Whatever your taste, 2018 has been a great year for music. Pop Goddess Robyn returned from an eight year beak with an instant classic in Honey and St Vincent flipped her excellent 2017 album to give each track a morn melancholy sound.
Elsewhere punk got twisted by the likes of IDLES and Shame and dancefloors were filled with the sounds of Helena Hauff and Jon Hopkins new albums.
In order of release, here's our pick for the 50 best albums this year:
1 | Nils Frahm - All Melody
The German musician's ninth solo album mixes classical and electronic music in a way that is both arresting and soothing. For All Melody Frahm has added strings trumpets, gongs and more to his usual piano and synthesizer outfit to create a vaster still soundscape that is somewhere between Ólafur Arnalds and Floating Points.
Skip to: 'All Melody' - The title track unfolds around a throbbing central force which expands and shrinks away inviting in different instruments to slowly melt into one.
2 | Django Django - Marble Skies
Three years since their slightly disappointing second album and the London-based pop-rock-indie-psychedelic band are back. From the jazzy riffs and laid-back chords of 'Sundials' to the moody grunge-pop in 'Beam Me Up' to the extraterrestrial and bouncing 'Real Gone', Marble Skies straddles every genre within reach - and it works.
Skip to: 'Futher' - The opening melody instantly draws you in and then delivers you to a euphoric and memorable chorus.
3 | Shame - Songs of Praise
The debut album from south-east London hailing Shame is a wild ride of grungy punk. In 'The Lick', slow vocals strut over a wall of guitars and talk menacingly of trips to the gynaecologist. Though their rage is cathartic - and there's a lot of rage - it's the albums more melancholic moments where their talent is clearest.
Skip to: 'Angie' - a tender reprise from the anger in the form of an ode to a girl who committed suicide comes with stirring soft vocals.
4 | First Aid Kit - Ruins
Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg were first discovered singing country and folk cover tracks on their YouTube channel. Their fourth album, Ruins, carries faint influences of the likes of EmmyLou Harris and Johnny Cash, as in the gentle melody of 'To Live a Life'. But moments like 'It's A Shame' make it clear they've also matured into their own sound.
Skip to: 'Fireworks' - First Aid Kit's ability to meld folk and pop is most impressive in this lilting and beautiful song that you want to play again before it's even finished.
5 | Khruangbin - Con Todo El Mundo
If you've never heard of Thai-funk, a journey through the vibrant and atmosphere music of Texan trio Khruangbin will win you over to the genre. Their second album, does an excellent job of reminding you why you loved the first without feeling like already trodden ground. 'August 10' shimmers with soft guitar riffs and the funky 'Lady and Man', with its snarling breaths and moans, proves they barely need vocals to make a catchy track.
Skip to: 'Maria También' - a jazzy ride with spiralling and hypnotic guitar melodies that livens the album from mellowly drifting along to a uproarious party.
6 | Poliça ft s t a r g a z e - Music for the Long Emergency
Joining forces with Berlin-based orchestra s t a r g a z e for this seven track release has given Poliça a matured and more complicated sound than in previous albums. 'Cursed' is a crazed thrashing of drums that brings you back to life after the sparse sounds in 'Speaking of Ghost' and 'Fake Like'.
Skip to: 'Agree' - Here the winding strings of the orchestra lift up front-woman Channy Leaneagh's bird-like voice and the two sit in perfect harmony.
7 | Hookworms - Microshift
It's difficult to put your finger on the sound created in the third studio album of this Leeds-hailing psych-rock band named after a type of parasite. But like said infection, it gets inside you. 'Negative Space' is a chaos of squelching synths but later 'Each Time We Pass' is blissed out euphoria that sounds like getting lost...in a good way.
Skip to: 'Static Resistance' - A frantic song that washes away the album's more eclectic moments in a pulsating pop track with echoes of The Shins.
8 | Loma - Loma
Cross Record duo Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski and Shearwater lead singer Jonathan Meiburg met on tour together in 2016 and secretly formed a new band. The result is an impressive self-titled debut with huge depth from the charged rhythm of 'Relay Runner' to the gentle folk trills in 'Shadow Relief'.
Skip to: 'Black Willow' - a wistful melody with harmonised vocals reciting memorable lines like 'I carry a diamond blade and I will not serve you' in this sedate track.
