Exec Team's Top Ten Albums of 2018

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    by Web manager
  • Post Date
    Fri Dec 07 2018

Author: WSUM Staff

It's that time of year again. Before we release WSUM's Top Ten Albums of the year, our exec team will weigh in with their personal favorites.

Maureen Duthie– Project Manager

  1. Caroline Rose – LONER
  2. Snail Mail – Lush
  3. Soccer Mommy – Clean
  4. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
  5. Superorganism – Superorganism
  6. Confidence Man – Confident Music for Confident People
  7. Middle Kids – Lost Friend
  8. Post Animal – When I think of You in a Castle
  9. Basement Revolver – Heavy Eyes
  10. GUM – The Underdog

Honorable mentions:  High Sunn – Missed Connections, Bonny Doon – Longwave, Jeremy Messersmith – Late Stage Capitalism, Father John Misty – God's Favorite Customer

Caroline Rose's second album, LONER, is a fun, upbeat, dark-humored and witty album covering topics like money, exploitation, misogyny, a friend getting pregnant, death and loneliness. Even with such dark topics, her synthy, pop-alternative rock sound is something you just can't help but dance along to and play on repeat. My personal song favorites from the album are “More of the Same”, “Soul No. 5”, and “Bikini”.

David Heinrich– Website/Social Media Director

  1. Snail Mail- Lush
  2. Kali Uchis- Isolation
  3. Blood Orange- Negro Swan
  4. Pusha T- Daytona
  5. Vince Staples- FM!
  6. Earl Sweatshirt- Some Rap Songs
  7. Playboi Carti- Die Lit
  8. Against All Logic- 2012-2017
  9. Tierra Whack- Whack World
  10. Young Thug- On The Rvn (EP)

Honorable mentions: Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers- boygenius (EP), Tom Misch- Geography, Saba- Care For Me, JPEGMAFIA- Veteran, Amine- ONEPOINTFIVE, The 1975- A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, NonameRoom 25, Ravyn Lenae/Steve Lacy- Crush (EP), Let's Eat Grandma- I'm All Ears

Why #1: Lindsey Jordan's full-length debut is a masterful, emotionally intelligent work that exudes wisdom beyond her years. Indie rock is a space saturated with the same straight white dudes and the same ideas at every turn, so it's hard to find something in the genre that feels fresh or worth exploring. Snail Mail has made me care about indie rock again. Throughout Lush, she navigates her teenage angst with poise and balance, focusing on growing and looking to the future. She dives deep into raw emotional territory, but manages to come out the other side empowered and ready to take on the world. She projects this self-assurance in an effortlessly relatable way, motivating you to reflect on and face your own problems in life. Listening to Lush is incredibly cathartic and while it definitely gets me in my feels, it always leaves me feeling better afterward.

Zack Shapiro– Assistant Tech Director

  1. IDLES- Joy as an Act of Resistance
  2. Post Animal- When I Think Of You In A Castle
  3. Superorganism- Superorganism
  4. Jeff Rosenstock- POST-
  5. Parquet Courts- Wide Awake!
  6. Noname- Room 25
  7. Iceage- Beyondless
  8. Mitski- Be the Cowboy
  9. Snail Mail- Lush
  10. Grapetooth- Grapetooth

IDLES second album Joy as an Act of Resistance reached the number 5 spot on the UK albums chart… as a punk album. This album brought a genre that has been relatively marginalized in recent years back into the spotlight with music that captures an image of the current political climate in the UK. Songs like “Danny Nedelko”, a song celebrating immigrants, and “Great”, a song that comments on Brexit, will cause this album to forever be cited as a time capsule of UK citizens attitudes towards political ideas in the 21st century. IDLES also focus on other themes with songs that promote self-love and compassion for one another. These themes are especially evident on “Television”, a song that tells you to ignore everyone's expectations of beauty and to “love yourself.” Joy as an Act of Resistance is a punk rock masterpiece that questions present-day norms, exemplifies the UK's intense political atmosphere, and includes songs that people from all walks of life can relate to, making it my number 1 album of the year.

Audrey Bachman- Program Director

  1. Snail Mail- Lush
  2. Camp Cope- How to Socialize and Make Friends
  3. Earl Sweatshirt- Some Rap Songs
  4. JPEGMAFIA- Veteran
  5. Parquet Courts- Wide Awake!
  6. Mac Miller- Swimming
  7. The Garden- Mirror Might Steal Your Charm
  8. Noname- Room 25
  9. Saba- Care For Me
  10. Milo- budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies

Honorable Mentions: Frankie Cosmos- Vessel, Yo La Tengo- There's A Riot Going On, Junglepussy- Jp3

Snail Mail's Lush has had an immense impact on my year. When the album was released in early June, my personal life was strangely similar to Lindsey Jordan's laments. I listened to it every day of the summer and soon its lyrics became my mantras. The more I listened, the more I worried that the album would be forever tainted by the fact that it came out during a hard time in my life. Lucky for me, when the summer ended and the new school year began, I was happily surprised that I could still listen to the album and even hear it in a new way. I think this is a true testament to how much feeling there is in this album and how deeply it can be felt by anyone at any time. To listen to Lush is to feel catharsis, sadness, anger, liberation, independence and self-love. I cannot recommend this album enough.

Favorite lyrics: It doesn't have to be this hard / I could be anyone / But I'm so entwined

Favorite song: Speaking Terms


Allison Hartwig- Creative Director

  1. Fickle Friends- You Are Someone Else
  2. The 1975- A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships
  3. St. Lucia- Hyperion
  4. Beach Bunny- Prom Queen (EP)
  5. Wallows- Spring (EP)
  6. Bonny Doon- Longwave
  7. Hippo Campus- Bambi
  8. Sunflower Bean- Twentytwo in Blue
  9. Snail Mail- Lush
  10. Kero Kero Bonito- Time ‘n' Place

Fickle Friend's first full-length album, You Are Someone Else, has been long awaited for fans of the band, who have been releasing singles since 2015. It includes all of their existing singles and some new songs just for the album, with their trademark synth, indie-pop sound. Each track offers a punchy, vibrant take on life, each more upbeat and lively than the next. My personal favorite, “Heartbroken”, speaks to me in a way a song never has before. With both its poignant lyrics and electric melody, it keeps me going every time I listen to it.

Carlton Cook- Station Manager

  1. Sons of Kemet- Your Queen Is A Reptile
  2. Proud Parents- Proud Parents
  3. Sophie- Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
  4. RP Boo- I'll Tell You What!
  5. Julia Holter- Aviary
  6. Pinkshinyultrablast!- Miserable Miracles
  7. Kero Kero Bonito  Time ‘n' Place
  8. The Body- I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer
  9. JPEGMAFIA- Veteran
  10. Yves Tumor- Safe in the Hands of Love

Honorable Mentions: Sarah Louise- Deeper Woods, Mare- Ebony Tower, Anna von Hausswolff- Dead Magic, IDLES– Joy as an Act of Resistance, Mount Eerie- Now Only, John Prine- The Tree of Forgiveness

The brainchild of saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, Sons of Kemet write and perform incredible jazz music heavily influenced by African and Caribbean music. Also featured on Your Queen is a Reptile is Theon Cross on tuba, and two drummers – Seb Rochford and Tom Skinner. The rhythms that come out of this group are astounding, with Hutchings' sax and Cross' tuba ever-present. This group's live presence is truly amazing as well (if you missed their performance at The Sett in October, I feel sorry for you).

Tyler Dallman– Music Director

  1. Toby Driver- They Are The Shield
  2. Julia Holter- Aviary
  3. Kikagaku Moyo- Masana Temples
  4. Low- Double Negative
  5. Melody's Echo Chamber- Bon Voyage
  6. Palm- Rock Island
  7. Sons of Kemet- Your Queen Is A Reptile
  8. Oneohtrix Point Never- Age Of
  9. IDLES- Joy As An Act Of Resistance
  10. Ihsahn- Ámr

Honorable Mentions: Proud Parents- Proud Parents, The Garden- Mirror Might Steal Your Charm, Daughters- You Won't Get What You Want

Toby Driver is somewhat of an enigmatic figure within the music world. Although mostly known for being the founder and frontman of avant-garde metal acts maudlin of the well and Kayo Dot, Driver has recently been venturing farther into experimental and pop territories. His release this year finds itself at the outer reaches of orchestral and minimalism, dripping with the surrealism of lucid dreaming, a habit that Driver cites as a songwriting technique. The album is texture and timbre based- gliding from shimmering strings and shining guitar chords to watery synths and undulating rhythms that bubble beneath it all.

Alice Alexeeva– Traffic Director

  1. JPEGMAFIA- Veteran
  2. Blood Orange- Negro Swan
  3. Serpentwithfeet- soil
  4. Earl Sweatshirt- Some Rap Songs
  5. Mac Miller- Swimming
  6. Kero Kero Bonito- Time ‘n' Place
  7. Iglooghost- Clear Tamei
  8. Melody's Echo Chamber- Bon Voyage
  9. Sons of Kemet- Your Queen Is A Reptile
  10. Tyler, the Creator- Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr. Suess' The Grinch

Honorable Mentions: Gorillaz- The Now Now, Ravyn Lenae/Steve Lacy- Crush EP, Unknown Mortal Orchestra- Sex & Food

With its density and clever references, JPEGMAFIA's self-produced album has yet to fade throughout the year despite its January release. The album is full with anti-alt-right lyrics combined with chaotic production. Samples from mid-90s hip-hop, early era video games, Brad Paisley (??!!?), Travis Scott, amongst others contribute to “Peggy's” goal of elaborating upon the experimental subgenre of hip-hop and distorting its production.

In all honesty, I have listened through this album in its entirety under 10 times. Its 19 song tracklist feels like an eternity because of Peggy's thought-provoking lyrics combined with frantic production, but there is no other album in 2018 that brought on such a breathlessness as Veteran.

Bar of 2018: “All you yuppie purses getting swiped like Tinder” from “Baby I'm Bleeding”

Eliana Wasserman– Traffic Director

  1. Jorja Smith- Lost and Found
  2. Men I Trust- Show Me How (EP)
  3. Anderson .Paak- Oxnard
  4. Ivy Sole- Overgrown
  5. Kali Uchis- Isolation
  6. MICHELLE- Heatwave
  7.  Noname- Room 25
  8. Blood Orange- Negro Swan
  9. Slow Pulp- At Home (EP)
  10. Khruangbin- Con Todo El Mundo

Jorja Smith not only has a voice that is melodic and a joy to listen to, but she captures the dissonance that is associated with growing up in our modern era. In Lost and Found, her lyrics embody feelings of uncertainty that are both relatable yet deeply personal to her experiences. The listener has the opportunity to follow Jorja as she navigates topics of identity, love, innocence, and independence through this album. One of my personal favorites, I choose to listen to this album any time I would like to sing along to catchy melodies or analyze the lyrics when I get in my feelings.

Ben Farrell– Traffic Director

  1. Playboi Carti- Die Lit
  2. G Herbo- Swervo
  3. Saba- Care For Me
  4. Blood Orange- Negro Swan
  5. Tierra Whack- Whack World
  6. BurnaBoy- Outside
  7.  Yves Tumor- Safe In the Hands of Love
  9. Kali Uchis- Isolation
  10. Lil Baby- Harder Than Ever

Honorable Mentions: Yung Nudy- Slimeball 3, Jeff Rosenstock- POST-, Mac Miller- Swimming, Matt Ox- Ox, The Voidz- Virtue

Atlanta native Playboi Carti's self-titled first album was, by almost all accounts, a tough act to follow. Carti, previously pegged in musical circles as a Soundcloud rapper, put together an impressive feat in modern rap. Carti managed to carve at his own musical niche, rapping confidently over the murky, 808 heavy production of fellow Atlanta native Pi'erre Bourne. Die Lit took Carti a step further in his musical quest. Die Lit opens brightly. The euphoric synthesizer of “Long Time – Intro” ushers us into the hedonistic world of a new-age rockstar. Fluctuating between the dark and minimalistic “R.I.P.” and “Love Hurts” and the boastful glee of “Long Time” and “Shoota”, Carti exhibits his ability to tap into both sides of what rap has become today: trap and pop. This versatility, and clear understanding of the musical landscape of 2018 made Die Lit an easy choice for my top album of the year.

Teresa Yen– Administrative Specialist

  1. Jonghyun- Poet | Artist
  2. King Princess- Make My Bed
  3. LANY- Malibu Nights
  4. Blackpink- Square Up
  5. Hyukoh- 24
  6. The 1975- A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships
  7. Sunmi- Warning
  8. EXO- Don't Mess Up My Tempo
  9. Lauv- I Met You When I Was 18
  10. Ronghao Li- Ears

The death of Jonghyun was the most shocking news for me last year. I woke up one morning and went on facebook and saw the news: “Jonghyun of SHINee has died of suicide.” I frowned and thought it wasn't true. That these were just rumors. But then it all came true: the company made statements, fellow artists reminiscing the days they had spent together. He was 28. Jonghyun was so talented, so amazingly gifted, but also very sick. He had written about his illness many times in his songs but no one really understood until he was gone, The song, “Only One You Need” in this album was written to comfort those who lost their loved ones, and I'd listened to this song on end and just cry. It still pains me to listen to his songs and see past music videos of SHINee, but I hope it'll get better as time passes.