By Cole Parkinson
While not nearly as strong as 2017, 2018 offered some pretty great music throughout the year.
Best of music lists are being finalized a released throughout the month of December to recap all of 2018’s releases so let’s look at five of my favourite albums of 2018.
Now, these aren’t necessarily the best albums of the year but they are my favourite to be released this year and I think they are worthy of a few spins if you haven’t heard them yet.
5. Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
While Post isn’t a critical darling by any meanings, this album only scored a 51/100 on Metacritic, I really liked his second offering after 2016’s Stoney.
Even though I do prefer his first album, mainly due to tracks Feeling Whitney, Up There and Yours Truly, Austin Post, beerbongs & bentleys gets the job done with a track list of 18 songs.
While the album certainly been better off with cutting a few songs (I’m looking at you Ball For Me), the strong songs make up for the weaker ones.
Now for me, one of Post Malone’s biggest draws is the fact he seems like the kind of due you’d want to get a beer with (Bud Light, obviously) and see where the night takes you.
Hip-hop and rap certainly isn’t my most listened to genre but I like the way Post uses his instrumentation by using some drums and guitar on certain songs especially Stay which is easily my favourite track on the album.
Knowing he has quite the guitar collection, I’d love to see him explore even more of that side of music on his next album but that may just be me.
Stand out tracks – Paranoid, Better Now and Stay
4. Alkaline Trio – Is This Thing Cursed?
After singer/guitarist Matt Skiba joined blink-182 back in 2015, Alkaline Trio was put on the back burner for a while.
With their last album, My Shame is True, came out in 2013, it took Trio five years to put out Is This Thing Cursed? but I feel it was worth the wait.
The album definitely harkens back to some of their older work which shows in quite a few tracks on the album, especially in the lyric department.
While Skiba has been the focal point on most of the past trio albums, I feel vocalist/bassist Dan Andriano really controls a lot of this album which is a nice change of pace.
Andriano really is one of the most underrated singers in the punk rock landscape and a lot of his tracks on this one stand out as the best material.
Whether it be the title track, Stay or Pale Blue Ribbon, Andriano’s songwriting on this album is top notch.
With Skiba back with blink working on a new album, it may be a while before the next Trio album but the good news is, they left us with an album with good replay value.
Stand out tracks – Is This Thing Cursed?, Stay and Demon and Division
3. Smashing Pumpkins – Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. / 1 LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun
A great album with a horrible title and the return of three-quarters of the original Smashing Pumpkins lineup.
The re-addition of James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin really can be felt in this album and even though I do like the albums made without them, there was something missing.
If you go into this album expecting Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, you will be disappointed and I feel that is a big reason why some fans have not connected with this record.
It definitely feels like ‘newer’ Smashing Pumpkins but with Iha and Chamberlin being back in the band there are quite a few moments where the classic Pumpkins sound is present especially on Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts) and Marchin’ On.
Featuring only nine songs and the shortest runtime of any Pumpkins record, I find it really accessible for those wanting to jump into a record without making a big time commitment to it.
While it may not be the big comeback album some fans were hoping for, I think it offers a good glimpse into what we can expect with the reunited lineup moving forward and by all accounts, the next batch of songs could be something even greater.
Stand out tracks – Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts), Marchin’ On and With Sympathy
2. Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers – Bought to Rot
The second solo album from Laura Jane Grace caught me off guard a bit as it had been eight years since her first solo album.
Billed as a record filled like a mixtape of various styles and songs that weren’t fit for an Against Me! record, Bought to Rot definitely doesn’t feel much like any other previous LJG works.
While she has admitted there was a point where she felt Against Me! was at its end (thankfully they didn’t break up), these songs were written along with Atom Willard (Against Me!’s current drummer) and bassist Marc Hudson.
The shift in musical tones was a welcome change and the record really truly does feel like a step away from Against Me! territory.
The entire record is a great example of something you want to listen to front to back because every song sounds different. While it may run a tad long and could have probably benefited from cutting a song or two, Bought to Rot is an album that could satisfy listeners looking for punk rock, classic rock or even indie rock.
Stand out tracks – China Beach, Reality Bites and Manic Depression
1. The Dirty Nil – Master Volume
This is probably the easiest year to place my favourite album in some time and The Dirty Nil’s Master Volume really is the standout album by quite a large margin.
Following up 2016’s Higher Power was no easy feat but I think the newest album succeeds it which is saying something because Higher Power is an absolutely fantastic record.
While the album isn’t a huge stylistic shift from the previous offering, I think the Nil improved on basically everything whether it be vocals, guitar, bass and drums.
Luke Bentham’s voice may be one of my favourites in music and it’s stronger on this album by quite a large margin.
His guitar work on Master Volume is interesting, catchy and incredibly detailed which is a major driving force in the 10 songs found on the record. Luke Fisher and Ross Miller round out the rhythm section and their contributions can be felt prominently throughout the songs.
This is one album that is tough to highlight just a few tracks and I would encourage you to listen to the entire record as there isn’t one song on here that I don’t like.
Stand out tracks – That’s What Heaven Feels Like, Super 8 and I Don’t Want That Phone Call