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December 4, 2018 9:54 AM   Subscribe

It's that time of year again! While the world continues to descend into a garbage pile, amazing music continues to be made. This is the best albums lists of 2018 round-up.

While a few albums pop up on nearly every list (Janelle Monae and Mitski doing particularly well, with Snail Mail, Low, Robyn, Kamasi Washington, Cardi B, and Arianna Grande also being frequent names), this year's lists really run the gamut, from Shostakovich to the music of the Tobique First Nation to underground hip-hop and experimental electronica.

The Quietus.
The Ringer.

What your favorite album of 2018 says about you.
posted by Lutoslawski (66 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
And my obligatory top 10, with some honorable mentions:

10. Brad Mehldau – After Bach
9. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
8. Chvrches – Love is Dead
7. GoGo Penguin – A Humdrum Star
6. Natalie Prass – The Future and the Past
5. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer
4. Olafur Arnalds - re:member
3. John Hopkins – Singularity
2. St. Vincent - MassEducation
1. Nils Frahm – All Melody

Honorable Mentions:

Decemberists – I’ll be Your Girl
Donny McCaslin – Blow
Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up
Colin Self – Siblings
Lump – Lump
Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m all Ears
Okkervil River – In the Rainbow Rain
Paul Simon – In the Blue Light
Robyn – Honey
Thom Yorke – Suspirium
Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth
The Carters – Everything is Love
Allie X – Super Sunset
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:55 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

And - I feel Jeremy Dutcher's album deserves a special shoutout. Dutcher is one of only about 100 people who still speak the traditional language of Wolastoq in New Brunswick. His album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, is, to me, the most unique and interesting record made this year. Spotify Link.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:59 AM on December 4 [4 favorites]

And, coincidentally, DJ Earworm's United States of Pop 2018 mashup dropped 15 minutes ago.
posted by hanov3r at 10:07 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]

the unexamined entitlement expressed by artists like Post Malone

posted by grumpybear69 at 10:07 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

As usual, it seems like about two months since the last Quietus best-of, and I'll manage to listen to about five of the albums on it before the 2019 one. However, this year, I can actually say with confidence that I have heard and really like The Sons of Kemet's Your Queen Is A Reptile.

Really my favorite album of 2018 was 2017's Music For The Age of Miracles by the Clientele - I mean, it's new to me.

And my favorite individual song of 2018 was 2017's "The Rabies Are Back.

That still counts, because it takes me that long to work through the lists. I'm just glad that I'm not still working on, like, 2015.
posted by Frowner at 10:09 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]

What your favorite album of 2018 says about you.

Went to the link and read it. I think they're missing a line:
None of the above/don't recognize any of these artists: Congratulations, you are old.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 AM on December 4 [7 favorites]

I'm glad to see Soccer Mommy getting some love. She's got a bright future.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:27 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]

None of the above/don't recognize any of these artists: Congratulations, you are old.

a key difference between being young and not is what the world chooses to foist on you in terms of whatever target market you may seem to occupy. One thing you don't get much of post about age thirty-four is new music. It's either reissues etc ... or nothing at all. So, if you genuinely care about the latest in superlative noise, you've got to actually go looking for it. Which I haven't done much of this past year for various reasons.

But now. These links, this thread -- I suspect I may be about to get started.
posted by philip-random at 10:31 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]

2018 has been a banner year for me finally admitting that I don't like Mitski, despite being in the target demographic for this type of music. The music is objectively really good, by most standards of quality. I just don't enjoy listening to it, and I won't be pretending to any more.

It's also been a banner year for me learning about Snail Mail, Lucy Dacus, and Boy Genius as ideal antidotes to whatever it is about Mitski that bugs me. Snail Mail in particular is so thrilling and sincere and listening to her album has been a true high point for me this year.

Thank you for providing this space for us to talk about our music feelings and opinions, because I have a lot of them and I don't want to get shouty at my friends.
posted by witchen at 10:33 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]

I see Kacey Musgreaves doing well here too, which is jes' fine.

She sang with John Prine on "Mental Cruelty" and ... that was jes' fine.
posted by chavenet at 10:38 AM on December 4

Autechre's 2018 release of four 2 hour live sessions was pretty dope.
posted by symbioid at 10:41 AM on December 4

As I've gotten older I've become almost totally uninterested in songs about personal feelings and/or romance. It's weird. Not only do I no longer care for the songs about feelings that I used to like as a younger person, but no matter how much I like the music itself I just can't get into it if it's about relationships. (I can handle a little implicit relationship stuff, especially if the musician isn't talking about their actual experiences, but that's about it.) So even though this is certainly a golden age for queer women musicians, I keep running into songs about love/relationships/sex/feelings and just not getting into it.

I think this is why I tend to like The Quietus's lists so much - about half of their selections either have no words at all or are basically "capitalism burning death grah Brexit murder" or maybe "twilight Mari Lywd ancient knife damp".
posted by Frowner at 10:44 AM on December 4 [9 favorites]

philip-random: "So, if you genuinely care about the latest in superlative noise, you've got to actually go looking for it."

With the various children in my life I have a sneaky tactic, which is to ask them what they are listening to, then immediately say "oh yeah, that XXX band, that YYY song, god that's crap, it's just noise, you should listen to PPP."

Then secretly listen to the music they are listening to. And at some undefined interval, but not too long, say "y'know, that XXX isn't really so bad; and I can see why you like YYY."

This has 3 effects:

1- I hear & enjoy a lot of new music
2- I don't immediately ruin it for them by saying some music they love is also enjoyed by some oldie
3- After a while they'll start to secretly listen to PPP and begin a whole intergenerational sharing thing that beats "Best of 20XX" lists by a country mile.
posted by chavenet at 10:45 AM on December 4 [5 favorites]

"So, if you genuinely care about the latest in superlative noise, you've got to actually go looking for it."

You really do, and even then it can be hard to find. I am (33 years old) and an active seeker and listener of new music. I have an established Friday night ritual (when new albums come out), to sit in front of the stereo with a glass of whiskey and listen to new records. Spotify, despite its many faults, has made this much easier. But still these lists come out each year and even me - who works really hard at finding new music - is still amazed by how much I missed during the year.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:50 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]

Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m all Ears

Great choice, I really like that group. I'll put in a plug for Kosmischer Laufer, The Secret Cosmic Music Of The East German Olympic Program 1972–83 Vol. 4.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:51 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]

This was a really good music year - a few I'd recommend that might be on these lists but I haven't seen so far:

Lala Lala - The Lamb
Jennifer Castle - Angels of Death
Fucked Up - Dose Your Dreams
The Internet - Hive Mind
Black Belt Eagle Scout - Mother of My Children
posted by theory at 10:56 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

So that's why Janelle Monáe's new single sounds so much like Prince

As it turns out, the song (and ridiculously sexy video) is more than just an homage to the Purple One—according to Monáe, she was collaborating with Prince on the album before he died in April 2016.

I liked the song when I thought it was an homage. No-one told me it was an homage, it just seemed obvious. When I found out Prince himself was involved I just loved it more. I think they had a mentor-protege relationship, or something like that. In any case it seems Janelle knows his secrets and isn't afraid to use them.

Janelle Monae - Make Me Feel (youtube)
posted by adept256 at 11:17 AM on December 4 [3 favorites]

Isn't it a little early for this? I feel bad for anyone who releases an album this December.
posted by crazy_yeti at 11:23 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

None of the above/don't recognize any of these artists: Congratulations, you are old.

some of the people on that list have been making music for more than 20 years
posted by invitapriore at 11:33 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

Isn't it a little early for this? I feel bad for anyone who releases an album this December.

A while back The Guardian pointed out some past December releases that probably would have missed such year-end lists. Among them were The Clash - London Calling and Dr Dre - The Chronic.
posted by theory at 11:41 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

In no particular order:

Lucero-Among the Ghosts
Ghost-Prequelle (plus the dance remix for "Danse Macabre")
The Interrupters-Fight the Good Fight
Cancer Bats-The Spark that Moves
A Vulture Wake-The Appropriate Level of Outrage
The Shell Corporation-Fucked
American Nightmare-American Nightmare
Direct Hit!-Crown of Nothing
War on Women-Live at Magpie Cage

And the obligatory 2017 album I completely missed the boat on:

The Menzingers-After the Party
posted by East14thTaco at 11:48 AM on December 4 [2 favorites]

this is why I tend to like The Quietus's lists so much - about half of their selections either have no words at all or are basically "capitalism burning death grah Brexit murder" or maybe "twilight Mari Lywd ancient knife damp."

