Alternatively Pop’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

As the dawn of a new year begins, the world takes a moment to reflect on the year gone by. Here at Alternatively Pop, we take that as our chance to reflect on the music released this year. Without further ado, here are Alternatively Pop’s Top 10 Albums of 2018.

1. Dirty Computer – Janelle Monaé

dirty computerAfter topping our Top Tracks of 2018 list, Janelle Monaé proves once again as she takes the top spot here as well. An immaculate collection of fun, fierce and fabulous pop-funk-R&B magic layers itself over heartfelt, raw and pure lyricism, Monaé’s Dirty Computer perfectly captures the unique experience and outlook of Monaé, as a queer WOC in a culture that puts up walls against her. Dirty Computer isn’t just an album, it’s an experience, and only after you are done will you realize the masterpiece that Monaé has created.

2. Look Up Child – Lauren Daigle

220px-look_up_child_(official_album_cover)_by_lauren_daigleA stunning ode to the power of not only faith but pure belief, Lauren Daigle’s Look Up Child is an otherworldly set that doesn’t get bogged down in its desire to be overtly Christian. This, allows the album to serve multiple purposes, as an expression of Daigle’s own religious beliefs, as well as just a fabulous album about passion and faith for those who don’t practice. Look Up Child is a gorgeous album that showcases a voice that deserves to be heard.

3. Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves

golden hourCountry’s reigning queen of acclaim truly did it again with Golden Hour. With what may well be her crowning achievement, and is by far her most accomplished effort thus far, Musgraves has created an emotional knockout, a cohesive record full of heartbreak, healing and attempts to capture the beauty of life that picks you up, takes you in its arms and hugs you for 45 minutes before setting you gently down.

4. The Kids Are Alright – Chloe x Halle

the kids are alrightA mature debut from one of R&B’s most promising acts swings in many directions. From bangers to ballads, from catchy to pure experimental, the sister duo does it all and somehow retain cohesion. The album makes for a perfect breakthrough album that showcases the gorgeously diverse vocal ranges of the pair, and their ability to coin a lyric or two. If The Kids Are Alright is anything to go by, Chloe x Halle is a duo to watch.

5. Palo Santo – Years & Years

palo santoOne of the LGBTQ+ community’s most prominent acts, Years & Years have been producing great music for a while now. Palo Santo builds on that. A bare it all album, Palo Santo is pure pop escapism that aptly captures the experiences of the queer community. The record is sexy, intimate and vibrant from its get-go, and the band never second guess themselves, going all in with their explorations of sexuality and it’s complexities.

6. Expectations – Hayley Kiyoko

expectations2018 was a great year for Hayley Kiyoko and one of her crowning achievements is the release of her debut album. Expectations is a gorgeous and catchy walk through pop perfection as Kiyoko rolls out bangers and ballads across the album’s 14 tracks, perfectly painting her feelings across the lyrics and beats for an intimate debut.

 

7. LM5 – Little Mix

lm5With their final album as a SYCO act, Little Mix left the generic beat drops and trend attempts in their Glory Days. With LM5, Little Mix embraced experimentation and went all in with the album. The result is the quartet’s greatest and most importantly authentic album of their careers. It’s by no means perfect, but songs like ‘Wasabi’, ‘Joan of Arc’ and ‘The National Manthem’ finally crack the potential this band has had since day one, and hints at the brilliance they could finally achieve now they are free of SYCO.

8. No Shame – Lily Allen

no shameLily Allen has had a hard life, but she ain’t afraid to sing about it. No Shame truly lives up to its title as Allen spills her guts on subjects like drugs, divorce and motherhood. The album is a wonderfully unique record that is so acutely specific and detailed but together creates a marvellous story of a woman’s life.

 

9. Bloom – Troye Sivan

bloomTroye Sivan can be added to the history books as he becomes one of the few artists who have avoided the sophomore slump. 2018’s Bloom was anything but a slump, instead, it is full of vibrant life as Sivan meanders through the past and the present exploring the modern experience of being gay. The album is unapologetic, and deliciously positive, the perfect follow-up to Sivan’s Bloom.

10. By The Way, I Forgive You – Brandi Carlile

by the way i forgive youA gorgeous delve into Americana, Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You puts her signature vocals to the test as she soars from high pitches to the lowest of whispers in the space of the words. The record is full of delicate acoustic and crashing drums back up Carlile as she beautifully and emotionally discusses hope and forgiveness in a rare, but a fabulously positive move for the singer.

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GRAMMYS 2019: Who Should Win and Who Will Win?

