View Poll Results: Which LP is my favourite album of 2018?

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  • Caution

    1 20.00%
  • Dirty Computer

    0 0%
  • Golden Hour

    1 20.00%
  • Liberation

    1 20.00%
  • Palo Santo

    2 40.00%
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Thread: Akini's Top 25 Albums of 2018: [#1 Revealed!]

  1. #1
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    by » Wed January 2nd, 2019, 22:30

    2018 saw a marked step-up in quality in albums over the previous year. In fact, album-per-album, the LPs that made my list this year earned higher ratings than the albums ranked in the corresponding positions in 2017. So let's take a look at some of the top contenders!

    Mariah Carey came back four years removed her previous effort with a succinct, but strong and cohesive R&B offering in Caution. She's joined in the R&B lounge by Janelle Monáe, whose socio-politically-charged Dirty Computer earned her multiple #1s on my daily chart, as well as a well-deserved Grammy nomination for Album of the Year.

    The second name within the Venn Diagram intersection of albums up for top honour both here, and at the Grammys, is Kacey Musgraves with Golden Hour. Kacey's Same Trailer Different Park was my #1 album of 2015; can she pull off a repeat here three years later?

    Pop legend Christina Aguilera came through in 2018 with a multi-genre effort, fully equipped with wide-ranging sounds and those larger-than-life belts I've come to love from the former Mouseketeer. Finally, there were Y&Y, who did the dance-pop sub-genre proud with their Palo Santo release.





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    by » Thu January 3rd, 2019, 05:40

    25. Kanye West - Ye



    I'd originally planned to boycott this album as Kanye West's made some appalling statements in the past 18 months, but I figured that whatever my view of him as a person, the musical talent will never disappear, and about half of this incredibly brief album gave me hope that the legend I deemed the greatest rapper of all-time a few years ago was still in there somewhere. There are some troubling lyrics, though, and I truly hope he's getting the help he needs.

    Best Tracks:
    - No Mistakes
    - Wouldn't Leave
    - All Mine

    Quality Rating: 6.73/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: N/A
    24. Tamia - Passion Like Fire



    Tamia has a beautiful voice that transmits emotion well, but most of Passion Like Fire is let down my tepid production and bland lyricism. "Tell Me How" comes dangerously close to hitting the right mark, though, and with some reworking, it could've been a home run.

    Best Tracks:
    - Tell Me How
    - It's Yours
    - Deeper
    - Stay
    - You Are Loved

    Quality Rating: 6.958/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Tell Me How [#3]
    23. En Vogue - Electric Café



    Highlighted by the immaculate "Rocket", my third favourite song of 2018, En Vogue's Electric Café is an imperfect collection of R&B ballads and uptempo numbers. The girls clearly are still in fantastic vocal form, but much like Tamia, the songs themselves are a bit underwhelming. Given better tracks to record, En Vogue still have a place on radio, in my opinion.

    Best Tracks:
    - Rocket
    - Have a Seat
    - Blue Skies
    - I'm Good

    Quality Rating: 6.964/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Rocket [#1(3)]; Have a Seat [#9]; Blue Skies [#12]
    22. Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes



    Shawn Mendes seems like such a thoroughly wonderful human-being, but there's something about his music that's so plain and safe that I just can't get into. This era, though, has definitely been his most successful with me, and he's still young, so maybe he's still getting everything together. The top four songs on the LP offer hope that he may yet evolve into a true pop star by his mid- to late-20s.

    Best Tracks:
    - Nervous
    - Youth
    - In My Blood
    - Lost in Japan

    Quality Rating: 7.14/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Nervous [#1(2)]; Youth [#1(1)]; Lost in Japan [#3]; In My Blood [#7]; Mutual [#17]
    21. Eminem - Kamikaze



    Much like Kanye West, when Eminem is anywhere near his best, he's one of the best rappers to have ever done it, but Kamikaze is spotty. There are tracks where you hear sparks of greatness, but there isn't a singular 'complete' track. I'm actually surprised this was a commercial success, as it's well below what he's capable of. His verse on Nicki Minaj's "Majesty" is better than anything he did on this album.

    Best Tracks:
    - Lucky You
    - The Ringer
    - Greatest
    - Not Alike

    Quality Rating: 7.27/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Lucky You [#7]; The Ringer [#10]
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    by » Thu January 3rd, 2019, 09:49

    Eminem's voice just doesn't sound as good as it used to (even if he's just a rapper), the flow is kinda there, but it's just not as sharp.
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    by » Thu January 3rd, 2019, 15:06

    Aw. Considering how big "Breathin" and "God Is A Woman" were for you, I was secretly hoping to see "Sweetener" being one of the poll options as well
    Anyways, these five are all pretty good as well, four of them proved to be popular for me too so I'm excited to see who will make it. I voted for "Palo Santo".

