What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

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What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Future Critic » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:16 pm

It seems like 2018 has been a little less predictable than recent years on what will be the most acclaimed album and song of the year, with few frontrunners. Any guesses on what will top each list?

As of right now, I feel like the song race is between "Make Me Feel" by Janelle Monae and "This Is America" by Childish Gambino.

Albums is even tougher to predict. Right now, I feel like Janelle Monae's "Dirty Computer" has to be considered the frontrunner.

What does everyone else think? Lists should be arriving in less than two months now, and personally I can't wait! :D

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby acroamor » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:31 pm

The very tops of EOY lists seem to me to always center on albums released by familiar artists. If that holds out this year, I'd imagine that Janelle Monae claims the top spot for sure. After that, I'd expect to see Beach House, Spiritualized, Courtney Barnett, and Pusha T. (I'll be blown away though if some order of those wound up being the top five)

I'd also imagine for less obvious choices that Kacey Musgraves, Mitski, Deafheaven, and Parquet Courts do well. They'll easily be top twenty, but I'm hoping that they make it even higher.

I'm curious how Kanye's releases will fare this year. Kids See Ghosts is definitely the stronger/more favored on his releases, unless he somehow blows everyone away with Yandhi. I do think his political movements recently will factor against him unless they pivot back by EOY time.

And I'm gonna throw a wild guess and say that Clean by Soccer Mommy or Lush by Snail Mail might be the surprise high-placers of the year.

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Rob » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:40 pm

acroamor wrote:After that, I'd expect to see Beach House, Spiritualized, Courtney Barnett, and Pusha T. (I'll be blown away though if some order of those wound up being the top five)

Yeah, I don't think Barnett will make the top five or even top 10 this year. I like the album a lot, but I'm not sure if the love is that big all around. Spiritualized is hard to predict, but doesn't seem to be the kind of act to do well. I totally expect Pusha T. in the top 5, though, indeed with Monaé. If I had to guess now (and it is a wild guess of course, also ignoring coming releases) I think the top 5 will be rounded out by Idles, Kids See Ghosts and... The Black Panther soundtrack. That really is an album of the moment in many way, with many of the hottest stars attached. Beach House might be top 10, perhaps with Mitski, Parquet Courts, Kamasi Washington and Noname. Deafheaven appeals to much to a niche that a lot of publications ignore.

I'm curious how Kanye's releases will fare this year. Kids See Ghosts is definitely the stronger/more favored on his releases, unless he somehow blows everyone away with Yandhi. I do think his political movements recently will factor against him unless they pivot back by EOY time.

Oh God, there is another Kanye West album coming? Didn't he get enough attention this year? I totally predicted Ye to place this year, despite negative press (both for his antics as well as the album), because Kanye has always weathered negative reviews well come end of year. Maybe Yandhi will steal it's thunder though. If it is clearly better than Ye, Ye will be out.

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby ordinaryperson » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:10 pm

I've been wondering about this too since we're about a month away from when these lists start coming out. I imagine Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer being #1 with SOPHIE, Idles, Parquet Courts, and Noname rounding out the top 5. Mitski, Kamasi Washington, Pusha T, and maybe something unexpected like Arianna Grande, Kanye West, Cardi B, or Drake will fill out the rest of the top 10.

As for songs I usually have no idea for what to expect. This is America will probably place high but I couldn't imagine it being #1 since it's really just a soundtrack for a short. The EOY for songs has had more pop songs in recent years, so maybe I Like It, In My Feelings, Nice for What, God's Plan, or Sad! will top the EOY spreadsheet.
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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Future Critic » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:40 pm

Last year, top 5 all placed in the top 7 in Otisredding's MegaChart. The top 5 also all had 28 reviews or more:

1. DAMN. (1st on MCCh, 89.3, 28 reviews)
2. American Dream (4th, 88.0, 29 reviews)
3. Melodrama (5th, 87.9, 30 reviews)
4. A Deeper Understanding (7th, 84.7, 31 reviews)
5. MASSEDUCTION (3rd, 88.4, 30 reviews)

