Demo’s Top Albums of 2018 (So Far)

2018 has already been a thrilling year in terms of album releases, and we’ve only just passed the halfway point. Here are Demo’s 15 favourite albums of the year so far.

Rather than choose an album of the year before 2018 is over, this list is in alphabetical order. Also, all the albums on this list were released before the halfway point of 2018, which is why some albums (e.g. Denzel Curry, The Internet) may be omitted. Enjoy!


1. Bahamas – Earthtones


This is a gorgeous, gutsy indie epic that is completely worth your time. Afie Jurvanen’s 4th album is rich with colour and emotion, as paints a picture of his experiences with love, loss, and depression with beautiful honesty. You can’t help but feel drawn towards his story, and while the album isn’t afraid to be profound and occasionally dark, it also has a quality that make it infinitely replayable. This is due to instrumentation that feels folky yet fresh, and surprisingly funky. Additionally, the mixing on this album is stellar. I usually don’t feel the need to comment on mixing, but throughout the entirety of Earthtones, it sounds like every guitar and backup vocal part are being performed live around you.


2. Beach House – 7


7 is easily Beach House’s best work since Teen Dream, with production that finally allows for Victoria Legrand’s voice to rise ever-so-slightly out of the band’s usual mountain of reverb. Vocally and instrumentally, it takes steps towards new, experimental territory, which was much-needed for the band. 


3. Death Grips – Year of the Snitch


Death Grips’ latest venture finds themselves once again reinventing their sound after 2016’s Bottomless Pit, which revisited their earlier blend of hip-hop, punk, and industrial music. Every single musical decision made on Year of the Snitch feels completely unexpected and surprising, and the album feels suspenseful and remarkably fast-paced. MC Ride’s typical war screams are often toned down to chilling mumbles, and the production includes more elements of rock and jazz than ever before, from the menacing “Black Paint” to the groovy, swaggering “Streaky.” Also, the dude who composed the Shrek soundtrack helped out with some of these songs, which is absolutely wild, and something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wrap my head around.


4. Florence & The Machine – High As Hope

Florence Welsh’s 4th project is her most sparse and personal, taking a minimalistic turn that replaces the almost overwhelming maximalism of the rest of the FATM catalogue. It seems that the quieter this album gets, it becomes more captivating, and Florence’s stories are impossible to not listen to.


5. Pusha T – Daytona

Daytona slaps.



6. Kanye West – ye



Kanye West thrives under pressure. His best music is made under intense pressure, and when none is available, he fabricates some for himself, saying something so ridiculous that everyone’s eyes fixate once again on him, and he can work. Sometimes, there’s truth to what he says (sure, “Single Ladies” is absolutely one of the best music videos of all time), but this time around, his statements were bizarre, and more importantly, hurtful to the people who grew up with, and were empowered by Kanye’s older music. Once his music started dropping, It was confusing, to say to least, hearing just how absolutely at odds it was with Kanye’s public persona. Take ye, Kanye’s 8th solo album, a tightly focused 7 track project in which West reflects on his experiences with bipolar disorder. Unlike its predecessor The Life of Pablo, in which West seemed to be making music while deeply in the throes of bipolar, ye seems to chart the comedown, and the path towards personal healing. It’s his most consistent and lyrically coherent album in 8 years…

7. Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts


…And still, he managed to outdo himself one week later. Out of the 5 albums G.O.O.D. Music released in June, Kids See Ghosts somehow manages to be my favourite of the bunch. Kanye West and and Kid Cudi create pure magic when placed together, blending hip-hop, rock, and grunge brilliantly, with plenty of influence from psychedelic music as well. The album also creates a space for frank conversations about mental health between the two artists, specifically on the gorgeous, inspiring “Reborn,” and the haunting, guitar-driven “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2).”


8. Teyana Taylor – K.T.S.E

While the release of K.T.S.E. was fraught with delays, and I’m still doubtful as to whether the album’s current state is what Teyana wanted, what we got was nothing short of stellar. Teyana Taylor’s voice is raw and passionate, and Kanye’s production sounds straight out of 2005, with breathtaking samples that stick in your head afterwards, but still leave room for Taylor’s swagger and confidence.


9. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

Dirty Computer is amazing. Monae’s tendency to dabble in many genres at once proves to be this album’s strongest asset, as pop, hip-hop, and R&B meld and blend together, keeping the project exciting without damaging its flow. It’s an explosive, sophisticated, exhilarating set of tracks, featuring some of the most lyrically poignant moments of 2018. Janelle unapologetically speaks her truth on every song here, with heartfelt, empowering lyrics about femininity, sexuality, and fighting oppression. It’s a powerfully progressive work, both musically and in terms of its subject matter, and will hopefully be remembered for years to come.


10. Jack White – Boarding House Reach

Jack White’s 3rd album is easily his best solo work, featuring a wildly eclectic mash of sounds that fuse and interact with White’s guitar playing, which is consistently stunning in its rawness and emotion.


11. Kali Uchis – Isolation

As 2017 progressed, I learned to get excited whenever I saw Kali Uchis’s name on a track. Her countless features throughout the year were enough to make ordinary songs extraordinary, not just in my eyes, but for the general public (can you imagine Tyler, The Creator’s “See You Again” without her?). Kali’s first solo album had a lot of hype, and it manages to be completely worth the wait. Anchored by Kali’s trademark vocal performances, Isolation provides a meld of soul, R&B, and Hip-hop perfect for summer nights, featuring production that is able to cohesively blend multiple genres without any song sticking out like a sore thumb (even the beautiful reggaeton cut in the middle of the album). It’s a stylish, incredibly consistent debut. 


12. MF DOOM & Czarface – Czarface Meets Metal Face


Czarface Meets Metal Face is no-nonsense, boom bap hip-hop that showcases 4 East Coast legends in rare form. It’s riddled with incredible bars — actually, I can’t just leave that as part of a sentence without quoting one of the coolest hip hop lines I’ve heard all year:

“People talkin’ out they ass
Check for the double-cross like 2 Chainz at Sunday mass

-Esoteric, “Captain Brunch”

Featuring a quirky comic book motif anchoring the album’s many incredible beats, as well as MF Doom’s strongest penmanship and performances in a while, this project is not to be missed.


13. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

Wide Awake! is a breathless, electrifying indie rock dream. Produced by Danger Mouse, every song here feels punky, artsy, and danceable at the same time, while introducing biting political commentary into the band’s lyrics. It’s incredibly sharp and relevant, and Parquet Courts’ best project to date. 

14. SOPHIE – OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES

A wildly experimental, brilliant art-pop album that shows off Sophie’s range, both as a singer and producer. It’s able to find power in its calmest moments (“It’s Okay To Cry”), but also able to completely melt your face off with unbelievable bass drops and eclectic variations on pop formulas (“Faceshopping,” “Immaterial”).


15. Playboi Carti – Die Lit


Die Lit pares trap down to Philip Glass-level minimalism, fully embracing the mumble that made hip-hop’s new school so infamous. It’s catchy to the point of entrancement, with eerily sticky hooks, and production that perfectly balances trunk-knocking kicks and skittering hi-hats with atmospheric, looping samples.


16. Saba – Care For Me

Yeah, yeah, I messed up and accidentally did 16.

While it’s easy to compare him to his Chicago counterparts, Saba’s storytelling skills have helped him stand out from the rest. He’s able to paint vivid pictures with his words, as he speaks on his upbringing and the nature of his friendships and social connections after the fame. It’s a focused collection of wordy stories, told over warm, melodic production.

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