This is the best thing about every Quietus list.

Shit, at the moment I can't remember all the music I've listened to this year. I can't even remember January. Seems like MES died both years ago and a month or two ago. But music I've really dug this year that I didn't see on any of the lists includes Eartheater's IRISIRI, Ohmme's Parts, and Music From Memory's comp Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980-1991.

As far as this year's listed pop goes, between Dirty Computer, Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides, or Be the Cowboy, I'd have trouble choosing a favorite
posted by octobersurprise at 11:58 AM on December 4 [1 favorite]

What your favorite album of 2018 says about you.

That I need more Western sci-fi concept albums in my life.
Murder by Death - The Other Shore
posted by haileris23 at 12:00 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]

mitski needs to be at the top of everyone's list!
posted by sarahdrugs at 12:00 PM on December 4

FUCK! I forgot that Murder by Death album came out this year. Direct Hit! gives it's place to MBD.
posted by East14thTaco at 12:02 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]

Any list that doesn't include The Dreams My Bones Dream and Sleep Like It's Winter is invalid.
posted by kenko at 12:07 PM on December 4

> Mastersystem — Dance Music
> I miss Scott too.

aaaand now I'm crying again.
posted by parm at 12:50 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]

I didn't listen to as much new music as I usually do this year, but here are some things that haven't been mentioned here that I thought were pretty good:

Makaya McCraven - 'Universal Beings'
Thelonious Monk - 'M0nk'
Ras G and the Afrikan Space Program - "Stargate Music'
Cecile McLorin Salvant - 'The Window'
Christina Vantzou - 'No. 4'
posted by box at 1:09 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]

After a couple of years of only really listening to music I already knew, this year I've been listening to a lot of new to me stuff. This is mostly because I started learning Arabic at the beginning of the year, so I've been making an effort to listen to Arabic language music. This has primarily been older stuff though. I was quite surprised when I opened the list from the Quietus (Frowner's description made it sound right up my street...) and the first thing I saw was Lekhfa by Maryam Saleh, Maurice Louca and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, which I've been really enjoying.

I'm listening to Mitski for the first time now, and really impressed. I'm looking forward to working through more of these lists.
posted by Law of Demeter at 1:16 PM on December 4

The CORRESPONDENCE between Jens Lekman and Annika Norlin (yes, it’s on Spotify &c).
posted by oluckyman at 1:16 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]

Any list that doesn't include The Dreams My Bones Dream and Sleep Like It's Winter is invalid.

Haven't heard the latter, but, yes, that Eiko Ishibashi is on fire.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:20 PM on December 4

This is the first year when I can with confidence say that my favorite album was made in my native Estonia (and it even has Estonian folklore at its core): Maarja Nuut & Ruum "Muunduja" is fucking awesome.
posted by sapagan at 1:22 PM on December 4 [3 favorites]

I have made an effort to listen to new-to-me stuff this year. But dammit, my two! favorite! bands! (the Go! Team and, of course, TMBG) both released new albums in January 2018, and I am only human. Still listening to both regularly. However, I do look forward to these sorts of lists to try new things.
posted by cage and aquarium at 1:29 PM on December 4 [5 favorites]

Oh yeah, that TMBG album was terrific! Also loved GBV's Space Gun, Hinds I Don't Run, Wand's Perfume EP and Lindi Ortega's Liberty (and a bunch of others I'm sure I'll remember after hitting post)
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:46 PM on December 4

Looks like the new albums I liked enough to pick up so far this year are:
Dessa - Chime
First Aid Kit - Ruins
Fratellis - In Your Own Sweet Time
Lake Street Dive - Free Yourself Up
CHVRCHES - Love is Dead
Pale Waves - My Mind Makes Noises
Interrupters - Fight the Good Fight
posted by ckape at 1:46 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]

Saw Janelle Monae in Philly at Made In America and though I already loved her, Dirty Computer is extraordinary (and boy, does she put on a show). Also, what's this "old" nonsense? Yes, most people get fossilized musically, but it happens a lot earlier in life stage than you'd think.
posted by Peach at 1:59 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]

Dirty Computer is the best album of the year and 👑Janelle Monae👑 is the best human on the planet, don’t @ me.
posted by supercrayon at 2:24 PM on December 4 [7 favorites]

For me, Gary Numan's Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is not only album of the year, but also the best concert I have attended this year.
posted by bouvin at 2:44 PM on December 4

Yeah, Gazza's on a roll - best he's been in a very long time, and he looks like he's really enjoying it, too.

