Lists

musicOMH’s Top 50 Albums Of 2018



Herewith, musicOMH’s Top 50 Albums Of 2018. Click on an album title to read the full review, where one exists. The list in order appears at the end of the piece.

Compiled from votes from our writers, as ever the list is a snapshot of opinion across a year from a group of people. It is the nature of such lists that while some five-star-rated albums do not appear, some lesser-rated albums do, by virtue of having been voted for by more than one writer – and, perhaps, because appreciation of them has changed over time. We’ve weighted the list to take (some) account of this, but we’re also aware lots of great music released over the last 11 months does not appear here. On the flipside, 50 albums’ worth does.

Thank you for reading musicOMH through 2018. If you would like to join our team of contributors for the new year, find out how to here.

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US Girls - In A Poem Unlimited

50. US Girls – In A Poem Unlimited

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The Longcut - Arrows

49. The Longcut – Arrows

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Tove Stryke - Sway

48. Tove Styrke – Sway

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Nap Eyes - I'm Bad Now

47. Nap Eyes – I’m Bad Now

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serpentwithfeet - soil

46. serpentwithteeth – soil

“It’s incredibly rare that a creative talent of this magnitude arrives at all. It‘s astounding that they would also succeed in presenting a vision of such striking lucidity across their first major work. Put simply, soil is an extraordinary album, triumphing seemingly without making any artistic concessions.” – Matt Beattie

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Jon Hopkins - Singularity

45. Jon Hopkins – Singularity

“Begins with feelings of disquiet, insecurity and thinly veiled anger, all part of a reaction to the state of the world today… but by the album’s apex, the 12 minute composition Luminous Beings, all rage is spent and inner peace asserts itself with a calming strength.” – Ben Hogwood

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The Breeders - All Nerve

44. The Breeders – All Nerve

“The ’90s were cool, but that was then. This is now, and The Breeders are sounding just as vital now (and cool, whatever that might mean) as they did when Last Splash made a splash.” – Sam Shepherd

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Cat Power - Wanderer

43. Cat Power – Wanderer

“Unafraid to be unashamedly mainstream rather than remaining the work of a defiantly indie maverick, throughout, Chan Marshall feels in total command, stripped back but self-assured, singing about everything from Trumpian dysfunction and family relationships to corporate greed. Most of all though, Wanderer is an album about developing your own identity in an ever-changing, often troubling world.” – Chris White

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Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

42. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want

“Suggests rock has a long and illustrious future ahead of it, and the creative well is far from dry… a rare beast that is both thrilling and wholly singular. Yet, however darkly disturbing it is at times, its matchless quality elicits awe and wonder, and strangely, that brilliance provides a surprising and curious warmth.” – Bekki Bemrose

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MNEK - Language

41. MNEK – Language

“The album doesn’t follow any exact narrative, but its songs are perfectly sequenced to allow themes to build and skits bridge the gap between these themes very well. MNEK has truly made his mark with this ambitious masterwork of an album. After years in the background, he’s proved that he’s the full package.” – Ben Devlin

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Ólafur Arnalds - Re:member

40. Ólafur Arnalds – Re:member

“A winning combination of intricate, impeccable craftmanship and human warmth, Re:member is a record that further enhances Arnalds’ reputation as a truly modern composer.” – Chris White

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Matthew Dear - Bunny

39. Matthew Dear – Bunny

“Eccentric spirit… where whimsical lyrics complement the synth-pop production, and gives the album a sense of character that carries it through.” – Ben Devlin

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Ought - Room In The World

38. Ought – Room Inside the World

“By the time the eerily atmospheric, almost menacing closer of Alice has rolled around, you’ll want to go straight back to the beginning of the album and experience it all again. This should be the work that propels Ought to superstardom.” – John Murphy

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Dirty Projectors - Lamp Lit Prose

37. Dirty Projectors – Lamp-Lit Prose

“The last album was such a darkly compelling set that it’d be wrong to frame Lamp Lit Prose as a ‘return to form’, but it’s perhaps a return to the light, to uneasy listening of a different sort.” – Rob Mesure

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Natalie Prass - The Future And The Past

36. Natalie Prass – The Future And The Past

“When you spend more than 30 seconds thinking about it, you realise just how rare and unique this sound actually is in 2018. Natalie Prass clearly has a great love for the music that inspires her.” – Ross Horton

