Five Albums that Made 2018 Tolerable

Don’t miss out on the best of this year.

By Natalie Wallace, Contributor

As 2018 comes to a close, I’m sure we’re all scrambling to finish strong. We’re finishing up last-minute projects and tying up loose ends to start 2019 on a good note. Because of this, you may have missed the busy year the music industry had. If you haven’t kept up or have no idea what to check out, don’t worry! Here are (some) of the best albums of 2018.

1. “Sweetener” by Ariana Grande

via Republic Records

From bubblegum pop princess to soulful dream-pop artist, 2018 was Ariana Grande’s year to evolve and thrive. “Sweetener” radiates with Grande’s love for herself and her life. The album tracks Grande’s acceptance that life comes with hurting, healing and loving. It makes the listener want to take a step back and enjoy the day as it comes and goes.

Listen to “goodnight n go” and “R.E.M.” if you’re feeling a bit romantic, or check out “breathin” and “get well soon” to know you’re not alone during difficult times.

2. “Isolation” by Kali Uchis

via Interscope Records

Kali Uchis entered the industry with a bang. The Colombian-American artist’s debut album “Isolation” is a distinctive mix of R&B and psychedelic pop. The 15 songs on the album evoke the feeling of driving down PCH during sunset with the windows down. It embodies “vibe,” especially with songs featuring soulful singers like Steve Lacy and Jorja Smith.

Listen to “After the Storm,” which features Tyler, the Creator, for a full taste of Uchis’ eclectic musical genius!

3. “Head in The Clouds” by 88Rising

via 88Rising

This album is a little different. 88Rising isn’t a singular artist or musician, but a label that represents multiple Asian and Asian American artists putting a twist to contemporary hip-hop. The album features Joji, Rich Brian, Niki, AUGUST 08, Phum Viphurit and many more. “Head in the Clouds” has a mix of R&B, trap and hip-hop sounds in songs both from the individual artists and collaborations within 88Rising. It’s a mixture of anthems and ballads that bring the party.

Listen to “Midsummer Madness” to get a glimpse of the 88Rising family and what they have to offer.

4. “Malibu Nights” by LANY

via Polydor Records

“Malibu Nights” is filled with anthems for those hurting and healing following a breakup. LANY’s synth-pop sounds and raw, emotional lyrics will hit your heartstrings. It’s like peering into someone’s journal and reading private pages brimming with questions about why a lover left and if they’re ever coming back. Lead singer Paul Klein writes lyrics that anyone can relate to about wishful thinking and personal healing after love.

Listen to “Thru These Tears” if you need some reassurance that you’re still growing, or check out “If You See Her” to be hit with nostalgia for an old flame.

5. “Make My Bed” by King Princess

via Zelig Recordings

Okay, I may be cheating a little since this is an EP, but “Make My Bed” deserves some type of recognition. King Princess brings bedroom pop to another level with songs about love, loneliness, pining and self-reflection. Her music expresses her vulnerabilities and ideas about sexuality, politics, culture and theology, in hopes of connecting with people who can relate to the everyday hardships the queer community faces.

Listen to “1950” for an unrequited love song or check out “Upper West Side” to hear her take on representation in her home state of New York.

This obviously doesn’t make a dent in the long list of great albums that were released in 2018. But hopefully you found your next power anthem or a new favorite artist to take with you into the new year.