The Top 10 Albums of Summer 2018

Requirements: Albums had to have been released between June 1, 2018, and August 31, 2018.


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#10. YG, Stay Dangerous

The Compton (sorry, Bompton) rapper has been putting out killer material for the better part of half a decade. On Stay Dangerous we find a ganster who’s more mature, more seasoned, and less frivolous. YG can flex on cuts like “Big Bank” and “Too Cocky” and ruminate on the power of music and the perils of his hometown with “Deeper Than Rap” and “Bomptown Finest.” Regardless of the topic, the music is always stellar. Key Track: “Deeper Than Rap”

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#9. Christina Aguilera, “Liberation”

Though this record was far from successful, it was pretty damn near excellent. Lately, Xtina has become synonymous with rousing ballads and vocal acrobatics, but she proves that she can play with her soft tone (“Twice”) and easily play with different genres and influences (“Right Moves,” “Like I Do”). The album is unabashedly feminist in a mature and motherly fashion, and Xtina has never sounded this secure and comfortable on an album before. Read my full review of Liberation hereKey Track: “Unless It’s With You”

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#8. Teyana Taylor, K.T.S.E.

K.T.S.E. was easily one of the top two albums of the G.O.O.D. music quintet that dropped earlier this summer. Simmering, slow-burning R&B with nods to early funk and modern bounce music made for a pleasurable listen. It’s beyond refreshing to her a deeper and huskier tone from a woman in R&B not named Beyoncé. Teyana really showed the depth of her artistry on this record and it deserved far more recognition. Key Track: “Rose In Harlem”

 

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#7. Nicki Minaj, Queen

Despite having pretty much the entire world against her, Nicki dropped her best album and reminded us why she’s the best female rapper to ever do it and one of the best rapper alive. Whether she’s giving us club bangers (“Good Form”), lamenting over exes (“Thought I Knew You,” “Come See About Me”) or just talking her shit (“Barbie Dreams,” “Chun Swae,” “Hard White”), Nicki delivers on every single track. Read my full review of Queen hereKey Track: “LLC”

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#6. Travis Scott, ASTROWORLD

It’s not every day you get a trap concept album about Southern gentrification by way of an amusement park. ASTROWORLD is exactly that. Travis balances making easy radio smashes (“SICKO MODE,” “WAKE UP”) while still making denser and more narrative-driven tracks (“STOP TRYING TO BE GOD,” “HOUSTONFORNICATION”). It’s no surprise why ASTROWORLD is up there with Invasion of Privacy and Scorpion as the biggest rap albums of the year, it’s simply that great. Read my full review of the album hereKey Track: “COFFE BEAN”

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#5. KIDS SEE GHOSTS, KIDS SEE GHOSTS

This is still one of the closest albums to a classic we’ve gotten his year, in my humble opinion. As conflicted, angry, betrayed, and confused as Kanye has made me feel this year, I cannot deny that he and Kid Cudi created some real magic with this album. The album is cathartic and soul-baring, it’s an album that only these two could make and this specific time in their respective lives and careers. The men are real on this album and they use mania as a way to heal. Read my full review of the album hereKey Track: Reborn

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#4. The Internet, Hive Mind

On their refined fourth-album, The Internet gifted us tight harmonies, meticulous production, and breathtaking lyricism. While playing with funk and soul, The Internet dug deeper into their unique lane of R&B with a more analog vibe than most current mainstream offerings. Syd sounds absolutely exquisite on this album and The Internet feels like a more cohesive unit than ever before. Key Track: “Next Time / Humble Pie”

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#3. Ariana Grande, Sweetener

Ariana could have easily made an album that was bogged down by dramatic ballads and wallowed in pity and despair, but her choice to make an album that uplifts and celebrates love and life was a wise one. Grande branched out and worked with Pharrell, who co-produced half the album, and crafted some of the most interesting pop music and some of the best music of her career thus far. Read my full review of Sweetener here. Key Track: “get well soon”

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#2. Mitski, Be the Cowboy

Mitski’s indie-rock odyssey has been gaining more traction by the day, and it deserves that and so much more. Her lyricism is beyond world-class; she can craft a castle with her pen and destroy it with her gift for instrumentation and penchant for heartbreaking vocals performance. From the implicit political nature of the title to her impressive grasp on concept albums, Be the Cowboy is exquisite. Key Track: “Two Slow Dancers”

 

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#1. The Carters, Everything Is Love

The Carters, comprised of music’s power couple, Beyoncé & Jay-Z, gave us the natural conclusion to the story began by Lemonade and continued by 4:44. Over a backdrop of traditional R&B, modern trap music, deft synths, zealous horn sections, and Beyoncé’s unmatched vocal layering and production, The Carters told a story of black love and triumph. Although their love story is so unique, they find a way to make that love universal and make every listener feel as if they deserve and have that type of love. Whether celebrating (“APESHIT,” “LOVEHAPPY”) or reveling in the success they built (“BOSS,” “NICE”), The Carters just sound thrilled to have made it to the other side. Everything Is Love is everything a great album should be: musically and thematically impressive and unique. Read my full review of the album hereKey Track: “LOVEHAPPY”

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