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Favorite 25 Albums of 2018 Matt Perrault's annual list of his favorite music of the year

25. Dave Matthews Band - Come Tomorrow

25. Dave Matthews Band - Come Tomorrow

Welcome to my annual list of my favorite albums of the year. It was an interesting year in music for me because life ... has become so wonderfully full. My daughter Madeline is growing up fast and my wife and I spend a lot of time enjoying our life here in Las Vegas. Still, this list of my favorite releases over the past 12 months is something that I love to put out each December. I have loved looking back on the year in music ever since I was a teenager and I appreciate each and everyone one of you for reading this list. Tweet me your thoughts and your favorites after reading the Top 25.

Now, on to my favorite albums from 2018.

We start the list with the ninth studio album from the most famous band from Charlottesville, Virginia. DMB has been one of those staples of the annual list because they just produce good music. You can talk about the bro-culture fanbase or the post 90's fatigue from fans who have been listening to DMB since they opened for Phish back in 1992 but you can't really argue that this band has stood the test of time. Come Tomorrow doesn't break any musical norms for the band but it is a solid listen.

24. Devil Make Three - Chains Are Broken

24. Devil Makes Three - Chains Are Broken

If you play Americana music and sing about gambling ... I'm going to like you. "Need To Lose" is one of my favorite songs of 2018 from this California band and TDMT's latest release is one of the best of the year in the Americana genre. Catch them opening up for The DropKick Murphy's this spring.

Everybody's always askin' ... Why do what I do ... I don't gamble 'cause I want to win, boys ... I gamble 'cause I need to lose
23. Editors - Violence

23. Editors - Violence

If there is a band that I'm really hoping I get a chance to see in-person at some point soon, it's these guys from Birmingham, England. Their career has produced two platinum selling albums and numerous hits on the European charts. However, in America, they haven't seen the same level of success. I think that says more about our tastes than what this band produces every time they release a new album.

Editors have been a staple on the festival scene since 2005 and if you want to see the size of their fanbase, go search some of their European concert videos. These guys are a lot of fun and I really liked their 6th studio album this year.

22. Odesza - A Moment Apart (Deluxe Edition)

22. Odesza - A Moment Apart

This is the Vegas influence bleeding on to this list. I'm not sure I would have ever heard of these guys without living in a place where electronic music is extremely popular. Odesza is made up of two guys - Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, who have alternative personas know as Catacombkid and BeachesBeaches. I have no idea why they are called but it doesn't matter. This isn't your normal electronic group. These guys have a gosh darn drum line and a complete brass section. Hello.

I will admit that the song "Loyal" was my first chance to hear them and it blew my mind. They are really, really interesting and for someone who is very new to this scene, I think they are awesome. This album is highly enjoyable. Originally, Loyal was a stand alone single but in 2018, the band released a 25 song deluxe edition of A Moment Apart. Sometimes re-releases aren't worth it but this one was. It's really good.

21. Old Crow Medicine Show - Volunteer

21. Old Crow Medicine Show - Volunteer

Nothing will ever come close to the song "Wagon Wheel" when it comes to OCMS music. After you put out a song like that, the bar is so high that it makes it really hard for any future records to compete. However, we don't need it to in order to enjoy Old Crow. We just have to sit back and listen. I hated when the song was covered by Hootie (if you don't know who I'm talking about, good) but Old Crow Medicine Show wrote a truly classic song back in 2004 that shouldn't have ever been touched.

The band, originally from Nashville, has been producing great music since 1998 and they have amassed a huge following of Americana, Country, folk, and bluegrass fans around the country. In 2018, their sixth studio album Volunteer came out, and it celebrated the band's 20th year of existence. That's pretty amazing in today's entertainment world.

If you don't know these guys yet ... do yourself a favor and listen to as many songs of theirs as you can in 2019.

20. Artic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

20. Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

This is Arctic Monkey's 6th album. In 2013, the band's album "AM" appeared very high up on this list. I feel like rock bands like Arctic Monkeys are a dying breed and we must highlight their work and keep them motivated to entertain us.

The album focuses more on pianos and less on guitar-driven songs. It's not as good, in my personal opinion, as their previous records. However, it's still a solid album. A good track to get a feel for how different this album is than their previous release 5 years ago is Four out of Five. And hey ... it's an album that sings about casinos ... how could I not like it?

19. Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

19. Deafheaven - Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Oh metal ... where have you been? I've been a massive fan of this genre my whole life. I grew up on bands like Pantera, Biohazard, Sepultura, and Only Living Witness. In 2018, I was able to find a record that reminded me of my love of IDGAF music and even though this album wasn't universally loved, I liked it.

Deafheaven is from San Francisco and this is their 4th full-length studio album. Their debut album Sunbather was HUGE and there was a thought in the metal community that this band was one to watch. However, their previous 2 albums weren't amazing, and some have been let down by the band. If you like those previous 2 albums, I think you will enjoy this one. If you loved their debut album and felt the last 2 weren't great, I'm not sure you will find this one much better.

