My Top 5 Albums of 2018

As we get ready to show 2019 who’s boss, it’s time to reflect on the year gone by. Having looked back on my favourite albums of 2015, 2016 and 2017, it seemed only fitting to do the same for 2018. As per tradition, I’ve narrowed my list down to just five of the best albums I couldn’t get enough of these past twelve months.

5) Fall Out Boy – MANIA

Ah, my 14-year-old self would be so proud… Believe it or not, Fall Out Boy is still going strong after all these years and released MANIA at the start of 2018. But, if you were expecting those familiar pop-punk tones from the quartet, then think again.

They’ve come a long way since their sophomore album From Under The Cork Tree catapulted them to global fame. MANIA offers one of the most varied Fall Out Boy albums to date with no two songs sounding even remotely the same. Yet, there is a cohesion to the album that makes it so enjoyable from the opening bars of “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea” to the final notes of “Bishops Knife Trick”. Just don’t ask me what half of their song titles mean…

4) Ghost – Prequelle

I’m pretty late to the Ghost party, but my invitation finally arrived… Take a look at the enigmatic Swedish band and you’d be forgiven for thinking they’ll melt your ears off with black metal. In reality, they tread the line between rock and metal with a dose of theatricality that make their music so infectious. 

Prequelle was released in June and showcased their undeniable versatility. From melodic rock riffs in “Rats” to downright cheese in “Dance Macabre”, it’s impossible to sum the album’s genre up in just one word. But, Ghost is strongest when they embrace their darker side, as standout track “Faith” attests to. If you doubt whether Ghost will be your thing, give them a chance – they might well surprise you.

3) Muse – Simulation Theory

Only released in November, Muse’s latest album quickly became one of my favourites of the year. They often get a hard time, but if you cast your mind back to the oddity that was their Olympic Games anthem, this record is an absolute blessing.

With a cover designed by Kyle Lambert, the artist behind Stranger Things, the science fiction concept is clear from the start. Aligning with that theme, Simulation Theory is heavily influenced by the 80s and uses synthesisers like they’re going out of fashion. It’s a borderline cheesy, but undeniably catchy effort from the trio. The deluxe edition also features a beautiful instrumental of “The Dark Side”, which reminds us just how talented a pianist Matt Bellamy is.

2) Shinedown – ATTENTION ATTENTION

Shinedown is one of the very few bands I can listen to endlessly. In fact, their last record, Threat To Survival, was one of my favourite albums of 2015. Flash forward three years and their sixth studio album takes its rightful place on this year’s list.

The aptly-named ATTENTION ATTENTION grabs you from the first listen and doesn’t let go. Lead single “DEVIL” is rock at its finest with unrelenting drums and powerful vocals from frontman, Brent Smith. The album’s title track is one of the best, touching on acceptance of mental illness, followed by “KILL YOUR CONSCIENCE” and “PYRO”. But, it’s the album’s closing track “BRILLIANT” that stands out as an uplifting anthem, designed to inspire hope and instil courage in its listeners.

1) The Prodigy – No Tourists

Another band that featured on my 2015 list, The Prodigy are just as good as they ever were with their latest release. Despite being founded before I was even born, No Tourists is only the seventh studio album from the ravers. But, it’s quality and not quantity that counts.

The Prodigy have the uncanny ability to sound current without losing any of the spark that made them the pinnacle of 90s dance music. Album opener “Need Some1” sets the tone for what lies ahead with an infectious beat that worms its way into your head. “We Live Forever” is an instant classic and took the roof off the SSE Hydro in November, while the bass on “Resonate” almost destroyed my car speakers. There isn’t a single track that lets the album down, which is why it takes the top spot of 2018.

Until next time,

Donna

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