Music

The Best Music of 2018

Catch up on all of PopMatters' year-end best music features, including our deep and rich genre lists. Check back each weekday for new additions through to the holidays.

This is the hub for all of PopMatters' Best Music 2018 features this year. Check back each weekday for new additions through to the holidays.

The 70 Best Albums of 2018

From forward-looking electronic and experimental to new approaches in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and punk to rock and pop, 2018 bestowed an embarrassment of musical riches upon us. READ MORE

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The 60 Best Songs of 2018

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 60 songs that spoke to us this year. READ MORE

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The 21 Best Album Re-Issues of 2018

In 2018, the music world saw amazing reissues spanning rock titans to indie upstarts and electronic to pop of all stripes. READ MORE

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The 30 Best New Musical Artists of 2018

These are the best new artists of 2018 and they spring from all across the musical spectrum. READ MORE

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The 25 Best Electronic Albums of 2018

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2018 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 25 best albums. READ MORE

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The 20 Best Avant-Garde and Experimental Albums of 2018

This is no scene or collective. These artists have reached their limit in all directions, back into traditions and forward into uncertain futures. 2018 presented challenges for all of us, and our artists presented challenges right back. READ MORE

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The 20 Best Americana Albums of 2018

The rootsy releases of 2018 prove that Americana is (and always has been) experiencing a Rainbow Wave. READ MORE

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The 10 Best Indie Rock Albums of 2018

Indie rock represents a spirit that's found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. READ MORE

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The 12 Best Dance Tracks of 2018

From the raw, dance-punk rush of ADULT. to the stadium-sized anthems of Rüfüs du Sol, here are some of the endlessly addictive dance tracks of the year. READ MORE

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The 10 Best Country Albums of 2018

As our 2018 list demonstrates, women continue to make some of today's most spectacular country music, regardless of what gets played on the radio. READ MORE

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THE 10 BEST AMBIENT/INSTRUMENTAL ALBUMS OF 2018

A great ambient album can provide a space to step into, or make the trees on your morning walk seem a little taller and the light a little more vivid or the world seem a little more like a dream. READ MORE

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The 10 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2018

From Kanye tweets to Drake and Pusha T diss tracks to literary masterpiece "This Is America", 2018 was quite the year for rap. But if we had to boil it all down to just 10 albums, we think these are the cuts that truly rose above and summed up 2018 the best. READ MORE

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The Best Shoegaze and Dream Pop of 2018

Significant shoegaze storylines came around full circle last year, and in 2018 the plot thickened. Meanwhile, the chilling effects of dream pop continue to reverberate across other musical spheres. READ MORE

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The Best Jazz of 2018

The definition of "jazz" has never been broader, and the music has never been brighter. Two PopMatters critics pick their favorites in four modern jazz categories. READ MORE

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The Best Pop Albums of 2018

In a year when we wanted the radio star to have an opinion on the political divide, leave it to these ten exemplary pop records to slip in -- largely unnoticed -- and leave a lasting legacy all their own. READ MORE

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THE BEST INDIE POP OF 2018

What's here, on our 13th annual attempt to showcase and define indie pop, through celebration and exclusion, are brand-new acts, fairly new acts, and a longtime favorite or two. READ MORE

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THE BEST METAL OF 2018

Amidst all the global socio-political unrest and the personal trials of 2018, metal has had a noticeably strong and positive year. READ MORE

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THE BEST PROGRESSIVE ROCK/METAL OF 2018

This year provided introspective appreciation for creators and listeners alike for the sights and sounds of progressive music, as well as the more universal yet personal hardships and growths we all face. READ MORE

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THE BEST WORLD MUSIC OF 2018

Here they are, soft-spoken and hard-edged alike: a rich slice of some of this year's best musical offerings from across a wide and increasingly well-connected world. READ MORE

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THE 20 BEST FOLK ALBUMS OF 2018

Folk music in 2018 has kept the poignant storytelling elements so intimately knit into its fabric while introducing layers of new sonic and global influences. READ MORE

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THE 50 BEST ALBUMS OF 2018 SO FAR

As we head into a brief summer publication break to enjoy the summer sun for a few days, it's the perfect time to take stock of the year in music so far. READ MORE

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Books

90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.

Music

Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

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Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.

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Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

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The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.

Books

First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?

Reviews

HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.

Music

Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.

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How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.

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Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

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Paul Weller Dazzles with the Psychedelic and Soulful 'On Sunset'

Paul Weller's On Sunset continues his recent streak of experimental yet tuneful masterworks. More than 40 years into his musical career, Weller sounds as fresh and inspired as ever.

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