A just-out album that has immediately made my top ten is Mogic by Hen Ogledd. I was immediately snared by the kick-off single, Tiny Witch Hunter, and the album turned up a couple of weeks ago to seal the deal.
posted by Devonian at 4:17 PM on December 4

That Quietus list has got me checking out a whole load of stuff that I missed.

Some other recommendations (mostly a list compiled by my partner due to her association with a record shop run by friends of ours):

Cucina Povera - Hilja (Night School)
Virginia Wing - Ecstatic Arrow (Fire)
Sink Ya Teeth - Sink Ya Teeth (Hey Buffalo)
Apostille - Choose Life (Upset! The Rhythm)
Gwenno - Le Kov (Heavenly)
Chris Carter - Chemistry Lessons Vol. 1 (Mute)
Domenique Dumont - Minatures De Auto Rhythm (Antinote)
Steven Legget - Bathhouse (??)
Molly Nilsson - Twenty-Twenty (Dark Skies Association/Night School)
Ahmoudou Madassane - Zerzura (Sahel Sounds)
Free Love - Luxury Hits (Full Ashram)
Synth Sisters - Euphoria (EM)
Kutiman - Don’t Hold On To The Clouds (Siyal)
Object Agency - Abaa Cove (Kit)

Solid Space - Space Museum (Dark Entries)
Brigitte Fontaine & Areski Belkacem - Vous et Nous (Kythibong)
V/A - Lost Transmissions From The Off-World Territories (Invisible Inc.)
V/A - Paris in the Spring (Ace)
V/A - Uneven Paths: Deviant Pop From Europe 1980-91 (Music From Memory)
Lorad Group - sul tempo (Lily Record)
V/A - Salm: Gaelic psalms from the Hebrides of Scotland Vol 1
Thomas Bush - Old and Red (Men Scryfa)
Robert Rental - Different Voices For You. Different Colours For Me. Demos 1980 (Optimo)

Talking Drums - Courage (Dark Entries)
Molly Nilsson - Gun Control (Dark Skies Association/Night School)
Hairband - Hairband (monorail music)
Cold Beat - Simple Reflection (Dark Entries)
Palta & Ti: Palta Og Ti På Den Tolvte Ø (12th Isle)
posted by Len at 4:34 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]

I've made a playlist in Spotify of the albums I've actually wanted to listen to a lot this year (I hesitate to say best - I'm not sure I have any use for that sort of thing any more):

They Might Be Giants: I Like Fun
It's amazing to me that there's as much catchy material on this album as there was on their first, thirty years ago.

Julian Lage: Modern Lore
Mostly General Thunder, I must admit, which is the most astonishing piece of music.

Laurie Anderson & the Kronos Quartet: Landfall
Anderson's account of living through Hurricane Sandy is threaded through the Kronos' ruminative, elegiac music.

Daphne & Celeste: Daphne & Celeste Save the World
Which also functions as a new Max Tundra album. Very, very silly - leaps from 80s pop to chiptune to Cardiacs to straight pop to goodness knows what else. Relistening over the last few days I've promoted this to Definite Highlight.

The 180 Gs: Singin' to God
One man's a capella (though hugely multitracked) rendition of Cardiacs' masterpiece Sing To God, almost perfect in capturing the madness and glory of the original.

Chilly Gonzales: Solo Piano III
Volumes I and II became the soundtrack to our monthly toasts (at the end of each month we toast various life categories with armagnac, usually while listening to Chilly Gonzales - highly recommended, at the very least as an excuse to drink a glass of armagnac), and Volume III has now been mixed in. This is why he's my most played artist on Last FM.

Esperanza Spalding: 12 Little Spells
Although I don't know that it's quite as marvellous as her last one, Emily's D+Evolution, it's a bit further out, and I enjoyed it hugely.

King Crimson: Meltdown - Live in Mexico
The current incarnation of King Crimson are quite a thing to see - an eight-piece with three drummers dominating the front of the stage, the other performers behind them on risers. The repertoire is drawn from across the full range of material the different versions released over the years, so you might get tracks from their 1969 debut rubbing up against the fractious Larks Tongues in Aspic / Red period, the 80s stuff, the more recent math metal or songs written over the last few years, and what's most noticeable is the way it all fits together.

