Best Music of 2018... So Far
Married, music artists, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, now referred to as The Carters, released a joint album. It's called Everything Is Love. It was initially made available on Jay-Z's music service, Tidal. It follows Lemonade (2016) by Beyoncé, which is allegedly about how Jay-Z cheated on her. It also follows 4:44 (2017) by Jay-Z, about Jay-Z apologizing for cheating. This new dual record is supposedly them coming back together and moving forward. Introducing the album is their lead single "Apeshit," which has a very bold music video of the husband-and-wife team at the Louvre Museum. Following their last three albums though has been like watching a soap opera.
"This Is America" by Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover. In the video, Glover dances shirtless in a warehouse in which we see him commit various, shocking acts. The video stands as brilliant commentary on gun culture in the United States, including mass shootings and Black Lives Matter. Glover introduced the song the same night he hosted Saturday Night Live on May 5. The song itself was the first #1 single for Childish Gambino and his first, top-ten single. Glover also becomes the second person ever to have a #1 song who is also an Emmy winner, the first being Justin Timberlake.
The best-selling song of the year is most likely "God's Plan" by Drake. "God's Plan" is Drake's 4th song at #1. It broke Apple Music and Spotify's streaming record. It got 14 million streams on Apple Music in one day. It also got 4.3 million plays on Spotify. It was reportedly streamed 82.4 million times in its first week. It stayed at #1 on the Billboard 100 for 11 weeks or nearly 3 months, the 24th song in history to do so. It was finally dethroned by "Nice For What," another song by Drake, his 5th song at #1, a position it held for six weeks. Drake is also the first artist to dethrone his own single.
Other notable albums include the soundtrack to Black Panther by Kendrick Lamar, which was #1 for three weeks. Another album to ride on top for three weeks was Beerbongs & Bentleys by Post Malone. Post Malone also broke the Internet in various ways when his album got 78.7 million streams on Spotify in one day. It got 431.3 million streams in one week, beating Drake's record in 2017. In May, Post Malone also had nine songs in the Top 20, which beat a record held for decades by The Beatles. However, his success might be fueled by the controversy surrounding him. He's been reportedly called the "Donald Trump of hip hop," as well as a "culture vulture."
A lot of people in Philadelphia and in the hip hop community celebrated the release of Meek Mill, although his legal troubles continue. Tragically, people in the hip hop community were in shock at the death of XXXTentacion who was shot and killed at the age of 20. He was way more controversial with a history of violence, but his album ? did make it to #1. Some less deadly or prison-worthy controversy came with the rapper from Queens named Shirt who released his album Pure Beauty, early in the year, under Jack White's label. The rapper Shirt pulled off a clever stunt of fake news in which he literally faked an article for The New York Times.
Yet, does anyone have an actual record player? If not, there's no way to listen to Panda Bear's latest, vinyl-only album called A Day With the Homies. Does anyone know what K-Pop is? If not, behold that this May, BTS, which is a boy band in the K-Pop genre scored a #1 album called Love Yourself: Tear, the first K-Pop album to top the Billboard 200 in the United States.
Never Be the Same." Brown is now one of the few black artists to see success in country music. Brown is technically biracial or multiracial, but he's representing in a strong way.
Finally, the music video "Clairvoyant" by Nakhane was put under age-restriction by YouTube. Nakhane is a singer from South Africa. He's black and openly gay. I first noticed him as an actor in the film The Wound (Inxeba). In a recent article in Attitude magazine, it was reported the unfairness and possible homophobia with the restriction. Regardless, the video is absolutely beautiful. Despite it being a 2017 song, it still warrants being mentioned.
Now, here's my list of the best music of 2018... so far....
Best Folk / Country
RIFLES AND ROSARY BEADS by Mary Gauthier
SPARROW by Ashley Monroe
GIRL GOING NOWHERE by Ashley McBryde
BY THE WAY I FORGIVE YOU by Brandi Carlile
TEARING AT THE SEAMS by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
ENCORE by Anderson East
Best Rock / Alternative
TRANSANGELIC EXODUS by Ezra Furman
ALWAYS ASCENDING by Franz Ferdinand
VIDE NOIR by Lord Huron
BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE by The Wombats
CON TODO EL MUNDO by Khruangbin
Best Pop / Electronic
I CAN FEEL YOU CREEP INTO MY PRIVATE LIFE by tUnE-yArDs (Merrill Garbus)
PRIMAL HEART by Kimbra
EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL, AND NOTHING HURT by Moby
EVERYTHING IS RECORDED by Richard Russell
CAMILA by Camila Cabello
LIBERATION by Christina Aguilera
MAN OF THE WOODS by Justin Timberlake
CASTLES by Lissie
Best R&B / Soul
DIRTY COMPUTER by Janelle Monae
PLEASE DON'T BE DEAD by Fantastic Negrito
VENTRILOQUISM by Meshell Ndegeocello
SEX & CIGARETTES by Toni Braxton
HEAVEN BEFORE ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE by Plan B
CAER by Twin Shadow
Best Rap / Hip Hop
BLACK PANTHER: THE ALBUM by Kendrick Lamar
CARE FOR ME by Saba
EVERYTHING IS LOVE by The Carters
COCOA SUGAR by Young Fathers
PRHYME 2 by PRhyme
VESSEL OF LOVE by Hollie Cook
Best Song From Non-Listed Album
"Wreckless Heart" by Glen Hansard
"I Know You" by Craig David f/ Bastille
"Optimistic" by August Greene f/ Brandy
"Once in My Life" by The Decemberists
"We Don't Care" by Børns
"Goin', Goin', Gone" by Robert Glasper, Anu Sun & Ro James
"I Feel You" by Alexis Taylor
"Let Me Go Now" by Brigid Mae Power
"All Directions" by Son Lux
"When You Come For Me" by H.C. McEntire
"Right Back Home to You" by Chromeo
"We Always Change Reprise, Pt. 2" by Jennifer Castle