NOT TOP 5, but high in MegaChart:
Run the Jewels 3 (43rd in AM, 89.2, 28 reviews) clearly hurt by yearend 2016 release
A Crow Looked At Me (17th, 85.8, 17 reviews) probably hurt by low number of reviews


2016 Top 5:
1. Blackstar (7th on MCCh, 86.3, 30 reviews)
2. A Moon Shaped Pool (9th, 85.0, 30 reviews)
3. Blonde (3rd, 87.8, 28 reviews)
4. Skeleton Tree (1st, 89.6, 25 reviews
5. Lemonade (2nd, 88.7, 28 reviews)

NOT TOP 5, but high in MegaChart:
My Woman (29th in AM, 86.7, 29 reviews)
22, A Million (8th, 86.5, 29 reviews)
You Want It Darker (11th, 86.4, 24 reviews)
We Got It from Here... (10th, 86.0, 22 reviews)


2015 Top 5:
1. To Pimp a Butterfly (1st in MCCh, 94.2, 29 reviews)
2. Carrie & Lowell (2nd, 91.3, 31 reviews)
3. In Colour (11th, 83.9, 27 reviews)
4. Currents (13th, 82.8, 29 reviews)
5. I Love You, Honeybear (6th, 86.3, 28 reviews)

NOT TOP 5, but high in MegaChart:
Vulnicura (9th in AM, 86.7, 31 reviews)
No Cities To Love (10th, 86.7, 30 reviews)
From Kinshasa (46th, 86.5, 7 reviews)

So typically the top 5 have the following things in common:
1. Receive 28 or more reviews (87%)
2. Place in top 10 of MCCh (87%)
3. Score 86 or higher on MCCh (73%)

So, this implies that albums typically need at least 27+ reviews and typically rank in the top 10 in MCCh.

This year is weird because most of the top albums on MCCh have less than 27 reviews. The only albums with 27+ reviews in the top 10 are Dirty Computer, Negro Swan, Be the Cowboy and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. Daytona only has 17 reviews, so it seems likely it will not crack the top five. Deafheaven probably isn't universal enough to crack the top 10 either.

I think that means the most likely top 5 (so far) for this year are probably Dirty Computer, Be the Cowboy, Negro Swan, Joy as an Act of Resistance and Beach House 7.

With that said, typically the top 5 albums each year have had scores over 86. This year there hasn't been a single album with a score above 86. Let's hope for a great final three months! :)

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Nassim » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:49 pm

I think Idles will easily top the UK ranking and possibly the "rest of the world" one but not feature much in US list. From what I recall albums who do that usually end up around #3 overall, so I'd bet on Janelle Monae in the end.
Low always had big support from European publications so I would expect it to continue, add on top the love of critics for good ol' "respected artists reinvent their sound" and Double Negarive should at the very least become their best ranked album.
And I wouldn't be chocked if Deafheaven made top 5, they'll be the indie darlings.

And This Is America, obvious #1

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Listyguy » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:57 pm

I'm hoping for a Janelle Monae sweep at this point (though my favorite song from her album is "Americans," I feel like "Pynk" has more acclaim potential.

Also, can someone explain the appeal of the song "This is America"? The popularity of it's music video doesn't make it a better song.

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Future Critic » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:02 pm

Songs are always incredibly tough to predict, but here are my current predictions:

01 This Is America, Childish Gambino
02 Make Me Feel, Janelle Monae
03 I Like It, Cardi B
04 God's Plan, Drake
05 no tears left to cry, Ariana Grande
06 Danny Nedelko, IDLES
07 Nice For What, Drake
08 All The Stars, Kendrick Lamar, SZA
09 Venice Bitch, Lana Del Rey
10 Missing U, Robyn
11 Four Out of Five, Arctic Monkeys
12 My My My!, Troye Sivan
13 Geyser, Mitski
14 Pynk, Janelle Monae
15 Mariners Apartment Complex, Lana Del Rey
16 New Birth in New England, Phosphorecent
17. Suspirium, Thom Yorke
18 Falling Into Me, Let's Eat Grandma
19 I Shall Love 2, Julia Holter
20 Slow Burn, Kacey Musgraves

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Rob » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:06 am

ordinaryperson wrote: with SOPHIE, Idles, Parquet Courts, and Noname rounding out the top 5.