The 61st Grammy nominations are officially here, and with them came mass uproar, shock and questions about the changing industry. While the hours since the reveal of the nominations have been spent discussing who got snubbed, who wasn’t deserving and who exactly some of the nominees even were, it’s time to turn our attention to an even more important question – in a  very different race than many thought it would be, who is taking home those megaphones come next year?

RECORD OF THE YEAR

The Nominees:

Cardi B – I Like It

Brandi Carlile – The Joke

Childish Gambino – This Is America

Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – Shallow

Drake – God’s Plan

Kendrick Lamar & SZA – All the Stars

Post Malone & 21 Savage – Rockstar

Zedd & Maren Morris – The Middle

Probably one of the least shocking categories this year was Record of the Year, where really the only major players who missed being Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran (and Beyoncé), and Ariana Grande. Without them it seems like this is even more of a landslide for Gambino’s ‘This is America’. Drake and Kendrick Lamar could give him a run for his money given the support the academy has shown the two in this year’s nominations. Same could be said for Carlile who came out of nowhere to secure this nod, but at the end of the day, ‘This is America’ is the deserving, and most likely winner.

SHOULD WIN: ‘This is America’ – Childish Gambino
WILL WIN: ‘This is America’ – Childish Gambino

SONG OF THE YEAR

The Nominees:

Kendrick Lamar & SZA – All the Stars

Ella Mai – Boo’d Up

Drake – God’s Plan

Shawn Mendes – In My Blood

Brandi Carlile – The Joke

Zedd & Maren Morris – The Middle

Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – Shallow

Childish Gambino – This Is America

This one was a bit more shocking than the Record. Major players that missed were pop’s main girls Taylor Swift’s ‘Delicate’ and Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left To Cry’. Another contender should have been Maroon 5’s ‘Girl Like You’, which was relegated to the pop field. Again, this seems like a slam-dunk for Gambino, particularly given the trend of awarding one artist both awards in the past few years. However, in a ridiculously unpredictable year, anything could happen. Carlile’s support here is shocking and could well give her a win. Lady Gaga is having an amazing year and that could get her over the line. Additionally, Lamar and Drake are always there in the background. Given Lamar’s status as one of the most snubbed artists in recent memory, and SZA losing all five nominations last year, it could be ‘All The Stars’ that takes it home.

SHOULD WIN: ‘The Joke’ – Brandi Carlile
WILL WIN: ‘This is America’ – Childish Gambino

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

The Nominees:

H.E.R. – H.E.R.

Brandi Carlile – By the Way, I Forgive You

Drake – Scorpion

Various Artists – Black Panther: The Album

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

Post Malone – Beerbongs & Bentleys

Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy

Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

Arguably, the most shocking of all the nominations from this morning was Album of the Year. Album of the Year staple Taylor Swift missed with reputation, her first LP since 2010’s Speak Now to fail to secure a nod here. Beyoncé and Jay-z’s Everything is Love also didn’t get a nod, despite their status as music’s king and queen. Elsewhere, Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Vol 2, as well as Grande’s Sweetener and a number of other contenders. Instead, the 8 nominees are divided into commercial smashes and critical darlings and it’s hard to know who will prevail. Drake’s Scorpion was the second highest selling album of the past year, while Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy and Post Malone’s Beerpongs and Bentleys had solid debuts with huge hits to help bolster their profile here. Perhaps its Lamar’s years to finally take the trophy home for Black Panther, which was also one of the biggest movies of the year and is set to be a huge awards contender itself. On the other hand, Musgraves produced one of country’s finest LP’s in a long time, H.E.R’s self-titled debut was critically adored, and Carlile appears to have huge industry support. In the end, one LP stands well above the rest. Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer was a masterful exploration of sexuality, race and patriotism that is perfect from top to bottom and is more than deserving of the trophy.

SHOULD WIN: Dirty Computer – Janelle Monae
WILL WIN: Black Panther: The Album – Various Artists

BEST NEW ARTIST

The Nominees:

Chloe x Halle

Luke Combs

Greta Van Fleet

H.E.R.

Dua Lipa

Margo Price

Bebe Rexha

Jorja Smith

This was Dua Lipa’s to lose from the get-go. With the snub of her biggest contender Ella Mai, Lipa seems like a sure thing. Best New Artist is an odd category given its ever-changing rules, but realistically, her only competition here is Rexha and H.E.R. As for who should win, Chloe x Halle had a wonderful debut album, Luke Combs had some big songs on the country charts and Jorja Smith got acclaim for her debut album. However, the Academy likes to award the next big thing here, and that is most certainly Lipa. Don’t be surprised if you see a major upset given this year’s unpredictability, but for now, it’s Lipa’s to lose.

SHOULD WIN: Dua Lipa
WILL WIN: Dua Lipa

Leave your predictions for the 61st Grammy Awards below.