A reflection of my most loved albums of 2018
Atlas: Year 2 by Sleeping at Last (Ryan)
As a lover of our shared humanity, this album encompasses for me this realistic ideal, breaking down in Ryan’s words, ‘the origins of the universe and life within it.” This album shuts out the noise in its simplicity and clarity. Simply put, it’s beautiful. The final 9 songs were of particular interest as they’re based on the Enneagram personality types, an area of both personal and spiritual interest.
1, song 17 covers type 1, the perfectionist, elaborating the struggles of seeking perfection in an imperfect world.
2, song 18 follows the giver, who loves with no strings attached.
3, song 19 is about the achiever who creates a façade of who they believe the world wants to see, at the cost of forgetting themselves, fearing they won’t be loved for who they are.
4, song 20 is on the individualist who fears losing their unique identity amongst the ‘mundane and ordinary’ in constant search of personal meaning and authenticity.
Types 5 (The investigator), 6 (the loyalist), 7 (the adventurer), 8 (the challenger) and 9 (the peacemaker) follow beautifully, with each of their challenges, a reminder that we all respond differently to life’s struggles and fears. This album is a suggestion of compassion over judgement.
Africa to the World by Sun- El Musician
Some great gems remain hidden in my continent, but Sun-El Musician is not hiding, he’s here to be seen, sharing narratives of the middle class South African man. He does not drown us in superficial glitz, instead we see and hear authentic expression, struggle and resilience. I cried and danced my way through the tunes, with no grasp of the lyrics. I’m forever sold to this man’s music, now one of my favourite artists.
Tranquillity base Hotel & Casino by Artic Monkeys
What I appreciated about the ritual of having to pick albums created in 2018 (and not necessarily albums I discovered in 2018) is I had to listen to a lot of stuff I would never consciously pick, welcoming unusual experiences (in this case, albums) with little to no expectation. Prior to this year, I’d never given Arctic Monkeys a chance. You know, big band, probably overrated… blah blah blah, the indie lover’s rant, but I take all that BS back. They are good, better than good. This album was my reminder that locking oneself to certain genres, styles or vibes is limiting. So here I am humbly glad to admit I was wrong. This is objective talent, wide & wild lyrics, layered textures, electric guitars and head pumping tunes.
August Green by August Green
is the brainchild of rapper Common, and producers Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. This right here is my jam for life and that’s a lot coming from someone who’s not a huge rap fan. Reflective and introspective, this album can get real heavy but the dynamic textures and melodies mesh and mellow the weighty words. It’s narrated by the Black American man who’s recognising his choices, dilemmas, his mellowness… his kinship, his kingship. This album is honest, its rich and I like it… I like it a lot.
Oso by Brymo
is hard to quit. And why should I? This album is an orchestral rendition of a man who’s evolving. This album wore a darker tone in comparison to his other music.
No Shame by Lily Allen
I like her. And this album really resonated providing me with a much needed release. It was about things that she had been affected by including the relationship with herself, her children, her ex-husband and substance abuse.
Room 25 by Noname
The A.V. Club, Dianca London Potts stated that,
“From beginning to end, Room 25 is a testimony to the power of telling your story and the hope that can be found in doing so without apology.”
I need not say any more.
Isic Tutor by Xavier Dunn
Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe