Dustin Condren/Courtesy of the artist
By Bob Boilen
The music I loved most in 2018 was often filled with more graceful and subtle tones, like the works of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, German composer Niklas Paschburg and the mysteriously soulful serpentwithfeet. I loved songs with introspective stories. Lucy Dacus, Adrianne Lenker and John Prine were a few favorites in that department. As always, I also looked for some humor, and for that, no one made a record like Superorganism. David Byrne's album American Utopia, his best in decades, had all of these elements, being thoughtful, funny and, at times, subtle.
I will say that 2018 felt like the least exciting year in my recent musical memory. That's not to take away from the excitement I felt for the records I loved. But given the quantity of music in 2018 (it felt like I got a new song in my inbox every minute), there was less music that spoke to my soul than usual. Maybe if I were a big fan of R&B and hip-hop I'd feel differently, but that music rarely speaks to me.
Others music I loved in 2018 include albums by the River Whyless, Mitski, Saint Sister, boygenius, Courtney Barnett, Kamasi Washington, The Decemberists, Khruangbin, Cautious Clay, Haley Heynderickx and Tierra Whack.
My Top Ten albums are listed below followed by a playlist with my 100 favorite songs. Hit random and hopefully you'll find something new.
Bob Boilen's Top 10 Albums Of 2018
1. Lucy Dacus, 'Historian'
♫ LISTEN: Lucy Dacus, Historian
2. Superorganism, 'Superorganism'
♫ LISTEN: Superorganism, Superorganism
3. Ólafur Arnalds, 're:member'
♫ LISTEN: Ólafur Arnalds, re:member
4. Darlingside, 'Extralife'
♫ LISTEN: Darlingside, Extralife
5. Adrianne Lenker, 'abysskiss'
♫ LISTEN: Adrianne Lenker, abysskiss
6. David Byrne, 'American Utopia'
♫ LISTEN: David Bryne, American Utopia
7. Niklas Paschburg, 'Oceanic'
♫ LISTEN: Niklas Paschburg, Oceanic
8. John Prine, 'The Tree Of Forgiveness'
♫ LISTEN: John Prine, The Tree Of Forgiveness
9. serpentwithfeet, 'soil'
♫ LISTEN: serpentwithfeet, soil
10. The Low Anthem, 'The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea'
♫ LISTEN: The Low Anthem, The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea