2A’s favorite albums of 2018

January 3, 2019 by

The 2A team is made up of lovers of music. On Monday mornings we chat about what concert we hit over the weekend and on Friday afternoons we jam out to the 2A Spotify playlist curated by DJ Evan. In a world where albums may be a thing of the past, 2Aers appreciate the storytelling power of a thoughtful, musical selection.

There’s obvious storytelling in lyrics, but the texture and melodies of songs paint a landscape of sound beyond something words can articulate. And the album adds yet another level. A good album may start with an intro to set the tone, or explode abruptly with a powerful, catchy track. It may start slow and rise, or have interludes that intertwine songs. And chances are, somebody put a lot of thought into the sequence and selection of songs to tell a better, more complete story.

Many say the early 21st century is seeing the death of albums as we know them—that the world of streaming apps and shortened attention spans has changed the way we enjoy music. But 2Aers still revel in the storytelling power of the album. Here are our favorites from 2018!

  • Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Tearing at the Seams (Blues rock/Folk rock) “Nathaniel Rateliff has done what few bands can achieve, deliver a sophomore album just as good or better than the first. The formula hasn’t changed: write good songs with real, tangible emotions that you can tap your foot to.” – Gary Bacon

  • Mitski – Be the Cowboy (Indie pop/Indie electronic) “Mitski’s eerie vocals and dark tones make it a great album to come back to and get something new every time you listen.” – Annie Unruh

  • Abhi the Nomad – Marbled (R&B/Hip Hop) “On the debut, full-length album Marbled, Abhi the Nomad easily navigates from bangers to cuts to jams.” – Evan Aeschlimann

  • Glorietta – Glorietta (Folk rock/Indie rock) “Glorietta is the result of a nine-day jam session between folk/indie musician friends in an AirBnB in rural New Mexico. Loose and relaxed, the album ranges from ragged rockers to beautiful, whisper-quiet ballads.” – Nick Dwyer

  • George Clanton – Slide (Electronic/Vaporwave) “Slide is a hauntingly poppy vaporwave trip. Clanton builds lush, nostalgia-rich synthesized atmospheres and ties them to the ground with lazy head-bobbing break beats.” – Kyle Luikart

  • Charles Bradley – Black Velvet (Soul/Funk) “A crooner from a bygone era, Charles Bradley’s mix of funk and soul will leave you grateful to have heard his amazing talent for putting the trials and triumphs of life into song, then leave you wishing for more.” – Melanie Hodgman

  • Beach House – 7 (Dream pop/Indie rock) “Seventh album from one of my absolute favorite bands. A synth-heavy wall of sound that begs to envelop you completely in dreamy, warm goodness.” – Clinton Bowman

  • Joji – BALLADS1 (R&B/Electronic) “BALLADS1 is a great album for a rainy commute home with its melancholic tunes and lo-fi beats. Favorite song is Slow Dancing in the Dark.” – Radhika Patel

  • Gorillaz – The Now Now (Pop/Funk) “The British digital cartoon band—now joined by Ace from The Powerpuff Girls—returns for a mellow yet upbeat jam session featuring their distinctive collage of genres.” – Thad Allen

  • Popcaan – Forever (Dancehall/Hip Hop) “A dancehall record for the masses, full of humble swagger and charisma. Plus, my buddy produced it!” – Daniel Schmeichler

  • Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army (Hard rock/Blues rock) “Saw them perform live this year and hands down one of the best shows I have ever seen. Very Zeppelin sound.” – Don Selkirk

  • Hana Vu – How Many Times Have You Driven By (Indie rock/Indie pop) “There are moments on this album that really make me feel like my personal experience is important, and I want to walk through the city with a little attitude.” – Abby Breckenridge

  • Sugarland – Bigger (Country/Pop) “This album is a mental cup of coffee. It’s uplifting and energizing with a hearty dose of fun songs, but maintains depth with thoughtfully written ballads.” – Drue Stewart