The best pop CDs of 2018

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 pop CDs of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order.

(You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2018 here.)


bestpopwide

Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts

With Wide Awake!, New York’s Parquet Courts have given us a lively punk masterpiece that is just as at home in a dive bar as it is on the dance floor. This politically conscious album is a classic in the making, with basslines and melodies that won’t leave your head for days.

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bestpopdirty

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe is one of the most original performers making music today. In this album, Monáe pits elements of pop, R&B and funk against themes of being a queer, black woman living in a world that others her constantly. Once you listen to this album, it’s impossible not to have it on heavy rotation.

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bestpop13

13 Rivers by Richard Thompson

For almost fifty years, Richard Thompson has been a pioneer of British folk-rock. The songs of 13 Rivers are driven by his skilful guitar playing, which recalls many different genres, and are underpinned by almost mechanical sounding drums. This is Thompson’s eighteenth studio album, and it’s accomplished, explorative, and has a lot of swagger.

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bestpopgods

God’s Favorite Customer by Father John Misty

Like his previous offerings, Father John Misty’s latest album is both highly amusing and beautifully performed. Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) has the voice of an angel, and uses it to harmonise about psychic terrorists, hallucinating in a hotel room, or being in the ‘Poem Zone’. Excellent stuff.

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bestpopgood

Good Citizens by Cash Savage and The Last Drinks

Cash Savage’s raw vocals and her band’s relentless, stomping rhythm get under the skin of that very trying time that was the 2017 postal plebiscite for marriage equality, and questions whether the damage it caused can be undone. This is a scorchingly good album with an important message.

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bestpoptime

Timeless by Nico Niquo (vinyl only)

Nico Nicquo’s music brings together elements of many genres – jazz fusion, ambient, and other electronic styles. This kind of music is quite the listening experience: Timeless is a dreamy soundscape to lose yourself in, and a great example of the amazing talent Melbourne’s music scene has to offer.


bestpopwander

Wanderer by Cat Power

There is something very magical about the music that Cat Power produces. Wanderer is no exception. In this album, her first in six years, Power’s voice echoes beneath warm-sounding pianos, acoustic guitars and percussion. These songs all have a gentle strength to them, and as with Power’s previous releases, Wanderer leaves a deep impression.

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bestpopheaven

Heaven and Earth by Kamasi Washington

Bandleader and saxophonist Kamasi Washington has completely blown it out of the water with Heaven and Earth. This epic album is mostly instrumental, and features an orchestra that soars over the top of Washington’s more traditional, core jazz band. This album has the ability to transport you to amazing places.

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bestpopother

The Other Side by Tord Gustavsen Trio

Norwegian jazz musicians Tord Gustavsen, Jarle Vespestad and Harald Johnsen are three artists who work together perfectly. The Other Side is a playful, warm collection of tracks, and is a brilliant example of a band where each musician highlights the best of the others’ playing.


bestpoplloyd

Vanished Gardens by Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams

Jazz master Charles Lloyd and gritty Americana singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams make for an excellent duo in Vanished Gardens. Together with Lloyd’s band, the Marvels, Williams’ and Lloyd’s distinctive styles intersect over their shared southern roots. This is an excellent, bluesy album with an effortlessly smooth improvisational bent to it.

Good Citizens

Good Citizens

Cash Savage and the Last Drinks

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