I saw someone online call 2018 “The Year of Forgettable Music,” and, while I understand where they’re coming from, I must disagree. Much like 2017, I feel like there was no breakaway “unanimous” album of the year. There was no Blonde, no Carrie & Lowell, not even a DAMN. No single album swept through every major publication’s AOTY lists, and that’s a good thing. Despite the lack of a clear AOTY winner, I found myself impressed by 2018 because I was keeping track of new releases more than any other year before.
Back in January I felt overwhelmed with the amount of exciting new music that had come out in a month that’s typically quiet for new releases. Inspired by this wealth of new music, I sat down, wrote a few thoughts on some of the month’s best albums, and published it in the same day. In truth, that post was as much for me to help remember what I was enjoying as it was a genuine “roundup” of new releases.
While I didn’t know it at the time, the decision to publish that one post would have an impact on the rest of my 2018. From that month onward I took note of every new release I listened to throughout the calendar year. I kept a long-running Google Doc of upcoming albums and even went as far as noting when artists put out new singles.
In 2018 I listened to and wrote about 454 new releases. Some of those were full reviews, some of them were a paragraph or so, and some were only one sentence. While I would never have expected it back it at the beginning of the year, this monthly recap became a self-imposed tradition. What began as a one-off post about albums I’d been enjoying that month soon became an institution that I enjoyed doing. It was a challenge, but it also helped me feel more tapped-in to new music than ever before, and now you get to reap the benefits.
While this may feel like a lot of backstory, this post is merely a collection of every monthly roundup I posted last year. It’s a comprehensive list of everything I listened to, enjoyed, and wrote about throughout all of 2018. Collectively, this post represents hundreds of albums, thousands of words, and countless hours of time. Please enjoy, bookmark, and feel free to use this as a guide to venture back through 2018 month-by-month to catch a release you may have missed out on.
I choose to think of 2018 not as a year of forgettable music, but a year of hidden gems. Sure you may have to dig a little bit to find them, but the truth is the year is only as forgettable as you allow it to be.