Top Albums of 2018

As the year draws to a close, most take the time to reflect on their year, their achievements and what they’ve learned. However, we at the Strathclyde Telegraph think that that’s a total waste of time. The only thing that matters is everyone’s top album of the year! We asked a few of our writers to tell us about their favourite releases of 2018.

Robyn – Honey [words by Emma Olsson]

Earlier this year, I was content to ride out the crushing waves of my heartbreak to such classics as Dancing On My Own and With Every Heartbeat. Little did I know, Robyn was about to drop Honey and with it, the last bit of medicine I needed.

Robyn has always been the queen of my favourite genre of music: songs that make you want to dance and cry at the same time. And with her long-awaited sixth album Honey, she introduces rich new layers to coping with heartache through the medium of pop music.

Tracks like Missing U (there’s this empty space you left behind; all the love you gave it still defines me) and the sparkling Because It’s In The Music (I’m right back in that moment, and it makes me want to cry) are the album’s strongest offerings, wearing a revamped version of the cry-dance banger on their sleeves. The album isn’t all euphoric heartbreak bops, though. Between The Lines and Beach 2k20 bring us to the 90s for a sexy house party moment, a much needed final stop before the, in equal parts heart-wrenching and life-affirming Ever Again eases us into the end of our journey through the fractured heart.

The closing song is one of those perfect tracks that represent a very singular moment in time, one only heartbroken people get the privilege of experiencing. It sounds like a burst of positivity in the midst of draining sadness, like the moment when you’re dancing at a party and screaming the song’s driving lyric – I swear I’m never gonna be broken hearted, never again. It’s not true, of course. You will be broken hearted again; mourning the emotional loss of a person is a painful and essential part of life. But in that moment, you’re able to convince yourself otherwise, and feel happier than you ever have before. This heightening of emotion, the honesty of crying and singing and dancing it out – these treasured moments are at the heart of Honey.

Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer [words by John-Anthony Disotto]

My 2018 album of the year is a tricky one. 2017 saw the release of some of my favourite albums of all time – Pure Comedy by Father John Misty sitting up there among them. When I heard that Josh Tillman was planning to release a new album in the middle of 2018, it’s fair to say I was slightly hesitant.
The album’s lead single Mr. Tillman almost reaffirmed this hesitancy; for whatever reason, the single didn’t combine the hard-hitting satirical lyrics with the catchy tunes that I had loved so much about the previous album. But, when the album God’s Favorite Customer landed in June, it became clear that the single told a much deeper story. This is an album that needs to be experienced in full, letting metaphor and self-aware egotistical lyricisms play out to tell the story of a man dealing with the insecurities in his head.

The album felt familiar but very refreshing, almost as if the combination of the intimacy from allowing Josh Tillman to peek through the mask of Father John Misty meant for an honest and poetic fusion between songwriting and his own personal struggles. One of my favourite lines brings out the meta awareness of the album as a whole: “Last night I wrote a poem. Man, I must have been in the poem zone. I’m in over my head.”. Purposefully not a very clever lyric, used with the intention of demonstrating the mental struggles of the artist himself as he comes to terms with his writing falling short. I love this shit!

Idles – Joy as an Act of Resistance [words by Sarah Deiss]

The kind of album that unifies the good times and the bad. The kind of album to play when you’re needing to get amped for a night out, or finding motivation to get through the day on the commute to work or uni. Joy as an Act of Resistance has been on repeat for me since it was released on the 31 August. The album’s tracklist covers the breadth of 2018’s biggest themes; from politics, to humorous takes on the 21st century love song, to learning how to love yourself, or cope with the heartbreak and reality of losing a child. Dealing with a range of emotions, the album never loses its edge, strengthening its power to pull you in again and again with it’s raw appeal. For the students that love punk, for the ones that don’t, for the politics, societies pressures and the human condition of feeling a wide range of emotions, this album really has it all.

Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar [words by Charlotte Winspear]

I really had understated my appreciation of Young Father’s Cocoa Sugar, until Spotify informed me of the hours I had spent in the company of it during 2018. Since their Mercury award winning success from 2014’s Dead, a wave of anticipation has followed the Scottish trio, yet, instead of crumbling under the pressure; the group have risen to the acclaim and since produced two exceptional LPs. Cocoa Sugar is an album that sits comfortably as the band’s most commercially appetising album, shooting them back into the mainstream, though now from a more refined position, although, still maintaining their genre-binding experimental musical vehicle. Whilst the album is packed full of singles that have graced the airwaves for much of the year; the messianic connotations that flow throughout are truly brought to life in their live shows: an experience that has made me view the album in an entirely different perspective, awarding itself as something I come back to for a quick blast of euphoria, adaptable to all situations.