The best records of 2018, in my humble opinion

Because, you know, it’s what Audiophiles do.

Yes, I’m really into art AND music. Rather than let an algorithm deliver what it thinks were my faves this year, which Spotify is quite good at, I decided to compile my own best of 2018.

I did this by month, as the releases came out in a manageable way, and I could discern which would make the cut for the rest of the year. I’ll keep obsessing over what stuck out and was relevant to me as well as music I hear everyday. The page will most likely remain set from month to month, unless I have some crazy revelation about why something is great. As you’ll see, my musical tastes are quite diverse. I miss my guitars and recording, but hope to get back there soon. Until then, I’ll live vicariously through others, taking you on the ride, with what I think is great anyway.

JANUARY / JANUARI

Swedish sister sirens that sing like they’re from Nashville, with bittersweet tales of loves lost, and looking back on the “Ruins” of a relationship. I have enjoyed everything these ladies have ever put out. I chose this title for January as it shines brighter than others for this month and in their own catalog.

The excellent songwriting make these tracks great of course, but there are lush arrangements, both traditional country & western and not, that show the range of direction that the band can take.

Like I’ve stated, I love everything they do, so I’m a bit biased. Not to mention the great work they’ve done with one of my heroes, Conor Oberst, on the solo record, “Upside Down Mountain”. Besides, their voices are so powerful, they can make Emmylou even cry.

The way that siblings’ voices can do amazing things with harmonizing natural thirds and keys is very much a part of the band’s dynamic. Some of my favorites that exhibit this are that of Phil and Don Everly, the Beach Boys or the Carter Family. This seems to come from a family’s inherited & shared timbre which has always fascinated me. First Aid Kit does this in a beautiful way, creating intertwining melodies that can be far away from one another in range as well as coming back full force in unison.

Track running order is always important to me, as I guess I’m a bit of a completist, looking for a theme or story that could be told. Often, the best albums for me are jam packed with theme and variation. Another true craft mark of a band or producer is when they can do this within ten tracks, like what has been done in this release. For the first fave of 2018, January was a direct hit, to the ears and heart.

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