47 Favorite Albums Of 2018

Hanif Abdurraqib
5 min readDec 27, 2018


In keeping with a years-old tradition of picking an arbitrary number of albums based on how long a year has felt and how much music has come out, I’m going with 47 albums this year. Approaching ten more than last year, if that tells you anything about how exhausting (and enjoyable) the consumption of music is getting for me. Here is last year’s, for the curious. I found myself really challenged this year, simply because this year really made a mess of my relationship with linear time. It felt longer, and slower. Because of that, my memory around albums and releases got really messy and cluttered. Still, I did my best to honor the albums I remembered cutting small slivers of excitement as a soundtrack to this timeless hellscape. As always, if there is good writing on the album from my peers, I will share that. Like every year, big part of me loves reading about musicians and albums as much as I love listening to the albums themselves.

47. JPEGMAFIA — Veteran

This LA Times piece is very solid.

46. Young Fathers — Cocoa Sugar

This Guardian profile was striking and intensely honest.

45. Low — Double Negative

44. City Girls — Girl Code

Read: “City Girls Are More Like You Than You Think” by Naomi Zeichner

43. Deafheaven — Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

42. Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour

(There was a lot of Kacey Musgraves writing this year but I was kind of bummed that so much of it revolved around reinforcing the country music binary. Too much wheel spinning in the mud of what is/isn’t country, or if an album “this creative” could be country or etc.)

41. 03 Greedo — The Wolf Of Grape Street

This Rolling Stone profile of Greedo on his last days before turning himself in to start his prison sentence is fascinating/heartbreaking.

40. Jean Grae & Quelle Chris— Everything’s Fine

39. Christine and the Queens — Chris

Read this Rolling Stone profile especially for the quote “being confused is my eroticism.”

38. Florence and the Machine— High As Hope

There were some good things written about Florence Welch this year, but also this performance of “Sky Full Of Song” on Jools Holland is one of the most captivating live performances I watched all year.

37. Sudan Archives — Sink

Read: Here is an excellent interview with Sudan Archives.

36. Joyce Manor— Million Dollars To Kill Me

Read: “Joyce Manor Is Excited to Be Bored” by Brad Nelson

35. boygenius — boygenius

As fun as the album was, equally fun was reading these three in conversation during interviews for the album. (also — just as a general point — I think the idea that this album was an album of good sad songs felt a bit shortsighted to me. For anyone who has ever worked collaboratively with someone they like and care a great deal about, I think the joy in this project really shines through.)

34. Ariana Grande— Sweetener

This piece by Natalie Weiner really encapsulates the Year In Grande.

33. Hermit & The Recluse — Orpheus vs. The Sirens

32. Kids See Ghosts — Kids See Ghosts

Sorry to put my own thing here, but I spent some time with Kid Cudi this summer.

31. Hot Snakes — Jericho Sirens

Read: “Hot Snakes Will Make Your Life More Terrifying, and More Bearable” by Rob Harvilla

30. Loretta Lynn—Wouldn’t It Be Great

Maybe it’s because this isn’t her first late-career masterpiece, but I was really hoping for more chatter around this brilliant album, and it never arrived.

29. Rico Nasty — Nasty

This Fader Cover story by Tasbeeh Herwes is an excellent point of entry.

28. La Luz — Floating Features

Read: “La Luz Want Us To Embrace The Weirdness Of Our Dreams” by Luke Ottenhof

27. Shawn Mendes — Shawn Mendes

(the whole album slapped)

26. Gazelle Twin— Pastoral

This is a really great interview.

25. The Wonder Years — Sister Cities

Here’s a good profile.

24. Drakeo — Cold Devil

No shortage of really good and extremely engaging Drakeo interviews this year.

23. Mac Miller— Swimming

Obviously there were several things written about Mac this year, but the piece that has endured the most for me is this profile by Craig Jenkins, released shortly before we lost Mac.

22. Robyn— Honey

Jessica Hopper profiled Robyn in November.

21. Daughters— You Won’t Get What You Want

Really good interview here.

20. U.S. Girls — In A Poem Unlimited

This Interview Magazine thing was real cool.

19. The Xcerts— Hold On To Your Heart

18. Armand Hammer — Paraffin

DJBooth had a good interview with them when the album dropped.

17. Janelle Monáe — Dirty Computer

Read: “Janelle Monáe Is The 21st Century’s Time Traveler” by Sydnee Monday

16. Tribulation — Down Below

Here’s a good profile from early this year.

15. Saba — Care For Me

Read This.

14. Exes — Before You Go

(Nothing singularly great to read on this one except me saying that I really, really loved this record and pushed it on almost everyone around me all year.)

13. Vince Staples — FM

Loved reading Rodney Carmichael on Vince.


It’s from late last year, but this interview is good.

11. serpentwithfeet — soil

Another great Fader cover story.

10. Lucy Dacus — Historian

Read: “How An Indie Rock Star Is Made In 2018” by Joe Coscarelli

9. Mitski— Be The Cowboy

8. Noname — Room 25

This review by Doreen St. Felix is so much more than a review (like all things Doreen writes, there are many layers to behold.)

7. Sons of Kemet — Your Queen Is A Reptile

6. Manic Street Preachers — Resistance Is Futile

Some fine writing on the band this year, but also maybe the best thing on them ever is this NME interview/profile from 1992.

5. IDLES — Joy As An Act Of Resistance

Read: “How IDLES Used Punk Rock To Fight Through Grief” by Bonnie Stiernberg.

4. The Internet —Hive Mind

Read: “The Internet Win Alone, Together” by Rawiya Kameir

3. Buddy — Harlan & Alondra

2. Tierra Whack — Whack World

Another good Fader cover story. But also this OkayPlayer piece.

  1. MNEK — Language

Read: This & This.

(Before you ask, yes. I did like the Cardi B album a lot.)