by Paola C. Messina

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to list the music that’s been filling yours ears for the past 365 days!

December rolls in with shopping and holiday frenzied New Yorkers buzzing down streets, grey skies and bursts of thirsted-for sunlight… One of the things I most look forward to, though, is perusing list after list of top albums, songs, and artists.

Finding overlaps with my personal top lists is exciting in itself, but the prospect of discovering new music I love at the final stretch of the year is especially satisfying. It’s easy to miss on things when there is so much good music out there, but these lists are part of a collective effort to help fellow music lovers cover as much ground as possible. It’s a reminder of community and a celebration of the music that we love.

Here are thoughts on two of my top albums of 2018 and an expanded list of my top five of the year, in no particular order!

Rosalía – El Mal Querer

Still from Rosalía’s music video for MalamenteAn unmissable album from this flamenco-inspired singer and producer from Catalonia, Spain. Rosalía’s “El Mal Querer” (‘The Bad Love’) is organized into chapters and framed by a 13th century manuscript called “Flamenca”, about a woman whose jealous husband suspects she is cheating on him and locks her up in a tower. The final chapter, “A Ningun Hombre” (“To No Man”), wraps up the story arch with power and resistance from its female protagonist.

My Favorite Track: “Malamente”


boygenius – boygenius EP

Phoebe Bridgers’ songwriting is a surefire path to my heart. Alongside Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, that potential amplifies significantly. Baker comes in with her resounding presence, both on guitar and vocals, while Dacus (who is also on my list with her album “Historian”) brings what I’d like to call the sealant for this trio –  vocals, harmonies and storytelling that are tender yet throughout the 6 tracks of the boygenius EP.

My Favorite Track: “Me and My Dog”


Mitski – Be the Cowboy
My Favorite Track: “Geyser”

Lucy Dacus – Historian
My Favorite Track: “Night Shift”

Cautious Clay – Blood Type
My Favorite Track: “Blood Type”




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