeping this album from the top twenty is the fact that it is exactly fifteen minutes long.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “Bugs Life,” “Hungry Hippo”

48. George Clanton - Slide

Formerly known for his vaporwave music, George Clanton is back with music that sounds fresh and lush from front to back.

Genre: Trip Hop

Best Tracks: “Make It Forever,” “Dumb”

47. Haley Heynderickx - I Need to Start a Garden

Heynderickx seems to have better control over her voice, her guitar, and her music than most people have over a BIC pen.

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Best Tracks: “The Bug Collector,” “Oom Sha La La”

46. The Voidz - Virtue

Julian Casablancas is back, for better or for worse! Fortunately, Virtue is both very good and not a regurgitation of the Strokes.

Genre: Indie Rock

Best Tracks: “Permanent High School,” “Lazy Boy”

45. Maxo Kream - Punken

Although Punken does not differentiate itself much from any of Maxo’s previous work, it still showcases his exceptional flow and ability to construct couplets.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “Grannies,” “Pop Another”

44. Jon Hopkins - Singularity

The first half of this album is pretty much perfect.

Genre: House

Best Tracks: “Singularity,” “Everything Connected”

43. Harunemuri - Harutosyura

This album is in the same vein as the eclectic and distorted rock music from Japanese acts like Shinsei Kamattechan. It is definitely not for everyone, but it is a great gateway into the exciting music being made at the other end of the world.

Genre: Noise Pop

Best Tracks: “Narashite,” “Sekaiwotorikaeshiteokure”

42. The Garden - Mirror Might Steal Your Charm

One word for this album: ridiculous. This group blends punk, rap, and musique concrete without changing the ironic grins on their faces.

Genre: Experimental Rock

Best Tracks: “Call the Dogs Out,” “No Destination”

41. Flasher - Constant Image

All of the members of this band used to work at Comet Ping Pong, which is interesting in its own way. This has no bearing on their music, though, which is also interesting in its own way.

Genre: Indie Rock

Best Tracks: “Pressure,” “Sun Come and Golden”

40. Kali Uchis - Isolation

WARNING: Every melody on this album will dig its way into your brain for four to six weeks.

Genre: Neo-Soul

Best Tracks: “Just a Stranger,” “Your Teeth In My Neck”

39. Preoccupations - New Material

This album is cold and industrial but in a really cool way: not in a “Lau” kind of way.

Genre: Post-Punk

Best Tracks: “Decompose,” “Disarray”

38. Avantdale Bowling Club - Avantdale Bowling Club

New Zealand rapper Tom Scott enlisted some of his country’s most talented classical and jazz musicians to compose this album. This is easily one of the smoothest listens of the year.

Genre: Jazz Rap

Best Tracks: “Pocket Lint,” “F(r)iends”

37. KEN Mode - Loved

Really interesting melting pot of all different forms of punk and metal.

Genre: Post-Hardcore

Best Tracks: “Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should,” “This is a Love Test”

36. Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel

Courtney Barnett has become a bit of an icon among indie rock fans. The songwriting and badass aura that got her to this point are well-showcased on this album.

Genre: Indie Rock

Best Tracks: “City Looks Pretty,” “Nameless Faceless”

35. Jeff Rosenstock - POST-

This album was released almost immediately after 2017’s New Year’s Eve, and while it has had to survive an entire year of aging and criticism, it still deserves mention on any end-of-the-year list.

Genre: Indie Rock

Best Tracks: “USA,” “9/10”

34. Melody’s Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage

The production on this is incredibly lush, and the composition is very creative. Moreover, “Desert Horse” is one of the craziest pop songs of this decade.

Genre: Progressive Pop

Best Tracks: “Cross My Heart,” “Desert Horse”

33. Portal - Ion

This album features mind-numbing drumming virtuosity. Each instrument is impossibly tight, and altogether they create organized chaos.

Genre: Death Metal

Best Tracks: “ESP ION AGE,” “Phreqs”

32. Daughters - You Won’t Get What You Want

The Internet went crazy over this spooky album. Admittedly, it is impressively produced and energetically eerie.

Genre: Noise Rock

Best Tracks: “Satan in the Wait,” “The Lords Song”

31. MGMT - Little Dark Age

MGMT’s decision to work with Ariel Pink and make nostalgic pop music was definitely a surprising artistic turn: surprising, but nonetheless great.

Genre: Hypnagogic Pop

Best Tracks: “She Works Out Too Much,” “Me and Michael”

30. Mid-Air Thief - Crumbling

A beautiful melding of folk, pop, and electronic from all different places and ages.

Genre: Folktronica

Best Tracks: “Why?” “Crumbling Together”

29. Death Grips - Year of the Snitch

Even after six years of listeners setting the expectation at insanity, Death Grips has still managed to stay exciting and unpredictable with this album.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “Black Paint,” “Streaky”

28. Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer

Dirty Computer is all-over the place in terms of style: featured artists include Grimes, Pharrell Williams, and Brian Wilson. Janelle Monae takes full ownership over her work and somehow manages to weave all of these disparate soundbites together in beautiful harmony.

Genre: Art Pop

Best Tracks: “Make Me Feel,” “Don’t Judge Me”

27. Vein - Errorzone

Formed in Boston, Vein is one of the most exciting hardcore bands currently making music.

Genre: Hardcore Punk

Best Tracks: “Broken Glass Complexion,” “Doomtech”

26. Mount Eerie - Now Only

Mount Eerie frontman, Phil Elverum, is both intensely intimate and intensely reclusive. This album, paired with his release from last year, displays a wholly transparent songwriting style and calls into question the very process of recording and releasing music.

