2018 was filled with great albums, but a few stood out. Albums like “A Love Letter to You 3” and “TA13OO” have highlighted the year, but some albums like, “Street Gossip” and “Scorpion” have been totally underwhelming. We are going to highlight our top five favorite albums of the year.
5. Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2- Lil Peep
The late Lil Peep’s first “Posthumous” project released on Nov. 9 was a hit. The music that all fans missed was back. Songs like ”Runaway” and “16 Lines” brought his unorthodox instrumentals and his vocal style that is not usually connected to rap music. On the album Peep talks about his struggles with drug addiction and his love life. It sold 81,000 equivalent units in the first week of its release and charted number five on Billboard Hot 100. The negatives with Peeps album is that if feels repetitive after a while of listening, but the album has lasting power because of Peep’s death. “With Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2” most likely being Peep’s last album, it will be listened to for years to come.
4. Goodbye and Good Riddance- Juice Wrld
Juice Wrld’s debut album combined hard hitting trap beats with a sad melodic voice and heartbroken lyrics. Juice’s ability to create intricate flows and evolving melodies to the well produced instrumental throughout the album is fabulous. Not only are the instrumentals great the songs are mixed and mastered well for a debut album. The only issues come on songs like “All Girls are the Same,” which was created before Juice was able to record in high level studios. Although the quality is a bit lower than the rest “All Girls are the Same” seems to be a definition of Juice Wrld in one song. The hard hitting 808’s in the beat complimented by the chippy melody and bouncy hi-hats were used to lift his singing and flow to a new level. The emotion in his voice makes the song much better along with the creative flow he used. “Goodbye and Good Riddance” sold 39,000 units in its first week, but has continued to glow. We still find ourselves listening to this album on a regular basis and don’t think that will change for a while.
3. Tha Carter V- Lil Wayne
After a long legal battle with his former label Wayne was finally given the rights to release the fifth installment in his “Tha Carter” series. After years of waiting since “Carter IV,” “Carter V” was finally here. The 23-track album was great from top to bottom. Stand out tracks such as “Let it Fly (feat. Travis Scott)” and “Don’t Cry (feat. XXXTENTATION)” were incredible and showed Wayne’s versatility to work with new artists. Those weren’t the only standout, “Dedicate” started off with a bouncy piano riff and distorted voice telling of all Lil Wayne has done for music. Wayne then comes in and spits two minutes of bars telling of not only the money he has made, but the artists he has made. He raps, “I started this s---, you just part of this s---”, telling all new rappers that he started the face tattooed “Lil” rappers. Wayne’s flaunting doesn’t stop there, the next track “Uproar” is a banger of 2018. The song will instantly turn a room from one to ten due to the upbeat instrumental produced by legend Swizz Beatz. Wayne talks about money and drugs as usual, but also weaves his classic wordplay into the song. There weren’t too many downsides to the album; the mixing was great and production was done well. The only thing I would change is I would shorten the track list down from 23. The album sold an insane 480,000 equivalent units in its first week. Proving its classic status it has definitely earned.
2. Beerbongs & Bentleys-Post Malone
Off the release of “Stoney” Post Malone was growing rapidly. He went from unknown to one of the biggests artists in the game in a few months. Fans were expecting big things for his anticipated album, “Beerbongs & Bentleys” and he sure delivered. Post’s unique voice seems as if it can’t get old throughout the album. On the track “Better Now” he goes off with the vocals, lyrics and emotion in his voice. You can feel his first anger then sadness throughout the track. Not only are his vocals great, but the production is awesome as well. The beats range from eerie synths to distorted guitars and he kills all of them. “Over Now’s” distorted guitar, but simple drum pattern seems to fit perfectly with Posts out of style angry lyrics and style. Post Malone is known for his sad mellow lyrics, but he totally switched it up and did amazing. The flaw with the album comes with the overdone theme of heartbreak and drug abuse. However, themes and meanings of albums don’t matter to us as much as good sounding music so B&B is still very high on the list. Not only is the music great, but it did numbers. It charted number one on the Billboard Hot 100 selling 461,000 the first week. Not only were the equivalent sales massive the streaming numbers smashed records. B&B racked up 431.3 million streams in its first week of release. Those are unheard of numbers for an artist still gaining a following.
1. Astroworld- Travis Scott
The number one album seemed to be unanimous. “Astroworld” had the theme, it had the numbers, and it had the quality. Travis Scott proved that he is one of the best artists in the game with his masterpiece. Named after a Houston Amusement Park that was closed when he was a child, he wanted to make an album that would capture the emotion of taking fun away from kids and he certainly did that. The intro track “Stargazing” has and incredible instrumental, which seems to be common on this album, and Travis’ signature highly autotuned almost distorted voice fans have come to love. He creates an atmosphere that we have never heard before. If someone turns on a song from “Astroworld” everyone immediately knows. The ominous yet upbeat tracks make the album a great listen. The only thing the album lacks is a lot of straight rapping and lyrical ideas, but it doesn’t really matter because the listeners ears always have something to listen to. There is always a new instrument being added or a humming Travis in the background. The production is just flat out amazing. It feels like Travis and his team spent months mixing and mastering the project to perfection. The track list is long enough to satisfy the two year wait, but short enough to keep you interested. Astro earned 537,000 equivalent sales it’s first week and has continued to be on the billboard chart since. It even charted number one again the week of December second rivaling 6ix9ine’s “Dummy Boy.” The breakout track “Sicko Mode” progresses through three beat switch ups that totally change the style of the song. The third beat in the song is produced by Tay Keith a producer who has proven his upbeat drums have a major effect on not only the track as a whole, but crowd reaction. Another stand out track is “Yosemite” with Gunna and Nav. Gunna opens the song on the acoustic guitar riff which sounds like a match made in heaven and Travis picks up where he left off. The song holds one of the only negatives for the album though. Right at the end when Navs verse starts his voice goes super quiet and you can barely hear it. Although it could be intentional to make the song fade out, it is likely it is a mixing mistake, the only on the album and somehow so obvious. The album was overall amazing and will be listened to for years that is why “Astroworld” is undoubtedly the album of the year.
Roberto Escamilla and Nate Donohoe contributed to this review.