We are now passed this years halfway mark and after a brief hiatus I have decided to start writing again and what a better way to start off than by looking at some of my favourite albums of the year so far. Already this year has been jam packed with excellent releases from follow up albums to debut full length lPs. These rankings are not in a particular order:
IGOR – TYLER THE CREATOR
Whilst it hasn’t been all that long since Tyler dropped 2017s unanimously praised Flower Boy, I had been impatiently waiting for Tyler to drop a follow up to that near perfect album. Finally in May of this year Tyler dropped a surprise announced that Igor would be dropping in the coming weeks of May and I couldn’t have been more excited. I immediately preordered the album on Cassette and some album merch from his now iconic Golf Wang clothing brand. Upon first contact with the album you’ll notice this is very much not a follow up to Flower Boy, or any of his previous works for that matter. This is very much a concept album and thus toys and experiments with different sounds and ideas, arguably it takes elements from all his previous works, mixing them together with great results. Where Flower Boy were tightly and eloquently produced and put together, Igor’s production feels slightly under done, however, this is not to the albums detriment. The underproduced feel to the album actually furthers its quality and whilst at first I was initially hesitant to say it was better than Flower Boy, I now feel comfortably making that claim. From arguably the love song of the decade Earfquake to absolute bangers like What’s Good and New Magic Wand. Whilst this list is in no particular order, this record certainly takes the top spot of the year so far.
NOTHING GREAT ABOUT BRITAIN – SLOWTHAI
Slowthai is officially Britains biggest up and coming Grime artist and this debut album does nothing but prove that. Expertly written this album takes aim at Britains broken society and the government that are steering it to ruin. Going through all the trials and tribulations that the youth of modern Britain have to put up with on a daily basis and youth culture in general, Slowthai represents a voice for our generation. Nearly every track here is worth a listen with the albums opening track to the punk infused, electronic banger Doorman with Slowthai recruiting Mura Masa to create the tracks backing instrumentation. Slowthai truly shows here that there really is nothing great about Britain.
WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO – BILLIE EILISH
This has been quite the year for debut’s. Billie Eilish has accomplished more already than many artists would achieve throughout their whole careers. Now I’ve already reviewed this album in full, which you can find here. But since that review the album has only further grown on me. The albums slick production and Billies Lordesque vocalism make for a truly special debut album. Arguably the biggest name in pop music with musicians from all over the music spectrum praising her from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Foo Fighters Dave Grohl, and it’s easy to see why. Being move up the lineup at Glastonbury to accommodate her sheer popularity says it all and I’m excited to see what comes next, bring on her set at Reading 2019. Shame it’s going to be crammed into a fucking tent.
ZUU – DENZEL CURRY
Denzel Curry has made a name for himself as being one of the best current hip hop artists on the scene. It was only last year that he released the excellent Taboo, one of my favourite albums of last year and certainly one of the top hip hop albums from the last decade. It somewhat came as a surprise when Denzel dropped the track Ricky seemingly out of nowhere earlier in the year, but, proved to be an absolute banger. This surprise single soon turned into a full blown album and whilst not quite as fully realised as Taboo, Zuu finds great success in being more of an understated project. Whilst, the instrumentation and the albums overall sound in the grand scheme of things isn’t quite as grand as Taboo it certainly doesn’t make it bad by any means. Sticking with his now iconic hard rap flows Denzel continues here to build his impressive and diverse discography, with some standout tracks such as the aforementioned Ricky, P.A.T featuring PlayThatBoiZay and Birdz featuring Rick Ross.
PART. 1 EVERYTHING NOT SAVE WILL BE LOST – FOALS
I’ve had somewhat of a tumultuous relationship with the final entry, I loved it upon first listen and thoroughly enjoyed the singles prior to the albums released but kind of forgot about it as the year progressed on. It wasn’t until I saw Foals live at Alexandre Palace in June that I remembered quite how good this album was and what a return to form it was for the group after the mildly disappointing What Went Down. I’ve already posted a full review to this album which can be found here. The tracks found on this most recent record are all excellent from the disco infused In Degrees, to the hard rock banger White Onion and the slow burning balladry of Sunday. It’s certainly one of their most tight outings since the initial debut and seeing them headline Truck Festival in their home of Oxfordshire will be a special moment for the group.
Thats my 5 most standout albums of the year thus far, but, there have been many more greats that could have easily made the list from Thom Yorke’s most recent outing Anima, to James Blakes Assume Form. It truly has been an excellent year for music so far and there still plenty more to come throughout the rest of this year. We will be seeing new releases from The 1975, Run The Jewels, Lana Del Rey and hopefully Kanye will finally drop Yandhi (un-fucking likely).