Genre: Indie Folk

Best Tracks: “Distortion,” “Now Only”

25. JPEGMAFIA - Veteran

JPEGMAFIA’s explosion onto the landscape of popular music was a reminder of how much power a bald man with glasses on YouTube can wield. It is both very strange and very exciting that this album, in its idiosyncratic glory, became as big as it did.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “Baby I’m Bleeding,” “I Cannot F*****g Wait Til Morrissey Dies”

24. Iceage - Beyondless

Consistently loud music from consistently re-innovative Danish punk rockers.

Genre: Post-Punk

Best Tracks: “Hurrah,” “Showtime”

23. Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love

This is some of the most ear-spinning, attention-grabbing music released this year.

Genre: Trip Hop

Best Tracks: “Licking an Orchid,” “Lifetime”


This famed Cudi x Kanye collab really could have gone either way: thankfully, it is pretty great, if not a little too eccentric at times.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2),” “Reborn”

21. Parquet Courts - Wide Awake!

This album is as hilarious as it is infectious.

Genre: Post-Punk

Best Tracks: “Total Football,” “Almost Had to Start a Fight / In and Out of Patience”

20. Against All Logic - 2012 - 2017

Well-paced and dynamic house music like this is a rarity nowadays. Also, this project is just another moniker for Nicolas Jaar, which is pretty cool.

Genre: House

Best Tracks: “This Old House Is All I Have,” “Hopeless”

19. Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog

This is, hands down, the most creative album of the year.

Genre: Indie Rock

Best Tracks: “One That Suits Me,” “Prior Things”

18. Low - Double Negative

Double Negative can be a confusing listen for those who have enjoyed Low’s earlier and very different music: it is especially confusing since this album is just as great as their work from twenty-five years ago.

Genre: Glitch Pop

Best Tracks: “Dancing and Blood,” “Disarray”

17. Tim Hecker - Konoyo

Great music for stepping over cracks on the sidewalk.

Genre: Ambient

Best Tracks: “In Death Valley,” “In Mother Earth Phase”

16. Mitski - Be the Cowboy

With fourteen tracks spread across just over thirty minutes, this album has absolutely no fat on it. There is hardly a moment here where Mitski doesn’t impress you with something new.

Genre: Indie Rock

Best Tracks: “Pearl,” “Two Slow Dancers”


SOPHIE is one of the most innovative and sought-after producers of the decade. This inspired and brave solo album will be remembered for many years to come.

Genre: Bubblegum Bass

Best Tracks: “Faceshopping,” “Immaterial”

14. Ichiko Aoba - qp

Ichiko Aoba’s music is absolutely breathtaking: classically folk, intimately disembodied.

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Best Tracks: “The Rain from Light and Shadow,” “Fairy of the Shoreline”

13. Denzel Curry - TA1300

Denzel Curry’s rapping abilities and ear for production have already been proven in his past albums. TA13OO fuses all of that with a newfound aesthetic of psychedelic horror.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “SIRENS,” “PERCS”

12. Tropical Fuck Storm - A Laughing Death in Meatspace

Look here! A band from Melbourne that isn’t involved with Kevin Parker!

Genre: Art Punk

Best Tracks: “You Let My Tyres Down,” “Soft Power”

11. Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs

It is a shame that every form of music media compares Earl to Madvillain. This is the most uniquely abstracted musical project of the year.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “Shattered Dreams,” “Playing Possum”

10. Cloud Nothings - Last Building Burning

They’re back and they’re faster than ever!

Genre: Post-Hardcore

Best Tracks: “On an Edge,” “Leave Him Now”

9. Pusha T - DAYTONA

There isn’t a single dull moment on this album; relentless bars accompanied by vintage Kanye beats.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “If You Know You Know,” “Santeria”

8. Koenji Hyakkei - Dhorimviskha

Like Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats, but somehow much stranger.

Genre: Jazz Fusion

Best Tracks: “Vreztemtraiv,” “Phlessttighas”

7. Saba - CARE FOR ME

A beautiful expression of sorrow and coping. You can also read The Indy’s in-depth review!

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “LIFE,” “PROM / KING”

6. Beach House - 7

In the midst of gossip that they were past their prime, Beach House came back this year with some of their best music ever.

Genre: Dream Pop

Best Tracks: “Lemon Glow,” “Drunk In LA”

5. Anna von Hausswolf - Dead Magic

Instrumentals and vocals that are as beautiful as they are terrifying.

Genre: Darkwave

Best Tracks: “The Truth, The Glow, The Fall,” “Ugly and Vengeful”

4. IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance

It is incredibly refreshing to hear a group that could so easily be a ‘lad band’ scream the words, “I kissed a boy and I liked it.”

Genre: Art Punk

Best Tracks: “Colossus,” “Danny Nedelko”

3. Julia Holter - Aviary

There is as much Joni Mitchell influence on this album as there is Steve Reich influence and it is wholly fascinating.

Genre: Classical Crossover

Best Tracks: “Turn The Light On,” “I Shall Love 2”

2. Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy

Twin Fantasy was masterfully crafted by a nineteen-year-old. Seven years later, it has been fully realized with a new perspective.

Genre: Indie Rock

Best Tracks: “Beach Life-In-Death,” “Famous Prophets (Stars)”

1. Noname - Room 25

Hot take: saying Noname is 2018’s most talented rapper shouldn’t have to be a hot take. If you are looking to consume one piece of music from 2018, The Indy strongly urges to you pick this important work of art.

Genre: Hip Hop

Best Tracks: “Regal,” “Ace”

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