2018 represents the year when the millennial artists began to exert their creative muscles. Up to this point, music was being influenced by their tastes, especially with regards to their love of hip hop and their relative indifference to the rock music of the past. Sure, we have been witnessing a surge in the bromance side of country music, which has caused a new kind of outlaw country music to become the music d’jour. Additionally, we seem to be leaving the emphasis on noise-based rock, as popularized by the shoegaze movement of the Nineties. There’s only so much atonal guitar noise a generation can tolerate, which may be why this generation is slowly embracing power pop and other forms of what is now called indie pop music. The generation is even beginning to back away from their “voice,” Kanye West, not because of his insane antics, but because his embrace of atonal music beats that make him sound as if he was trying to become the shoegaze artist of rap. While, my older son continues to defend Ye’s music, his colleagues are turning away from his new music in droves.
Obviously, it will be interesting to see how all of this turns out. Now, let’s delve further into 2018 as I continue my countdown. Today, we are covering #21-30. Here we go!
30. Ariana Grande – Sweetener. Our little Ariana is maturing, both as an artist and an individual. And although, this album reflected her short-lived engagement to SNL star Pete Davidson, the album was still full of adult hope and love. She is ready to accept the mantle of the people’s favorite diva from Mariah, and this album proves it.
29. The Carters – Everything Is Love. Now, the Carters have their marriage back on track, and this album was dropped to prove their love was true. First, their was Beyoncé’s self-titled LP intimating there was trouble in paradise. Then came the reconciliation tour. Next, Queen Bey released Lemonade telling the world that Jay-Z cheated, and she was pissed. Jay-Z followed with his “tail-between-his-legs, I’m sorry” 4:44. Now, the couple had reconciled and are moving forward together, and here is there musical document. The cynic in me thinks this is a little too neatly wrapped up commercially, but, whatever. The current critics and public loved the whole love story played out in albums.
28. Hawk – Bomb Pop. The Knack is alive and well in the form of Hawk. Only, Hawk isn’t as horny as The Knack. Okay, so maybe they are a latter-day version of Bram Tchaikovsky. Wait! Either way, this is a great album.
27. Danny Wilkerson – Wilkerson. Power pop is alive and well, thanks to Danny Wilkerson. This album is just bit more pop than power, but whose complaining? Not the fans of Squeeze, Crowded House and Rubber Soul/Revolver-era Beatles.
26. The Stan Laurels – Maybe. Seriously, how many power pop bands are going to be in this countdown? More than you thought existed. And while this band has a self-effacing name, their are no one’s second fiddle. This band is in it for the long haul.
25. Jackie Daytona – She’s So Hot. This rollicking, hard-pounding album is just the right antidote for Eighties hard rock fans. We are talking about a mixture of Donnie Iris, Cheap Trick and some Jet thrown in for good measure.
24. Paul Collins – Out of My Head. The godfather of power pop is alive and well and making great music. Today, Collins is more of a craftsman, while his first three LPs represented part of the foundation of the genre. Still, it ALWAYS comforting when one of the power pop gods descend Mt. Olympus to give us a new set of songs.
23. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me. The great thing about power pop is that it is gender-neutral, meaning women are as likely to create great albums as the men. And, The Beths prove it with their honey-tinged vocals while rocking as hard as any band this year.
22. Diamond Hands – Diamond Hands II. In 2017, Diamond Hands’ debut album was one of last year’s most compelling debut. Diamond Hands II picked up right where the band left off last year. This is a follow-up along the lines of Hendrix’ Axis: Bold as Love or Cheap Trick’s In Color, only a true power pop band.
21. Daphne & Celeste – Daphne & Celeste Save the World. Who knew that this female duo would bring back true Eighties-styled New Wave. This is a brilliantly fun album was released just when things were getting way too serious in the music world. The timing was perfect. Now, an audience needs to discover them STAT!
Now, we are poised for the Top Twenty Albums of 2018. Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow for ten more albums.