- 30 Nov 18
In one of its most varied end-of-year lists ever, Hot Press celebrates the emerging and established artists who are making a point of being innovative. To that end, Bristol-based 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 the likes of punk, post-punk and hardcore on its head, they’ve crafted a sound that’s as emotionally powerful as it is politically important. In post-Brexit UK, where anger 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.
Formed in 2011, Idles released their debut album Brutalism back in 2017, to critical acclaim. Lauded for their documentation of a UK fraught with division, they also became champions for the politically disillusioned, as well as speaking words of self-acceptance, self-love and understanding. Following the release of Joy Is An Act of Resistance, many commentators called them “the band we need for the era we live in.” Hot Press couldn’t agree more.
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.
Find our full list of the Top 50 Albums of the Year in The Hot Press 2019 Annual, which you by online here: https://shop.hotpress.com/collections/hot-press-annual-2019
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)