I will admit, this band isn't for everyone but their sound is unique and reminds of music that wasn't radio-friendly and that was perfectly OK.

18. Ariana Grande - Sweetener

18. Ariana Grande - Sweetener

Well, this is a hard right turn from the last band huh? Sorry. That's kind of how it is to listen to Spotify with me. I'm all over the place and my tastes aren't into one type of music. I really feel like I can listen to anything and find a band or two that I enjoy.

You can talk about her social media. You can talk about her breakup with her famous ex. You can talk about her being a pop princess. But what you can't talk about is Ariana's voice. This girl can straight up sing. I could listen to her sing my phone's contact list.

This album is mature, interesting, and a joy to listen to. Ariana is growing up and growing as an artist. She is finding her voice in more ways than just hitting a high note. I really enjoyed this record and I think she is going to be producing some of the best pop tracks in the business for a long time to come.

Right now, I'm in a state of mind ... I wanna be in, like, all the time
17. Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

17. Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

The all girl band broke up and then got back together. Kinda sounds like one of Pistol Annies songs right? Miranda Lambert's trio burst onto the country scene with their first album Hell on Heels and fans fell in love. That album appeared VERY high on my list in 2011 and that made me pretty disappointed that after the release of their second album Annie Up, the band announced they were breaking up.

Now, I don't need to get into all the gossip and noise about why that happened. All I care about is that they put it behind them and realized that they made great music together and their third endeavor together is solid.

The 6-song record went to number 1 on the country charts as fans showed their excitement for the reunion. Miranda Lambert has a huge fanbase which helps but Pistol Annies have also brought in some non-country fans because their songs are so easy to listen to. Plus, they have attitude and fire. Songs about divorce, drugs, drinking, and issues with the opposite sex ring honest and true to the ear. The opinions on the album aren't manufactured or fake. I'm excited for the future for this band.

16. Big Red Machine - Self Titled

16. Big Red Machine - Self Titled

As a sports talk show host, we often play the game of "what if?". What if Michael Jordan had played with John Stockton? What if Bill Russell had played with Larry Bird? In music terms, I'm not sure we ever thought we would get to hear Aaron Dressner of The National play with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver but that's what we got in 2018.

Also as a sports fan, the fact that they called their new collaboration Big Red Machine, after the 1975 Cincinnati Reds, made this debut album all the better for me. The two men originally thought of performing together on a DM on MySpace back in 2008. Yes, THAT MySpace. It just goes to show you how long these guys wanted to do something together but it was worth the wait.

This album sounds more like a Bon Iver album than one by The National but that's because the vocals of Vernon are pretty distinct from most anything else you hear in today's music. I've seen Bon Iver in concert but I haven't see The National yet. I really hope I can catch these guys in 2019.

15. Cypress Hill - Elephants on Acid

15. Cypress Hill - Elephants on Acid

These guys have been producing cannabis inspired, psychedelic tracks since 1988 and I've loved them since high school. It's been 8 years since Cypress Hill has put out any new music as other projects have taken this group away from producing music together.

When B-Real joined with members of Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy, I thought that Cypress Hill was done making records but I was wrong. Elephants is an album that I would have REALLY loved in high school, if you get my drift. I don't know what B-Real has been doing but this is a fountain of youth-type rebirth. Musically, this album is a ton of fun.

Playing off Middle Eastern inspired beats mixed with hard lyrics gives this album a very unique sound. Songs like Band of Gypies and Put Em in the Ground make you bounce your head and get into the rhyme of each track. It's 1995 all over again for these guys and that's awesome.

You're lookin' at the last of a dyin' breed ... Weeded up, please, speed it up ... Sittin' in the Cali sun... heated up ... Inked arm needled up ... Rocket style, Don Cheadle'd up
14. Robyn - Honey

14. Robyn - Honey

You know you are getting old when you listen to an artist for nearly 30 years. Robyn is 39 years old and her first album came out when I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. That's a pretty amazing run for an artist in today's cutthroat music business.

Her first album, Robyn Is Here, went platinum here in America for tracks like Show Me Love and Do you know (what it takes). It just went up from there for this Swedish born artist. Honey is her eighth studio album and it's a different sound than what we are used to hearing from her. This album is more serious than others in the past and less of a pop album than her previous works.

13. U.S. Girls - In A Poem Unlimited

13. U.S. Girls - In A Poem Unlimited

Oh boy. This is album is something really special. This band is one woman - Meghan Remy - who created this experimental pop project after working with a variety of bands in Canada. Yes, U.S. Girls is an album from one girl living in Canada. This is a music lovers album. The sounds are so unique and the songs have a ton of depth to them.

Remy lives in Toronto but was born in Illinois. Her influences are sometimes hard to point your finger at but you can't help but tap your feet to numerous tracks as the album weaves from unique sound to unique sound. I love musicians who keep you guessing as you move through an record. You don't know what is going to come out of the speaker from one song to another, making the listening experience a lot of fun.

12. Boy Genius - Self Titled

12. Boy Genius - Self Titled

It's the year of the indie super music group. First, we had Big Red Machine, and now we have a girl version with 3 amazing musicians teaming up for this self titled debut record. In previous years, Lucy Dacus has appeared on my list of favorite albums. So, when she teamed up with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, I had to hear what became of it.

It's amazing to write this but they made this record in just 4 days! That's when you know you are working with the right people. This is an awesome Sunday afternoon driving record or for a relaxing quiet Friday night at home.

11. Lydia - Liquor

11. Lydia - Liquor

In 2017, my favorite album of the year was by the band Pvris and they came to Vegas in support of their newest release. The band that opened up for them were these really energetic guys who really set the room on fire. I saw a guy singing along to ever song and I asked him who these guys were that were killing it on stage. With the biggest smile on his face he said "LYDIA! They are AMAZING!". I couldn't really argue. I was a fan for sure after that night.

Liquor is the band's seventh studio album and while I do prefer their earlier work, especially Run Wild, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't call this a typical Lydia album. While the album doesn't take many risks, it's a solid effort for this band from Arizona.

10. Eminem - Kamikaze

10. Eminem - Kamikaze

This might have been the most controversial album release of the year. First, it wasn't announced. It just dropped. Then we learned it was a rap diss album that went after numerous rappers and public figures. The name of the album in itself declared that Eminem didn't care what the fall out was going to be from its release.

I don't know why I didn't find many rap albums this year but next year could be different. It's not like I wasn't trying or avoiding them. I just didn't find many. I've been a fan of Eminem and I nearly put Machine Gun Kelly's release on this list but there were only a few tracks on that album that I liked. Plus, in 2018, you had to pick a side from their feud. I guess you know which team I'm on.

While Kamikaze isn't Em's best album, it's enjoyable with some memorable tracks.

I've had as much as I can tolerate ... I'm sick and tired of waitin', I done lost my patience ... I can take all of you motherfuckers on at once ... You wanted, Shady? You got it!
9. The 1975 - Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationship

9. The 1975 - Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationship

The 1975 make another appearance on my end of year list even with the November release of this album. These dudes from Manchester released their fourth studio album to much critical acclaim. Matty Healy's vocals are truly beautiful on this record and the band sounds great.

The 1975 get their name from Jack Kerouac's book of poetry, so you know these guys really care about the lyrics on their albums. Spend some time with this album and dive into the words that Healy's sings. I'm a big fan of this band but I'm not sure I would label them a pop band. I don't really have a word to describe their sound besides just saying I like it.

8. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour

8. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour

One of my favorite voices in music today is Kacey Musgraves. This 30-year old has put out three studio albums and each one has made my favorite list at the end of the year. I saw Kayce open up for Willie Nelson back in Boston after her first album came out and I was extremely impressed. She continued to put out outstanding music in 2018 as Golden Hour is really good.

There is something very honest about the way Kacey sings. Her lyrics describe moments that many of can easily relate to and they are laid out situations that many have experienced in life. There is a certain "fuck you" embedded in the words she writes and I really like it. While she is gorgeous, Musgraves has always tried to be seen as an artist first. That can be tough in today's social media world but she a good job of playing off that image in videos and live performances.

Much like how Taylor Swift was towards the end of her country career, pop influences are clearly heard inside Musgraves songs. It's tough to call them country but they still have the soul of country music. It will be interesting to see if Kacey goes full pop one day or will she try to stay in the Willie Nelson lane.

7. Greta Van Fleet - Anthem Of A Peaceful Army

7. Greta Van Fleet - Anthem Of A Peaceful Army

Fun trick to play on your uncle who loves Led Zepplin - play this album and ask him what year it came out. He will freak if he doesn't know who these guys are. Who they are is one of the best young rock band in America today.

The highly anticipated first full-length album from these guys from Michigan came out in October and immediately was consumed by fans across the globe.

6. Lady Gaga - A Star Is Born

6. Lady Gaga - A Star Is Born Soundtrack

Soundtracks are normally instrumental works with a few singles from various artists on the end of it in order to help it sell. That's not what this is. Not at all.

Lady Gaga has been a revolutionary talent in the music industry for years but this album, with these songs, is something that must be heard to fully appreciate. I haven't even seen this movie yet but the songs on this album are heartbreaking and envoke such emotion that it's amazing we haven't heard these types of songs from Lady Gaga before.

This is one of my favorite soundtracks ever.

