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18 from 2018: Album edition

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18 from 2018: Album edition

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2018 was a special year for music. There were many releases of long-awaited albums and several surprise albums. Here is a list of the top 18 albums from 2018, starting with No. 1.

Travis Scott’s “ASTROWORLD”

After two years since his 2016 album release, ”Birds in the Trap,” songwriter/rapper Travis Scott updated his discography and provided his fans with another top-notch album. Scott released his third studio album, “ASTROWORLD,” on Friday, Aug. 3. The long-awaited album contains 17 tracks and features from guest artists such as Frank Ocean, The Weeknd and Drake. Saying this album is the best album of 2018 might sound like a broken record, but “ASTROWORLD” deserves recognition. The album holds a diverse sound, yet Scott continues to stick to his usual sound, which is an upbeat futuristic tone. “ASTROWORLD” also has received a Grammy nomination for best rap album.

BTS’ “Love Yourself: Tear”

K-pop band BTS released its sixth full-length studio album, “Love Yourself: Tear,” on Friday, May 18, following the release of its 2017 EP “Love Yourself: Her.” The album “Tear” focuses more on sensitive topics, while “Her” was ballad album. BTS is quickly taking over the western charts and radio stations with undeniable talent and catchy sounds. “Tear” has received a Grammy nomination for best album package.

Kids See Ghosts’ “Kids See Ghosts”

Musicians Kid Cudi and Kanye West joined together to create the new hip-hop duo, Kids See Ghosts. They released a self-titled debut album, “Kids See Ghosts,” on Sunday, June 8 through GOOD Music. The 23-minute album deserves to be at the top of the list due to how well produced it sounds. Cudi’s sound is noticeably different than his solo work and makes this album unique. Both artists brought out their unique musical traits and produced sounds they’ve yet to do.

The Internet’s “Hive Mind”

The American R&B band The Internet released its fourth studio album, “Hive Mind,” on Friday, July 20.  What makes this album different than the band’s previous is how well produced it is. The instrumental sound of the songs are intriguing and hook their listeners with the bass line and slow drums paired with soothing vocals. The album sticks to a slow, mellow sound with several songs having a more upbeat tone. The vocals throughout the album fit the instrumental tone perfectly and lead singer Sydney Bennett, a.k.a Syd Tha Kyd, shows emotion in this album, something she lacked in previous albums. “Hive Mind” has received a Soul Train Music award nomination for album/mixtape of the year.

Various Artists “Black Panther The Album”

The 49-minute album was released on Friday, Feb. 9, prior to its accompanying movie, “Black Panther.” This album created the strongest soundtrack for a Marvel film. It was only obvious that one of the greatest Marvel films had to be followed by an equally great soundtrack. Several artists came together to create this album including Jorja Smith, Jay Rock, ScHoolboy Q and SZA. Apart from the contribution from various artists, this album was spearheaded by songwriter/rapper/producer Kendrick Lamar. Lamar’s performance in this album differentiates dramatically from his previous solo work, having a more mellow tone.  The collaborative album has a perfect balance of slow, mellow and fast-paced songs.

Earl Sweatshirt’s “Some Rap Songs”

“Some Rap Songs” is the third full-length album from 24-year-old rapper/music producer Thebe Kgositsile, known by his stage name Earl Sweatshirt. It was released on Friday, Nov. 30. What puts this album higher on the list, like various other albums, was how well produced it was. Sweatshirt’s lyrical talent and attention to detail make this 15-track album stand out and help Sweatshirt gain more recognition. Sweatshirt is known for being in the hip-hop collective Odd Future, although his work in Odd Future and his recent projects have a significant difference in sound. Sweatshirt’s newest work is significantly slower and carries plenty of emotion. Once evaluating “Some Rap Songs,” listeners notice how emotional this album truly was and how Sweatshirt created a heartfelt album. Although the album contains 15 tracks, the runtime is only 24 minutes. Each minute is filled with emotional tones along with raw lyrics, and that is what allows this album to be one of the best albums of 2018.

Troye Sivan’s “Bloom”

Australian singer Troye Sivan released his sophomore album, “Bloom,” on Friday, Aug. 31. This album is different than his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood,” due to Sivan’s newfound maturity. The 36-minute album is one of the top pop albums of the year for its variety of slow meaningful songs and for the more upbeat tracks. It’s obvious the albums’ lyrics are meaningful and special to Sivan. Listeners can easily relate to the lyrics and can make that special connection with Sivan.

Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter V”

“Tha Carter V” is the fifth installment of the “Carter” series created by American rapper Lil Wayne. The musician announced this album in 2012, but the album was released on Friday, Sept. 28. The 87-minute long album contains features from well-known rappers such as Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar.  There are several playful verses throughout the entire album that showcase Wayne’s witty personality.

