It’s hard to believe that 2018 is already half-way through, but time has certainly flown by with all of the incredible releases that have been dropping back to back since the start of the year. This year has been great for world-renowned artists like Florence + The Machine breaking back into the industry, and for smaller indie acts like Pale Waves to foreshadow what bigger things are yet to come. Though this may be a list of albums that will top the chart even at the end of the year, these releases have given us a great taste of what’s still to come.
Now, Now – Saved
Without a doubt, this album was one of my most anticipated albums since the release of single “SGL” last spring. This is Now, Now’s first album in roughly six years, and it is undeniably their best work to date. Their new bubble-gum aesthetic is swoon-worthy, and their soft indie-pop sound makes it the perfect backdrop to driving around at sunset in the summertime. Lyrically, these are some of the most powerful songs the band has written, opening up about their most emotionally trying time periods and being completely vulnerable for the sake of art and euphoric release.
Listen to: “Can’t Help Myself”
Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
The words to describe anything by Florence Welch will always escape me. Her work is always raw and other-worldly in the most beautiful way, and this fourth studio album is no exception to the rule. The album is like a part-two to the previous release How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful as far as genre goes, but the album takes emotional vulnerability and concept that much further. The album is an ethereal combination of jazz, rock, indie, and pop music. Songs jump for the solemn and soft “Sky Full of Song” to the powerful and punchy “100 Years”, all the while Welch’s divine vocals flow over with ease and persistence. Truthfully, I feel this may wind up to be one of the band’s most underrated albums, yet it will undoubtedly be the most significant in their career.
Listen to: “100 Years”
CHVRCHES – Love Is Dead
If you’re looking for an album to blast when you’re in your feels that you can simultaneously dance to, this is the one for you. CHVRCHES’ third studio album is nothing short of a banger, giving us the same electronic beats we know and love but on a whole new level. Songs like “Miracle” and “Never Say Die” are bound to be radio hits, but songs like “Deliverance” and “Wonderland” have that classic CHVRCHES electro-pop sound. If you’re going through a heartbreak or simply reminiscing on those old summer times, you’ll find the angsty and melancholy lyrics on this album to be particularly relatable compared to past albums.
Listen to: “Graffiti”
Pale Waves – All The Things I Never Said EP
Is it too late to call this band “up and coming?” Surely they’ll be topping charts by the end of the year with the release of their debut full-length to be announced, but their latest EP release gives us a heavenly taste (pun intended) of what’s to come. Mixing elements of pop and rock with a little dark sparkle, Pale Waves’ EP is full of danceable jams that you can scream along in your car to all summer long. Though the release is just four songs long, we have a full-length album we can expect by the year’s end (and I anticipcate that being on the final AOTY list as well).
Listen to: “Heavenly”
Tonight Alive – Underworld
This album falls on the heavier side of the music world compared to the other albums on this list, but it is no less magical than the rest. I will be the first to admit that the band’s previous studio album, Limitless, is not exactly on my favorite albums list, but Underworld surpasses that release tenfold. I consider this album to be quite conceptual and highly intuitive lyrically. Jenna McDougall reaches deep inside to the darkest parts of her soul for this album, and what she pulls out is the despair, reflection, and reconstruction portrayed throughout each song. The transition of topics flows effortlessly amongst the album, making this one of the most powerful albums I think 2018 will see, even from the start.
Listen to: “Waiting For The End”
Post by Jordyn Beschel