Welcome to Substream Magazine’s Favorite Albums of 2018 lists! That’s right, “lists” as in more than one. We don’t think just one list is enough to do either our team or all the great music that came out this year justice. Each person who writes for Substream has their own unique tastes, interests, and ideas about what makes an album shine. It’s what makes our coverage and our team so special. In order to showcase that wide range of writing talent and taste, we let each member of the Substream team come up with their own Top 10 list. We asked everyone to go deep on their favorite album of the year to present alongside their full list. Throughout the week you’ll read about releases across all genres, and see how each member of the Substream family saw the year in music. We hope this coverage compels you to revisit your favorite releases from 2018 or listen to albums you may have missed. Without further ado, we present Substream Magazine’s Favorite Albums of 2018. See all the lists you may have missed here.

Staff Photographer/Writer Kate Scott’s Favorite Album: Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel

It’s hard to imagine 2018 without Courtney Barnett. Having seen her three times in three very different venues, her presence was of paramount importance to me and to the music world. Her sophomore album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, highlights Barnett’s “sing-speak” vocals and deadpan lyrics while elevating her melancholy melodies to a new level. Songs like “Need a Little Time” and “I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch” are more intimate and grown up than tracks on her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. 

Photo by Kate Scott

Barnett’s personal and anti-folk vibe often feels effortless, but it’s clear that she pours her heart into every song. Barnett’s romantic lyrics sound like they could be applied to deep friendships, which makes her songs even more versatile. Yet, there is an unmistakable melancholia that revolves around love and romance. Barnett sings ” I’m sorry that I lost my patience /You deserve better it’s true” on “Need a Little Time”. To me, these simple lyrics really capture the complexities of being in a relationship, especially a long-term relationship.

Tell Me How You Really Feel is a quintessential album of 2018 and deserves your undivided attention. Seriously, put this on sometime soon, maybe on an extra cold night. Curl up and really absorb everything Barnett has to say. Then listen to it again. And again.

2. Kendrick Lamar – ‘Black Panther’ Soundtrack
3. Saba – Care for Me
4. Bishop Briggs – Church of Scars
5. Gorillaz – The Now Now
6. Kimbra – Primal Heart
7. Andrew W.K. – You’re Not Alone
8. Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
9. First Aid Kit – Ruins
10. MØ – Forever Neverland