Our top 10 albums of the year so far
Here at Reflektor, we listen to a lot of music, I mean a lot. So, we decided to compile a list of our favorite albums from the year thus far. Please take your time and listen to each of these albums, they are our favorites for a reason!
Note: The ranking of these albums are in no particular order.
God’s Favorite Customer – Father John Misty
God’s Favorite Customer, Josh Tillman’s fourth studio album under the name ‘Father John Misty’ is arguably the most emotional album by Tillman. FJM’s other albums have been received with great praise, and God’s Favorite Customer was also received with
“God’s Favorite Customer is Father John Misty’s 4th studio album. As with all of his previous releases, it’s his lyrics that always stand out to me. This time around Tillman’s lyrics are more vulnerable and sincere than they’ve ever been although he never seems loose his wit and humor. Aside from the lyrics the album just sounds really good, there’s some nice soft rock/70s vibes. God’s Favorite Customer is a record about heartbreak, and is a comedown from his previous 2 records.” – Carla Huysmans
Tell Me How You Really Feel – Courtney Barnett
Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett comes in swinging with her second full length studio album. ‘Tell me how you Really Feel’ is filled to the brim with emotional and meaningful lyrics like in “Nameless, Faceless”, when Barnett sings about the troubles she has had with internet trolls.
“She really manages to fully cement her style, both musically and through her lyrics, which I find very vulnerable, but also uniquely original, with always an expected twist. I also recently went to a concert of hers and she is one of those rare artists who sounds better live, on a musical level.” – Leila Ricca
Lush – Snail Mail
Maryland native Lindsey Jordan started writing her first EP ‘Habit’ when she was 15. After graduating high school, Jordan released her debut LP “Lush” on Matador records. Songs like “Pristine” and “Heatwave” stand out because of the simplicity in the chords and the meaning in the lyrics.
“Lush is easily my favorite album of the year. Each song brings something lyrically new to the table that anyone can connect with. And Lindsey Jordan is just so damn gorgeous.” – Brian Rhatigan
KOD – J Cole
KOD is North Carolina rapper J Cole’s fifth studio album. The 12 song album is a beautiful blend of soul, jazz, rap, and rock. There are three different interpretations behind KOD; Kids on Drugs, Kids Overdosed, or Kill our Demons, all fitting labels for the atmosphere of the album.
“It was the best album of the year where all the songs fit together as one piece of work, rather than individual songs put together. It also told a meaningful story, had great lyricism, and combined different genres of music.” – Bryce Murphy
Blank Panther, The Album – Various Artists
“Black Panther: The Album is a perfect contender for this list. It showcases each TDE member’s talent, and blends the themes of the film with African culture seamlessly. The transitions are flawless, the lyrics are thoughtful, and the fact that it was made while some artists were on the road is incredible. It provides a modern soundtrack to a movie that blends tradition with the future of what will hopefully be a Hollywood that is more diverse and groundbreaking than ever before.” – Sarah Beckford
Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino – Arctic Monkeys
“After five years of silence, the Arctic Monkeys make their much-awaited return with surprising and hypnotic ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel and Casino’. Perfectly managing to avoid self-parody or stylistic repetitions, this new album appears as a startling reinvention, a meandering and puzzling journey beyond known territories. Just like mankind first set foot on the moon on the ‘Tranquillity base’ site, the Arctic Monkeys disembark in an unknown universe in which they reveal a new, unexpected aspect of themselves.” – Freda Looker
Little Dark Age – MGMT
“This new album draws heavily from 80’s synth pop/brit pop, and yet still holds true to that psychedelic charm that has peppered their career. They kick things off with ‘She Works Out Too Much,’ a spoof on exercise music. The driving beat, and pounding bass line keep the listener mentally jogging in place for four minutes and 38 seconds (the instructor voice-overs really sell it). Title track, ‘Little Dark Age’ is a darker turn into goth pop, previously unexplored by the duo until now. That’s not to say it’s not catchy, as it does bare a similar song structure and groove to one of their “big three,” ‘Electric Feel.’ It has, undoubtedly, the crispest production on the album; sharp vocals, a tight snare, and a most notable synth bass that doesn’t let up. The third track and second single, ‘When You Die,’ is gloomy and aggressive. The stringy acoustic guitar is perfectly present, weaving in and out of a frustrated Vanwyngarden, who isn’t hesitant in telling the audience, “Go fuck yourself”. ‘Me and Michael’ is a straight trip to the 80s: cheesy lyrics; copious synth; dozens of “woahs;” and some guy named Michael. It’s familiar, charming, and it’s a foot down on the grounds that they can still write a hook. ‘Tslamp’ (Time Spent Looking at my Phone) is what the tape machine spit out after being fed an utter disregard for the technology that we have literally become addicted to. ‘James’ is another ode to the 80s and a “Goonies” type camaraderie. ‘One Thing Left to Try’ is in the same vein as ‘She Works Out Too Much,’ in its annoying, overdrawn out glory. An unnecessary, synth pop battle cry.” – Kendall Wright
Freedoms Goblin – Ty Segall
“This 19 song album is one hell of an adventure, composed of ballads and fuzz ridden tunes guaranteed to leave the listener asking for more. But if 19 songs are not enough for you, don’t worry. Segall averages one album each year, just like fellow Bay Area rocker John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, who happened to help produce Segall’s debut album. “Freedom’s Goblin” consists of hard rocking songs like “Fanny Dog”, and straight covers like “Every 1’s a Winner”. Regardless, Segall continues to push out hard rocking tunes that even the faintest rock fans can enjoy.” – Joe Terry
Isolation – Kali Uchis
“The album opens on the Bossa Nova masterpiece ‘Body Language.’ During a Reddit Q&A, when asked what the overarching theme of the album was, she replied ‘finishing your dry martini, enjoying views of the water as a beautiful woman dives in,’ and this track invokes exactly that image with the first beat drop. After that, the album flutters between genres through the hard-and-fast R&B track ‘Miami,’ the beat-driven collaboration with Steve Lacy ‘Just A Stranger,’ and the dreamy ballad ‘Flight 22.’ She flows through each medium with ease, rejuvenating it and making it her own as she goes. Pop hits like ‘Tyrant’ brush shoulders with the funk triumph ‘After the Storm’ and the Winehouse-esque closers ‘feel like a fool’ and ‘killer.’ There’s something for everyone on this album, yet at the end of it all, no matter your tastes in music, there will be only one name on your lips; ‘Kali Uchis.’” – Thomas Nell
Virtue – The Voidz (Formerly Julian Casablancas + The Voidz)
“Arriving three and a half years later, Virtue, the sophomore effort of the group (now just wearing the moniker The Voidz, as if to dismiss claims that it is a ‘side project’ in the traditional sense) is the anti-Tyranny. All that unbridled experimentation and exploration has been distilled into something that is much more recognizable and palatable. Although artistically, it’s coming from the same place fundamentally, Casablancas and his new group, have purposefully tamed the unwieldy beast of creativity, presenting the results of their exploration in a much more neatly presented package so that their audience can enjoy what they discovered as much as they did.” – Dylan Harkin