5. Rebelution - Free Reign

5. Rebelution - Free Reign

My wife calls this band "white boy reggae". I can't really argue too much with that label but like most labels on bands, I don't really care. These guys are just plain fun to listen to. I was late to find them as a few of my friends have been in on them for a while but it's better to be late than to not hear them at all.

I listened to this entire album while I was on Cape Cod for vacation this summer. When I was on the ferry between Woods Hole and The Vineyard, this album was the most amazing soundtrack for the trip. I was literally dancing on the boat. "City Life" is one my favorite reggae songs of all time. The Cape is where I found Bob Marley in high school, so it was perfect to have this with me this summer. The water. The summer. The beach. It's all a perfect backdrop to playing Rebelution music.

Really and truly I should pack up ... And find my way under the stars, I'll roll a sack up ... And find some peace and quiet, get my spirits back up
4. Panic At The Disco - Pray for the Wicked

4. Panic At The Disco - Pray For The Wicked

There are two bands from Las Vegas that have been a big part of my music rotation for quite a while now. When I was moving from Huntsville to Omaha, I literally listened to them The Killers debut album "Hot Fuss" for the entire 2-day drive. The Killers led me to discover Panic. A love of this band that has lasted years and their 6th studio album is great.

Little did I know that Vegas would be my favorite stop on my radio career so far and the hometown of two of my favorite musical groups.

Critics had vastly different reactions to this album but I felt it was an extremely strong album. I loved Panic's first album "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out", which I found soon after The Killers came into my life. The next few records were outstanding but then I felt the band hit a valley with the 2016 release of "Death of Bachelor". I was very pleased to hear the band bounce back in 2018.

3. Death Cab For Cutie - Thank You For Today

3. Death Cab For Cutie - Thank You For Today

If you know me, you know I truly love this band. My wife and I disagree about them but I think they are pure genius. No matter what Ben Gibbard does, from his solo work to Postal Service to Death Cab, I will be a fan of the music that comes from it. This year, DCFC put out their ninth studio album and I think it's one of their best. I know some disagree with that as it's the first record without former member Chris Walla but we can agree to disagree.

I have been to 44 of the 50 states but I've never been to Washington state. It's very strange because I've been listening to bands from Seattle since 1990, yet I've never been there. Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Death Cab and so many more. It's a magical place to me that just keeps producing amazing music. I'm almost scared to go there and be let down. I like to think of it as a my musical Oz.

Lauren Mayberry's appearance on the track Northern Lights had me jumping up and down. It was an Avengers moment for me.

2. Metric - Art of Doubt

2. Metric - Art of Doubt

Every year, I seemingly find a band that I had should have been listening to for a long time but for whatever reason, was not. In 2018, that band ... was Metric. Ho-ly-Shit. Every time I play this album, I kick myself for not knowing about this Toronto based band earlier than 2018. They are amazing.

Lead singer Emily Haines vocals drive many of the songs on Art of Doubt, Metric's seventh studio album. Tracks like Underline The Black, Dressed To Suppress, Now or Never Now and Dark Saturday are just fucking incredible. This album features more guitar-driven songs than their previous releases, which by the way, I highly recommend you searching out and listening to. Their catalog is really strong.

I said "everything, I've built from nothing". She said "I'm so rich, everything's free". So dark it ain't so dark. So dark it ain't so dark.

I get to see Metric here in Vegas in March and I can't wait!

1. Chvrches - Love Is Dead

1. Chvrches - Love Is Dead

According to Spotify, I spent more time with Love is Dead than any other record in 2018. So, I kind of can't pick anything else for my top album of the year.

Congrats on getting this far by the way. I have a present for you in a second for lasting this long. This band's first album "The Bones Of What You Believe" was my favorite album of 2013 and this Scottish band is back on top for 2018. (If you remember, their 2nd album Every Open Eye, was high on my list in 2015 as well)

My daughter fell in love with the song "Miracle" and memorized the lyrics ... at 3 years old! I was very, very proud. I like to think that Lauren Mayberry would appreciate my kid jamming out to her voice. Their show here in Vegas in the summer of 2017 was amazing and I would highly recommend seeing this band if you are given the chance.

So here's my present since you have read this long. Here's mix of my favorite songs off each of my favorite albums. Some of the songs are from albums that didn't make the cut on the Top 25 too. I think you will enjoy them as much as I did this year. Click HERE for the playlist on Spotify.

We wrote our names along the bathroom walls ... Graffitiing our hearts across the stalls ... I've been waiting for my whole life to grow old ... And now we never will, never will ...
And I need you to know ... I'm not asking for a miracle ... But if love is enough, could you let it show? ... If you feel it could you let me know?

Click HERE to see my daughter sing Miracle :)

Thanks for reading this and have a great 2019. I hope you found a few new albums to listen to and again, tell me what you think about this list on twitter.

Created By
matthew perrault
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