The Top 10 Albums of 2018

In my past lists, male artists dominated. I even had a year where there was only one female band on my Top 10 list. That is just shameful. So this year, the year of the woman, the most punk rock thing to do is go one better. In a year of listening to more female artists than ever before, here are the albums that spoke to me in 2018, in no particular order:

This might be my favorite Top 10 list to date. And sadly, Kali Uchis, Santigold, and Haley Heynderickx didn’t quite make the cut. But damn, the year of the woman roared, rocked, soothed, inspired, motivated, intrigued, captivated, grooved, and in so many aspects opened my mind. #MuchLove

The Top 10 Albums of 2017

Music is deeply tied to my work. All day long, while I’m designing, I listen to what I consider to be the best music out there. And for the last few years I pick my Top 10 albums of the year for the KEXP countdown. This year was extra difficult. 

I had a shortlist of about 30 albums. From some of my all-time favorite bands to other artists I heard for the first time this year. It was tough getting it down to only 10.

It’s also worth noting, given the state of America and our insistence on going backwards, the music was a counter. It pushed us forward. It kept us dreaming, hoping, wondering, working. It was full of beauty, hope, outrage, unity, solidarity, and, most of all, truth.  

With that, these are the albums that spoke to me in the year 2017, in no particular order:

Also worth noting, the Arcade Fire Everything Now tour was absolutely incredible. While their album, which I liked very much, didn’t make my Top 10, their Seattle show was probably the best concert I’ve ever been to. And Valerie June on a freezing cold winter’s day in Omaha? I’m in love.

The Top 10 Albums of 2016

The albums that pushed me through this year of intensity and loss, of dread and motivation. The music out there in the world is always a sign of our great potential for beauty, harmony, understanding, and hope. For me, these are the albums of 2016, in no particular order:

I’ve always known Beyoncé is really something special. But until this year, nothing she’s done has really spoken to me. Then she released “Formation.” And the Earth stood still. Also, special shoutout to that new Beck song “WOW.” Still can’t believe how amazing it is. Finally, I discovered Valerie June this year. Can’t wait for January 27, 2017.

The Top 10 Albums of 2015

These are the ones that left the biggest imprint. The albums that, when I look back on this year, I can feel them shake my being and alter the standard course of my day-to-day trajectory. Without further ado, in no particular order:

And if I could have 11, I’d include Wolf Alice, My Love Is Cool. But thems the breaks.

The Top 10 Albums of 2014

Here they are. The most beautiful, most interesting albums that have truly touched my soul and gotten me through a year of great joy, great sadness and much learning. In no particular order:

Notable mentions for the best songs not on this list include “Kingdom” by Common, “Black Out Days” by Phantogram and “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” by Run The Jewels