In and Out of the Loop: Some Notable Albums from 2018

Aaron Saunders

Blood Orange—Negro Swan: This was Blood Orange’s senior album and he followed up his last album with an extremely solid group of 16 tracks. This album has surprise features from several artists, mainly A$AP Rocky, Steve Lacy, and Puff Daddy. At a tight 50 minutes with no filler tracks, each song gives a very intimate look into Orange’s, life painting a picture of his vulnerable upbringing.

Denzel Curry—Taboo: Denzel Curry released his junior album in late July to much critical praise. It varied much from what he had released previously. The album was released in three different parts each with a different theme. His first album was light and easy to listen to—sounding closer to a pop than a rap album. The Grey Side sonically changed, with a list packed full of bangers. This section contains the lead single from Taboo “Clout Cobain” which has lyrical themes about the problems of social media and what it can do to you mentally. The final part, The Dark Side sounded more inspired by the likes of Aphex Twin or Kanye West’s Yeezus with very abrasive production. With 13 tracks this is a very solid album with few songs that feel like filler.

Ty Segall – Freedoms Goblin: Ty Segal’s past 20 Albums and over 30 EPs have set a stage for the rise in popularity of garage rock.  Freedoms Goblin lives up to the albums name, pushing his experimental folk-punk/psych-jazz suite exploiting the double album all throughout the 90 minute listening experience.  

Benny Sings – Beat Tape:  The Demos and B-Sides of Benny Sings’ past 5 years of production were released on his Latest Album, Beat Tape. The Netherlands native has put together an impressive discography over the years, drawing directly from the soft rock pantheon with his blend of sugary vocal harmonies, feel-good synths, and quirky beatwork. This seventh album is build from scraps and demos left during production on prior albums, which have manifested in a wide variety of styles and voices throughout the music.

Playboy Carti – Die Lit: This was the Atlanta native’s Sophomore album which following his much-discussed self-titled album. Similar upbeat energy is carried into Die Lit from his prior work. The features on the album mesh perfectly with the energy of the album, including Gunna, Skepta, Young Thug, Chief Keef, Young Nudy, and Lil Uzi Vert, a long time collaborator of Playboy Carti’s who linked up with him for 2017 hit wokeuplikethis. Production on this album is consistent and can be attributed to Pi’erre Bourne. Overall this is a very strong album with a unique energy consistent through every track.