    22. Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes
    21. Eminem - Kamikaze

    These are two entries I know/like so far. "Kamikaze" is just okay for me, at least it's better than "Revival".
    Shawn's album has been a big surprise to me as he never really clicked with me but this album did, from start to finish. A great pop record IMO. Kinda disappointed how they treated the era though.

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    by » Thu January 3rd, 2019, 23:00

    Quote Originally Posted by heppolo
    Eminem's voice just doesn't sound as good as it used to (even if he's just a rapper), the flow is kinda there, but it's just not as sharp.
    I agree, but he's still capable of putting together a brilliant track. It's just that he didn't manage to do so on Kamikaze.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tansike
    Aw. Considering how big "Breathin" and "God Is A Woman" were for you, I was secretly hoping to see "Sweetener" being one of the poll options as well
    Anyways, these five are all pretty good as well, four of them proved to be popular for me too so I'm excited to see who will make it. I voted for "Palo Santo".

    22. Shawn Mendes - Shawn Mendes
    21. Eminem - Kamikaze

    These are two entries I know/like so far. "Kamikaze" is just okay for me, at least it's better than "Revival".
    Shawn's album has been a big surprise to me as he never really clicked with me but this album did, from start to finish. A great pop record IMO. Kinda disappointed how they treated the era though.
    Yeah, it's a bit peculiar that an album with my top 2 songs of the year isn't an album of the year contender, but Sweetener was a step down in quality from her previous efforts for me.

    Let's see if Y&Y get it in the end!

    Yeah, I think Shawn's self-titled effort is easily his most cohesive effort to date. He's getting better with each record, I think.
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    by » Thu January 3rd, 2019, 23:35

    20. The Carters - Everything Is Love



    Everything Is Love is much more Jay-Z than Beyoncé, and that's a combination that's never really worked well for me. Still, the production on the album is pretty solid. It's just that, lyrically, I couldn't get into most of the songs.

    Best Tracks:
    - LoveHappy
    - Heard About Us
    - Black Effect
    - Nice
    - Summer

    Quality Rating: 7.456/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Nice [#3]; LoveHappy [#4]; Summer [#8]; Heard About Us [#11]; Boss [#11]; Apeshit [#12]; Black Effect [#16]; 713 [#18]; Boss [#20]
    19. 5 Seconds of Summer - Youngblood



    Coincidentally, just as the boys narrowly bested the Carters on the US charts, they marginally beat them here, too. I'd never properly explored 5 Seconds of Summer's discography, but I heard the title track, and really enjoyed it, so figured that track alone warranted me giving the parent album a spin, and I'm happy I did. Youngblood isn't quite as good as a typical 1D album, but it's still decent quality pop, with big electro-pop choruses, and melodramatic, emotional lyrics, fairly customary for pop boy bands.

    Best Tracks:
    - Youngblood
    - Babylon
    - Talk Fast
    - Valentine
    - Better Man

    Quality Rating: 7.463/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Youngblood [#2]; Talk Fast [#5]; Meet You There [#9]; Valentine [#18]; Babylon [#19]; Better Man [#20]
    18. Camila Cabello - Camila



    After "Havana" stole my heart in 2017, finishing in second place on my year-end songs countdown that year, I was fully sold on Camila Cabello, and looking forward to her debut album. Unfortunately, there isn't a song on her self-titled debut LP even in the same zip code as the Cuban capital. Most of the record is comprised of decent to solid tracks that are completely unmemorable, but there's still promise on songs like "Never Be the Same" and "Consequences". She's young, so hopefully she gets it right the next time.

    Best Tracks:
    - Havana
    - Never Be the Same
    - Consequences
    - All These Years
    - She Loves Control

    Quality Rating: 7.53/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Havana [#1(5)]; Consequences [#3]; Never Be the Same [#6]; Into It [#18]; In the Dark [#20]
    17. Drake - Scorpion



    There's a lot about Scorpion to appreciate. Production-wise, it's probably his best LP to date, with some ingenious, legendary samples seamlessly incorporated into the tracks (my favourite sample is easily the Lauryn Hill "Ex-Factor" interpolation on "Nice for What"). Lyrically, though, there is a lot to be desired, even if the first two minutes of "Final Fantasy" gets me a bit hot and bothered. Also, there are just too many tracks on this album. He really could have trimmed it to 15 songs. In the end, this feels like an enhanced version of Views, and Drake is better than that. He does have the honour, though, of having the top-ranked male hip/hop album of the year. Two female rappers are higher.

