By Apa Agbayani, Jam Pascual, Carina Santos, and Anton Tablante
It is entirely possible to spend a whole year listening, on loop, to the same 20 or 30-odd songs you’ve loved your whole life. Music, after all, is something to come home to, and one way to weather the atmosphere of temporal distortion that defines our times (it has been a long-ass year, my friend) is to return to the nostalgically pleasing, the familiar.
Still, that’s part of the joy of year-end lists like this: to imbue a sense of structure to the year that was, and to get updated on the things we’ve missed out on.
In terms of music, 2018 seems to have been a year of dark horses. Yes, Cardi B and Ariana Grande, Billboard giants in their own right, released some pretty groundbreaking stuff this year, but consistent chart-toppers like Drake and Kanye West also ended up coming out with pretty mediocre shit. Neither of those names are on here. More interesting, powerful releases were to be found in the peripheries. Indie rock, unconventional pop, rap that doesn’t use trap triplets as a crutch, even country — all these styles could stake a claim on some of 2018’s most disarmingly moving releases. And speaking of the margins, this year also gave us a handful of a rare breed of EP, the kind strong enough to compete with full-fledged albums.
Here on this list, you are bound to find a few albums that escaped your radar, but we bet will inevitably come to comprise some of the songs you’ll loop for the rest of your life.
These albums are listed in no particular order, with no ranking — all 18 of these records deserve a spot at the top, but we’ll leave judging what the best album of 2018 is to you. Happy listening. Welcome the unfamiliar.