The last 2018 retrospective post, and it’s a doozy! Music is something that’s everywhere- on the radio, in our games and movies, advertisements, and more. I’ve always seen music as the language of the soul, a great way of conveying emotion and thought in an abstract way.
Before I get carried away with talking about the importance of music, I should let the team share their favourite music from 2018. There’s a fair bit of variety here, and without a doubt many of us had trouble narrowing it down to one pick. It’s been an absolutely amazing year for music, at least in album releases and video game soundtracks. Trust me, we’ll be getting into our favourite video game music in 2019!
We’ve also added a Spotify link to the music we’ve picked, so you can jump right into our recommendations. And as always, drop a comment with your favourite music of 2018.
The growth of Kero Kero Bonito is absolutely astounding, with their earlier albums containing pure joy, and then turning into the incredibly melancholic and at times saccharine feelings of Time ‘n’ Place. The dreamy, poppy form of happiness is still sort of there, playing the role of muted hope behind a thick fog of confusion and emptiness. It’s almost as if their earlier work was building up to have a contrast against.
Only Acting is the stand out here for me, being a song about putting on a happy face for social media, only sharing and showing the good parts of life. While each song has its own theme and story, it all comes together for an overall feeling that life doesn’t always go our way, and that’s okay.
Nothing feels more like 2018 music to me than Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked. I know, I know, “Panic! at the Disco in 2018?! Are you crazy?” But hear me out. The Panic! Or 2018 is a very different beast to the Panic! of 2007. Gone are the edgy, emo-forward sounds of the mid-noughties, replaced with a refreshing and eclectic mix of modern pop, alt rock, and just a dash of theatrics. The result is an album that is an absolute joy to listen to, with leadman Brendon Urie’s phenomenal voice punctuating every note in a tune that will absolutely get stuck in your head after just one listen.
The highlight of the release is hard to pin down, but for me it’s a hard tie between two songs: Roaring 20s and Dying in LA. The former is a jazzy little number inspired by Urie’s time on the broadway musical Kinky Boots, while the latter is a sombre and powerful ballad exploring what it feels like to be tempted by the bright lights of success, only to fail. They stand in stark opposition of each other on an emotional level, but neither feel out of place on the album. Panic! sees major changes to its musical style with every release, but like all of their albums before, Pray for the Wicked offers an emotionally honest exploration of what music can mean. And you can’t get much better than that.
As a huge fan of Within Temptation, I was looking forward to hearing what the lead singer’s solo venture would sound like, but also a little apprehensive about whether it would be different from Within Temptation’s sound, and whether this would be a good or bad thing. It is different, but the upbeat indie pop-influenced melodies show that den Adel’s talents reach far beyond the symphonic/metal rock genre of Within Temptation’s albums. A new Within Temptation album is scheduled to release early next year, but until then I’ll happily keep listening to My Indigo (with my favourite song being the title track).
I feel like I can’t talk enough about the music of Minus the Bear – my absolute favourite band of all time, and an awesome example of my favourite genre: math rock. Their latest album, Voids, which technically came out in 2017, is an excellent continuation of what they’re known for, but if you’re looking for my absolute favorites from their whole catelogue (and my most played songs of the year) then make sure to check out Lotus; My Time; and Diamond Lightning.