2018 is nearly over. And with the new year comes reflection, retrospection, and some top ten lists. This year gave us an onslaught of pop culture, and now Street has endeavored to choose the best of all of it—best albums, best television shows, best books, and best movies from this year, based on staff's picks.
1. Golden Hour: Kacey Musgraves
Rising country superstar Kacey Musgraves pushes the boundaries of genre on the standout Golden Hour, her fourth widely released album. From the psychedelic trip of "Slow Burn" to the deft circular wordplay in "Space Cowboy," every track on this record stuns.
2. Be the Cowboy: Mitski
Mitski, long a favorite of sad Internet denizens, broke more into the mainstream with her radiant fifth album Be The Cowboy. Her raw and emotional lyricism and a tight, quiet voice that seems to build on itself give this album a depth, both emotionally and sonically, that's nearly unmatched.
3. boygenius EP: boygenius
Indie rock supergroup boygenius, made up of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, released their freshman EP this year. The five songs oscillate: ballads giving way to indie rock anthems, showcasing that, despite the individuals' impressive talents, the whole is better than the sum of its parts.
4. Dirty Computer: Janelle Monae
There's no way to recap twenty–gay–teen without addressing Janelle Monae's slick and synthy rainbow of an album, Dirty Computer. Monae reprograms her android alter ego, Jane 57821, for her latest full–length album and feature "emotion picture," both set in a restrictive dystopian future.
5. High as Hope: Florence + the Machine
On her most introspective and personal album yet, Florence Welch trades in the sweeping allegories of earlier records for stripped–down reflections on family ("Grace," for her sister) and the quiet nature of love ("No Choir"). It's a stunning album that shows emotional scope can come from hyper–specificity.
6. A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships: The 1975
The 1975 has gotten weirder, more introspective, and more willing to try anything—that's what makes this album so great. The album features '80s–synth–pop style hits–in–the–making coupled with a pared–down jazz standard and an experimental track narrated by a voice assistant, and, miraculously, it works. That efficacy is due in large part to frontman Matty Healy's unending sincerity and honesty in the lyrics.
7. sweetener: Ariana Grande
We at Street officially dub 2018 the year of the high ponytail. Ms. Ariana Grande has been through it, from her ex–boyfriend's untimely passing, to her ill–fated whirlwind engagement, and even to struggles with mental health. She channeled sadness into strength on her latest album, sweetener, a dreamy bop of an album that sounds like if you'd set a lullaby to a 2000's RnB beat. To Ariana: thank u, next—we can't wait for more.
8. Whack World: Tierra Whack
Every one of the 15 songs on Whack World clocks in at exactly one minute long, and leaves you wanting more. Philadelphia native Tierra Whack, who visited campus for Jazz & Grooves and SPEC–Trum's fall show, put out her incredible debut audiovisual album this year. Her rap album and its accompanying visual album are absurd, funny, banal, and deeply human—and her music is damn catchy.
9. Make My Bed EP: King Princess
Up–and–comer King Princess' first EP celebrates queer love with vocals so slick you'll almost forget to listen to the gut punch lyrics. The sharp, derisive longing on "Upper West Side" mixed the note–perfect production of "1950" make this a killer debut.
10. EVERYTHING IS LOVE: The Carters
Bey and Jay's first joint album dropped in June of this year, and damn did it deliver. Beyoncé really steals the show on this one, from her tight raps to her crooning on songs like "SUMMER." With just nine songs, our chief complaint about this album is that there's just not enough of it.