The R&K staff list their top albums for the year.
If there was ever a year that needed good music, 2018 was that year. Skilled musicians find a way to feed off the swirling chaos of the world around them – sometimes the end result is filled with hope; other times they channel the chaos and anger a bit more directly. Here is R&K’s list of music, chosen by our crew, that you might want to add to your playlist.
Historian by Lucy Dacus
All of the songs on this album feel wholly original, and even after what feels like hundreds of listens, I can find something new in Dacus’ lyrics. “Pillar of Truth” makes me cry every time. – Emily Marinoff
Kingdoms in Color by Maribou State
I had a very nostalgic year in terms of music but I did have “Turnmills” and “Feel good feat. Khruangbin” from this 2018 album on repeat. “Slow Heat” is my current fave. – Shivani Mehta
Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves was the first artist who got me interested in country music (after I got over my “I hate country music” phase that every teenage rock fan seems to go through). This album is a banger and is a perfect antithesis of America’s current political mood. – Tyler Elmore
Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt
My love for hip-hop has always come down to wordplay, and Earl Sweatshirt can twist syllables like blunts into tight, potent packages that leave you lightheaded. The fact that he crams in a world of complex emotion—regret, despair, pride—into those syllables only confirms Earl’s status as one of the greatest emcees rhyming today. – Matt Goulding
Night Ride Home by Joni Mitchell
I’m old enough to be behind on new music releases. This year I have been revisiting some newish Joni Mitchell (ie, released in the 1990s); the underrated Night Ride Home. – Alexa van Sickle
African Sauce LP by Sauti Sol
Amazing vocals! Swahili is a language that begs to be sung, and this Kenyan pop group flows in and out of English and Swahili effortlessly in their songs. – Aleesa Mann
Chris by Christine and the Queens
This album is a perfect reminder (in case you needed one) of how sleek, perfect pop à la HAIM can be as heavy on pathos as it is on polish. – Michael Snyder
Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae
There are no filler songs on the pop android’s latest album, which is fueled by swagger and self-awareness. – Tafi Mukunyadzi
Realms of Eternal Decay by Outer Heaven
This entire album feels like frantically digging through blackened earth with your bare hands. It’s rough, emotional, and destructive. The debut full-length from the four backwoods Pennsylvania boys is old school death metal at it’s dirtiest and finest. Riff city. – Cengiz Yar
Querido Louis & Rap Bruto by Residente
Two months ago, Puerto Rican rapper Residente (formerly one-half of Calle 13) dropped two singles that were so good that I immediately sent them to everyone. His eponymous album in 2017 was a thoughtful, high-concept thing. These two singles are pure power. Both are diss tracks, but I don’t even know the rapper he’s slicing up on the track. It doesn’t matter. The building rage on both tracks is so completely engrossing, so totally appropriate for these days, and Residente is at the height of his talents. – Nathan Thornburgh
Header image: Full of Hell playing at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn.