Camiele’s 100 Favorite Albums of 2018
70. Ré Lxuise – Nostalgia: 199X
It’s a clever love note to ’90s R&B and all that suggests. From its earliest forays into New Jack Swing that started in the late ’80s, to the sleek and sexy grooves inherent in the takeover of Jermaine Dupri to the girl groups who dominated, Nostalgia: 199X is really grown people’s music.
Lead single Oiyr has excellent production. New Jack Swing seems to be making quite the comeback in the last couple years. I’m here for it. Though some of vocalizing falls into the unfortunate need to stay on-trend (devolving to mumbling words together with no vocal color or charm), this is a great addition to the genre without being trope-y or gimmicky. Just great genre-specific R&B. Love it.
69. Earl Sweatshirt – Some Rap Songs
This just proves how profound a lyricist Earl really is. His use of wordplay is enviable. There are very few younger rappers nowadays that have the range and the vocabulary to pull off some of the schemes he does.
While the music and his voice aren’t exactly balanced in terms of the mastering goes, both work perfectly together as far as the narrative of each song. Can’t do anything but praise Earl for his ear, his impeccable pen, and his fearlessness to express the darkest and coldest parts of himself.
68. Land of Peace – Life in Timog
Lo-fi rock done correctly. It’s emotional, quirky, and soothing. Add to that just stellar musicianship, I’m forever yours.
This is the kind of sound that had me fall head-over-heels in love with Se So Neon: smooth, easy, unhurried. Unlike the female-led band, however, Land of Peace stays in the lo-fi pocket without chasing anything as intense as Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin-esque heights.
That being said, it’s still a lush sound that really put a smile on my face. What else could I ask for?
67. The Suburban Plaza – Your Really Good Friends
The Suburban Plaza reintroduces the world to some classic neo-soul. Your Really Good Friends is deep, lovely. I miss this kind of sound, when it was genuinely new, when the genre wasn’t defined by anything but its ties to jazz and soul. Gorgeous piece of work.
66. FLANNEL ALBERT – Maybe…
Maybe… is another testament to just how intelligent Albert is as an artist and musician. What appears to be the same self-aggrandizing tales of trysts with more than willing females is actually an in-depth look at the man’s insecurities and his work as a storyteller. He continues to surprise and impress me with just how skilled he is at the art of lyrical misdirection.
65. Evidence – Weather or Not
Powerful bars mixed with powerful music. Much love to production that gives heavy nods to early hip-hop (early ’90s with the likes of Common, Dilla, Madvillain, etc.) Weather or Not is just an album full of wall-to-wall bars! Every word has a purpose. Every lyric is a scheme. A rapper’s album. Evidence’s flow isn’t really distinct, so he sells it with good old-fashioned lyricism.
64. Tierra Whack – Whack World
Tierra needs so much credit for her creativity and her vision. She proves that an artist doesn’t need three hours and 45 songs to tell a story and get a point across.
Whack World is a fifteen-minute album made up of fifteen one-minute scenes. Indeed, this is the soundtrack to the short film of the same name. While many people may dismiss it as gimmicky, you can’t deny her ability to pack so much of her style, delivery, and lyrical intelligence into so little time. People need to pay so much more attention to this young woman!
63. SAAY – Classic
THANK ALL THE GODS IN THE HEAVENS AND THE ANGELS IN THE FIRMAMENT THAT THIS QUEEN RELEASED HER FULL-LENGTH ALBUM!!
A woman with a voice like SAAY’s has no business keeping it all to herself. Classic just highlights all that power and technique, all that soul and fire in the most amazing way possible. Smart to release music gradually, then reveal her full work.
But, damn, I’ve been waiting for this since early last year! (Y’all remember me putting a three-song EP on last year’s list just because I wanted her on it, right?)
62. MRSHLL – Breathe
There were moments where I just had to laugh out loud from the absolute unwavering soul of the album. In particular Ok. It has a piano breakdown that nearly brought me to hysterics.
Equal parts Stevie Wonder and Musiq Soulchild. The production on this album is insane. There’s an undercurrent of sensuality throughout, but more than that the musical slant fits so well around MRSHLL’s husky tenor. It’s a gorgeous piece of work from an artist whose music has had music lovers waiting with baited breath for some two years.
Honestly, well worth the wait.
61. FWRYEYE – Chill
The album opens aggressively and continues to slap. There are heavy nods to late ’80s/early ’90s hip-hop. FWRYEYE’s flow and delivery are reminiscent of Tiger JK/Drunken Tiger. Totally unexpected in this era of “trap”-hop and mumble rap.