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Amen Dunes - Freedom

35. Amen Dunes – Freedom

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The Lovely Eggs - This Is Eggland

34. The Lovely Eggs – This Is Eggland

“This Is Eggland takes no prisoners in its sonic bombast, and does not suffer fools gladly. Taking elements from krautrock in the oscillations of Silver Apples together with the slash and fury of riot grrlers Bikini Kill, the resulting dish is mashed up in a throwaway aesthetic.” – Andy Jex

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Daphne & Celeste Save The World

33. Daphne and Celeste – …Save The World

“Will this particular comeback lead anywhere? Perhaps it doesn’t want to; like so much of the Very Best Pop, it’s as sincere about its inconsequence as it is inconsequential in its sincerity. And will it save the world? Perhaps. But the world will have to want to be saved.” – Rob Mesure

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Neneh Cherry - Broken Politics

32. Neneh Cherry – Broken Politics

“Broken Politics is the sound of an artist growing and maturing very nicely. These are intelligent, beautifully crafted songs to sink into and luxuriate… Neneh Cherry remains one of our most vital and interesting voices around.” – John Murphy

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Sons Of Kemet - Your Queen Is A Reptile

31. Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile

“Your Queen Is A Reptile is musically quite happy to turn tradition on its head. Its sprawling rhythms and rich melodies are a heady combination which leave the listener on unsure footing.A highly listenable album with an audibly beating heart, which deserves to be played so loudly that the neighbours complain.” – Brianna McClean

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Goat Girl - Goat Girl

30. Goat Girl – Goat Girl

“Their laid-back, laconic presentation suggests that they are just a band who decided to make an album, and let’s see what happens. It might well be that what looks like the confident insouciance of some millennial musicians is in fact hidden nihilistic indifference: in the case of Goat Girl it may be a bit of both.” – Alan Ashton-Smith

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Anna von Hausswolff - Dead Magic

29. Anna von Hausswolff – Dead Magic

“Dead Magic is a brilliant artistic statement, Anna von Hausswolff’s best self-definition to date. She still finds inspiration in the areas others fear to tread and is able to transform it into compelling pieces of work.” – Steven Johnson

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Dream Wife - Dream Wife

28. Dream Wife – Dream Wife

“If the point of a debut album is to capture a moment, to provide a snapshot of a new, hungry band bursting at the seams with hope and abandon, then this must already be one of the debut albums of the year.” – Max Pilley

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Nils Frahm - All Melody

27. Nils Frahm – All Melody

“Nils Frahm’s music has placed importance on cohesion and flow which makes the feeling that All Melody is an album of two halves even more unexpected. The opening half sees him attempt something a little different with mixed results, the second half seems him return to more familiar ground with only moderate success. His dedication to his art and unwavering belief in the power of the piano is commendable.” – Steven Johnson

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Kristin Hersh - Possible Dust Clouds

26. Kristin Hersh – Possible Dust Clouds

“Hersh’s harshest offering in some time, but it’s also the sound of an artist rejuvenated and inspired.” Sam Shepherd

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Laura Veirs - The Lookout

25. Laura Veirs – The Lookout

“In The Lookout, Veirs has done what she does best. Instantly recognisable and comforting, she opens her personal world up as safe haven in these strange and noisy times, whilst still keeping you at arm’s length, listening for secrets.” – Stephanie Flooks

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Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - King Of Cowards

24. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – King of Cowards

“Thematically, King Of Cowards takes on the Seven Deadly Sins, and despite Pigsx7 often being referred to as a doom band, they somehow make the subject matter sound positively enjoyable. If this is the sound of positive thinking, then we should all be signing up.” – Sam Shepherd

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Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

23. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel And Casino

“There’s something to be admired in the band’s sheer bloody-mindedness and gumption in changing direction so radically. When the Arctic Monkeys’ career comes to be reappraised, this album could be seen as an outlier, or the start of their next phase.” – John Murphy

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Kurt Vile - Bottle It In

22. Kurt Vile – Bottle It In

“Bottle It In was recorded in multiple locations around the US. It’s a nomadic record then, and it certainly rarely stands still – if a guitar can play a few more notes rather than lingering on a strummed chord then it almost always will.” – Alan Ashton-Smith

