Another year of music—of brilliant albums and exceptional artists. As 2018 comes to an end, let’s give a shout out to some of its strongest comebacks, indie gems, and those who were snubbed in this year’s Grammy’s nominations (I’m talking about Mitski.)
1. “Be the Cowboy” by Mitski
A brief album of just 32 minutes total, Mitski’s Be the Cowboy is a unique and introspective work that turns the listener into an empath. You really feel everything she feels on this album. In addition to being musically diverse, it is heartwrenching and transparent in a way that deserves all the admiration.
2. “Little Dark Age” by MGMT
“Welcome to the shitshow, grab a comfortable seat.” 11 years after Oracular Spectacular, MGMT returns to their synth-pop roots. Take the opening track, “She Works Out Too Much,” about Tinder fatigue, and for a second, we aren’t sure who we are listening to, but it’s familiar. Little Dark Age is a mix of keyboard beats and ’80s throwbacks that stays streamlined with sticky choruses like the one on “One Thing Left to Try.”
3. “Lush” by Snail Mail
19-year-old Lindsey Jordan’s debut album may have been passed over for its teenage-heartbreak themes, but it’s a DIY gem in the indie rock scene. Lush feels like being in love for the first time and being punched in the face. It’s more complex than peer albums, with engaging lyrics and a raw, uncensored charm that makes it a stand-out.
4. Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts
Wide Awake! is a strong follow-up to one of Parquet Court’s most acclaimed albums—their 2016 release, Human Performance. It’s a dynamic mix of politically charged punk, reminiscent of The Clash and ridiculously catchy ’70s dance beats. (“Tenderness”, for example).
5. “Tell Me How You Really Feel” by Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett’s second album continues on the wave of everything that made her debut great—her trademark deadpan style, impassioned humor, and social critique, but with a more dark and melancholy feel to it. Tell Me How You Really Feel features Nirvana-