Sunday, December 30, 2018
The Top 10 Pop Albums of 2018
It is that time again. Pop is music that is fun, and sometimes after a day of listening to death metal for four hours I just need something to cleanse my palate. Pop is encompassing country and rap as well, as long as it's approached from a more mainstream angle. The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking, though I did not review all of these albums so I relied more on how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album.An album can have all the critical acclaim in the world but if it does not inspire multiple listens then how good can it actually be ? While the top ten lists for other genres were more balanced this list leans heavily on the side of new blood. Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. But since all of these album's don't have reviews, I think you kids know how to use Google and find them if you want to check them out. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top 10 pop albums of 2018.
10-Culture Abuse- "Bay"
The traces of hardcore continued to be shed as the opening is a lazy British beach ballad. Even at this point calling it post-punk would be an exaggeration of the word punk. I can hear more Brit pop and new wave in the almost more 80's like sheen that is buffed out by a warm organic mix. Speaking of pop it is hooky and has more pogo in it's bounce than say the Drums, but the melodies do reach a similar zip code.
9-Ghost World - "Spin"
Pop doesn't have to be an ugly word. This band from Finland draws from what it meant in both the 70s and 90s. Either that or this is what it sounds like to get stoned and play pop songs with actual instruments. The vocals have a touch of Stevie Nicks in how they warble with vibrato slightly. The guitar melodies glide with single notes in a manner that owe props to the Cure.
This is the kind of album guys like Future and Young Thug used to make it. Both of those guys put out rather lack luster albums, so this kind of fills that void. Auto-tuned vocals that are almost sung than rapped. This is hip that is pretty accessible, trap for the suburbs for sure. With that said it hooks that keep themselves around and you returning for multiple listens and when it comes to pop that is what matters.
7-Kacey Musgraves-"Golden Hour"
This is another album I did not review as it's too mainstream. It is driven by "High Horse" which is a perfectly crafted. The other songs might not be album to touch this one but have a very lazy 70s feel to them and are more country than even Swift's earlier albums. Her voice is soothing though she sings in the same range for the bulk of the album, it's still relaxing and fun.
6- the Weeknd- "My Dear Melancholy"
I was afraid that he might have become too preoccupied with being a TMZ personality and consumed with the celebrity to focus on music. He has enough in the way of personal drama to fuel a song or two , but would this happen. If he pushed the pop envelope further I felt he was going to lose what set him apart from the other mainstream r&b singers, though artist could apply to him the same can't be said of his peers who are closer to being entertainers than musicians. My fears were laid to rest as picks up where he left off before "the Beauty Behind the Madness" . It has a much darker feel to it and employs some of the pitch shifted vocals that remind me witch-house
5-Cypress Hill- "Elephants on Acid"
It was on "Temples of Boom" where their music took a darker turn. There was a few shifts as the landscape of hip hop changed over the years , but for the most part they have retained a distinct sound. This is not them putting auto-tune on their voices , but taking what they do and putting against different sounds. It opens with more of a psychedelic feel and organic instrumentation. Lyrically they stay sharp. When you are a rapper from California , rapping about weed which was their stock and trade is like rapping about Slim Fast.
" Never got around to reviewing this one, and truth be told I could stand to spend more time with this album, but when I hear these songs they beg for more listens so it's easier to get stuck on one. I think it's not quite at the level of "Eclipse" but that is a pretty high bar and when it comes to pop this album is better than all but three.
3-Post Malone-"beer bongs & bentleys"
Another one I did not review,as I am sure people who are into this guy know what to expect and while I know I do review artists like Taylor Swift, it's because of some odd left field obsession, but since we do have a pop list then its the right time and place to discuss this album. It's not hip hop, though this is where hip-hop would go...Cypress Hill any one? This is a fun album that is like Justin Beiber with more of a gangsta edge when it comes to the lyrics , though he does get his feelings hurt to much to be a gangsta, still it's a fun album.
2-Chrvches- "Love is Dead"
This band was my methadone to ween me off a violent addiction to Taylor Swift's "1989" album. For the most part it worked only to get me hooked on their sugary electro pop. Things are only getting worse in the best possible way from there. Lauren Mayberry has lost the goth trappings of her look, and this album might not be the same shade of gray we have heard from them previous.It's well crafted and stays true to what they do without coming across like a sell out. It has more balls than most of the pop these days and doesn't skimp on the sugar.
1-Pale Waves- "My Mind Makes Noises"
I've; described this band to friends as a mix of Taylor Swift with the Cure. The opener is pretty bubble gum, but well done for what it. You don't get to hear the meat of what they do until "There's a Honey". The hook in the chorus is subtle, but I've woken up at 4 AM with it in my head as I stumble to the bathroom. It's songs like this one that have provided a soundtrack to my summer and navigating the first feelings of a new relationship.This band proves Brit pop doesn't have to have anything to do with the Beatles.