9 | Rhye - Blood
Half of the duo might have left Rhye since their well-received first album, Woman, but Canadian musician Michael Milosh's downtempo sound is as gentle and evocative as ever. The 11 track release is restrained and stirring with songs like 'Waste' and 'Taste' rhyming with each other musically as well as, well, literally.
Skip to: 'Song For You' - Soothing strings and a steady ticking give this track a warm sound that masks darker lyrics like the repeated refrain of 'I feel your heart pain, I feel your pain'.
10 | Albert Hammond Jr. - Francis Trouble
Four years sober after a drug addiction that dogged Hammond's years as the guitarist in The Strokes, and his solo work continues to impress. His fourth album is zany and effervescent with fingerprints of his band's best music in tracks such as the frenetic notes of 'Muted Beatings' and the opening guitar chords of 'Far Away Truths'.
Skip to: 'Set to Attack' - An intricate snaking guitar solo steals the show amongst succinct but sad lyrics like 'There is a need to feel safe / How did we get to this place?'
11 | George Fitzgerald - All That Must Be
No longer focused on making beats exclusively for the dance-floors of 5am nightclubs, Fitzgerald's second album crosses further again into the indie and ambient side of electronic music. Fortunately the British DJ and producer avoids falling into the muzak trap that many who make the crossover do, instead coming up with a challenging but enjoyable release that features the likes of Bonobo and Lil Silva.
Skip to: 'Roll Back' - The sombre opening strings melt into a flurry of electronic beats and then soften again into Lil Silva's velvet voice. Dance music snobs might snub it as too much of a pop-track, but sometimes you've got to recognise a banger.
12 | Amen Dunes - Freedom
Brooklyn-hailing guitarist Damon McMahon’s fifth album has an elegiac quality to it, soft and brooding rock that rises and falls with the cadence of his voice. 'Blue Rose' is a particularly restrained and beautiful ballad with echoes of Kurt Vile and Cass McCombs.
Skip to: 'Believe' - McMahon’s mellow guitars and weary strained vocals here emanate greats such as Tom Petty or Mazzy Star.
13 | Superorganism - Superorganism
The eight piece (!) synth-pop outfit hail from all corners of the earth, which is no doubt why their sound has hints of Japanese pop, British indie and American rock, to name just a few. Throughout the album - particularly 'The Prawn Song' and 'Reflections On The Screen' - Orono Noguchi's soft grunge vocals paint an increasingly strange landscape of bleeping samples and squelching sound effects, which works far better than it should.
Skip to: 'Everybody Wants To Be Famous' - Though the title, vocal-fry chorus and eccentric cash register sound effects might suggest a soulless millennial anthem, what emerges is an almost annoyingly catchy track.
14 | Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar
Defying the supposed curse of the Mercury Prize - the Scottish experimental rap trio won the prize in 2014 - their latest album is not only vibrant and tender but their most approachable, and highest-charting, thus far. Though dark currents, musically and lyrically, pulse throughout the album, it deals with race and identity in more subtle and nuanced ways than their previous release, White Men Are Black Men Too.
Skip to: 'In My View' - A downcast pop(ish) track peppered with spoken rap, bending reverberations, finger clicks and a warmly murmured refrain of "I wanna be king until I am".
15 | Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer
Since her 2013 album The Electric Lady, Monáe has appeared in films such as Hidden Figures and Moonlight as well as continuing her political work alongside the Black Lives Matter and more recently Time's Up movements. Not an overtly political response to the climate in America, Dirty Computer is rather a sun-drenched summer pop album, but the debates about identity are there, especially in 'Don't Judge Me' which pleads 'But don't judge me / I know I got issues but they drown when I kiss you.'
Skip to: 'Make Me Feel' - Reminiscent of Prince in its lyrics (It's like I'm powerful with a little bit of tender / An emotional, sexual bender) and with a chorus which has the fingerprints of 'Kiss' all over it, 'Make Me Feel' is sexy saccharine pop in the best way.
16 | Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
The rise of Belcalis Almanzar from Bronx stripper to social media star and U.S. chart-topper has been so exhaustively fabled that her debut studio album might have been hard to distinguish from hype were it not so impressive. Her sound is unashamedly sexual, politically provocative and proudly feminine. Invasion of Privacy features collaborations with Chance The Rapper, Migos and SZA, but standing alone in 'Be Careful' and 'Money Bag' is where her fevered rap is at its most magnetic.
