Iris (Rough Trade East)
1. Ariana Grande - Sweetener
Ari's been through a lot this year, but she somehow managed to make one of the funnest pop records I have ever heard. It's sparkly, rich, risky, fruity, jarring, playful, innovative, unclichéd (mostly)... and kinda crazy. And that is why it's my album of the year. I've listened to No Tears Left To Cry almost every day since it came out. It really is just one of the best songs ever written!
2. Nathalie Prass - The Future And The Past
Another solid gold pop hit, from my hero Natalie Prass. The context of this record is actually very deep, but you may get distracted by the massive hooks and outrageous grooves. She somehow manages to blend soft rock, hardcore funk, and pure pop into a beautiful modern classic.
3. Connan Mockasin - Jassbusters
The Connan Mockasin in-store in November was a peculiar event. He's always been a big deal for me but I only gave in to the album completely after watching him sing that night - the bangers were truly unleashed by the sound of his wispy, unsettling voice. It's certainly the most seductive record of 2018. And for me, one of the best!
4. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
Golden Hour was a late contender as I refused to listen up until recently. Either because of the front cover or because Jof from mail-order didn't shut up about it. But after hearing it once I was shamefully addicted. Somewhere between pop, country and rainbow rock, it's just such a confident, emotional and well rounded collection of pop songs. I love it.
5. Honey Hahs - Dear Someone Happy Something
There's nothing in this world that makes me cry more than watching Honey Hahs perform live. They make very touching music, and sing in heart wrenching three part harmonies. When the band played at the shop a few months ago, even the lead singer was in tears. It was all too much. They're so young and sweet and talented, and their debut album is such a lovely collection of unpretentious songs, often about very big themes.