    Best Tracks:
    - Final Fantasy
    - 8 Out of 10
    - Elevate
    - Survival
    - March 14
    - Nice for What
    - Emotionless
    - Nonstop

    Quality Rating: 7.55/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Final Fantasy [#1(1)]; 8 Out of 10 [#3]; March 14 [#4]; Elevate [#5]; Nice for What [#6]; Emotionless [#6]; Survival [#13]; In My Feelings [#15]; After Dark [#16]
    16. Troye Sivan - Bloom



    A marked improvement from his Blue Neighbourhood debut, Troye Sivan seems to have grown up quite a bit in the last three years, becoming more confident in, and expressive of, his sexuality, and that definitely comes across in a big way on songs like "My My My!" and "Bloom". There's still that softness and vulnerability I like about him on "Seventeen", and "What a Heavenly Way to Die", but the real stand-out is "Dance to This", a dance-pop gem well beyond what I thought Troye was capable of delivering. If this upward trend in quality continues, his next LP will be dangerous.

    Best Tracks:
    - Dance to This
    - My My My!
    - Bloom
    - Seventeen
    - What a Heavenly Way to Die

    Quality Rating: 7.61/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Dance to This [#1(1)]; My My My! [#1(1)]; Seventeen [#2]; Bloom [#5]; What a Heavenly Way to Die [#19]
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  7. #7
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    by » Fri January 4th, 2019, 19:13

    Personally I think you undersell both Shawn and Camila's albums a bit, though I do appreciate that Shawns records are usually hit and miss. Camila I think has lots of great solid songs though, Into It, Real Friends, She Loves Control are all really good.

    The Troye album is start to finish greatness for me.

    5SOS has some good stuff on it.

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    by » Sat January 5th, 2019, 02:45

    Quote Originally Posted by king_oxymoron
    Personally I think you undersell both Shawn and Camila's albums a bit, though I do appreciate that Shawns records are usually hit and miss. Camila I think has lots of great solid songs though, Into It, Real Friends, She Loves Control are all really good.

    The Troye album is start to finish greatness for me.

    5SOS has some good stuff on it.
    Glad you like some of the albums so far!

    It could be that the albums will randomly grow on me, but I have my doubts. Shawn's, I went into knowing that it might be a mixed ride, but I had pretty solid expectations for Camila, and definitely left feeling disappointed.

    Troye's album definitely has flashes of brilliance! He's coming into his own. Another big reason I listened to 5SOS (that I didn't include in the write-up) is to figure how in heavens they managed to beat the Carters to #1 in the US. I was checking to see if the quality warranted the success. It did.
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    by » Sat January 5th, 2019, 03:10

    15. Florence + the Machine - High as Hope



    I've always associated Florence + the Machine with majestic, soaring vocals lifted by grand, celestial-esque, melodramatic production, and on the minimalist High as Hope, a lot of the magic is lost in the subtlety and softness of the instrumentation. Florence's vocals are largely reined in, and there's really no big spectacle. Yes, "Hunger" is one of the most relatable songs of the year for me, from a lyrical standpoint, and "Big God" gives a teasing taste of what I really want to hear from the band, but none of the songs really take me to that place that their songs usually do. For me, this LP was one of the biggest disappointments of the year, topped perhaps only by Kanye's album.

    Best Tracks:
    - Big God
    - Hunger
    - The End of Love
    - 100 Years
    - Sky Full of Song
    - No Choir

    Quality Rating: 7.64/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Hunger [#2]; Big God [#4]; No Choir [#7]; The End of Love [#11]; Sky Full of Song [#15]; June [#19]; South London Fever [#20]
    14. Jason Mraz - Know



    "Have It All" was such a brilliant lead single that I just had to check out Jason Mraz's Know LP in full, and it's pretty decent indie-pop/folk-rock stuff from start to finish. There aren't a tonne of memorable moments, but there also aren't any clunkers. It's a long way off from his We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. best, but it was still a solid return from someone who I've missed for a few years.

    Best Tracks:
    - Have It All
    - Unlonely
    - Let's See What the Night Can Do
    - Love Is Still the Answer

    Quality Rating: 7.66/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Have It All [#1(1)]; Unlonely [#2]; Love Is Still the Answer [#18]; Let's See What the Night Can Do [#19]; Better with You [#20]
    13. Rita Ora - Phoenix



    It took six years for Rita Ora to deliver a follow-up to her debut, and despite some songs within that period, ranging from great ("Poison") to brilliant ("I Will Never Let You Down"), not being included on the LP, Phoenix is a solid pop album. There's rich, varied instrumentation throughout, strong hooks, decent vocals. This is a much better sophomore effort than I expected. She's got more than a handful of big potential singles to choose from, so I'm excited to see what she goes with for the era.

    Best Tracks:
    - Anywhere
    - Falling to Pieces
    - Let You Love Me
    - For You
    - Only Want You
    - Summer Love
    - Hell of a Life

    Quality Rating: 7.87/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Anywhere [#1(6)]; Falling to Pieces [#1(2)]; Let You Love Me [#3]; Hell of a Life [#3]; Summer Love [#3]; For You [#5]; Soul Survivor [#8]; Velvet Rope [#12]; Only Want You [#13]
    12. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy



    The biggest new name in hip/hop released her debut album in 2018, and chances are, whatever your expectations were, she bettered them. I was introduced to Cardi B via "Bodak Yellow", so of course I was excited to hear more songs in that vein. The closest Invasion of Privacy track to that one is easily "Money Bag", a high-energy, club-ready stomper that Cardi B and her team seem intent not to properly push as a single, but even beyond the hype songs ("Best Life", "Bartier Cardi", "I Do"), there are vulnerable moments like "Be Careful" and "Thru Your Phone", where Cardi doesn't rein in the passion in the slightest, but showcases a softer, more emotionally fragile side. Comparisons to Nicki were made, and will continue to be made, but Invasion of Privacy shows Cardi's her own woman, with a distinctly unique style, and I'm excited to see where she goes from her. She has far too much charisma to last 15 minutes; we just might be seeing the genesis of the next big female rapper.

    Best Tracks:
    - Bodak Yellow
    - Money Bag
    - Be Careful
    - Best Life
    - Bartier Cardi
    - I Do
    - Thru Your Phone

    Quality Rating: 7.92/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Bodak Yellow [#1(5)]; Money Bag [#1(2)]; Be Careful [#1(1)]; Thru Your Phone [#5]; Best Life [#6]; I Do [#6]; Bartier Cardi [#7]; I Like It [#16]; She Bad [#17]; Ring [#18]; Drip [#20]
    11. Kylie Minogue - Golden



    A balanced, mature effort, Golden proves Kylie is ageing like the pop goddess we all know her to be. She'd never explored country-pop before in her discography, and all these decades in, she's decided to give it a try, whilst still keeping a strong dance-pop sound throughout the album. Golden is fun and sincere, sweet and stubbornly fierce, adventurous and romantic, self-reliant and vulnerable. It covers a wide range of emotions, and though the shift in sound prompted some concern on my end, this is a delightfully authentic Kylie experience through and through. Oh, and "Raining Glitter" is one of her career-best jewels already for me.

    Best Tracks:
    - Raining Glitter
    - Live a Little
    - Dancing
    - Shelby '68
    - Stop Me from Falling
    - Sincerely Yours
    - Radio On
    - One Last Kiss

    Quality Rating: 7.93/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Raining Glitter [#1(3)]; Dancing [#1(2)]; Live a Little [#2]; Shelby '68 [#3]; Stop Me from Falling [#3]; Sincerely Yours [#3]; Radio On [#4]; Golden [#5]; Music's Too Sad Without You [#6]; Love [#15]; A Lifetime to Repair [#19]
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    by » Sat January 5th, 2019, 09:54

    20. The Carters - Everything Is Love
    19. 5 Seconds of Summer - Youngblood
    18. Camila Cabello - Camila
    17. Drake - Scorpion
    16. Troye Sivan - Bloom

    Good group. I do like them all, though "Everything Is Love", "Youngblood" and "Scorpion" didn't make big impressions on me. However, "Bloom" is one of my favorite releases of 2018, with "Camila" being quite a strong album too. I just feel like these two eras could have been handled better, because Troye's era was over once the album came out while Camila didn't really release a single for so long and then she picked the wrong one ("Real Friends" instead of "She Loves Control").

    15. Florence + the Machine - High as Hope
    14. Jason Mraz - Know
    13. Rita Ora - Phoenix
    12. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
    11. Kylie Minogue - Golden

    Another good update!
    I never really cared for Florence + The Machine or Jason Mraz, so these albums were their first ones for me. "High As Hope" made a pretty good impression and I'm quite sure this wasn't the last time I checked her out. Jason' album is nice, have some nice tunes, but overall it's too much of the same sound over and over for me.
    LOVE "Phoenix" and "Invasion Of Privacy". I'm shocked the latter didn't make your Top10
    "Golden" is solid but I really don't get the hype it gets from so many people here...

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    by » Sat January 5th, 2019, 14:23

    I need to check out Tamia's album again, I love her voice and 'Leave it Smokin' is a tune!
    Rita's album was a great pop album. I still think she can do better, but there are some gems there. 'EVERYTHING IS LOVE' is a great album, in my opinion. A lovely addition to both Beyoncé and Jay-Z's discographies.
    'Invasion of Privacy' was a revelation, I started off not really getting Cardi B but now she is one of my favourite artists. She is fun, and unapologetic and I love that about her.

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    by » Sat January 5th, 2019, 14:31

    Not a big fan of any of the albums so far though Everything is Love is cute I guess. There are still like 3 songs from that album that I still bop everyday.

    Not a fan of any of the albums in the poll as well. Voted for Christina though since that's the one I like the best from all the options.

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 04:40

    Quote Originally Posted by Tansike
    20. The Carters - Everything Is Love
    19. 5 Seconds of Summer - Youngblood
    18. Camila Cabello - Camila
    17. Drake - Scorpion
    16. Troye Sivan - Bloom

    Good group. I do like them all, though "Everything Is Love", "Youngblood" and "Scorpion" didn't make big impressions on me. However, "Bloom" is one of my favorite releases of 2018, with "Camila" being quite a strong album too. I just feel like these two eras could have been handled better, because Troye's era was over once the album came out while Camila didn't really release a single for so long and then she picked the wrong one ("Real Friends" instead of "She Loves Control").
    I definitely think Troye's album had more mileage in it, but Camila's era didn't have a tonne of quality single choices, in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tansike
    15. Florence + the Machine - High as Hope
    14. Jason Mraz - Know
    13. Rita Ora - Phoenix
    12. Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
    11. Kylie Minogue - Golden

    Another good update!
    I never really cared for Florence + The Machine or Jason Mraz, so these albums were their first ones for me. "High As Hope" made a pretty good impression and I'm quite sure this wasn't the last time I checked her out. Jason' album is nice, have some nice tunes, but overall it's too much of the same sound over and over for me.
    LOVE "Phoenix" and "Invasion Of Privacy". I'm shocked the latter didn't make your Top10
    "Golden" is solid but I really don't get the hype it gets from so many people here...
    It was definitely a much tougher year for albums than the previous year! I liked Cardi B's album, but it just missed out on the top 10. I think you'll prefer the album in tenth place to Invasion of Privacy, though.

    I hope Rita's team releases "Falling to Pieces" at some point!

    Quote Originally Posted by UKMusicLova
    I need to check out Tamia's album again, I love her voice and 'Leave it Smokin' is a tune!
    Rita's album was a great pop album. I still think she can do better, but there are some gems there. 'EVERYTHING IS LOVE' is a great album, in my opinion. A lovely addition to both Beyoncé and Jay-Z's discographies.
    'Invasion of Privacy' was a revelation, I started off not really getting Cardi B but now she is one of my favourite artists. She is fun, and unapologetic and I love that about her.
    I wasn't totally impressed with Tamia's album, but perhaps I should revisit "Leave It Smokin'". You're not the first person who's expressed appreciation for it.

    I definitely disagree with you on Everything Is Love, but it might grow on me over time.

    I love how so much of Cardi B's personality is showcased on Invasion of Privacy. It makes for a delightfully authentic listen.

    Quote Originally Posted by abi
    Not a big fan of any of the albums so far though Everything is Love is cute I guess. There are still like 3 songs from that album that I still bop everyday.

    Not a fan of any of the albums in the poll as well. Voted for Christina though since that's the one I like the best from all the options.
    at us being so out of sync this year.
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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 05:05

    10. Ariana Grande - Sweetener



    Sweetener is a strange album. It's home to two of my all-time favourite songs (which finished at #1 and #2 on my year-end songs countdown) and featured fairly prominently perhaps the biggest theme of the year for me - anxiety - yet I just didn't connect with some of the album's tracks. I'm not sure if it's down to the Pharrell influence or not ("Blazed" is by some margin my least favourite track on the LP), but Sweetener, despite having some truly breathtaking highlights, didn't blow me away. I am happy that Ariana continues to show growth, though, and sometimes with evolution, you end up taking some turns that lead down roads that aren't entirely paved, so I think Sweetener's kinks will be ironed out, and, hopefully, she'll take the best ideas from the LP forward, and craft her magnum opus. Sweetener, though not as impressive as its two predecessors overall, convinced me that Ariana's best work is likely still ahead of her.

    Best Tracks:
    - Breathin
    - God Is a Woman
    - Get Well Soon
    - Everytime
    - No Tears Left to Cry
    - Goodnight n Go
    - The Light Is Coming

    Quality Rating: 7.95/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Breathin [#1(19]; God Is a Woman [#1(15)]; No Tears Left to Cry [#2]; Get Well Soon [#2]; Everytime [#2]; The Light Is Coming [#2]; R.E.M. [#6]; Goodnight n Go [#11]; Sweetener [#16]
    09. Toni Braxton - Sex & Cigarettes



    Toni's voice is in such excellent form on the emotional Sex & Cigarettes, and the production is contemporary and fresh, too. On a nine-track LP, there isn't room to make any mistakes, and she manages to avoid potholes on this one. For me, it's one of the most underrated R&B albums of the year, so I'm happy that at least the Grammy committee are recognising its worth.

