From the music I listened to this year, these are my favourites from 2018!
10. Vance Joy – Nation Of Two
Vance Joy‘s second album Nation Of Two is packed full of familiar melodies and songs about love and a relationship. It’s a safe second effort. While it’s unlikely to win anyone over who passed on his first album, it shouldn’t lose anyone either. Read more
9. Anderson East – Encore
Sometimes sultry, sometimes sombre, always soulful. This charming neighbourhood boy from your parents’ church’s congregation has put out a commendable followup with a slightly larger sound than his debut Delilah. While he keeps his back close to the wall and plays it relatively safe, a voice as big as his can do only great things. Keep an ear on East because he’ll keep getting better from here. Read more
8. Amy Shark – Love Monster
With Love Monster, Amy has achieved something few artists do on a first album and that’s carve out a distinct sound. With songs gently supported by hip-hop beats, she’s a singer/songwriter who can appeal to pop music audiences with melodic indie pop songs that capture the experiences of every 20-something and molds them into musical memories. Read more
7. KT Tunstall – WAX
WAX is suitably the meatier counterpart to her last record KIN without being a complete rebrand of her sound. It stays familiar with sonic reminders to each of her past five albums but doesn’t retread what she’s already covered before, making for what is turning out to be a solid trilogy of pop/rock albums. Read more
6. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
Every generation has an artist whose music introduces music fans to the world of country. Past examples include Garth, Shania, and Taylor. This generation’s gateway to country is shaping up to be Kacey Musgraves. Golden Hour is a country album that blends her brand of tell-it-like-it-is lyrics that might appeal more to progressive music listeners than traditional country fans with pop and elements of electronic for an album that is as interesting as it is introspective as it is fun.
5. George Ezra – Staying At Tamara’s
There’s always the risk with sophomore efforts where musicians will lose the qualities that made them charming in the first place. George Ezra‘s second record Staying At Tamara’s goes for a sound cleaner and smoother than his first, but he hasn’t lost what made him such a standout among the newcomers of 2014. He’s doing his part to make 2018 as happy as he can make it, with the perfect album to ‘get away’ to. Read more
4. William Fitzsimmons – Mission Bell
Mission Bell is the musical definition of vulnerability as William Fitzsimmons writes about his own experiences and separation from his wife on songs that capture the feeling of loss, change and pending hope. There’s as much emotion in the music as there is in his voice and lyrics as he laments about the relationship and a desire to eventually begin looking forward again. Mission Bell is a healing record.
3. Years & Years – Palo Santo
Palo Santo is sonically seductive and lyrically sinful as it weaves through morality and religion with sex and queerness so blissfully with irresistible and immediate melodies. It’s focused on life through the gay lens, primarily an album for a gay audience yearning to dance to their own story. Read more
2. Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born Soundtrack
As an album, the soundtrack to A Star Is Born contains a lot of ups and downs depending on how you choose to experience the music. As part of the film, it shares the story – from start to finish. Bradley Cooper’s musical contributions are as convincing as his celebrated performance as Jackson Maine while Lady Gaga tracks’s are as versatile as her ten-years-and-counting musical career with songs that easily fit in among her absolute best.
1. Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You
Brandi Carlile takes it down a notch, or several, and goes past the heart straight into the soul. By The Way, I Forgive You is a liberating album that shows incredible focus and drive as she sings about forgiveness, moving on and laying old feelings to rest.
Across the ten tracks (her shortest album so far) are gentle almost subtle melodies with songs that draw you in and make you relate. Go-to Nashville producer Dave Cobb and country singer/songwriter Shooter Jennings share production on the record giving it a sometimes obvious country kick but subdued enough to keep in line with Brandi’s own output of folk and americana.