As 2018 comes to an end, Music Maven reflects on her top three albums that were released this year, as well as a few honorable mentions. Some album releases to anticipate for 2019 include “Outer Peace” by Toro Y Moi, “Norman F—— Rockwell” by Lana Del Rey and “Helium” by Homeshake.
1. “Casual Acquaintances” by The Growlers
Released on July 27, “Casual Acquaintances” is the band’s seventh full-length studio album since 2009. Following “City Club” which was released in 2016, the new album is a compilation of “demos, works-in-progress and other unfinished business” and more reminiscent of the band’s sound prior to having worked with Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. Songs such as “Thing for Trouble” and “Pavement and the Boot” demonstrate the band’s ability to sound a bit harder than usual, with prominent bass lines and heavy drums, while the title track and “Drop Your Phone in the Sink” are more upbeat and feature the band’s classic surf-rock sound. New fan favorites from the album include “Orgasm of Death” and “Problems III,” both of which have been featured on the radio and performed live.
2. “God’s Favorite Customer” by Father John Misty
The fourth studio album from singer-songwriter Father John Misty was officially released on June 1, despite having publically leaked almost two months prior. In comparison to the rest of his discography, “God’s Favorite Customer” is a more vulnerable introspection into Father John Misty, also known as Josh Tillman. The album was written during a time in which Tillman’s “life blew up,” evident by ballads such as “Please Don’t Die” and “Just Dumb Enough to Try.” The music video for the album’s first single, “Mr. Tillman,” is set in a hotel, where Tillman resided in New York for several months and composed the majority of the album. Despite his shift in mood, Tillman did not stray far from his notorious themes of cynicism, featured in songs such as “Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All” and “Date Night.”
3. “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” by Arctic Monkeys
After a five-year hiatus, Arctic Monkeys returned to the music scene earlier this year with the release of their sixth studio album since 2006. The band’s sound has perpetually evolved with each album, though with their latest album, they adopted more of a smoother sound that could be found playing in a underground jazz club. Songs such as “Four Out of Five” and “One Point Perspective” were instant hits with fans, as well as critics, and were performed on live television. Despite the changes, the band stayed true to their classically distinguishable features, such as lead singer Alex Turner’s brooding voice, heavy basslines and powerful guitar solos. “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” was well-worth the wait, as it served as the perfect reintroduction of the band and their newly polished sound, enticing fans for what’s to come next from the English legends.
Some honorable mentions include “Onion” by Shannon and the Clams, “Be the Cowboy” by Mitski, “Tell Me How You Really Feel” by Courtney Barnett, “Wide Awake!” by Parquet Courts, “Death of a Party Girl” by TV Girl, “Grapetooth” by Grapetooth, and “Midnight in a Moonless Dream” by The Buttertones.