Skip to: 'Thru Your Phone' - Cardi's voice slows for a moment in this soft lullaby with fitting lines such as 'You sleeping like a baby' as she confronts harsh truths on a partner's phone.
17 | Daniel Avery - Song for Alpha
The British DJ and producer's 2013 album Drone Logic was a mainstay on the dance music circuit, with remixes and reworks playing out in clubs ever since. His latest contribution is more mature and esoteric, featuring glitchy percussion in 'Citizen // Nowhere' and blending ethereal harmonies in 'Embers'. It's a darker and more brooding journey devoid of obvious club hits but one that shows a welcome curiosity in creating new sounds.
Skip to: 'Sensation' - A seven minute maelstrom where the bass thuds with restraint in the background while still building and then falling away gently.
18 | DJ Koze - Knock Knock
Eccentric German DJ and producer Stefan Kozalla has made his sound new again, an impressive feat considering the audio feast he conjured from his imagination in 2013 album, Amygdala. His latest is weirder and more wonderful still, a near-perfect maelstrom of music featuring collaborations with Mano Le Tough, José González and Róisín Murphy.
Skip to: 'Pick Up' - Sampling Gladys Knight's soulful house track 'Neither One Of Us', Koze combines a thudding base and warm vocals in this swirling dance track which plays out in a perfect loop.
19 | Leon Bridges - Good Thing
The Texas singer follows up his soul-heavy debut with a more jazzy and lively sound affording this new album a more relaxed feel. While tracks such as 'Mrs.' still have the retro flavour that suits his crooning voice, elsewhere he shrugs off the constraints of traditional soul music to stunning effect.
Skip to: 'Shy' - With echoes of nineties R&B that drift over you, this love song is tender but vibrant, imploring 'I know you're shy / You can be shy with me'.
20 | Jon Hopkins - Singularity
The English producer has long experimented in the space between ambient and techno and his fifth studio album is his most impressive offering yet. 'Emerald Rush' and 'Neon Pattern Drum' both stop and start with a glitchy energy that feels like a pulsing heartbeat. Absorbing stuff.
Skip to: 'Singularity' - Evolving from a single sound which intensifies and blurs, the title track is a 6 minutes journey which twists gradually into techno. There's a more club-ready edit on the second CD too.
21 | Playboi Carti - Die Lit
The first studio album from the Atlanta rapper is a roll call of rap royalty which includes Lil Uzi Vert and Nicki Minaj. Travis Scott's voice teeters over a revving bass-line in 'Love Hurts' and Skepta adds a heavier tone to 'Lean 4 Real' in this album with a title to live life by. (We think).
Skip to: 'No Time' - Whereas much of the 20 track release feels tightly woven, this track, featuring Gunna, has a looser tempo and an infectious piano snippet playing softly in the background.
22 | Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Arriving with little fanfare, the Sheffield band's follow-up to AM has disappointed the fans hoping for a return to their earlier work. Instead we get a more left-field, restrained and spacey release, all dreamt up in a studio frontman Alex Turner christened the Lunar Surface.
'Dreamt' being operative word. Threadbare chords and sparse guitar riffs that sound like they're coming from a distant place fill the title track and 'Four Out Of Five', two of the album's highlights, while on all the tracks, Turner's witticisms-cum-lyrics never fail to amuse and delight.
Skip to: 'Star Treatment' - A ballad which sways slowly as though playing out into the early hours of the morning. The lyrics too are equally nocturnal and ethereal with verses such as 'I just wanted to be one of those ghosts / You thought that you could forget / And then I haunt you via the rear view mirror / On a long drive from the back seat'.
23 | Florence + The Machine - High As Hope
The sheer power of Florence Welch's voice has long been evidenced by her tour de force tracks in which she enters a sort of trance. On High As Hope there are her signature jubilant tracks - 'Patricia' and 'Hunger' will surely energise festival crowds this summer. However, more impressive are the moments of restraint and stillness in which her voice takes on a new, and more beautiful, quality yet.
Skip to: 'South London Forever' - Peckham pubs and 'Art students and the boys in bands / High on E and holding hands' conjure Welch's adolescence in London in this joyous track. No comment on her choice to stray into the North/South debate, though.