Blood Orange’s “Negro Swan”

“Negro Swan” is the fourth album from songwriter/producer Devonté Hynes, known by his stage name Blood Orange. It was released on Friday, Aug. 24. The 49-minute album is one of the top albums of 2018 due to its slow euphoric sound. Hynes continues with a similar sound but obvious growth is prominent as this album brings stronger vocals to accompany the background instrumentals. The laid-back sound of this 16-track album is well produced and the songs blend into each other perfectly. The thoughtful lyrics hold powerful emotion and Hynes definitely had a power aesthetic for this album and executed it successfully.

BROCKHAMPTON’S “iridescence”

Boyband Brockhampton released its fourth studio album, “iridescence,” on Friday, Sept. 21. The album was the first installment of the band’s “Best Years of Our Lives” trilogy. What makes this album stand out is that it is missing a band member, Ameer Vann. Although Vann was a prominent member and contributed heavily to the band’s previous works, his absence on this album didn’t affect the sound of this album at all. This album does not live up to any of the expectations set by the “Saturation” albums, but it still is able to pull off sounds “Saturation” lacked. “Iridescence” is experimental with its sound, changing the pitches of voices, making it louder and adding faster beats. A similar sound is carried throughout this album, yet each song brings new sounds to the table and it was nice seeing the band experiment with this album.

Mac Miller’s “Swimming”

“Swimming” is the fifth studio album from rapper/songwriter/producer Mac Miller. It was released on Friday, Aug. 3. The nearly hour-long album showcases how Miller has matured, moving on from the pop-rap sound he produced not long ago. The album has 13 tracks and shows how he has grown as an artist. “Swimming” has received a Grammy nomination for best rap album.

Hozier’s “Nina Cried Power”

Irish singer/songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne, known as Hozier, released a four-track EP on Thursday, Sept. 6. The EP is only 17 minutes long and presents solid instrumentals and crisp vocals Hozier lacked on his debut album. “Nina Cried Power” was filled with beautiful guitar riffs, accompanied with soft vocals. The singer’s natural talent definitely stood out in this album. Hozier stayed with his casual soft indie-pop sound and it didn’t fail him.

Florence + The Machine’s “High As Hope”

Florence Welch, a.k.a Florence + The Machine, released their fourth studio album, “High As Hope,” on Friday, June 29, and the band continued to please fans with this album. The 39-minute album contains soft instrumentals accompanied by Welch’s amazing voice. This new album seems to have a more upset feel than the band’s previous album, but that is what made this album more authentic. The songs blend into each other well, even though a couple songs jump right into a slower sound. “High As Hope” is a poetic album and the band, once again, succeeded to create those perfect mellow sounds the band is known for.

Kanye West’s “Ye”

Chicago native and multi-talented rapper Kanye West returned to the music scene again releasing his eighth studio album, “Ye,” on Friday, June 1 and his collaborative album, “Kids See Ghosts,” not much later. What divides these two albums is how much better one was than the other. The two albums share similarities, both quite short in length and both only have seven tracks, but “Kids See Ghosts” was the album “Ye” failed to be. West provides a new, slower sound with “Ye,” but the album feels empty, despite the emotional lyrics.

Shawn Mendes’ “Shawn Mendes”

Singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes released his self-titled third album, “Shawn Mendes,” on Friday, May 25. Mendes showcased his growth as an artist with this album, introducing a new, folk sound. The 44-minute album sounded different than his last; it’s clear Mendes wants to experiment with his sound. It seems as if several of the tracks were failed hits, but this new album was enough to gain Mendes a Grammy nomination for best pop vocal album.

The Weeknd’s “My Dear Melancholy,”

Canadian singer Abel Tesfaye, known as The Weeknd, released his extended play/mini album on Monday, March 30. The album showcased a similar sound to Tesfaye’s previous albums. Tesfaye sticks to his bad boy lyrics and fails to experiment with new sounds, which is quite a turnoff. For the talent Tesfaye has and the expectations he set for himself with his previous works, this album did not bring anything new to the table.

Metro Boomin’s “NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES”

The 25-year-old American record producer Leland Tyler Wayne, a.k.a Metro Boomin, released his debut studio album, “NOT ALL HEROES WEAR CAPES,” on Friday, Nov. 2. The album contains 13 tracks and features fellow artists such as 21 Savage, Travis Scott, Gunna and Gucci Mane. This album failed to bring the hype sound Boomin was aiming for. Perhaps the greatest contribution to the album was made by 21 Savage in tracks such as “Don’t Come Out The House.” The soft whisper rapping was a quirky segment to add and Savage brings the most hype in this album.

Drake’s “Scorpion”

“Scorpion” was the fifth studio album released by Canadian rapper Drake. It was released on Friday, June 29. The 89-minute album contained two parts, an A side and a B side. The A-side mainly focused on a hip-hop sound while the B side largely consisted of R&B and pop. This album sits on 18 in the list but isn’t the worst album of the year; Drake failed to live up to his potential with this album. The album sounds good the first time listening, but after that, it gets tiring. “In My Feelings,” one of the most popular songs on the album, was the least appealing song. Drake has set high expectations for himself, having produced better albums previously and did not reach those same expectations with “Scorpion.” Despite that, “Scorpion” has received a Grammy nomination for best album.

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18 from 2018: Album edition