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Best Albums

The 51 Best Albums of 2018

best albums of the year 2018 spin list staff picks ranked

Across publications, tastemakers, even members of our own staff, there was little consensus about who made the best music of 2018. Reliable superstars were either M.I.A. or working through fallow periods: no new Kendrick or Frank, Beyoncé limited to an album of unmemorable duets, Kanye holed up in Wyoming making duds (and Daytona). This vacancy wasn’t all bad, however, because it allowed less obviously dominant artists to make their attempts at snatching the zeitgeist. Some of these challengers were truly unfamiliar; others, like Amen Dunes and Kacey Musgraves, ascended to new peaks in the middle of already-strong careers, using fourth and fifth albums to deliver their boldest songs yet and expanding their listenerships considerably. Still others, like Low and Earl Sweatshirt, destroyed their established sounds only to build them anew, in the image of a harsh and disorienting world. And then there was the 1975, vying to become the world’s most important rock band and arguably succeeding, in part because of their utter unabashedness about that ambition. These are the best albums of 2018. And if you disagree—well, so does everyone else.

Click on an album to read more, and find more from Spin’s 2018 Year in Review here.

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312521″ title=”51. Neko Case, <i>Hell-On</i>” index=”” image_id=”312522″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312523″ title=”50. DJ Taye, <i>Still Trippin'</i>” index=”” image_id=”312524″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312491″ title=”49. Cupcakke, <i>Ephorize</i>” index=”” image_id=”312492″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312495″ title=”48. Courtney Barnett, <i>Tell Me How You Really Feel</i>” index=”” image_id=”312496″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312470″ title=”47. Sophie, <i>Oil Of Every Pearl's Un-Insides</i>” index=”” image_id=”312471″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312432″ title=”46. Tracey Thorn, <i>Record</i>” index=”” image_id=”312433″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312791″ title=”45. Trouble, <i>Edgewood</i>” index=”” image_id=”312793″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312461″ title=”44. Deafheaven, <i>Ordinary Corrupt Human Love</i>” index=”” image_id=”312462″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312426″ title=”43. serpentwithfeet, <i>soil</i>” index=”” image_id=”312427″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312489″ title=”42. Lonnie Hollie, <i>MITH</i>” index=”” image_id=”312490″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312463″ title=”41. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, <i>Hope Downs</i>” index=”” image_id=”312464″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312398″ title=”40. Yves Tumor, <i>Safe in the Hands of Love</i>” index=”” image_id=”312402″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312477″ title=”39. Meshell Ndegeocello, <i>Ventriloquism</i>” index=”” image_id=”312478″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312443″ title=”38. Makaya McCraven, <i>Universal Beings</i>” index=”” image_id=”312450″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312451″ title=”37. Saba, <i>Care For Me</i>” index=”” image_id=”312452″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312434″ title=”36. Janelle Monáe, <i>Dirty Computer</i>” index=”” image_id=”312435″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312794″ title=”35. Drakeo the Ruler, <i>Cold Devil</i>” index=”” image_id=”312795″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312479″ title=”34. Charlie Puth, <i>Voicenotes</i>” index=”” image_id=”312486″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312473″ title=”33. Kelly Moran, <i>Ultraviolet</i>” index=”” image_id=”312474″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312468″ title=”32. Ohmme, <i>Parts</i>” index=”” image_id=”312469″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312465″ title=”31. 03 Greedo, <i>God Level</i>” index=”” image_id=”312466″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312455″ title=”30. Jon Hopkins, <i>Singularity</i>” index=”” image_id=”312456″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312416″ title=”29. Tirzah, <i>Devotion</i>” index=”” image_id=”312417″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312475″ title=”28. SOB x RBE, <i>Gangin</i>” index=”” image_id=”312476″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312424″ title=”27. Christine And The Queens, <i>Chris</i>” index=”” image_id=”312425″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312441″ title=”26. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, <i>Sparkle Hard<i>” index=”” image_id=”312442″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312457″ title=”25. NAO, <i>Saturn</i>” index=”” image_id=”312458″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312439″ title=”24. JPEGMAFIA, <i>Veteran</i>” index=”” image_id=”312440″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312493″ title=”23. Tierra Whack, <i>Whack World</i>” index=”” image_id=”312494″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312453″ title=”22. MihTy, <i>MihTy</i>” index=”” image_id=”312454″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312428″ title=”21. Cardi B, <i>Invasion of Privacy</i>” index=”” image_id=”312429″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312418″ title=”20. Kali Uchis, <i>Isolation</i>” index=”” image_id=”312419″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312390″ title=”19. Noname, <i>Room 25</i>” index=”” image_id=”312960″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312414″ title=”18. Playboi Carti, <i>Die Lit</i>” index=”” image_id=”312415″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312387″ title=”17. DJ Koze, <i>Knock Knock</i>” index=”” image_id=”312388″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312421″ title=”16. Rico Nasty, <i>Nasty</i>” index=”” image_id=”312422″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312404″ title=”15. Ariana Grande, <i>Sweetener</i>” index=”” image_id=”312410″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312393″ title=”14. Snail Mail, <i>Lush</i>” index=”” image_id=”312394″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312385″ title=”13. U.S. Girls, <i>In A Poem Unlimited</i>” index=”” image_id=”312386″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312395″ title=”12. Mariah Carey, <i>Caution</i>” index=”” image_id=”312396″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312379″ title=”11. Parquet Courts, <i>Wide Awake!</i>” index=”” image_id=”312380″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312374″ title=”10. Oneohtrix Point Never, <i>Age Of</i>” index=”” image_id=”312375″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312381″ title=”9. Robyn, <i>Honey</i>” index=”” image_id=”312382″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312376″ title=”8. Pusha T, <i>Daytona</i>” index=”” image_id=”312378″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312383″ title=”7. Low, <i>Double Negative</i>” index=”” image_id=”312384″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312497″ title=”6. Earl Sweatshirt, <i>Some Rap Songs</i>” index=”” image_id=”312519″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312371″ title=”5. Blood Orange, <i>Negro Swan</i>” index=”” image_id=”312372″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312365″ title=”4. Amen Dunes, <i>Freedom</i>” index=”” image_id=”312366″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312367″ title=”3. Kacey Musgraves, <i>Golden Hour</i>” index=”” image_id=”312368″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312359″ title=”2. Mitski, <i>Be The Cowboy</i>” index=”” image_id=”312362″]

[featuredStoryItemBlock tile_id=”312363″ title=”1. The 1975, <i>A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships</i>” index=”” image_id=”312364″]