Staff Picks: The Best Albums Of 2018

It’s never an easy task to summarize a year with just one album. But of course, the Discogs staff is always up for a challenge and we didn’t want to wave goodbye to the year without sharing with you our take on the best albums of 2018.

2018 has felt like a good one, with a lot of us pointing out that it’s been complicated to just pick one. Expect an eclectic mix of styles and moods, of veterans and debutants, of light and dark. You’ll find no less than two London jazz releases, funky Thai-inspired groove out of Houston, everyone’s favorite stoner-metal outfit, heroic, boundary-breaking pop stars, and even some Migos. For best results, listen along:

As we are about to leave 2018 behind, reflecting on what was good is what feels important. Hope you enjoy our picks for best albums of 2018:

Various Artists

We Out Here

Kokoroko - We Out Here

Those musicians are extremely talented and made something amazing out of all of their musical personalities. I would recommend listening to Abusey Junction on that compilation, written in Gambia and inspired by the soundscape of the country. In any case, the whole compilation is great, don’t miss it! It is one of the finest examples of London’s young musicians, can’t wait to see what they do next, and definitely going to buy this on vinyl in the meantime.

Nathanaël, Office Administrator
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El Mal Querer

Rosalía - El Mal Querer

I’ve found extremely complicated to choose an album this year. While previous years the contenders for best album of the year felt scarce, 2018 has been loaded with amazing releases from both well-seasoned artists and newcomers. Just on top of my head, and excuse me for the name dropping, I can think of Beach House‘s “7“, Skee Mask‘s “Compro“, Cardi B‘s “Invasion Of Privacy“, Tirzah‘s “Devotion“, Blood Orange‘s “Negro Swan“, Snail Mail‘s “Lush“, Pusha T‘s “DAYTONA“, Kali Uchis‘ “Isolation“, Iceage‘s “Beyondless“, Low‘s “Double Negative“… These are all records I’m convinced I’ll keep listening to for many years to come. But I can only choose one. If I would have to choose a couple of months ago, I knew that my choice would have been the bigger-than-life effort by flamenco avant-gardist Niño De Elche: ‘Antología Del Cante Flamenco Heterodoxo‘. But in November, Rosalía released her second LP, another forward-thinking flamenco record, yes, but in a different way. ‘El Mal Querer‘ is the pop record that should (and will) change the music landscape in Spain. The futuristic blend of flamenco, urban, and pop of Rosalía feels like a long overdue act of justice towards popular genres in my country. In just 30 minutes, Rosalía manages to create a complex narrative based in the 13th-century anonymous romance “The Romance Of Flamenca“. The result is the most astonishing, lush, and delightful record of 2018. A true game-changer.

Javi, Community Marketing and Social Media Specialist
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SiR - November

I remember listening to November late the night it was released (Spotify often releases the albums Thursday night instead of Friday). I knew it was going to be one of my favorite albums of the year, despite it being only January. Pitchfork calls November a “neo-soul-tinged space odyssey”, which I find to be a good description. This is one of those albums I listen to front to back without skipping anything.

Rodney, Software Engineer, Database
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Con Todo El Mundo

Khruangbin - Con Todo El Mundo

Have to go with this because I think it is my most played for 2018. Came out early in the year but nothing else this year has caught my attention as much as.

Claire, VP People & Culture
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Children Of Zeus

Travel Light

Children Of Zeus - Travel Light

Super strong soul-tinged feel-good hip hop record which has already seen the remix treatment from the likes of Zed Bias and was the soundtrack to my summer in Barcelona and London! Following on from some great and now sold out (soul’d out?) singles last year, this album was released on First Word Records who have really been putting the work in when it comes to great releases. Not really a game changer in terms of uniqueness, but a strong formula well-executed.

Louis, Commercial Manager
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Alice Merton

No Roots

Alice Merton - No Roots

Although originally debuted in 2017, it was released in the United States in 2018 with the additional track “Lash Out”. Don’t be fooled by its only containing 5 songs – they span a surprisingly wide spectrum of emotion and sound. Easy to play over and over! Merton‘s voice is captivating.

Carissa, Email Marketing Lead
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Melody’s Echo Chamber

Bon Voyage

Melody's Echo Chamber - Bon Voyage

Winter had Ravyn Lenae’s smooth “Crush EP,” “Con Todo El Mundo” by Khruangbin, and MGMT’s “Little Dark Age.” Spring was all about “Bon Voyage” by Melody’s Echo Chamber, “Le Kov” by Gwenno, “Song for Alpha” by Daniel Avery, and “With Dim Light” by Minami Deutsch. Summer was dominated by Pusha T’s “Daytona” and “When the Sun Dips 90 Degrees” by Yazmin Lacey. “Masana Temples” by Kikagaku Moyo and “Broken Politics” by Neneh Cherry have been my go-to albums this Fall. Hard to pick just one, isn’t it? I’ll go with Melody if I have to.

Stevie, Marketing Coordinator
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Jon Hopkins


Jon Hopkins - Singularity

No big surprises here; Jon Hopkins‘ otherworldly “Singularity“, Beach House‘s nearly flawless “7“, and Khruangbin‘s addictive “Con Todo El Mundo“. Hat tip to Hana Vu‘s first official release “How many times have you driven by?” because I wish I was that talented when I was 17. Way to go! Also Mokado’s debut EP “The Lives Of Others”, Rival Consoles‘ “Persona“, Molécule‘s “-22.7°C” and Robohands‘ “Green“. That’s a lot.