24 | Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth
The LA-hailing saxophonist started his career playing for an impressive list of musicians including jazz great Herbie Hancock, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Thundercat and Flying Lotus. His third studio release is a double album and a genre-bending celebrating of music which sees soul simmer slowly in 'Connections' and voices of a chorus rouse you in 'Will You Sing'.
Skip to: 'Street Fighter Mas' - A cocktail of soul and funk and a soundscape packed with lifting vocals and a saxophone which sidles its way in and steals the limelight as it grows. It's also, strangely, inspired by an arcade game Washington played as a child.
25 | Lily Allen - No Shame
Murdoch, mental health and motherhood are just a few of the battles Allen takes on in her first release since 2014. No Shame is a deeply personal album where the singer lays herself bare without her sarcastic shield. The albums dancier moments, such as 'Trigger Bang' with Giggs and 'What You Waiting For', hold their own but quieter songs such as 'Apples' and 'Three' are where Allen's vocal talent is best used.
Skip to: 'Family Man' - Produced by Mark Ronson this dedication to the end of a marriage is heartbreakingly haunting with threadbare lyrics such as, 'Don't go forgetting me / I don't like most people / But I'm scared, not evil'
26 | Leon Vynehall - Nothing Is Still
British producer Leon Vynehall joins the ranks of DJs moving away from the dance floor to a more thoughtful concept for his first album proper. The release is inspired by a collection of polaroids documenting his late grandfather's emigration from the UK to New York in the 60s. You can trace a sense of journey through tracks such as 'Birds On The Tarmac' which transitions hazily through atmospheric strings and the fragments of New York conversation in 'Julia' where one voice says, "The people who come here they don't know where they're going."
Skip to: 'Movements (Chapter III)' - Dreamlike strings melt into muted saxophones in this peaceful track which circles around layers of piano melodies and the faintest hum of background conversation transports you to a New York jazz bar.
27 | Kanye & Kid Cudi - Kids See Ghosts
You probably heard a great deal about Kanye West's seven track sample-heavy daydream, ye, which dropped unexpectedly last month. Unlike that largely disappointing release - not you 'Ghost Town' - his collaboration with Kid Cudi is majestic and able to escape from the weight of West's personal baggage. Pusha T collaboration 'Feel The Love' features machine gun fire vocals howling against drifting chords, while in the excellent title track West raps over the steady drip of electronic beats.
Skip to: 'Reborn' - An elegiac track which offers some reprise from the album's more frantic moments and where Cudi's immensely enjoyable voice takes centre stage imploring 'Keep moving forward / Keep moving forward'.
28 | The Internet - Hive Mind
Founded in 2011 by two member of hip-hop collective Odd Future, The Internet's blend of soul, jazz and hip-hop has spawned three critically revered and award-winning albums. Their fourth is possibly the best yet with so many memorable moments, from the shuffling dance-floor rhythms of 'La Di Da' to the trembling drums and cries of 'The beat goes on, the beat goes on' in, er... 'Beat Goes On'.
Skip to: 'Come Over' - Syd Tha Kyd's sensual vocals weave around slinky guitar chords in this mellow hip-hop track which wriggles into your ear and plays on repeat for days.
29 | Popcaan - Forever
You've likely already heard Jamaican artist Andrae Hugh Sutherland, even if you haven't heard of him. Sutherland has collaborated with the likes of Jamie XX, Gorillaz, Drake and Giggs and been sampled by Kanye. His debut album fuses classic dancehall with more modern influence as in 'Wine for Me', which revolves around classic Jamaican drums and has the contagious energy of a summer jam.
Skip to: 'Firm and Strong' - Sutherland's use of a 20 strong choir is offset stirringly by his downcast vocals describing struggles he's faced.
30 | Laurel Halo - Raw Silk Uncut Wood
Ina Cube, or Laurel Halo as is her musical moniker, creates sounds that lurk in the grey area between ambient and electronic. At six tracks ranging from 1 minute to ten in length, Raw Silk Uncut Wood is a blur of raw single piano notes ('Mercury') and looming magnified reverberations ('Supine').
Skip to: 'Raw Silk Uncut Wood' - The title track languishes with a glowing and ethereally quality. Like stepping into a cloud where each sound disappears into the next.
31 | Santigold - I Don't Want: The Gold Fire Sessions
Since her 2008 eponymous debut album, Santi White has fused together genres to make a sound instantly recognisable by the swagger of her vocals. In this release there's sunlit beats in 'Coo Coo Coo', reggae rapping in 'Wha' You Feel Like' and slow reverberating trap in 'I Don't Want'. Like the album artwork suggests, it's a patchwork of different flavours and sounds that somehow fit together perfectly.
Skip to: 'Run the Road' - Drum beats shot like rounds of gunfire leads into the chorus anthem of 'We're gone to run the road now/ Gone, we're gone now, we're gone now' and a simple winding piano melody circles beneath.
32 | IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance.
The second album proper from the Bristol punk outfit is spitting with rage and blisteringly political but not without humour. In 'Samaritans' vocalist Joe Talbot sings that, 'The mask / Of masculinity / Is a mask / A mask that's wearing me' and in 'Never Fight a Man With a Perm' he rages amusingly about a man with 'A jaw like a fuck off bear trap' who 'thinks he's suave 'cause you watched Get Carter'.
Skip to: 'Danny Nedelko' - A pro-immigrant anthem named after Ukrainian friend of the band is delightful but disconcerting as it rallies, 'My blood brother is Malala / A Polish butcher, he's Mo Farah' and later 'Fear leads to panic/ panic leads to pain / Pain leads to anger / anger leads to hate'.
33 | Ariana Grande - Sweetener
Following the tragedy which befell Ariana Grande's concert at the Manchester Arena last year, nobody would have begrudged her for writing a sorrowful album spun from grief. Perhaps this is why her releasing such warm and saccharine music, and offering a sweetener to her hurting fans, makes it feel remarkable and brave. It's great pop music too, even the one named after her fiancée - and the original #BigDickEnergy possessor - Pete Davidson.
Skip to: 'R.E.M' - In addition to one vocal appearance on the album, Pharrell has a string of producer credits on Sweetener, leaving glimmers of his infectious brand of pop shining through the album. 'R.E.M' blends Ariana's different vocal styles including rap, spoken word and harmonies to document the confusing and glorious experience of falling in love.
34 | Tirzah - Devotion
Essex-hailing Tirzah Mastin's music is often compared to the post-R&B natural sounds of FKA Twigs or Jai Paul. In her debut album vocals buffer and stop-start, such as in 'Fine Again' where her voice overlaps with itself and messy piano trills falter in the background. 'Basic Need' is similarly affecting in its unfinished quality, and in 'Reach' a throbbing drum and her voice fade in and out as though playing cat-and-mouse.
Skip to: 'Do You Know' - Opening as though the track is skipping and stuck on forever repeating itself, it then drifts into emotionally wrought verses which reveal, 'Do you know / I think I'll be fine if you met someone / It's not even like we were doing nothing'.
35 | Blood Orange - Negro Swan
Having written for artists such as Solange and Florence + the Machine, Dev Hynes' glowing sound has permeated so much of popular music. His fourth studio album under solo project moniker Blood Orange has more than a few shades of 'Blonde', including the stripped reverent sound of 'Saint' and police sirens and vintage voice samples in 'Dagenham Dreaming'. Yet Negro Swan is sensitive and radical in its own way, proving Hynes is more than Britain's answer to Frank Ocean.
Skip to: 'Charcoal Baby' - A deceptively beautiful track, and the inspiration from which the album takes its name, is a melancholy wrestle with racial identity where Hynes gently sings, 'No one wants to be the odd one out at times / No one wants to be the negro swan'.
36 | Helena Hauff - Qualm
The German DJ and producer's raw and industrial brand of techno has exploded in popularity recently, giving her second album a long-awaited air. Qualm has a sinister sound that hangs around with you long after the twelfth track has ended. With extraterrestrial samples that glitch and squelch and titles such as 'Entropy Created You and Me' and 'Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg', Hauff has created a sound that is transforming and truly alien.
Skip to: 'The Smell Of Suds and Steel' - The closest the album gets to a recognisable journey comes in this eight minute track where a drum track hammers relentlessly before melting in front of us.
