ALBUMS, TRACKS & GIGS OF THE YEAR
In one of its most varied end-of-year lists ever, Hot Press celebrates the emerging and established artists who are taking music into uncharted waters. To that end, Bristol-based hardcore band IDLES are the deserving winners of our ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2018.
The Hot Press critics round up the music highlights of the year.
Another year of fantastic music, another Hot Press office riven by arguments as the editorial team fought tooth and nail to pick the Top 50 Albums of the Year. 2017 was the year when international rockstars had their triumphant returns – with The National, St. Vincent, The War On Drugs, The XX and LCD Soundsystem all producing careerdefining albums.
2018, however, was the year of the trailblazers. From almost every end of the musical spectrum, it seemed as if musicians were set on ripping up their genre’s rulebooks and making something entirely new.
Idles, therefore, were the clear winners. Having spent the past 24 months or so turning punk on its head, they’ve crafted a sound that’s as emotionally powerful as it is politically important. In postBrexit UK, where division and hate seem rifer than ever, Idles are tackling issues like misogyny, toxic masculinity and racism head on, with an energy that’s as infectious on wax as it is on stage.
Also blazing a trail this year was American singer Janelle Monáe,
whose album Dirty Computer
was an example of the limitless possibilities of soul, R&B, hiphop and funk. This was a running theme throughout 2018, with the likes of Young Fathers’ Cocoa Sugar and Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther OST, amongst others, also proving brilliantly compelling.
And what can we say about
Irish artists in 2018? Never have there been so many great albums, and never has the job of ranking them been as difficult. Several debuts completely blew us away, including Rejjie Snow’s Dear
Annie; Wyvern Lingo’s self-titled effort; The Academic’s Tales From The Backseat; Kojaque’s Deli Daydreams; and Saint Sister’s Shape Of Silence.
But it was the return of Villagers, with The Art Of Pretending To Swim, that made perhaps the biggest impression of all. With his fifth album, Conor O’Brien proved that he’s a musical shape-shifter, able to change genre, style, theme or tone at the drop of a hat, while still making a truly coherent, important body of work.
Our nation’s music makers continue to thrill and inspire. –