I’m a little tardy on this and I’m extremely tardy on the Top 2017 Albums Of The Year. You’ll see that still… at some point. Having a kid and not having a slacker office job with oodles of downtime delays creative writing. Anyway, let’s focus on this year so far.
Though there have been really good albums at this point in time of 2018 this has by far been the weakest halftime report yet. Not to take anything away from anyone but nothing so far has completely blown me away. The best of the bunch is Will Toledo’s creative conduit Car Seat Headrest and like 2016 he again leads the field at the half. Now the narrative will undoubtedly be whether or not Toledo can hold onto that coveted #1 spot the rest of the year. His 2016 opus Teens Of Denial held the top spot all the way into late November only to be toppled by eventual winner Metallica with Hardwired… To Self Destruct. Car Seat Headrest had to settle for a superb runner-up. Now with his 2nd straight epic in this year’s Twin Fantasy does it have the strength to hold on to that top spot he’s been in since February? I’ll say this I don’t think it’s as strong as 2016’s Teens Of Denial and I still think it’s anybody’s year. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any legitmate contenders to be coming along any time soon.
Car Seat Headrest may be able to take advantage of 2016 and 2017 being ridiculously stacked with incredible albums thus thinning out the 2018 releases. That and some traditional powerhouses of these lists in previous years have remained dormant. Acts like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys, The Gaslight Anthem, Mumford & Sons, My Morning Jacket, and The Hold Steady have now gone three to four or even more years without a release and no time table for a return on the horizon. Other main event acts like Pearl Jam and The Rolling Stones seem to be waiting until 2019 or later to put out new albums.
One formidable contender recently was announced as releasing an album supposedly in November, that being Muse. Muse is one of only three acts to win the #1 spot twice (Metallica and The Black Keys being the others) and if they could topple Car Seat Headrest and win again they would be the sole three-time #1 spot winners. Could November once again be Will Toledo’s Achilles heel?
Another possible candidate could be Ryan Adams. He’s been feverishly working on what appears to be a new album at Electric Ladyland Studios as well as teasing releasing multiple already completed projects including two alternate versions of last year’s outstanding Prisoner and the legendary shelved Blackhole. Die-hard Ryan Adams fans have been salivating for years over the potential release of Blackhole and if it’s as good as mythologized it could easily knock Twin Fantasy out of that top spot. Will we see that, Prisoner 2 and 3, something completely different, all of the above, or none of the above? It could be a banner year for Ryan Adams, the only one stopping it is himself.
Other stellar albums include Kyle Craft’s Full Circle Nightmare following his 2016 breakout Dolls Of Highland which narrowly missed out on a stacked Top 10 that year and he’s looking to rectify that this time around. Father John Misty released his third excellent album in four years and two front men are attempting to step out of the long-cast shadows of their brilliant bands with solo efforts of their own. Jim James of My Morning Jacket with Uniform Distortion and Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem with Sleepwalkers.
Here’s to the 2nd half and hoping it picks up the slack and here’s the rest of the Top 25 Albums of 2018 at Halftime:
- Car Seat Headrest- Twin Fanstasy
- Kyle Craft- Full Circle Nightmare
- Father John Misty- God’s Favorite Customer
- Brian Fallon- Sleepwalkers
- Jim James- Uniform Distortion
- Dawes- Passwords
- Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever- Hope Downs
- Shakey Graves- Can’t Wake Up
- Parker Millsap- Other Arrangements
- Frank Turner- Be More Kind
- Fantastic Negrito- Please Don’t Be Dead
- Ty Segall- Freedom’s Goblin
- Ghost- Prequelle
- Ryley Walker- Deafman Glance
- Courtney Barnett- Tell Me How You Really Feel
- Arctic Monkeys- Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
- Lord Huron- Vide Noir
- King Tuff- The Other
- Buddy Guy- The Blues Is Alive And Well
- Gold Connections- Popular Fiction
- Okkervil River- In The Rainbow Rain
- Strand Of Oaks- Harder Love
- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- Wrong Creatures
- The Wild Feathers- Greetings From The Neon Frontier
- Svvamp- 2