Coumba, Community Success Coordinator
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Adam Rowe

Hanging Lake

Adam Rowe - Hanging Lake

Hands down my favorite release of 2018. Adam Rowe’s ‘Hanging Lake‘ is an exquisite blend of beautiful ambient and deep electronic vibes. One of the strongest releases I’ve heard in the last few years. Released on Night Sea Journey – a small imprint run by Garrett David and Colin Johnson out of Chicago. Every track stands on its own and is sure to please anyone who prefers to dwell in the deeper side of electronic music.

Matt Salcido, Full Stack Developer
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The Sciences

Sleep - The Sciences

After 15 years since ‘Dopesmoker‘ this did not disappoint! Hypnotically heavy and a great surprise 4/20 release along with a beautiful gatefold.

Alex, Community Success Coordinator
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There Is A Place

Maisha - There Is A Place

I’ve spotted some other London jazz picks in this list and hot scale progressions this movement is on fire this year. These young musicians out of the UK are the best thing to happen to jazz in decades. This is another fine example of terrific musicianship and just plain getting what good music is all about. They shred throughout. Also, that album cover qualifies as my tops of the year. All around delightful LP from this London ensemble.

Steven, Search Engine Marketer
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Alex Brown

In Search Of Love

Alex Brown - In Search Of Love

This year, I have met people from several labels who dedicate their time to finding original artists or their families, to reissue music they love that seems to have fallen through the cracks. It makes me think the world isn’t such a bad place after all. So I’ll pick Alex Brown’s ‘In Search Of Love’ which was only released as a promo in the 70s and has this year finally received a very much deserved official release. The cover is amazing too!

Lilian, Regional Community Marketing Lead
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The Sciences

Sleep - The Sciences

I have based myself on what says I have listened but indeed, my fav albums of this year have been Sleep – The Sciences, Patricia — Several Shades of the Same Color (although it was released mid-2017 I only got to listen this year!), Clark — Death Peak, Khruangbin — Con Todo El Mundo.

Esther, CS Specialist
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Yves Tumor

Safe In The Hands Of Love

Yves Tumor - Safe In The Hands Of Love

It’s very difficult to choose just one album and say that this is my favorite record of the year, to be honest. Especially when I spend the whole day listening to music. In the case I had to make a list of the best of the year, this would have probably more than 20 releases. If you ask me tomorrow, I’d probably say that my favorite album of the year is another one. However, I have to say that with any doubt Yves Tumor is one of the most interesting artists of the decade, so far. He is part of a young very influent generation of artists that made pure ART with their life. His last album, the first for Warp Records, is a masterpiece. Although the album is a mix of experimental, noise and avant-garde it’s true that you can easily find shiny pop songs in there. I can easily find Brit-Pop influences in the album. An incredible album from an incredible artist whose live performances are something completely different from what you would expect from him.

Arnau, Regional Community Marketer
Buy it on Discogs


Culture II

Migos - Culture II

Culture II‘ is so good. There isn’t a single stinky song on this album. I love when mainstream music gets it right! Today is my birthday – if any of my family is reading this right now, please consider buying ‘Culture II‘ for me on vinyl. PLEASE!

Tasha, Community Success Manager
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Shannon Shaw

Shannon In Nashville

Shannon Shaw - Shannon In Nashville

YOB, Sleep, the Ex, and Grouper are heavy contenders for me here, but the album from this year that I enjoyed listening to the most, and listened to in its entirety more than any other, was Shannon Shaw’s ‘Shannon In Nashville’.

Jason, Director of Marketplace Engineering
Buy it on Discogs

Goat Girl

Goat Girl

Goat Girl - Goat Girl

Banger after banger. Still kicking myself for being out of town when they came through. Should have just cancelled my flight or something.

Jess, Community Marketer
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Janelle Monáe

Dirty Computer

Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

To be honest, 2018 didn’t blow me away for new releases. I discovered lots of great new music this year, but a lot of it isn’t from the past 12 months. But the 2018 album that was on highest rotation for me was Janelle Monáe‘s Dirty Computer. I’ve been a fan since The ArchAndroid, so I was expecting a follow up to the whole Metropolis / Cindi Mayweather concept series. It took me a few listens to get into it, but I love this album now. I love how Janelle dares to take on so many different styles and kills them all – the rapping on “Django Jane” still gives me goosebumps almost every time. Maybe it was seeing her perform most of these songs live in September that really sealed this as my favorite of the year, but I think it’s an intelligent and daring album that tackles a lot of big and current issues, while still being a crazy, classic party album.

David, CS Manager
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Mutant Beat Dance

Mutant Beat Dance

Mutant Beat Dance - Mutant Beat Dance

Best electronic release of 2018 by far. A beautiful packaging also, the booklet and pictures included are really setting up the mood! I love the acid cuts of that record but I would say the stand out is “Last Illusions”, also on pressed on a 10″ which is quite nice to play! Beau Wanzer, Traxx and Steve Summers that ought to tell you there is definitely something good going on here. Beautiful ambient and downtempo phases give all the more density to that release. Congrats!

Clim, CS Coordinator
Buy it on Discogs

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