Five new releases and five (re)discoveries: these albums are my 2018 in music. 

Even though I can’t sing or play any instrument, I’m a huge music lover. I listen to music every single day, be it on my commute to and from work every day, at home or while doing the dishes. Every year I like to look back at the music that surprised me, made me fall in love all over again or utterly confused me and I share that in my “Best of 2018” series. Usually I would list my ten favourite releases of the year, but this time I switched it up just a little bit and today I’m sharing my five favourite new releases and my five favourite (re)discoveries. Happy reading – and hopefully listening!

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

I’ll admit: it wasn’t love at first sight between the highly anticipated sixth Arctic Monkeys studio album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino and me. Its predecessor, AM (2013), is one of my favourite albums of all time (oh yes, I would go that far) and thus their newest album had quite the reputation to live up to. Upon the first listen of Tranquility, I remember I was all kinds of confused. Where did all the epic guitars, the bewitching rhythms and the sensual, vintage feel of AM go? But I persisted and slowly but steadily I fell in love with the luxurious, velvety and deep sound of Tranquility and it has become one of my favourite new releases of the year. 

Interpol – Marauder

2018 is the year I finally discovered Interpol and I really started to explore their discography. As it turns out I have perfect timing, because earlier this year their sixth studio album, titled Marauder, was released. Both singles ‘If you really love nothing‘ (really cool music video starring Kristen Stewart, by the way) and ‘The Rover‘ are completely up my street and the rest of the album is no exception. 

Editors – Violence

Whenever Editors release a new studio album, I’m equally super excited and a bit scared. Excited, because there’s new music from one of my favourite bands and obviously that counts for something, and scared, because with every release I’m afraid I won’t like their music as much as I just to. Their sixth studio album (I’m sensing a pattern here…) called Violence is a bit tricky in my humble opinion.  My favourite Editors album has always been In This Light and On This Evening and with this new album I feel like they’ve gone back to that same feeling and sound with songs such as ‘Hallelujah (So Low)‘ and ‘Cold‘ – but not enough to make me completetely fall in love with Violence. There are some gems on there, but then adding a studio version of fan-favourite ‘No Sound But The Wind‘ just feels like unnecessary filler to me, which is just a shame. 

Florence and the Machine – High as Hope

Fiery-haired and angel-voiced Florence Welch honestly can do no wrong in my eyes and I was pleasantly surprised by Florence and the Machine’s fourth studio album High as Hope. With songs such as ‘June‘ and ‘Grace’, the band’s new sound is much more stripped-back and raw. Florence truly poured her heart and soul into this album and it paid off: it’s her most personal, vulnerable and beautiful work up until now. 

Muse – Simulation Theory

Towards Muse I kind of have the same attitude I have towards Editors: whenever they release new music I’m kind of excited and slightly terrified. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed their music that much since Black Holes and Revelations and just for reference, that album was released back in 2006. Now, a mere twelve years (!!!) down the line, I hopped back on the Muse train with their eighth studio album Simulation Theory. I think it’s cool, edgy and the perfect combination between Bellamy’s love for dramatic piano sections (I do enjoy a bit of ‘Butterflies and Hurricanes‘), the more poppy rhythms and sounds from the previous two albums and those ye olde conspiracy theory-concepts written into the lyrics. 

A whole year of music doesn’t just consist of the latest releases, as I’ve also made some (re)discoveries of albums that weren’t released in 2018. These five albums were played on repeat at home or on my commute to work and therefor deserve a spot in my musical overview of the past year. 

Taylor Swift – reputation

I honestly think guilty pleasures are stupid so I’m not feeling the slightest pinch of guilt when I write that I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s 2017 album reputation on repeat over the course of the past twelve months. Although I was never the biggest fan of Taylor Swift, I did always find it very interesting how she reinvented herself from a curly-haired country songstress to a sleek-haired pop princess who completely sells out a full-blown stadium tour. And I do understand why, because her sixth studio album is full of epic stadium-anthems that are perfect for glitter costumes (we all know I love me some glitter), fireworks and some snake-themed set decor. 

Prince – 4Ever

Last Christmas I gave this exact album to my Mom as a present and on the two-day road trip that followed we listened to Prince on repeat. Ever since I downloaded the album on my iPhone and I have been listening to it every single day – that’s how hard I fell in love with Prince’s music. The album 4Ever was released six months after his death back in 2016, and it features 40 (!!!) of his best songs. My personal favourites are definitely ‘Little Red Corvette’, ‘Raspberry Beret‘ and ‘Sign ‘O’ the Times‘. 

Harry Styles – Harry Styles

Speaking of ‘Sign of the Times‘, I never thought that an album by Harry Styles would be in any of my favourite lists. But here we are, as I’ve listed to his debut album, conveniently titled Harry Styles, all throughout the summer of 2018. Every day I would take the train to Amsterdam and I would listen to his album while enjoying the sunshine and trying to ignore the sounds of people chewing (my ultimate pet peeve, mind you). I think his sound is fun, sensual and confident, and my personal favourite song ‘Kiwi‘ definitely embodies just that. 

Interpol – El Pintor

Whilst going on my personal Interpol discovery, I of course stumbled upon El Pintor, their fifth studio album and my personal favourite. I’ve played this album literally on repeat on our train and bus journeys across Ireland and every time I listen to it now, I think back of the dramatic landscapes, the continuous rain and the stunning beauty. ‘All the Rage Back Home‘, ‘Breaker 1‘ and ‘Tidal Wave‘ are the highlights of the album for me. 

Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa

Perhaps a bit of a stretch to go from Interpol to Dua Lipa, but this is my musical overview of the past year, so we’re just going to roll with it. The British pop sensation has been everywhere over the past couple of years, with hits like ‘Hotter than Hell‘ and ‘IDGAF‘ and I finally gave in and gave her debut album Dua Lipa a listen, only to be very pleasantly surprised. Her sound is incredibly catchy, edgy and sexy – and perhaps the best part is that she can transfer exactly that sound and feel to her live performances. 

And that brings 2018 to an end for me, musically speaking. I mean, let’s be honest, from this forth I’ll only be listening to Smith & Burrows‘ Christmas Cd and nothing else. Curious about tomorrow’s advent calendar article? Here’s a hint: potato peel pie. 

Featured image by Zackery Michael via Pitchfork