Best Albums of The Year 2018 - Listageddon


Worth noting that Noname is top of Metacritic’s scores for 2018 albums and hasn’t featured much so far, though that might well change once most lists start going up


It’s strange how little correspondence there is between review scores and end of year lists. Confidence Man is another example - their album spent most of the year on top of the review score list on AOTY (and is still number 4) but I don’t think it has featured anywhere on a single end of year list.

It’s not surprising there should be differences as I suppose most reviews are the opinion of a single writer and most end of year lists are some kind of composite of different people’s views, but you would think there would be some overlap. On AOTY only one album (Idles) is currently on both the top ten based on reviews and the top ten from the end of year lists. I don’t know if the same has applied in previous years or if critics are just more confused this year.


Review scores are based on individuals. End of year lists based on the overlap of 10+ people. And obviously publications try to have a core of people with a range of tastes.

Plus aggregators like Metacritic, AlbumoftheYear and AnyDecentMusic often have reviews with high average scores but very few reviews. Obviously a lot of newspapers with limited space or even publications with limited budgets will cover the big records and then often run other reviews of records they like, so outliers can do well in the aggregation.


Hadn’t thought of your last point - that would obviously inflate average review scores. If you only publish 5 reviews a week I suppose there’s not much point one of them being an obscure record you don’t like. Perhaps it might also sometimes be the case that the person that writes the rave review of the slightly more obscure record tends not to be the main reviewer and has less influence on the end of year list

I still feel that there seems to be less critical consensus this year than previously. Certainly in the last three years I don’t think there was ever much doubt that Kendrick (x2) and Bowie would top the lists. Maybe it is just that those kind of secure critical favourites didn’t release records this year (apart from Kanye, who has well and truly fallen from grace). It’s like the year Leicester won the Premier League - a chance for a plucky outsider.


I’ve got Heaven And Earth as my AOTY but a big part of that is out of respect for what he’s trying to do and achieving; making big band jazz exciting and new without making sacrifices to the music or technicality. My favourite Kamasi stuff is on Harmony Of Difference, funnily enough, which is almost 1/4 of the length of the albums it sits between.


It’s a really good record, it was my album of the month when it came out and would certainly easily be in my top ten of the year. Doesn’t quite feel like an AOTY to me though. I would have liked him to go a bit rawer or maybe a bit more directly political but I don’t think either of those directions are for him.

It’s a measure of the success and influence that he has had that whilst five years ago picking a two hour long fairly straightahead jazz album as AOTY would have been completely unthinkable for a mainstream outlet, picking Heaven and Earth this year almost feels like a slightly ‘safe’ choice,


I’m probably wrong (general am) but my feeling is that the initial reaction to Damn was somewhat muted compared to TPAB at least - so a bit like your point with Kamasi this year. It seemed to take the end year evaluations for the consensus to really form around it. So might be something similar this year?


In both cases it’s perhaps because those albums were following massively sprawling, adventurous critically adored classics (To Pimp a Butterfly and The Epic) so seemed less exciting in comparison. Damn got good reviews though they did occasionally describe it as less adventurous than To Pimp a Butterfly. On AOTY it was number one in the reviews list for 2017 (with 92) though as well as number 1 in the year end lists. By contrast Heaven and Earth is only number 44 in the reviews list (with 83).


I like this list, I’m surprised the Shopie album hasn’t featured much elsewhere.




Interesting list, especially the number 1 choice.


as I predicted in the P4k thread, they’re gonna go Mitski too


A bit baffled by it all to be honest. Be the Cowboy is good, but I thought Puberty 2 was much better


The 1975… * barfs into hands *


aye but you know that way how everyone catches on a bit late and then collectively decide on something semi-retrospectively? that.


See also: Caribou with Our Love a few years ago when Up in Flames/Andorra/Swim were all better (and a million other examples I’m sure)


the Kacey Musgraves album from this year is a good example - as it’s in a few of these lists - the first 2 are much better (but more ‘country’ i guess, which is probably why she’s getting wider acclaim now…)



I thought so too but re listening to mitski a lot recently and it’s massively gone up in my estimation. Nothing as good as American girl but I now think probably better overall quality