Camiele’s 100 Favorite Albums of 2018
90. Zior Park – Big Blue Booth
Damn is this album ever powerful! This is something completely out of left field for South Korea. There’s an age-weariness in Park’s voice, a harshness in his lyricism. There’s a lot of soul etched in the cracks here.
This album is no longer available online for stream or purchase, unfortunately.
89. Siergio – This Will Hurt
Sensual, deep R&B. Gorgeous production. Siergio’s voice is… soothing. It’s smooth, unhurried, and not full of unnecessary affectation. Just a good, solid voice, good range, a voice that fits the groove and tone of the music. Beautiful work. Odd to follow up a song where he proclaims he can just find someone else to fill his lover’s place (Another) with a song where she’s called his bluff and he’s now lamenting whether or not she thinks of him (Think of Me). But… all things considered, still a pretty good album.
88. Wale – Self Promotion
Flow and lyricism for days! Wale’s kind of in his feelings on this EP. I notice when someone releases an EP it’s because he/she has something on their mind they need to express real quick. It’s often their most powerful form—fearless, personal, raw. The theory fits perfectly for Wale’s Self-Promotion EP. It’s most certainly a promotion of himself, 13 minutes of popping off at the mouth and not being sorry about it. I love that!
87. Chloe x Halle – The Kids Are Alright
Harmonies to the GAWDS! There’s a powerful maturity in their sound. Musically it’s hypnotic, earthy, organic. There are obvious shades of Beyoncé’s influence in some of their vocal delivery, something I feel they’ll eventually grow out of as they find more and more of their own voices.
Though some of the lyricism is disingenuous, there’s no denying the musicality of a great deal of the album. It really is a beautiful piece of music.
86. Hippy Was Gipsy – Language
There’s something… thicker in this. While Tree was more emotionally jarring, Language is… needier. There’s such heavy yearning in this album, a more seething and writhing sensuality under the surface. It’s a bit more complex, grittier if something as soft as a sigh can be gritty. A lovely piece of work that outdoes Hippy Was Gipsy’s debut.
85. Victory – The Broken Instrument
Victory’s voice is just pure magic. Her songs are powerful because they’re so relevant. Simple music that doesn’t insist upon itself. Though there are moments that are bit cliché in delivery, I can’t begrudge her an unjaded outlook of the world. Not to say that she doesn’t see the ugliness in it. Quite the contrary. But she doesn’t allow it to burden her to the point that she’s lost faith in the purity of existing in this world. It’s truly beautiful even if just in sentiment. But that voice is undeniable. It’s whimsical in parts, as if she’s singing us a fairy tale. Sometimes the music is outstandingly lovely, as in the Broken Instrument series at the end of the album.
84. Evanoff – Dark Before Dawn EP
Very heavy, powerful music. Live musicians mixing with synths and sound effects. It makes a strong impression from the get-go.
83. Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up
Okay so Rachael Price’s voice is BANANAS!!!! Where does it all come from?!
The amount of soul in this band is unreal, stemmed, of course, by the glory of Rachael Price’s vocals. But it goes far beyond that.
This band is made up of artists who have grown up on heavy doses of funk and soul, and it shows in the way they deliver their music. There isn’t anything generic, over-the-top, or insisting on its influences in order to gain some kind of favor. It’s an organic sound stemming from something genuine! Though the album does tend to be a little one note, attempting to be a little too authentic, I was honestly surprised by it.
82. Luna Luna – For Lovers Only
In the same vein of Toro y Moi. There is something decidedly more nostalgic about Luna Luna’s sound, sitting beautifully in the pocket of mid-’80s lo-fi—an interesting take on the genre that’s a combination of ’50s doo-wop and electro—that’s seen a heavy resurgence in the 21st century. It’s just a glorious sound that is not always easy to get right. Luna Luna absolutely gets it right.
81. All Saints – Testament
The women of All Saints are as soulful as ever. Their voices have lost none of the power. The first genuine vocal powerhouse girl group from ’90s pop groups as far as I’m concerned.
This is a welcome return for the quartet and a grand introduction for those who haven’t heard of them. Maturity has given added dimension to their vocal production as well as their songwriting and composition. I’ve missed them so much, and this was a glorious surprise for me.