- 20 Dec 18
In one of its most varied end-of-year lists ever, Hot Press celebrates the emerging and established artists who are taking music into uncharted waters. To that end, Bristol-based hardcore band Idles are the deserving winners of our Album of the Year 2018.
Another year of fantastic music, another Hot Press office riven by arguments as the editorial team fought tooth and nail to pick the Top 50 Albums of the Year.
2017 was the year when international rockstars had their triumphant returns – with The National, St. Vincent, The War On Drugs, The XX and LCD Soundsystem all producing career-defining albums.
2018, however, was the year of the trailblazers. From almost every end of the musical spectrum, it seemed as if musicians were set on ripping up their genre’s rulebooks and making something entirely new.
Idles, therefore, were the clear winners. Having spent the past 24 months or so turning punk on its head, they’ve crafted a sound that’s as emotionally powerful as it is politically important. In post-Brexit UK, where division and hate seem rifer than ever, Idles are tackling issues like misogyny, toxic masculinity and racism head on, with an energy that’s as infectious on wax as it is on stage.
Also blazing a trail this year was American singer Janelle Monáe, whose album Dirty Computer was an example of the limitless possibilities of soul, R&B, hip-hop and funk. This was a running theme throughout 2018, with the likes of Young Fathers’ Cocoa Sugar and Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther OST, amongst others, also proving brilliantly compelling.
And what can we say about Irish artists in 2018? Never have there been so many great albums, and never has the job of ranking them been as difficult. Several debuts completely blew us away, including Rejjie Snow’s Dear Annie; Wyvern Lingo’s self-titled effort; The Academic’s Tales From The Backseat; Kojaque’s Deli Daydreams; and Saint Sister’s Shape Of Silence.
But it was the return of Villagers, with The Art Of Pretending To Swim, that made perhaps the biggest impression of all. With his fifth album, Conor O’Brien proved that he’s a musical shape-shifter, able to change genre, style, theme or tone at the drop of a hat, while still making a truly coherent, important body of work. Our nation’s music makers continue to thrill and inspire.
1. idles – Joy As An Act of Resistance (Partisan Records)
2. Villagers – The Art of Pretending to Swim (Domino)
3. Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer (Atlantic)
4. Rejjie Snow – Dear Annie (BMG)
5. Various Artists – Black Panther: The Album (Polydor Group)
6. Gorillaz – The Now Now (Parlophone)
7. Glen Hansard - Between Two Shores (Anti)
8. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino (Domino)
9. Wyvern Lingo – Wyvern Lingo (Rubyworks)
10. The Academic – Tales From The Backseat (Room 6 Records)
11. Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar (Ninja Tune)
12. David Byrne – American Utopia (Nonesuch)
13. Robyn – Honey (Universal Island Records Ltd.)
14. St. Vincent – MassEducation (Concord Records)
15. Paul McCartney – Egypt Station (Capitol)
16. Travis Scott – Astroworld (RCA)
17. Pusha T – Daytona (Getting Out Our Dream, Inc./Def Jam Recrordings)
18. Saint Sister – Shape Of Silence (ie:music)
19. Marianne Faithfull – Negative Capability (BMG)
20. Shame – Songs Of Praise (Dead Oceans)
21. Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt (Bella Union)
22. Therapy? – Cleave (MARSHALL RECORDS)
23. Troye Sivan – ‘Bloom’ (EMI Recorded Music Australia Pty Ltd)
24. Kojaque – Deli Daydreams (Soft Boy Records)
25. Low – Double Negative (Sub Pop)
26. Ash – Islands (Infectious)
27. The Good, The Bad And The Queen – Merrie Land (STUDIO 13)
28. Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch (Null Corporation)
29. Superorganism – Superorganism (Domino Records)
30. Lisa O’Neill – Heard A Long Gone Song (River Lea)
31. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats – Wasteland (Rise Above Limited/Red Dist)
32. David Kitt – Yous (Various Music)
33. Nils Frahm – All Melody (Erased Tapes)
34. Anna Calvi – Hunter (Domino)
35. Gavin James – Only Ticket Home (AllPoints)
36. Ariana Grande – Sweetener (Island)
37. Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now (Concord Records)
38. VARIOUS ARTISTS – A Star Is Born OST (Universal Music)
39. Paul Weller – True Meanings (PLG UK Frontline)
40. Confidence Man – Confident Music for… (Heavenly Recordings)
41. Nicki Minaj – Queen (Island)
42. Kodaline – Politics of Living (Rca)
43. Kurt Vile – Bottle It In (Matador Records)
44. Snow Patrol – Wildness (Polydor)
45. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want (Ipecac)
46. The Vaccines – Combat Sports (Columbia)
47. The Hot Sprockets – Dream Mover (Cherrypopper Rercords)
48. Eminem – Kamikaze (Polydor)
49. Kate Nash – Yesterday Was Forever (Girl Gang Records)
50. Florence and the Machine – High as Hope (Universal Music)