    Best Tracks:
    - Deadwood
    - Sex & Cigarettes
    - Coping
    - Long as I Live
    - Forgiven

    Quality Rating: 8.09/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Deadwood [#1(6)]; Sex & Cigarettes [#1(1)]; Coping [#2]; Long as I Live [#3]; FOH [#14]; Forgiven [#15]
    08. Nicki Minaj - Queen



    Onika is still the rap queen, and she proves the same on this album. There are so many brilliant lyrical moments on Queen. It's sexy, fierce, flirtatious, emotional - it runs through a wide-range of emotions, and showcases Nicki's strong songwriting skills. I love that Nicki avoids the hip/hop-trap trend that seems to be so popular nowadays; Queen feels like more classic hip/hop. It's also one of her least pop efforts, which, considering the assault her rap credibility has taken these past two years, was probably a wise move. She can do it all, though, and proves that she's not going anywhere for a long time. Even Nicki can't assassinate Nicki's legacy, despite how intent she seems to do so! Nicki won the battle of the hip/hop stars in 2018 for me, and I look forward to whatever she does, musically, in the future.

    Best Tracks:
    - Good Form
    - Bed
    - Ganja Burn
    - Come See About Me
    - Majesty
    - Chun-Li
    - Barbie Dreams
    - Rich Sex
    - Thought I Knew You

    Quality Rating: 8.1/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Good Form [#1(5)]; Bed [#1(2)]; Ganja Burn [#2]; Majesty [#3]; Rich Sex [#3]; Chun-Li [#4]; LLC [#8]; Come See About Me [#9]; Barbie Dreams [#14]; Chun Swae [#20]
    07. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour



    So it's not quite another year-end #1 album for Kacey Musgraves, but a solid top 7 finish isn't bad! There really isn't much to criticise about Golden Hour. It's well-written, relatable country-pop music that occasionally veers into pure pop territory with "High Horse". If you're not a country music fan, and you're interested in dipping your toes into that genre pool, Kacey is a delightful starting point.

    Best Tracks:
    - Happy & Sad
    - Oh, What a World
    - High Horse
    - Butterflies
    - Slow Burn
    - Rainbow
    - Lonely Weekend

    Quality Rating: 8.12/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Happy & Sad [#1(1)]; High Horse [#1(1)]; Oh, What a World [#2]; Butterflies [#2]; Rainbow [#4]; Rainbow [#15]; Space Cowboy [#16]; Lonely Weekend [#19]; Slow Burn [#20]
    06. Years & Years - Palo Santo



    Dark, sexy, emotional and enveloping pop is Palo Santo from start to finish. I love the big production on the album, the solid lyricism, and even Olly's vocals. I'd never seriously considered Years & Years a credible pop act before 2017's "Meteorite" (I still don't get why everyone fawns over "King"), and they blasted through in 2018 with one of the best pop records of the year! They've made a fan out of me.

    Best Tracks:
    - Sanctify
    - Palo Santo
    - Hallelujah
    - Lucky Escape
    - If You're Over Me
    - Up in Flames

    Quality Rating: 8.15/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Sanctify [#1(5)]; Palo Santo [#1(1)]; Hallelujah [#3]; Lucky Escape [#6]; All for You [#6]; If You're Over Me [#7]; Here [#7]; Hypnotised [#10]; Howl [#12]; Preacher [#14]; Up in Flames [#15]; Don't Panic [#16]
    You have the luxury of choosing loneliness. For some people, it’s not an option.

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 06:01

    I didn't know that you loved Toni Braxton, Akini! Show some love in her artist thread more often!

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 08:58

    Kacey + Years and Years are good. Kacey's album production-wise is one of the best this year.
    Waffles are checked cookies

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 10:38

    Kacey's album is gorgeous

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 21:27

    Quote Originally Posted by GetBack
    I didn't know that you loved Toni Braxton, Akini! Show some love in her artist thread more often!
    I should! I actually need to visit the entire GAD folder more.

    Quote Originally Posted by heppolo
    Kacey + Years and Years are good. Kacey's album production-wise is one of the best this year.
    Glad you appreciate those two! For me, the best feature on Kacey's album is the lyricism, not the production.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbon
    Kacey's album is gorgeous
    Agreed!
    You have the luxury of choosing loneliness. For some people, it’s not an option.

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 22:00

    I don't like the individual tracks in Rita's album, but the overall conception which gathers all the pieces one by one in the perfect harmony is the big advantage of 'Phoenix'.
    Top 10 - 15.11.2019.

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 22:19

    Quote Originally Posted by Top10
    I don't like the individual tracks in Rita's album, but the overall conception which gathers all the pieces one by one in the perfect harmony is the big advantage of 'Phoenix'.
    So you like the overall sound/effort, but no individual track makes a big impression on you?
    You have the luxury of choosing loneliness. For some people, it’s not an option.