My Brightest Diamond: A Million and One
Only recently discovered Shara in the last couple of months, so a new album and a gig were a nice surprise. This is her disco album, hugely catchy and a lot of fun. And she has the most amazing voice.

Gwenno: Le Kov
Late of The Pipettes, Gwenno's solo material has largely been in Welsh, while this new one is in Cornish.

Yasutaka Nakata released three albums this year (under his own name, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Perfume), and unusually none of them had that much play with me.

I should probably go back and listen to Bill Frisell's Music IS again - I was lucky enough to see him play a few weeks ago and it was quite extraordinary. I loved his playing on the Charles Lloyd & The Marvels/Lucinda Williams album Vanished Gardens.

Although not a proper New Album, Anna Meredith's soundtrack to Eighth Grade was quite lovely.

The Paul McCartney album was surprisingly good, though it's a shame he had to compete with The White Album (which is sort of one of my albums of the year, in refurbished mode) for attention. The man's nearly 80, and the album's really not bad.

I find I admire rather than enjoy the work of Julia Holter, and sadly for relistening in these straitened times enjoyment is key. YMMV.
posted by Grangousier at 4:56 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]

Looking forward to digging into these! I've made a concentrated effort to listen to a lot more new releases this year and so far my favorite albums, in no particular order, are (all links go to Spotify):
-Angelique Kidjo, Remain in Light
-Kimbra - Primal Heart
-Hookworms - Microshift
-Lord Huron - Vide Noir

My list of favorite tracks for the year is much longer so I'll just link the entire playlist, which is still a work in progress.
posted by capricorn at 5:03 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]

Ooh, that Angelique Kidjo version of Remain In Light is amazing, I’d forgotten about that.
posted by Len at 5:25 PM on December 4 [2 favorites]

It is great and I should credit filthy light thief's post about it on the Blue for pointing me to it!
posted by capricorn at 5:38 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]

cage and aquarium, I had no idea how much I need The Go! Team in my life right now. Bless you.

Other Metafilter-inspired purchases this year included that excellent Angelique Kidjo and assorted Lizzo singles (this year's was Boys, but I also went back for Good as Hell and Water Me).

In hopes it might be up someone else's alley, I'll throw in my most-listened-to album of 2018, which was Dirty Projectors' Lamp Lit Prose.

Happy end of 2018, y'all, and thanks for all the great music (and ideas and fun and commiseration and inspiration and mental sustenance elsewhere on the site). You don't know me, but you've gotten me through the year.
posted by kelborel at 5:59 PM on December 4

Yay! Thanks, they make me happy for no reason and I am always glad to spread the word.
posted by cage and aquarium at 7:02 PM on December 4 [1 favorite]

Thanks! Great lists I need to catch up on!

I don't listen to as much metal these days, but in light of the shittiness of the last few years this line from Windhand's Grey Garden had me tearing up.
"Isn't it all a mess? Soon it'll blow away..."
posted by AndyP at 7:31 PM on December 4

I always struggle to articulate the best albums of a year until quite some time has passed, but here's a few things for your consideration:

IDLES: Joy As An Act of Resistance. Spiky English punk. Here's the pro-immigrant anthem Danny Nedelko
Camp Cope: How to Socialise and Make Friends. Smart, sharp, feminist indie-pop from Australia. Here's The Opener, which takes three minutes and two chords to rip on ex-boyfriends, mansplainers and music industry sexists.
Alien Weaponry: Tū. Three Māori teenagers make thrash metal, largely sung in te reo Māori. Here's Raupatu, about the illegal and unjust confiscation of Māori land after the Land Wars of the 1860s. (Hit the CC for English translation).
Courtney Barnett. Tell Me How You Really Feel. One of the best gigs I've seen this year, in my head Courtney is kinda folky/poppy, but live she brings a heavier sound as well. Nameless, Faceless easily swats aside her trolls in the verses, but throws in darker choruses about holding keys in her hand at night (and adds in that Atwood quote).
Spiritualized. And Nothing Hurt. Jason Pierce's unexpected late career renaissance continues. Here's Let's Dance.
Rhiannon Giddens . Freedom Highway. Some African-American folk for you all. Here's At The Purchaser's Option, which manages to find some new horrors in slavery.

