Top Twelve Albums of 2018


Charlie Pattinson, Staff Writer

Now… what you have all been waiting for: my top twelve albums of the year. This is my first attempt at it, and I did not spend hours on end using algorithms to figure it out. I just go off of gut. Side note–I have never fully figured out why end of the year lists are posted in early December, but here we are. By the time you get through my rankings, you will realize I have specific tastes, notably indie and rap music. You will not be seeing any Ariana Grande (sorry), or any country music (you are welcome). With that being said, here goes nothing.

12. ‘Mudboy’ – Sheck Wes

By now I am sure you have all heard the song “Mo Bamba.” If not, I am not sure what you are doing. “Mo Bamba” is not just a song. It is an anthem. Named after the Orlando Magic rookie, it is my most played song of the year on Spotify, and I listened to it before cross country meets to get me pumped up. Sheck Wes burst onto the scene this year, and is here to stay after signing with Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Records and Kanye West’s GOOD Music.

11. ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ – Courtney Barnett

This year I had the privilege of seeing Courtney Barnett grace the stage at 80/35, a music festival held in Des Moines. I think she is better on the album than live, but that is besides the point. On her new release, the Australian rocker has in-your-face punk indie everywhere. One track I dig is “Charity.” Barnett does nothing flashy on the album, just gets the job done with some rock solid tunes.

10. ‘Scorpion’ – Drake

Look, I am be the first to admit I am not a huge Drake guy. Quite frankly, I think he is overrated. But, 2018 was a big year for Drake. He played Fortnite with Ninja, and most importantly, his track “In My Feelings” sneaks him onto this list. It started the #InMyFeelingsChallenge, which was a worldwide dance movement that created meme upon meme. Also, his song “I’m Upset” is fun to lip sync to on snapchat. Congratulations, Drake.

9. ‘Wide Awake!’ – Parquet Courts

Coming into 2018, I did not know about Parquet Courts. I might have seen their absolutely cool band name on my radio, but that was it. Something like punk-indie meets monotone singing. (It is really hard to describe their sound). The title track, “Wide Awake!,” is an absolute banger. Not to mention I just found out this album was produced by Danger Mouse. Dope!

8. ‘7’ – Beach House

Beach House is one of my favorite Spotify discoveries. I found them a couple years ago in the “suggested songs” part of a playlist–an indie playlist with the classic, cliche title “Chill.” This year they released a new album called 7, and I really enjoyed it. My favorite song is Lemon Glow,  go give it a listen.

7. ‘Lush’ – Snail Mail

This is a late riser for me, leapfrogging higher on my list due to a single song, “Pristine.” If I rank my top songs of the year, it places very high. Lindsey Jordan, who made Snail Mail as a solo project, is only 19 years old. I was shocked when I found this out. When listening to a hot new song, you just do not expect the artist to be two years older than you. She is insanely talented and should be a name to watch for years to come.

6. ‘I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life’ – tUnE-yArDs

One summer day I went into ZZZ Records in Des Moines. I was strolling around in the new releases, and found this album. It is on clear vinyl so its cool factor is even higher than normal. I pulled the trigger, and it was the first record I ever bought with my own money. My dad collects records and has a record player, so that is already covered. “Coast to Coast” is my favorite song on the album because I really enjoy the layers of sound. A High quality production.

5. ‘ASTROWORLD’ – Travis Scott

Ahh, who could forget about Travis Scott’s Astroworld. It brought “Sicko Mode” into the world, which was one of the top rap songs of the year. This album is a tightly produced album, and has some cool cover art. Plus, its tour included Sheck Wes and Trippie Redd. This is a winner.

4. ‘Clean’ – Soccer Mommy

Clean is the highest ranked album I saw live, in 2018. Somehow, she was on the free stage at 80/35 which is crazy. Keeping the trend going of young women killing it, Sophie Allison (AKA Soccer Mommy) has an instant classic album here. This what you call having a moment. From practically unknown to putting out one of the top albums of the year in a very short period. She was fantastic live in concert and has a total kick butt song, “Your Dog.”

3. ‘Lifted’ – Israel Nash

Israel Nash is the best artist you have never heard of. For all I can tell, his top song on Spotify has about 2 million listens, and he does not have another song that cracks a million. I did not know who he was until popped up on my dad’s Discover Weekly playlist (just another perk of Spotify). All I can say is “thank God.” I am not sure what I was doing with my life before I had Israel Nash. He is a classic hippie folk rocker with long locks. There is no specific song to pinpoint, but the body of work gets him all the way to number three.

2. ‘C’est La Vie’ – Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent dropped a fantastic album this year. Perfectly blended soft indie rock with a mix of some fun, upbeat songs. Just an all around good album with a high level of “re-listenability.” In an era where only singles and curated playlists get consumed, the art of the album has been somewhat lost–at least for listeners. But fear not, as Phosphorescent comes through with a fantastic album from start to finish.

1. ‘Bottle It In’ – Kurt Vile

Wow. We finally made it to number one. This is far and away my favorite album of the year. Kurt Vile dropped Bottle It In during early October, but resonated enough to surpass all other albums released in 2018. Kurt Vile sings with a Bob Dylan-esque slang and just draws you in with how weird it sounds (in a good way of course). Go down the line of this album, and every single song is so good. I even bought some stickers off of his merchandise website, that is how much I loved this album. Vile made a piece of art, and I will be listening for years. Also, it ticks me off that it is not getting respect on many other year end lists. But, Kurt, if you ever read this, know a high schooler from Iowa loved it.

I’ll end it here with a shameless plug for my Spotify.