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 22:20

    05. Carrie Underwood - Cry Pretty



    Cry Pretty is a step backward for Carrie from a storyteller/lyricism perspective, as she doesn't explore any particularly deep, controversial, emotionally gripping topics on this LP the way she did on her two previous albums, but, vocally, she sounds stunning on Cry Pretty, and there really isn't a weak track on the album. There also isn't an absolute stunner the way Blown Away had "Blown Away" and Storyteller "Church Bells", but three of the four songs that went to #1 on my chart are good enough for me to be satisfied with the quality of the top tracks. I do challenge Carrie to be less cookie-cutter with her songs, though. She'll always have that soaring, crystal-clear, piercing voice - the greatest voice in country music history, in my opinion - but she's proven that she can dig deep, and write better songs than the ones on this album. Still, for me, this was the best country album of the year, and in a year where Kacey Musgraves also released new material, that's not an easy title to win.

    Best Tracks:
    - Love Wins
    - The Champion
    - Drinking Alone
    - Kingdom
    - Backsliding
    - Cry Pretty
    - Low

    Quality Rating: 8.17/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Love Wins [#1(3)]; The Champion [#1(2)]; Drinking Alone [#1(1)]; Cry Pretty [#1(1)]; Kingdom [#2]; Low [#4]; Backsliding [#5]; Ghosts on the Stereo [#12]; The Bullet [#16]; End Up with You [#17]
    04. Lady Gaga - A Star Is Born



    I've said before that A Star Is Born is my least favourite film of 2018, but the soundtrack is one of my favourite albums of the year (for rating purposes, I only included the Gaga-led songs as part of the soundtrack). Gaga's voice sounds stunningly beautiful on the ballads here, and if the movie served any purpose, they helped to bolster the emotion and sell the backstory of the music. In a way, the film was just the 'visual' side of the soundtrack. This album sets the stage beautifully for Gaga to set the world on fire next year with a proper studio album. My interest has been piqued!

    Best Tracks:
    - I'll Never Love Again
    - Shallow
    - Always Remember Us This Way
    - Before I Cry
    - Why Did You Do That?
    - I Don't Know What Love Is
    - Look What I Found
    - La Vie En Rose

    Quality Rating: 8.22/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: I'll Never Love Again [#1(5)]; Shallow [#1(5)]; Always Remember Us This Way [#1(1)]; Why Did You Do That? [#2]; La Vie En Rose [#3]; Before I Cry [#3]; I Don't Know What Love Is [#4]; Look What I Found [#4]; Is That Alright? [#9]; Diggin' My Grave [#10]; Hair Body Face [#13]; Heal Me [#14]
    03. Christina Aguilera - Liberation



    I'm a huge Christina Aguilera fan, and one thing I can say about her albums is that she never has an issue with recording stellar tracks to put on an LP; she sometimes just has a bit more filler among the jewels than I would like, but on Liberation, she's trimmed most of the fat, and put together a cohesive, diverse, sonically and lyrically impressive album, and I'm proud of her. (I won't even praise the album for being vocally incredible because that's the Christina standard - she is the greatest singer of her generation, and she never delivers anything that suggests otherwise). I'm a sucker for female empowerment anthems, and melodramatic love ballads, so "Fall in Line" and "Twice" were two easy picks for favourites, but "Maria" was a different track than I expected from the pop diva, and I enjoyed that immensely. Then there's "Pipe", which oozes unabashed sensuality and erotica, and the dancehall-pop/reggae fusion of "Right Moves" was a delightful surprise (props to Christina for enlisting the assistance of Shenseea and Keida to create an authentically island-flavoured bop). "Deserve" is a ballad that everyone seems to love infinitely more than I do, but I do appreciate it, and "Unless It's with You" is good, too, though it pales in comparison to the top ballad moment on the record. Funnily enough, I thought maybe the era would be a disaster after lead single "Accelerate" failed to make a big initial splash with me (I like it now) and here Liberation is eight months later as the highest-ranking album Christina's ever managed on a year-end albums countdown of mine. Time and its power!

    Best Tracks:
    - Fall in Line
    - Twice
    - Maria
    - Pipe
    - Unless It's with You
    - Deserve
    - Right Moves

    Quality Rating: 8.29/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: Fall in Line [#1(4)]; Twice [#1(2)]; Maria [#1(1)]; Pipe [#1(1)]; Right Moves [#1(1)]; Unless It's with You [#3]; Deserve [#4]; Accelerate [#6]; Like I Do [#13]; Sick of Sittin' [#18]; Masochist [#19]
    02. Mariah Carey - Caution



    She sent six of the album's 11 tracks to #1 on my daily top 20 chart, and her name is Mariah Carey, so it's safe to say that Caution would have started the countdown as the preemptive favourite, but, following in the footsteps of its predecessor, it narrowly misses out on the top spot here. Caution is short but lethal. Lush, contemporary, complete melodies; deep, introspective, honest, highly competent and poetic songwriting; and emotive, tender, haunting vocals - everything I love about Mariah Carey, sans perhaps the vocal acrobatics, is present on this album. She's nearing 50 years, and still recording some of the finest music of her career. As a fan, this album makes me proud of Mimi. She may never see the commercial success of her peak again - outside of the Christmas season - but the talent is still there, and it's as undeniable and lustrous as ever.