OK that'll do. You should listen to Young Fathers and Mt Eerie too. David Byrne is probably doing the best live show around at the moment.
posted by Pink Frost at 12:37 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]

I’ve listened to the new Dear Nora (Katy Davidson) album, Skulls Example (full album, streaming) more than anything else, old or new, this year. Several of the songs are already among my favorites from this decade.
posted by D.C. at 1:30 AM on December 5

I barely have the time to do justice to the new albums released this year I already own and already love; and I don't have the money to get all the albums released this year I was already aware of and was curious about; and the year's only 93% done; and here we are with long lists of stuff including a great deal I'd not even considered before; and in any case I like to think my favourite album of 2018 will ultimately be one I don't even know exists yet and perhaps isn't even on any of these lists. But thanks Lutoslawski for the post, and to all who have contributed links, even though I'll probably only get around to follwoing up a few of them. My own favourites (so far) include the Parquet Courts, Khruangbin, Julia Holter, Warmduscher & Hen Ogledd records.
posted by misteraitch at 3:08 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]

In the-1990s-never-ended news, Ash's Islands and Suede's The Blue Hour are both terrific. The latter (produced by Alan Moulder!) is in my top three Suede albums, and easily my album of the year.

The new Smashing Pumpkins album, Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. is also very good, harking back to their '90s sound. Manic Street Preachers' Resistance is Futile is reassuringly solid.

The Good, the Bad and the Queen's Merrie Land is a dark mirror of Blur's Parklife, and hits the Brexity spot.

I enjoyed Muse's Simulation Theory (especially "Pressure"), but can't claim it's one of their best. Franz Ferdinand's Always Ascending, though, is.

LSD's (Labrinth/Sia/Diplo's) Mountains EP would make my top ten albums if it were a full album. Also on the pop front, I seem to have listened to Camila Cabello's debut Camila a lot.

Lovers of early-80s heavy metal really need to hear Judas Priest's Firepower, their first album with producer Tom Allom since 1988.

Hot off the CD press in the past few weeks, William Shatner's Shatner Claus is an essential addition to any collection of kooky Christmas albums. "Little Drummer Boy" took my breath away.

Honourable mention for two 2017 releases: I was late to the party for Wolf Alice's second album, Visions of a Life, but it's fantastic. And Taylor Swift's Reputation proved great for summer road trips with the kids.
posted by rory at 3:12 AM on December 5

Oh, something I forgot to add to my playlist and my list here - the release of the full soundtrack to True Stories, the 1986 David Byrne movie. Previously only the Talking Heads versions of the songs were available with some of the cast recording versions as extras on recent releases, but this includes all the incidental music as well. Some versions - for example Annie McEnroe's Dream Operator or Pops Staple's Papa Legba - knock the Heads takes into a cocked hat, and seem to be better songs for it.

Post-2016 I wonder whether the film isn't strangely prescient: Byrne's narrator is wide-eyed and curious but never judgemental. He takes the supermarket tabloid stories of only-in-America eccentricity that people routinely use to mock rural America and says "If we believe these people are real, what are their lives like? What are their true stories?", and comes up with something wonderfully humane and modestly moving. Particularly striking from this point in time is the Puzzlin' Evidence sequence.

Not without things to criticise, but it is thirty-two years old. Even at that age the soundtrack still makes my favourite album list.
posted by Grangousier at 5:04 AM on December 5

I need to check out that Hen Ogledd album - Richard Dawson's fantastic album Peasant and his attendant gig at Islington Town Hall were highlights of my year in 2017, but the Hen Ogledd singles were a bit 80s punk for me - they sounded like what I imagined Crass sounded like at the time, if you see what I mean. I'll have a listen now and see what I think.
posted by Grangousier at 5:12 AM on December 5

I'm not surprised, per se, that they haven't appeared on any lists, since they seem to still play venues that are about the size of my living room, but for me, in terms of just pure catharsis and songwriting talent, Spanish Love Songs's schmaltz is a revelation. To be completely honest, it's basically the only album I truly enjoyed this year.

I want to find a haircut that fits me
That hasn’t been co-opted by Nazis

posted by General Malaise at 6:54 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]

Spiritualized. And Nothing Hurt. Jason Pierce's unexpected late career renaissance continues.

Boy, I totally slept on this one. Don't think I even knew there was a new Spiritualized.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:04 AM on December 5


(Actually, I prefer their previous album, but World Domination is good, too!)
posted by dirigibleman at 7:04 AM on December 5

+1 for the Gwenno recs. For a band that made no bones about how manufactured and semi-fake it was, it's shocking how good the musical output of the Pipettes alums has been. Both of Gwenno's solo albums have been fantastic and help fill the void Broadcast left in my heart. Rose Elinor Dougall's also been knocking it out of the park; Stelullar was one of my favourite releases of last year.

I don't have an actual list ready yet but I think at least these albums will make a showing on it somewhere:

The Beths - Future Me Hates Me
Moe Shop - Moe Moe
Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage
CRCK/LCKS - Double Rift
Lililips - 目は口ほどに物を言う / ちょっと工夫でこのうまさ
posted by chrominance at 11:38 AM on December 5 [1 favorite]

Ctrl-F "Rosalía"

Y'all need to get on that.
posted by the sobsister at 4:32 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]

I don't have an actual list ready yet but I think at least these albums will make a showing on it somewhere:

The Beths - Future Me Hates Me

I pumped my fist in the air when I saw that on NPR's list. I love that album so much.
posted by urbanlenny at 11:54 AM on December 6

I think probably my favourite record of 2018 has been The Sacrifice by...The Sacrifice, primarily because it's freshest in my mind and I have been listening it to a ton lately.

SLYT (Warning: cover art is problematic and NSFW)

I basically only listen to the Season of Mist, Wherepostrockdwells, and Dungeon Synth Archives channels on YouTube these days though, so I'm perhaps not as musically well-rounded as I should be.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:31 PM on December 6

No Clean Singing has started posting their best of lists for the year in metal.
posted by skycrashesdown at 11:27 AM on December 7

“The 30 Best Southern Albums of 2018,” Chuck Reece, The Bitter Southerner, 11 December 2018.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:32 AM on December 11

As I've gotten older I've become almost totally uninterested in songs about personal feelings and/or romance. It's weird. Not only do I no longer care for the songs about feelings that I used to like as a younger person, but no matter how much I like the music itself I just can't get into it if it's about relationships.

I certainly got tired of hearing indie rock boys moaning about some woman who dumped them
posted by thelonius at 8:41 AM on December 11

I certainly got tired of hearing indie rock boys moaning about some woman who dumped them

Partly it's this. I get tired of the woe-is-me stuff, but also the transparent lying kind of "I really love you baby [now sleep with me]" song and the foolishness of the "I will always love you you are my everything" song and the "you're a bad person who cheated, look how I triumph" song. Part of that is just getting older - I've had enough emotional experience that those feelings are not fresh to me and I mostly assume that you're a fool or a cynic if you haven't moved past them once you're past - at latest - your mid thirties. (And after many years of asks, a huge percentage of songs just make me think "what you're describing is a red-flag factory; don't call him, dump him".)

(I should originally have said, though, that Janelle Monae can always and forever sing about anything she wants.)

Partly it's just that I look back at my youth and realize that when I used to feel those feelings so intensely, it was mostly about approval-seeking and fitting in. (I assume that other people with healthier childhoods felt all those romantic feelings more authentically.) I'm very much a "love is an action and a process" person, and the people I love tend to be people with whom I've developed a pretty strong bond before any real romantic feelings enter, so lot of the songs about, eg, beautiful strangers just seem really weird to me, weird enough to yank me out of enjoying the music.

Songs about places or events or non-romantic experiences just work a lot better for me.
posted by Frowner at 9:20 AM on December 11 [4 favorites]

A couple of albums from last year that were in intensely heavy rotation at the beginning of the year -

Andrea Laszlo de Simone - Uomo Donna
I have no idea how to describe this. Epic, romantic songs. One song nicks the tune from the verse of Cry Baby Cry from the White Album, and the tracks are interspersed with tape collage so the general effect is of the songs flowing into each other. I have no idea why I became so obsessed by it, but it seems to have been my most played album of the year according to Last FM.

Lekhfa - Lekhfa
Fantastic North African supergroup - I linked to it in a thread earlier this year. They're great live, too.
posted by Grangousier at 11:36 AM on December 11

“The Best Cover and Tribute Albums of 2018,” Cover Me, 14 December 2018.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:27 PM on December 14

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