I can't see SOPHIE doing that well. It is too odd and obscure. I think it more likely takes the place of King Krule, the strange album that still does well, but I don't see it getting higher than Krule's #10.

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Krurze » Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:35 pm

I've got a feeling that SOPHIE's album will fare really well because of the whole LBGT theme surrounding it that seems to be really popular right now.

Predictions for top 5 (in no particular order):

Janelle Monáe
SOPHIE
Parquet Courts
Idles
Pusha T.

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Nick » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:01 am

My bet for top 10 albums (based on what's come out so far, of course, because I think that new Robyn album has some serious potential)...

1. Janelle Monáe
2. Beach House
3. Idles
4. Mitski
5. Kanye West/Kid Cudi
6. Sophie
7. Pusha T
8. Blood Orange
9. Kamasi Washington
10. Car Seat Headrest

As for songs, I agree with anyone else who said that "This Is America" and "Make Me Feel" will nab the top 2 spots. I think "This Is America" will be number 1 though, for the reasons I've outlined below, in a post I made back in June...

1. The song is incredibly commercially successful, hitting #1 on the charts in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, as well as hitting #2 in Ireland and #6 in the U.K.

2. The song is by Donald Glover, a man whose acclaim/prominence in multiple artistic fields is hitting a peak right now, from his TV show Atlanta to his appearance in the latest Star Wars film to his rap career as Childish Gambino. The point being, Glover embodies the zeitgeist, and there are few things the critics love more than a good zeitgeist narrative.

3. The song is done in the trap style of hip-hop, a sound that is critically in vogue, as evidenced by the success of songs like "Mask Off", "XO Tour Llif3", and "Bodak Yellow" on the 2017 EOY songs list.

4. The song is obviously political, as evidenced by the music video and its focus on both the plight of African Americans, as well as gun control, two political issues that are constantly discussed in the America of 2018, and resonate especially well with the left-wing writers that make up the bulk of music critics (if you don't believe this last point, read just about any editorial in Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc.). Considering the hyper-political atmosphere in the US right now, it's easy to see how "This is America" would gain a great deal of acclaim from this last point alone.

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby bootsy » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:52 am

Listyguy wrote:Also, can someone explain the appeal of the song "This is America"? The popularity of it's music video doesn't make it a better song.


Nick wrote:
As for songs, I agree with anyone else who said that "This Is America" and "Make Me Feel" will nab the top 2 spots. I think "This Is America" will be number 1 though, for the reasons I've outlined below, in a post I made back in June...

1. The song is incredibly commercially successful, hitting #1 on the charts in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, as well as hitting #2 in Ireland and #6 in the U.K.

2. The song is by Donald Glover, a man whose acclaim/prominence in multiple artistic fields is hitting a peak right now, from his TV show Atlanta to his appearance in the latest Star Wars film to his rap career as Childish Gambino. The point being, Glover embodies the zeitgeist, and there are few things the critics love more than a good zeitgeist narrative.

3. The song is done in the trap style of hip-hop, a sound that is critically in vogue, as evidenced by the success of songs like "Mask Off", "XO Tour Llif3", and "Bodak Yellow" on the 2017 EOY songs list.

4. The song is obviously political, as evidenced by the music video and its focus on both the plight of African Americans, as well as gun control, two political issues that are constantly discussed in the America of 2018, and resonate especially well with the left-wing writers that make up the bulk of music critics (if you don't believe this last point, read just about any editorial in Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc.). Considering the hyper-political atmosphere in the US right now, it's easy to see how "This is America" would gain a great deal of acclaim from this last point alone.


What he said. It's also a great song to exercise to in my amp cycle class. The instructor plays it a lot and that is the most intense endurance part of the workout for sure when she plays that song. I barely have any breath after that song.

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Re: What Will Top AM's Albums and Songs lists for 2018?

Postby Rob » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:04 am

Krurze wrote:I've got a feeling that SOPHIE's album will fare really well because of the whole LBGT theme surrounding it that seems to be really popular right now.


I agree it will do well based off that, but it can't be the only argument as there are many albums with that theme with a lot of acclaim, including the more accessible Dirty Computer.


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