37 | Maribou State - Kingdoms In Colour
The Hertfordshire hailing electronic duo's 2015 album Portraits was a masterpiece of downtempo dance floor music which floated into the ears and was loved by fans looking for the next Bonobo to soundtrack their lakeside sunrise. In their latest release they have evolved past the soft synth tracks and created something new, with a collaboration with Thai funk band Khruangbin proving particularly impressive.
Skip to: 'Glasshouse' - There's so many gems to pick from on Kingdoms In Colour but the building strings at the opening, hallowed harmonies and reverberating bass guitar make this track especially memorable.
38 | Chilly Gonzales - Piano Solo III
Even if you haven't heard of the Grammy-winning Canadian pianist you've probably listened to his 2010 track 'Knight Moves' which took over the radio and was remixed by DJs the world over. This is a more typical piano album - the clue is in the title - and completes the trilogy of releases which begun in 2004.
Skip to: 'Be Natural' - Each track on the release is dedicated to an artist, this one to Baltimore duo Beach House whose radiant dream pop is echoed in the soft chords and meandering melodies of this track.
39 | Jungle - For Ever
A long pause after their breakout self-titled album in 2014 has meant all eyes on the London hailing duo for the follow up. For Ever might be full of less radio-ready bangers like 'Busy Earning' but there's a hazy melancholy seeping through the album that is alluring to drift into. From 'House in La' to 'Heavy, California', the 13 track release is bathed in golden sunlight and feels like a warming tonic.
Skip to: 'Cosurmyne' - The closest you'll get to a love ballad ('Hope that cosurmyne / It won't disappear / 'cos time has a way with us that makes me think it could all go wrong) are sung soothingly over ornate looping piano melodies.
40 | BROCKHAMPTON - iridescence
The many-membered music collective from Texas formed in 2015 after lead member Kevin Abstract asked "anyone want to start a band?" on a Kanye West fan forum. The group released a trilogy of studio albums in 2017, and their fourth builds on their wild blend of hip-hop and rap. iridescence is a glorious patchwork of the 14 members influences, from R&B in 'SOMETHING ABOUT HIM' to classical piano on 'THUG LIFE' to creeping trap on 'WHERE THE CASH AT'.
Skip to: 'NEW ORLEANS' - a spiralling reflection on life with bubbling electronic samples and lyrics stating flatly, 'I don't go to church, but I'm so spiritual / Pulled my life out of dirt, that's a miracle'.
41 | Robyn- Honey
After eight years away, Robyn returns and cements her status as of the most influential artists in modern pop music. Honey, retreads her repeated dichotomy of music about private pain that plays out on public dancefloors and in doing so produces blazing pop songs with an intimate sadness to them.
Skip to: 'Honey' - Examining how female sexuality has been commercialised Robyn plays with sensual lyrics (No, you're not gonna get what you need / But baby, I have what you want / Come get your honey) against a thrumming beat which rises and falls with a melancholy feel.
42 | Kurt Vile - Bottle It In
Kurt Vile's lo-fi brand of indie rock has a melancholy to it that sounds both of our time and from another era. He follows up his brilliant 2017 collaboration with Courtney Barnett with his seventh solo album. It was recorded over the last few years across the US and as such sounds like a road trip across a country in flux and, in places, lost. Featuring appearances from artists including Cass McCombs and Stella from Warpaint, Bottle It In is rich and resonating.
Skip to: 'Loading Zones' - A rousing guitar jam opens this track which lists menial daily from laundry to permit zones ('Before you get a ticket / That's the way I live my life / I park for free'). Better than a song about parking tickets ought to be.
43 | Connan Mockasin - Jassbusters
Despite claiming he doesn't listen to other people's music, since his 2013 album Caramel the New Zealand musician has influenced a wave of nostalgic chillwave from Ariel Pink to Mac DeMarco. Now five years on (real name) Connan Tant Hosford returns with another genre-bending collection of muted yet psychedelic tracks from the gorgeous lilting 'Con Conn was Impatient' to the twisting bass notes and howling vocals of 'Last Night'
Skip to: 'Momo's' - James Blake's atmospheric vocals hover above tenderly plucked strings and a meandering melody with stirring results.
44 | St Vincent - MassEducation
Speaking of her 2017 album MASSEDUCTION, St Vincent said her "whole life is in this record". In other words the stellar release has more than enough material to warrant a remix release. On MassEducation the Texan musician offers a different path through the same tracks, shuffled into a fresh order and stripped back to just a piano and her voice. Here singles such as 'New York' and 'Los Ageless' take on softer and darker identities in place of their wild cyber-sounding rock predecessors.