    Best Tracks:
    - With You
    - Portrait
    - Giving Me Life
    - Caution
    - 8th Grade
    - A No No
    - One Mo' Gen
    - The Distance
    - GTFO

    Quality Rating: 8.33/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: With You [#1(8)]; Portrait [#1(3)]; Caution [#1(3)]; Giving Me Life [#1(2)]; A No No [#1(2)]; GTFO [#1(1)]; 8th Grade [#2]; One Mo' Gen [#2]; Runway [#3]; The Distance [#8]
    01. Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer



    Music doesn't have to have any intricate meaning to be powerful, but when artists record concept albums, and take on massive socio-political issues in as brilliant and creative a way as Janelle Monáe does on Dirty Computer, you have to take notice and appreciate the effort, and without sacrificing a modicum of sonic pleasure, Dirty Computer tells the story of the American experience - what it was, what it is, and what it can be - from the perspective of a queer black woman. There are brutal truths and harsh realities presented, but the overriding theme of hope never wanes. Although the album feels like a commentary on the US from the view of a collective, there are also deeply individual, personal moments on the album, too, and I adore those just as much ("I Like That" being the best of them). The 'emotion picture' that accompanies this album is equally brilliant, and brings the songs to life in a unique, clever, surprising, and occasionally humorous way. (I highly recommend giving the 'emotion picture' a watch, then listening to the album in its complete form directly thereafter). In sum, Dirty Computer is a bold statement album, and, sonically, an amalgamation of so many different genres (R&B, soul, pop, funk, and hip/hop). It's my clear favourite album of 2018, and I look forward with great excitement to its follow-up.

    Best Tracks:
    - Americans
    - I Like That
    - Crazy, Classic, Life
    - Make Me Feel
    - Django Jane
    - I Got the Juice
    - So Afraid
    - Don't Judge Me
    - Screwed

    Quality Rating: 8.45/10
    Code:
    Songs' Chart Peaks on Akini's Daily Top 20: I Like That [#1(3)]; Make Me Feel [#1(2)]; Americans [#1(1)]; Crazy, Classic, Life [#1(1)]; Django Jane [#1(1)]; Don't Judge Me [#5]; So Afraid [#6]; Pynk [#8]; I Got the Juice [#10];  Screwed [#12]
    You have the luxury of choosing loneliness. For some people, it’s not an option.

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 22:42

    ''Dirty Computer'' is one of the best mainstream crossover (R&B, soul, pop, funk) albums this year, missed a tiny bit to enter my own top 50, because of the gazillion of indie records.
    Waffles are checked cookies

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    by » Sun January 6th, 2019, 22:44

    Quote Originally Posted by JSparksFan
    Quote Originally Posted by Top10
    I don't like the individual tracks in Rita's album, but the overall conception which gathers all the pieces one by one in the perfect harmony is the big advantage of 'Phoenix'.
    So you like the overall sound/effort, but no individual track makes a big impression on you?
    Yeah. For example, what she did in 'Ora' was amazing! So many hits I can recall: 'R.I.P.', 'How We Do', 'Radioactive', the bonus track 'Hot Right Now'. Now the feeling these songs in 'Phoenix' give me isn't the same, they're maybe too slow for me or a little bit melancholic, I can't really figure out. However, I support her for combining them in order to create a structured album, like Zayn's one, it's not easy nowadays to find good compilations with records that fit perfectly in the main idea.
    Top 10 - 15.11.2019.

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    by » Mon January 7th, 2019, 23:18

    I do definitely need to get me into some Dirty Computer especially now she's confirmed for Glastonbury.

    But you have LOST ME with your disrespectful comments about King, it is better than ninety percent of Palo Santo, great album though. Golden Hour is nice, and great to see Jason even though I understand what you mean about it being far off his best.

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    by » Tue January 8th, 2019, 11:42

    Sweetener is awful asides from the singles.
    Sex & Cigarettes is boooring, waay too many ballads for me.
    I listened to Queen once, already forgot how most of the tracks sounded like.
    Liberation is okay, a couple tracks are really good though.
    Caution is alright.
    Not really into Janelle Monae's music sadly.

    2018 was definitely not the best year in terms of albums for me. There's no album from last year that I truly enjoyed from start to finish.

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