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Top 25 Albums of 2018

The 61st GRAMMY Nominations were released earlier this morning. While I have to admit I am pleased by the increase of female nominees, I still can’t help but be irked by some of the selections that were made. Please explain to me how Drake, the man whose music sounds equivalent to khaki jeans, was nominated for seven GRAMMYS. I’m bored of it!

This week I began to create a list of my top album picks of the year. As I finished up my list this morning, I realized only four of my picks ended up being GRAMMY nominated. It doesn’t add up, it doesn’t make sense, and I just don’t get it. Every year I end up even more and more disappointed by the GRAMMY selections, and if you want to hear my full heated thoughts on the subject, tune into my show, PopTara, Wednesday night at 8:30 pm.

Until then, here are my selections of the top albums of 2018. The correct selection of music that deserved recognition this year.

Top 25 Albums of 2018

25.Singular Act 1 – Sabrina Carpenter

Released: November 9, 2018. Former Disney Channel star, Sabrina Carpenter, solidified her spot in pop music with a more mature sound on her junior album, Singular Act 1. The album showed off her improvements as a songwriter, provided strong and dramatic vocals, and crowned her as one of the best breakout artists of the year.

TOP TRACKS: Bad Time // Mona Lisa // Diamonds Are Forever

24.Sunset Season – Conan Gray

Released: November 16, 2018. Conan Gray’s soft lush debut album was a huge step up from his GarageBand and cheap microphone days. The lyrics are well written and the vocals give off a soft bedroom pop aesthetic.

TOP TRACKS: Generation Why // Crush Culture // Greek God

23.Diary 001 – Clairo

Released: May 25, 2018. Clairo helped pioneer 2018’s trend of lofi bedroom pop with the release of her EP, Diary 001. Her interesting flat vocal affect and smart writing makes her an artist to keep an eye on.

TOP TRACKS: Hello? // Flaming Hot Cheetos // 4EVER

22.Forever Neverland – MØ

Released: October 19, 2018. MØ’s sophomore album captured a quest of saving her youth with electro-pop club tracks. This album showed growth in production compared to her previous work.

TOP TRACKS: If It’s Over // Red Wine // Way Down

21.Make My Bed – King Princess

Released: June 15, 2018. 19-year-old King Princess’s debut EP consists of sentimental piano and timeless hazy chorus’s, making her one of the greatest breakout pop artists of the year.

TOP TRACKS: Holy // Upper West Side // Talia

20.Over the Garden Wall – Ieuan

Released: September 9 2018. The Bay Area native’s, Ieuan, 3rd mixtape was by far his best yet. The purple aesthetic album gave smooth r&b and pop vocals, clean production, and more developed lyrics. Ieuan is a pop star on the rise who is bound to take over the music scene.

TOP TRACKS: Romana // Love It When U Love Me // What Are U Looking For?

19.Iridescence – Brockhampton

Released: September 21, 2018. Brockhampton’s senior album Iridescence was filled with chaotic hip-hop influences and gave a new meaning to experimental music. Brockhampton yet again proved themselves to be a unique group of artists with a sound that stands out from the rest.

TOP TRACKS: Berlin // Tonya // New Orleans

18.Super Sunset – Allie X

Released: October 29, 2018. As always, Allie X’s synth pop music provided impactful vocals, strong lyrics, and super clean and crisp production. The Super Sunset album showed that Allie X is growing as an artist, and I cannot wait to see what she has next for us.

TOP TRACKS: Not So Bad in L.A // Little Things // Girl of the Year

17.Boy in Jeans – Ryan Beatty

Released: July 20, 2018. Ryan Beatty was able to show his musical growth and maturity with his release of Boy In Jeans. The indie-pop album serves us honest and lush lyrics about love and relationships.

TOP TRACKS: God in Jeans // Crash // Party’s Over

16.Isolation – Kali Uchis

Released: April 6, 2018. Kali Uchis put a twist on pop with her debut album by mixing in some funk, R&B, and reggaeton sounds. The album has a beachy feel to it that was a strong go to for the summer.

TOP TRACKS: Just A Stranger // After the Storm // Dead to Me

15.Tommy Genesis – Tommy Genesis

Released: November 9, 2018. Canadian rapper Tommy Genesis broke her way into the music scene this year with her self-titled debut album. With hypersexual lyrics and gothy underground aesthetics, Tommy Genesis fed us well with this one.

TOP TRACKS: 100 Bad REMIX // Daddy // Play With It

14.Malibu Nights – LANY

Released: October 5, 2018. The sophomore album from LANY is probably their most heartbreaking yet. After going through a rough breakup, LANY frontman, Paul Klein, put his loss and his growth into Malibu Nights, with evolved lyrics and visual aspects.

TOP TRACKS: Run // If You See Her // Thru These Tears

13.Honey – Robyn

Released: October 26, 2018. Robyn’s first solo album in a long time gave us a mixture of heartbreak and dancefloor moments. Her 6th studio album was not a letdown and an overall solid piece of pop music.

TOP TRACKS: Missing U // Honey // Baby Forgive Me

Released: November 30, 2018. The junior album included typical The 1975 lyrics about drugs, politics, and the downside of celebrities and idolatry. The eclectic album fits in well with their past work, and is a must hear. As pretentious as the band comes off at times, they still provide us with some of the best emo bangers out there. TW/ Music Video contains extreme strobe lights and flashing visuals.

TOP TRACKS: Love It If We Made It // I Couldn’t Be More In Love // I Like America & America Likes Me

Released: November 9, 2018. A little after the death of Gustav Åhr (Lil Peep), the second album that he had been working on was released. The lyrics spoke clearly of his pain of dealing with depression and addiction. The honesty of his music created a safe place for his fans, that made them feel like they were not alone.

TOP TRACKS: Life is Beautiful // Sunlight on Your Skin // Fingers

10.Testing – A$AP Rocky

Released: May 25, 2018. Rocky releases one of his most personal albums yet with Testing. Though some of the beats are a bit basic, his songwriting freedom and features (including FKA Twigs and Frank Ocean) make up for it.

TOP TRACKS: Fukk Sleep // A$AP Forever REMIX // Purity

9.A Star is Born Soundtrack – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper

Released: October 5, 2018. The brilliantly heartbreaking film, A Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, gave us a beautiful soundtrack that is just as tear-jerking as the film itself. A Star Is Born is about a prominent musician who discovers – and falls in love with – a struggling artist. The two face their demons together while also being in the pressure and excitement of the spotlight. (GRAMMY nominated record and song of the year)

TOP TRACKS: Shallow // Why Did You Do That? //Always Remember Us This Way

8.No Shame – Lily Allen

Released: June 8, 2018. Lily Allen takes on her frustrations with constantly being in the tabloid’s eye with, in No Shame, her first release since Sheezus. With moody synths and whispery lyrics, Allen’s album is a go-to for late-night-in-your-feels moments.

TOP TRACKS: Trigger Bang // Come On Then // Apples

7.Yesterday’s Tomorrow Night – Harry Hudson

Released: March 30, 2018. Harry Hudson’s western pop album is a different sound to my usual taste, but it’s an album I’ve come to admire and appreciate deeply. After an intense battle with cancer, the world couldn’t be happier to see Hudson healthy and releasing purely good music. Not only are his songs complete bops that tells a story, but the music videos released with them as well are insanely gorgeous.

TOP TRACKS: Cry for Love // Gone // Kelsey

6.Dirty Computer – Janelle Monae

Released: April 27, 2018. Janelle Monae touches on big topics such as sexuality, race, and womanhood in her latest release, Dirty Computer. The lush album provides a personal narrative that feels youthful and creates a perfect pop piece. (GRAMMY nominated album of the year).

TOP TRACKS: Pynk // Make Me Feel // I Like That

5.Bloom – Troye Sivan

Released: August 31, 2018. The very talented and sweet Troye Sivan released his inner popstar with his sophomore album, Bloom. The ten track album beautifully hits on same-sex relationships, past breakups, and finding real love for the first time. If you want to hear more about my full Bloom opinions and can read my Bloom Tour experience blog, or, my initial Bloom review.

TOP TRACKS: What a Heavenly Way to Die // Animal // The Good Side

4.Sweetener – Ariana Grande

Released: August 17, 2018. 2018 was an experimental year for music. Ariana Grande took advantage of this by releasing her senior album, Sweetener, with a totally different sound compared to her last. Sweetener was a risk but turned out incredibly well in her favor. After a rough year of loss and challenges, Grande came back with heart-filled and uplifting bops. The album focused on love and mental health and has been Grande’s most personal and authentic album to date. (GRAMMY nominated as best pop vocal album of the year).

TOP TRACKS: Goodnight n Go // No Tears Left to Cry // Get Well Soon

3.Turn Off the Lights – Kim Petras

Released: October 1, 2018. Kim Petras released her first, but hopefully not her last, Halloween themed album this fall. This iconic club-feel album features dance beats, but also tracks that show off Petras’s highly perfected vocals. After getting to hear Petras perform this album live, I can honestly say it’s one of the most fun pieces of music to party to, and Petras is an artist you’re going to want to keep an eye on.

TOP TRACKS: Close Your Eyes // In the Next Life // Tell Me It’s a Nightmare

Released: June 15, 2018. SOPHIE brings us one of the most sophisticated pieces of production with Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. The beat-heavy album is not one that everyone understands, but it’s so beautiful when you do. Some songs off the album are club anthems, others are chilling and haunting, and then there are some that deal with gender and selfhood. It’s a perfectly rounded album that I strongly suggest everyone gives a chance. (GRAMMY nominated as best dance/electronic album of the year). TW/ Music Video contains extreme strobe lights and flashing visuals.

TOP TRACKS: Immaterial // Faceshopping // Is it Cold in the Water?

1.Pop 2 – Charli XCX

Released: December 15, 2017. Charli XCX’s Pop2 was released with only 2 weeks left of 2017, so to me that qualifies it as a 2018 album. There’s no doubt that this mixtape is not only the best piece of pop music this year but also one of the most iconic pieces of our generation. The A.G Cook produced mixtape plays with an experimental futuristic pop sound, with themes that hit on partying and love. The mixtape includes mass features from other brilliant artists such as Tove Lo, Pabllo Vittar, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Pop2 is a true vision of what pop music should be, and Charli XCX is paving a path for the future of pop.

TOP TRACKS: Unlock it // Lucky // Track 10

My name is Tara and I put out articles for UIC Radio on whatever day I can. I’m a media communication and professional writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I host a pop music show, PopTara, on UIC Radio every Wednesday from 8:30pm-10:30pm. If you want to keep up with my saucy life you can follow me here:

twitter – @phemebot

music instagram – @lyricsbytara

personal instagram@tarabolar

facebook – @PopTara


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