EditorialFor the love of music


For when you’re feeling social


Craig Clemens

December 14, 2018

We ran our annual poll of the RX Music programming team and came up with our favourite albums of 2018. Instead of doing a “Top 10” we rated the best albums from each genre. Some of the picks were a little controversial but we eventually came to a consensus for the best albums of 2018!


Alternative R&B

It’s a testament to the amount of discourse we have in the RX Music office about music that our first category comes out to a tie:

Mac Miller – Swimming

The last of Mac Miller’s tragically short career output we found Swimming to be the culmination of the stride Miller found with GO:OD AM three years ago. When this album dropped we didn’t know the extent to how much his addiction was truly taking hold, but what we heard was a subtle and bleak journey through his anguish and turmoil. Jazzy tunes and tight rhyming goes hand and hand and Miller touched the mind and soul of his listeners. Brutally honest, Swimming illustrated powerful stories and production that feels right.

Tied with 22% of the vote for best Alt R&B album of 2018 was:

Rhye – Blood

A full five years following Woman comes yet another nearly immaculate album of minimalist arrangements that border Daft Punk-quality grooves coloured with heart-wrenching climaxes. A soul feel that comes straight from Sade, there’s a electronic reverence that takes from jazz, classical while still retaining a contemporary and future-proof vibe. Usually when a bands find themselves lucky and talented enough to find a sound or format that they can make music with, they’re happy with it. Rhye has found this and continues to make hay with this formula. The balance and touch of this gem made it one of the Best Albums of the Year even if it was one of the first to be released in 2018.

Runners Up:

Blood Orange – Negro Swan

Kids See Ghosts – KIDS SEE GHOSTS

Nao – Saturn


Alternative Rock

Dream Wife – Dream Wife

It’s been a really long time since this brand of fishnetted, glitter strewn punk rock has been this much fun. With their debut self-titled album, Rakel Mjöll, Alice Go, and Bella Podpadec have taken their fearless, cutthroat lyricism and created one of the most exciting albums of the year and has us yearning for a follow-up. The Iclandic-natives, by way of the UK, prove that guitar based music is still teeming with life if it is backed by a creative voice. Dream Wife absolutely bristles with energy and grungy, glam melters from end-to-end that perfectly captures the enthusiasm and confidence of their live shows, without ever sounding too polished or over-produced.

Runners Up:

Coheed and Cambria – The Unhealthy Creatures

Dilly Dally – Heaven

Black Foxxes – REIðl



DJ Koze – Knock Knock

By far DJ Koze’s best and most listenable work to date, Knock Knock is a sonic picture of the passion that created it. This compassion is what makes this album so bewitching – it forces the listener to come back again and again to pick apart the shades and subtleties. There is a sheen here that certainly has mass appeal but it’s also a definitive statement, a combination of many influences that merge into something that is hugely enjoyable and wholly emotional. Most important of all, this album is super-weird – which is what makes Knock Knock so great in the first place.

Runners Up:

Jon Hopkins – Singularity

Marie Davidson – Working Class Woman

Amnesia Scanner – Another Life



Robyn – Honey

There have been a lot of Robyn imitators out there from time to time – folks who take her aesthetic and adapt and manipulate the old feel of dance music and make it their own. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, but Robyn re-defines this palette to craft a complex heartbreak record that shows these would-be’s exactly how it’s done. Eight full years between records would be a lifetime for any lessor artist, and several lifetimes for a female pop stars whom, with few exceptions, don’t have careers that are measured in decades. Robyn bucks this trend entirely with Honey and while entering her forties, blazes a new trail with some of her most emotionally satisfying and musically innovative music of her career.

Runners Up:

MØ – Forever Neverland

Troye Sivan – Bloom

Kimbra – Primal Heart



boygenius – boygenius

There was no larger consensus among the RX Music Programming team than there was for boygenius for Best Folk Record of 2018. The lyricism of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus is so strong that you could easily skip to any mid-point of this record and find yourself being awestruck in one way or another. This super-group widens the horizons of each artist while simultaneously nailing down exactly what makes each one of them unique. Hearing them integrate their particular gifts would be worth a listen alone, but the performances are so remarkable that the EP’s background almost becomes trivial. Each song stands out from the others for their craftsmanship and familiar top-notch songwriting.

Runners Up:


Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer

Daniel Romano – Finally Free


Hip Hop

Pusha T – Daytona

The first of the Kanye produced, five album “G.O.O.D. Summer” collection, Daytona was by far the strongest. It’s difficult to look back at this fact now, but before Daytona, Pusha T was one of hip hop’s chronically underrated stars. By rising to this occasion and pursuing perfection Pusha T still talks about dealing drugs, calls out frauds, calling out Drake and thereby starting an absolutely huge beef. Backed by some of Kanye’s best produced work in quite some time, Pusha sounds absolutely peerless and in a league of his own. There’s nothing small or understated here, but the albums is focused, concise and has few wasted moments.

Runners Up:

Travis Scott – ASTROWORLD

Kids See Ghosts – KIDS SEE GHOSTS

Noname – Room 25



Ross From Friends – Aphelion

In the 5th year of making lo-fi tech house under the moniker Ross From Friends, Felix Clary Weatherall finally made his way over to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, which turned out to be a match made in electronic music heaven. Much more polished and less obviously ‘lo-fi’ than previous releases, Aphelion adds a bit more Brainfeeder unpredictable fizz, making it a very adventurous but his very best release to date. Aphelion is colourful, psychedelic and warm. And while Weatherall empties his ideas over every track nothing ever sounds too overstuffed or forced as he moves from one eclectic work to another.

Runners Up:

DJ Koze – Knock Knock

Jon Hopkins – Singularity

Marie Davidson – Working Class Woman


Indie Pop

Soccer Mommy – Clean

Clean is a perfect representation of what it feels like to get stuck in a self-loathing feedback loop. To stop it all you’ve got to do is simply see your own accomplishments, and more importantly, be proud of them, but for some reason the feedback feeds itself. Introspective and comfortably confessional, Sophie Allison may have left her bedroom studio behind, but the intimacy and romantic in her songwriting remains unchanged.

Runners Up:

Matt Maltese – Bad Contestant

Wye Oak – The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs

The Essex Green – Hardly Electronic


Indie Rock

Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy

Will Toledo has seemingly done the impossible with Twin Fantasy: he has created a reboot that matches the former with the added wall-of-sound atmosphere that Toledo previously had no access to. Call it a follow-up, a companion piece, or call it a full on replacement, it doesn’t really matter. This is the record that Toledo meant to release seven years ago, and in a way, cemented the faith that we have in him as a truly revolutionary musician.

Runners Up:

Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

Mitski – Be the Cowboy

boygenius – boygenius EP



Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

Kacey Musgraves hits one high note after another in Golden Hour. Everything clicks perfectly. Musgraves’ talent as a songwriter and melody-maker is second to none, and each song is well-formed, thoughtful, and a completely delightful experience. While previously Musgraves has sounded like someone who simply does her own thing, Golden Hour is the latest incarnation of herself. Teeming with romance in every sense, all while honoring the classic ballads from her childhood, Musgraves adds a new sheen to this sound. This record is absolutely amazing.

Runners Up:

Camila Cabello – Camila

Ariana Grande – Sweetener

Chromeo – Head Over Heels


Pop Rap

Yet another tie from our programming team, first off:

Drake – Scorpion

Rarely does the meme-y song of the summer (“In My Feelings”) end up on a ‘Best of..’ list at the end of the year. Drake’s rapping has always left much to be desired, but maybe we need to understand that this is not what he’s doing anymore. Anybody who’s been to his live shows knows that he presents himself more as a R&B super-star than any of his rap contemporaries. Scorpion is the 90-minute realization of this and is by far the most entertaining and popular record of the year. Hit, after hit, after hit, after hit.. this album could not be denied in 2018, which is why it came tied for best Pop Rap record with:


The Louvre today offers a wide variety of tours you can take that will show you the history of the art and of the museum in a way that most patrons don’t get to see. Either guided or self-guided, guests can learn more about the history of the building in masterfully curated ways. The Louvre newest tour is called “APESHIT”, based on the video from the lead singe from EVERYTHING IS LOVE. Rarely does an artist, or group, have the cultural impact that Beyonce and Jay-Z have in their mere presence. And the fact that the Louvre is now cashing in this shows just how important these two, and their union, are to art and culture today.

Runners Up:

Mac Miller – Swimming

Logic – YSIV

Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter V


Pop Rock

James Bay – Electric Light

There’s a confidence that’s required to spotlight your own raw, physical emotions without diminishing the returns. James Bay pulls this feat off with ease on Electric Light. Although the record itself lacks an underlying theme, Bay remains inherently cleaver which results in a very strong follow up for an artist who is still finding his feet and his own preferred musical style. In all honesty, we’re all really here for the electronically experimental phase we find Bay in with Electric Light and can’t wait to see where it ends up.

Runners Up:

Lissie – Castles

Paul McCartney – Egypt Station

The Lemon Twigs – Go To School



Beach House – 7

There was a ton of hype heading into 2018 for the Baltimore psychedelic dream pop duo Beach House and they lived up to every single ounce of it. was dark, messy, massive and intimate. By taking familiar ideas and filtering them through new arrangements and effects, the band took their identity in their own hands and reshaped it into something immensely intriguing. Beach House have done a whole lot to demonstrate a willingness to reimagine what it is that Beach House can be. Track-by-track, moment-by-moment, is a triumph, a record that will go down as the masterpiece of an already beloved band.

Runners Up:

Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love

U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited

Spirtualized – And Nothing Hurt


Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!

With Wide Awake! we find a group that in a mere 40-minutes shows us just how unafraid they are to push themselves, both creatively and politically. Arguments can be made on if this is Parquet Courts’ best album to date, but Wide Awake! certainly shows the groups broadest emotional range to date with a healthy dollop of anger on display.  There is most definitely a lot to be pissed off about in the world in 2018, but Parquet Courts remind us to, at least, dance and have a little bit of a good time before the impending apocalypse.

Runners Up:

Tom Petty – An American Treasure

Esra Furman – Transangelic Exodus

Shame – Songs of Praise


The Internet – Hive Mind

If you had the pleasure of listening to this record once this year, you probably found yourself revisiting it again, and again, and again. This moreish stew of hazy, swooning R&B is practically impossible to resist. Through its 13 tracks Hive Mind melds Motown melodies and pop chords for the heartbreak and house party listeners alike. It’s soul music through the prism of 2018, infused with all the hot tension, waver confidence and constant uncertainty of our time. From it’s very first note to it’s last flourish, it’s clear that Hive Mind is a soul-fueled journey that was bound to be crowd pleasing.

Runners Up:

Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

Kali Uchis – Isolation

Anderson East – Encore


MGMT – Little Dark Age

In the age of Tame Impala and Ariel Pink, the arena of odd and experiemental synthpop is reaching an apex. MGMT, however, still hold the mantle as it’s modern genesis. There’s still a lot of fun to be found in what exactly they’re capable of in 2018. Fortunately this isn’t the best the group has sounded in years, this is the best the band have ever sounded. MGMT’s return with Little Dark Age was a welcomed surprise and it audibly rooted them in mainstream mid-80s electronic pop more than anything MGMT had recorded previously. Working again with Dave Fridmann and with some assistance by previously mentioned Ariel Pink, the album feels like something that it’s alternatively melting, warming and woozy.

Runners Up:

Christine and the Queens – Chris

GUM – The Underdog

Louis Cole – Time

Best R&B


Best Album of 2018

Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

Dirty Computer will be that album that finally pushes Janelle Monáe to the highest of pop’s upper echelons. Combining rap, soul, pop, R&B, Monáe champions the identity she embraces, an identity which receives visibility and a new idol in one fell swoop. Her commentary about America and womanhood as she sees it combines perfectly with her own cosmic soul energy. With Dirty Computer Monáe channels the greats while charting her own course. A course that is 10 steps ahead of the rest of us. Monáe is already post-Trump, embracing a robot-utopia that gives hope for an equal world. Ever since the release of The ArchAndriod Monáe has been tagged as an icon of the future, with Dirty Computer she makes good on this potential, keeping the focus and fearlessness she has always had.

Runners Up, R&B:

Kali Uchis – Isolation

Blood Orange – Negro Swan

Various Artists – Black Panther: The Album


Runners Up, Best Album of 2018:

The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

Kali Uchis – Isolation

Robyn – Honey