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Johnny Marr - Call The Comet

21. Johnny Marr – Call The Comet

“Marr offers a vision of a more humane, liberal future. While one Smith seems to have lost the plot, another has found his voice.” – Neil Dowden

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Erland Cooper - Solan Goose

20. Erland Cooper – Solan Goose

“This is music with which to soothe the most troubled of minds, reminding us too of the natural beauty existing on each and every street corner, if only we would lift our heads to take it all in.” – Ben Hogwood

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Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears

19. Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears

 

“There’s nothing likely about Let’s Eat Grandma. It’s a thrill to listen to their experiments, their tinkering with sounds and ideas.” – Helen Clarke

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Pusha T - Daytona

18. Pusha T – Daytona

“This is not the King Push we were led to expect, but it is a quality record in its own right.” – Ben Devlin

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Parquet Courts - Wide Awake

17. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

“The quartet led by Andrew Savage leave one foot firmly entrenched in punk but the slacker rock tag now seems all but misplaced, the band instead branching out in several directions that makes for their most eclectic collection to date.” – Graeme Marsh

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Julia Holter - Aviary

16. Julia Holter – Aviary

“It is, in its own idiosyncratic way, a towering artistic accomplishment.” – Chris White

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Field Music - Open Here

15. Field Music – Open Here

“One of those rare albums that you just know you’ll keep coming back to, time and time again. Hopefully, this will be the record that will, at last, introduce a wider public to one of pop music’s most genuine, unassuming and talented bands.” – John Murphy

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Anna Calvi - Hunter

14. Anna Calvi – Hunter

“Hunter is a free-spirited, sometimes confrontational record, built around the theme of seeking an identity without boundaries, with a particular emphasis on deconstructing traditional gender roles. This tension is dominant in Calvi’s lyrics throughout.” – Chris White

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Shame - Songs Of Praise

13. Shame – Songs Of Praise

“It’s a sign of influence and intent when the debut album from London youngsters Shame could be described by album titles by The Fall. Cerebral Caustic? Check. Bend Sinister? Check. Middle Class Revolt? Check, check, check! Songs Of Praise distils the best features of classic British alternative music into a vital band passionate to enervate, communicate and entertain. ” – Andy Jex

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Caroline Rose - Loner

12. Caroline Rose – Loner

“Loner could become that rare thing, a true word of mouth success – for, after a few listens it’s easy to envisage becoming evangelical about Rose, and telling everyone you know about the album. There’s not one dud track on it, and each listen unveils something new to hear.” – John Murphy

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Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel

11. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

“Tell Me How You Really Feel is a wonderfully curated record, which manages to be both cynical and whimsical at the same time. The depth of musical ambition and of poetic expression deserve a suitably large audience’s attention.” – Brianna McClean

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Ezra Furman - Transatlantic Exodus

10. Ezra Furman – Transangelic Exodus

“Everything about this album shows Ezra Furman pushing forward and fighting for change, musically, socially and politically. He’s taken a musical colouring book and just gone wild, experimenting, colouring outside the lines. The shapes are there, recognisable, comforting… Transangelic Exodus is a beautiful, dark, twisted, painful and yet hopeful tale.” – Stephanie Flooks

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Gazelle Twin - Pastoral

9. Gazelle Twin – Pastoral

“There is absolutely no doubting that Pastoral is a phenomenal piece of work. It’s a brilliantly informed artistic statement and a state of the nation address that cuts right through. Pastoral is not a comfortable experience for anyone, and nor should it be. Times are indeed strange, but we are fortunate to have Gazelle Twin to help make sense of them.” – Sam Shepherd

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Mitski - Be The Cowboy

8. Mitski – Be The Cowboy

“Self-disparaging wit surrounds the naming of the excellent Be The Cowboy… an album which showcases over 14 tracks an artist who rarely takes an obvious route to anything.” – Rob Mesure

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Idles - Joy As An Act Of Resistance

7. Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance

“The nuance of what’s on offer on this record contributes to the rich contemporary loosely threaded punk scene that has produced bands like Protomartyr, Priests and Algiers. Their sound is one with the absolute sincerity of their exploration of our culture and politics. And in Joe Talbot, they have a front man unafraid to point the finger at himself as well as others, and that is progress.” – Bekki Bemrose

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Sophie - Oil Of Every Pearl's Un-Insides

6. Sophie – Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

“A powerful statement of identity, a shattering of traditional genre boundaries and nuanced, moving expressions of emotion where there once was an inscrutable deadpan. The fact that it all sounds so irresistibly good is the icing on the cake.” – Ben Devlin

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Suede - The Blue Hour

5. Suede – The Blue Hour

“A record that’s hugely ambitious in scale, but veers from place to place stylistically… a bold, accomplished effort from a band who still have plenty of ideas more than a quarter of century after they first emerged.”– Chris White

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Christine And The Queens - Chris

4. Christine & The Queens – Chris

“Slinky, soulful, addictive pop which could lay claim to being the sexiest album since Prince sadly checked out… intelligent, enjoyable, it cements her position as one of our most intriguing, interesting pop stars.” – John Murphy

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Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

3. Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

“Bold and generous… Whatever gender, sexuality, or race people are coming from listening to Dirty Computer, it is the most invigorating and emboldening gift. It’s just the way she makes you feel, so fucking real.”– Bekki Bemrose

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Robyn - Honey

2. Robyn – Honey

“Robyn’s music has always, in a strange way, been reminiscent of Matisse’s collages. It’s about clean lines, geometric beauty and clear sincerity. But it also has depth, richness and luxurious colour. It can be taken as superficially perfect pop music, or you can listen a little deeper and hear just how intricately woven her heartbreak anthems really are. She is an artist in the truest sense. And Honey is her latest masterpiece.” – Ross Horton

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Low - Double Negative

1. Low – Double Negative

“Double Negative is an album that will endure for a long time. It’s a thrilling development that proves how Low continue to release music of extremely high standards, restlessly creative and never content to stand still. It may feel like a time when the world is moving in confounding, exasperating ways but Low always find a way to offer an alternative and ultimately make it better. We should never stop treasuring their music.” – Steven Johnson

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Complete Top 50

1. Low – Double Negative
2. Robyn – Honey
3. Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
4. Christine & The Queens – Chris
5. Suede – The Blue Hour
6. Sophie – Oil Of Every Pearl’s Uninsides
7. Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance
8. Mitski – Be The Cowboy
9. Gazelle Twin – Pastoral
10. Ezra Furman – Transangelic Exodus

11. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
12. Caroline Rose – Loner
13. Shame – Songs Of Praise
14. Anna Calvi – Hunter
15. Field Music – Open Here
16. Julia Holter – Aviary
17. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!
18. Pusha T – Daytona
19. Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears
20. Erland Cooper – Solan Goose

21. Johnny Marr – Call The Comet
22. Kurt Vile – Bottle It In
23. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel And Casino
24. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – King of Cowards
25. Laura Veirs – The Lookout
26. Kristin Hersh – Possible Dust Clouds
27. Nils Frahm – All Melody
28. Dream Wife – Dream Wife
29. Anna von Hausswolff – Dead Magic
30. Goat Girl – Goat Girl

31. Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Reptile
32. Neneh Cherry – Broken Politics
33. Daphne and Celeste – …Save The World
34. The Lovely Eggs – This Is Eggland
35. Amen Dunes – Freedom
36. Natalie Prass – The Future And The Past
37. Dirty Projectors – Lamp-Lit Prose
38. Ought – Room Inside the World
39. Matthew Dear – Bunny
40. Ólafur Arnalds – Re:member

41. MNEK – Language
42. Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want
43. Cat Power – Wanderer
44. The Breeders – All Nerve
45. Jon Hopkins – Singularity
46. serpentwithteeth – soil
47. Nap Eyes – I’m Bad Now
48. Tove Styrke – Sway
49. The Longcut – Arrows
50. US Girls – In A Poem Unlimited

musicOMH’s Top 50 Albums Of 2018 was compiled by Michael Hubbard from contributions by Andy Baber, Bekki Bemrose, Helen Clarke, Ben Devlin, Neil Dowden, Stephanie Flooks, Ben Hogwood, Ross Horton, Michael Hubbard, Andy Jex, Steven Johnson, Tim Lee, Graeme Marsh, Rob Mesure, John Murphy, Daniel Paton, Sam Shepherd, Nick Smith, Chris White.


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