Skip to: 'Young lover' - 'How long has this been going on? / I found you in the bathtub / With your clothing on' Clark sings heavily in a track which once uncloaked from the hammering beat and throng of guitars in its original imagining has an unbearable sadness to it.
45 | Sheck Wes- MUDBOY
In January of this year 20-year-old Khadimoul Rassoul Cheikh Fall went viral with his track 'Mo Bamba'. His first album, released jointly under Travis Scott's Cactus Jack Records and Kanye West's GOOD Music labels, is a hazy collage of coming of age in New York. From the murky trap of 'Chippi Chippi' to the frenzied sci-fi beats of 'Gmail', it's a release which shows there's several paths for him to go down, and plenty of years to do so.
Skip to: 'Vetements Socks' - A warmer balm at the close of the album with lyrics that make clear - in case you didn't guess - that 'young Sheck Wes' has got has hands on some Vetements socks.
46 | Julia Holter - Aviary
Like its birdcage namesake Holter's fifth studio album contains wild and beautiful creatures. Where previously her music often had a stillness to it, here the Milwaukee-born singer and pianist lets her music take flight. This is not always a freeing experience, as Holter has previously explained the connection in her mind between shrieking birds and "beautiful, terrible memories". You can hear this in the cacophonous wailing of 'Turn the Light On' or the tornado of sounds that sweeps through 'Underneath the Moon'.
Skip to: 'Whether' - Easily the shortest track on a release where many others breach 6 minutes, 'Whether' feels like tumbling into a fever dream of marching drums that quickly slips between your fingers.
47 | H.e.r - I Used to Know Her Part 2
With her string of small releases thus far 21-year-old R&B singer Gabi Wilson has tried to distance herself from the music, preferring to keep herself anonymous. With this EP she gets a little more personal with track titles like 'I'm Not OK' and 'Can't Help Me'. However it's not all gloomy post-break up melancholy, as a warmer sound - reminiscent of Jorja Smith - drifts breezily through it.
Skip to: 'Take You There' - Faltering piano notes reverberate against Wilson's voice which intimately laments: 'Needed to distance myself from you / Oh just to know you were the truth / So come closer won't you, won't you'.
48 | Tyler, the Creator - Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Forget Ella Fitzgerald and for God's sake forget Michael Bublé, the only Christmas album you should be playing this year comes from Tyler, the Creator. The 6 track EP is not the forthcoming remake's official soundtrack but is inspired by it and features tracks such as 'Whoville', 'Lights On' - featuring Santigold - and 'Cindy Lou's Wish'. It is truly great, and despite once appearing on a track titled 'F**k This Christmas', Tyler is our new yuletide icon.
Skip to: 'Big Bag' - With echoes of how Pharrell mixed childlike concepts with rap music on the Despicable Me soundtrack, here Tyler uses images like a Green skinned character and a sack filling with presents to create a playful breezy track.
49 | Vince Staples - FM!
Just over a year on from his critically acclaimed album Big Fish Theory, the American rapper strikes again. FM! however is not officially his next album but instead a “special project dedicated to my biggest fan and supporter since day one”... himself. It's a Vince only party with no guest appearances on the release, and with none of the ten tracks clocking in at more than 3 minutes, it's a short plunge into his mad world.
Skip to: 'FUN!' - What at first announces itself as an upbeat party track shifts to something more ominous as true meaning of the title is revealed through lyrics: 'We just wanna have fun / We don't wanna fuck up nothin''
50 | Anderson .Paak - Oxnard
Brandon Paak Anderson's career took off after performing five tracks on Dr Dre's 2015 album, Compton. Now the American musician has rounded off his trilogy of albums named after Californian beaches (the last two were Malibu and Venice) with a striking mix of hip-hop and soul. With contributions from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Snoop Dogg and J Cole to name a few, the 14 track release captures the warm glow of Los Angeles days and the sinister nights that follow them.
Skip to: 'The Chase' a stirring opener to the album featuring the honey vocals of R&B singer and fellow California native Kadhja Bonet. Layers of roiling drums and the flutter of jazzy wind instruments give it a rhythm that bounces along pleasingly.
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