With the speed of the internet culture these days, new music arrives almost every hour and it is practically impossible for us to keep up with all of it. It is also interesting to take a seat back to see what caught our attention. It is very subjective when it comes to creating a list of music albums that we consider the best, so we decided to share with you just 10 albums that you should know about in 2018. From Latin to K-Pop, we have a little bit of something for everyone. Let’s get it!
Kris Wu – Antares
Best known as a former member of Korean boy group EXO, Kris Wu left the very famous group to pursue his dreams as a solo singer and actor. He released his debut English album titled Antares that fuses R&B, hip-hop and pop. Prior to the album drop, Wu already released a few singles namely “Deserve” featuring Travis Scott, “Like That” and “Freedom” featuring Jhené Aiko before releasing the infectious single “Coupe” with Rich the Kid and “November Rain”. Wu adapts the formulas that make current hit songs into his flavour so fluidly, which isn’t as bad as the other reviews have made it be, so don’t be expecting any EXO elements on Antares.
Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
There was so much buzz for rapper Cardi B prior to the album release after the success of “Bodak Yellow” and the pressure was on. Invasion of Privacy was released when Cardi B was pregnant, so the marketing strategy had to speed up at the peak of her success. It was an explosive collection of songs that embody sassy and fun. Cardi B spits about hardships on the opening song “Get Up 10” and even took us on a journey of her insecurities with “Be Careful.” The entire album radiates a feel-good vibe purely because we know of her carefree personality. There were doubts about her talent, but she works hard to get to where she is today and is continually improving herself. The success of the Invasion of Privacy is a testament to the naysayers and she is only getting started.
The Carters – Everything is Love
When it comes to surprise album releases, Beyoncé is the queen of that art. Despite not receiving the same impact as her last album Lemonade, this collaboration album Everything Is Love with husband Jay-Z is something the fans have been waiting for years. It is a trilogy of the singer’s Lemonade and rapper’s 4:44 albums as they clear things out with this 2018 release. From Beyoncé taking rap centre stage on “Apeshit” to the beautiful “Lovehappy,” this album is the ultimate love story between two of the most prominent music artists of our time that reaches the artistic level that can never be duplicated. This album is a keeper for 2018.
BTS – Love Yourself: Answer
There has never been a K-Pop act that is as successful as BTS. RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook is having the time of their lives with the global success BTS is receiving these couple of years. Their hard work has paid off with this full-length album Love Yourself: Answer that features the infectious lead single “Idol” alongside their previous releases such as “DNA” and “Fake Love.” It’s a beautiful compilation of their previous releases rolled into one and better. BTS is the voice of the new music era that has opened many doors for other K-Pop acts and we are here for it.
Robyn – Honey
We best remember Robyn from the great ‘90s pop era and then reminded us she is here to stay with “Dancing on My Own” and “With Every Heartbeat” to name a few. This pop princess is back with another amazing album titled Honey that shows her maturity from the title track single to the lounge-inspired “Beach 2k20”. Honey is a beautiful electropop album that will have a place in a deeper pop world that still will allow the world to dance their problems away. Robyn will continually surprise us with the ability to remain present and relevant within the pop music world.
J Balvin – Vibras
It is a great year for Latin Pop and J Balvin is one of the many artists that you couldn’t escape on the radio especially with “Mi Gente” with Willy William that later got a remix with Beyoncé. This Colombian singer suddenly became a household name within the American music industry and Vibras has allowed the world to know him even better. There is a slew of featured artists on this album, but it did not keep him away from being the star of Vibras. Even if we do not understand the language, J Balvin kept us dancing along with the diversely colourful album of what Latin Pop should sound like in 2018.
Blood Orange – Negro Swan
Having written and produced songs for Solange, Mariah Carey and Carly Rae Jepsen, Blood Orange lead singer Dev Hynes is one of the most celebrated artists of our time. He knows how to cross genres and break down boundaries with mysterious yet soulful sounds unlike others. With A$AP Rocky, Diddy, TeiShi, Ian Isiah and others featured on the album, Negro Swan is an alternative peephole into the black and queer life from the rollercoaster of emotions, yet there is still hope at the end of the day.
BLACKPINK – Square Up
BLACKPINK is currently the most successful K-Pop girl group on the American charts due to the success of their lead single “DDU-DU DDU-DU” off this mini-album titled Square Up. Even though it only features four songs, we can’t help but add Square Up into the list because of how strong it is. Besides the very successful single, it also captured the summer vibe with “Forever Young”, the feel-good “Really” and sassy “See U Later”. Every member of BLACKPINK managed to shine in their way through this mini album that shows a more matured side of the group since their debut with “Whistle” and “Boombayah”. We cannot get enough of BLACKPINK!
Kali Uchis – Isolation
Canadian-American singer-songwriter Kali Uchis has managed to collaborate with a list of incredible acts over past years namely Major Lazer, Tyler the Creator, Daniel Caesar, Snoop Dogg and more. Despite releasing her first EP titled Por Vida, it was her collaborations that got her the most shine but it led her to release an incredible album this year called Isolation which features incredible producers like Gorillaz, BadBadNotGood, Thundercat, DJ Dahi and so much more. Isolation features a diverse style from bossa nova to neo-soul over her husky vocals. Uchis is on her way to greater things following this well-produced album that everyone should know about.
Travis Scott – Astroworld
“Sicko Mode” definitely became one of the year’s most exciting songs featuring Drake and Travis Scott is living the dream to get the recognition that he deserves finally. Astroworld boosts 17 amazing songs with guest artists like Post Malone, Swae Lee, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams and more. The promotional hype for Astroworld has been incredible from the tour to the merchandise, that it was nicely shifted to be about the music rather than being Kylie Jenner’s baby daddy. Travis Scott gave us a bag of fresh beats and deserving of all the success that has been pouring his way to allow him to be a household name in 2018.
What is your favourite album of 2018?
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
Kevin was the former editor of two music and lifestyle platforms in Malaysia. He is an all-round music enthusiast from the '90's R&B to K-Pop.