10. Ariana Grande; Sweetner
No, this pop album doesn't include her latest hit "Thank U, Next", but it does include some great pop tunes. I've been saying for a couple of years now that Ariana Grande is the strongest female pop star we have, and I guess the rest of the world has caught on. She releases smash after smash, and even with all she's been through, she seems almost indestructible.
Get Well Soon "Want you to get better/my life is so controlled by all the what if's/is there anybody else who's mind does this/is there such a ladder to get up off this?"
No Tears Left To Cry "They point out all the colors in you, I see em too, and boy I like em"
Breathin Time goes by and I can't control my mind/Don't know what else to try, but you tell me every time/Just keep breathin' and breathin' and breathin' and breathin'
9. Brandi Carlile; By The Way, I Forgive You
This woman's voice is no joke. She is a story teller, which is a running theme amongst my favorite albums this year. A little folky, a lot of power. Give this one a good solid listen when you have the time to truly pay attention to the lyrics.
Every Time I Hear That Song: They told me the best revenge would be a life well lived/and the strongest one that holds would be the hardest one to earn
Harder To Forgive: I have suffered for the peace inside my mind/And some things are better left unsaid/While some things work out different when they're in your head
Party of One: I am tired/I don't wanna go home anymore/I don't wanna throw stones anymore/I don't wanna take part in the war
8. Florence and The Machine, High As HopeAnother powerhouse of a woman who can tell beautiful stories through song. Her lyrics and her vocals are haunting and beautiful.
Sky Full of Song Be careful my darling/Be careful of what it takes/What I've seen so far/The good ones always seems to break
Big God: Sometimes I think it's gettin' better/And then it gets much worse/Is it just part of the process?Well, Jesus Christ, it hurts
Hunger: Tell me what you need, oh, you look so free/The way you use your body, baby, come on and work it for me/Don't let it get you down, you're the best thing I've seen/We never found the answer but we knew one thing/We all have a hunger
7. Imagine Dragons, Origins
Imagine Dragons came in hot at the end of the year with a new album, which I was not expecting since they just released one last year. This band always has great tunes, and ones that lift me up and motivate me during tough workouts. Their grit is really something special.
Bullet In A Gun: How many voices go unheard?/How many lessons never learned?/How many artists fear the light,/Fear the pain, go insane?/Lose the mind, lose yourself
Bad Liar: So look me in the eyes, tell me what you see/Perfect paradise, tearin' at the seams/I wish I could escape, I don't wanna fake it
Natural: I can taste it, the end is upon us, I swear/Gonna make it/I'm gonna make it
6. NeedtoBreathe, Forever On Your Side (EP)
NeedtoBreathe has been one of my favorite bands for years. Like Imagine Dragons, they have a grit and power behind them. This EP only has 4 songs, but they are powerful songs. Can't wait for a full length album in the next few years!
Bullets: I ain't made to carry/All this weight on my own/Oh, it's way too heavy/And I can't be that strong
Forever On Your Side (With Johnnyswim): Take my hand when you can't see the light/'Cause I'm forever on your side/I will carry you every time/'Cause I'm forever on your side
5. Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour
I kept hearing about this album and when I finally sat down and listened to it, I understood the hype. Kacey is a breath of fresh air and just what is needed in country music. Solid tunes with incredible lyrics! This album is like a warm hug. It's so tender and genuine.
Happy & Sad: And I'm the kind of person who starts getting kinda nervous/When I'm having the time of my life
Rainbow:Well, the sky is finally opened, the rain and wind stopped blowin'/But you're stuck out in the same old storm again/You hold tight to your umbrella, but darlin' I'm just tryin' to tell ya/That there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head
Space Cowboy:When a horse wants to run, there ain't no sense in closing the gate/You can have your space, cowboy
4. David Cook, Chromance (EP)
This EP came out so long ago I almost forgot it was released in 2018. If you want to talk about underrated artists, David Cook is at the top of that list. He consistently delivers with incredible vocals and lyrics. IF you haven't given him a chance yet. here's your chance to give a solid EP a listen.
Gimme Heartbreak:I'm the puppet that's hanging from your thread/You're the name of my madness/I don't want to get you out of my head
Warfare: Baby this is warfare/This is a battle/If I can't have you/Nothing else matters/Fightin' for your love
3. Lauren Daigle, Look Up Child
I've known about Lauren Daigle for a couple of years now and have appreciated her refreshing, raspy take on Christian music. This album is really something special, it's incredibly strong and beautiful in both her vocals and the lyrics. It's brought me great comfort over these 12 months, and it's difficult to even pick my top tracks.
Inevitable: Set Your promise to play on repeat in my head/When You meet my anxiety put it to death
Rescue: I will never stop marching/To reach you in the middle of the hardest fight/It's true, I will rescue you
You Say: You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing/You say I am strong when I think I am weak/You say I am held when I am falling short/When I don't belong, oh You say I am Yours
2. Lennon Stella; Love, Me
This EP is actually the reason I decided to include EP's on this list. I knocked off some of my favorte full length albums to make room. Listen here. Lennon Stella is going to be a force in the pop music industry, and I'm going to be so proud to say that I was HERE for it. Yes, she might be 12 years younger than me, but her songs are pure pop perfection and I cannot help but bop along when I am listening. If you are a sucker for pup music and can appreciate a little rasp, you will love this EP!
Top Tracks (They are all golden, but here are the two I listen to the most)
La Di Da :Your empty words made for hurting me/So just before you take it too far/I'll hold my ears/Say la da da di da
Bad: I probably should've known better/I probably should've known better/Every word you said you was sweet but you was lying/Everything you covered up, making up just to keep to me from crying
1. A Star is Born Soundtrack
It's pretty unusual for me to list a soundtrack as my top album (I checked all my lists since 2009, and the only other soundtrack to make my list was the Pitch Perfect soundtrack in 2012, coming in at number 8). But this soundtrack is just so good. I probably don't need to tell you how incredible Lady Gaga is, I think by now people get that she has an amazing voice. But match her vocals with Bradley Cooper's rasp, and some incredible songwriting, and you have the perfect soundtrack! I even love the cheesy pop songs that are supposed to be horrible. (Heal me is SO good!).
I'll Never Love Again: And I want to pretend that it's not true/Oh baby, that you're gone/'Cause my world keeps turning, and turning, and turning/And I'm not movin' on
Always Remember Us This Way: The part of me that's you will never die
Shallow: I'm off the deep end/watch as I dive in/I'll never meet the ground/crash through the surface where they can't hurt us/we're far from the shallow now
I've made a little playlist with my top tracks from each of these albums to give you a Sampler :)
I also made an Essential 15 playlist with some amazing jams from 2018: