10. Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Look Now
Look Now is the 30th studio album by singer-songwriter Elvis Costello and his band The Imposters. It is his first studio album in five years. Costello wrote and produced most of the album himself, with co-production help from Sebastian Krys.
9. Culture Club – Life
Life is the sixth studio album by British band Culture Club, credited to “Boy George and Culture Club”. Released on 26 October 2018 It is Culture Club’s first studio album since 1999’s Don’t Mind If I Do.
8. Paul McCartney – Egypt Station
Egypt Station is the 17th solo studio album by Paul McCartney. Egypt Station was produced by Greg Kurstin and co-produced by McCartney, with the exception of one track produced by Ryan Tedder. The album is McCartney’s first studio release since 2013’s New.
On the inspiration for the album’s title and theme, McCartney said:
“I liked the words ‘Egypt Station.’ It reminded me of the ‘album’ albums we used to make… ‘Egypt Station’ starts off at the station on the first song, and then each song is like a different station. So it gave us some idea to base all the songs around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from.
7. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer
Nominated for a Grammy for “Album Of The Year”, Dirty Computer is Janelle Monae’s third studio album which received widespread acclaim from music critics and music lovers. Dirty Computer peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 200.
6. Me’shell Ndegéocello – Ventriloquism
Ventriloquism is the 12th studio album from Meshell Ndegeocello, that features covers of eleven popular R&B and pop tracks originally recorded in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Ndegecello talent found new depths in songs made famous by TLC, Janet Jackson and Prince.
5. Prince – Piano & A Microphone 1983
Piano and a Microphone 1983 is a posthumously released demo album by Prince, released on CD, vinyl, and digital formats on September 21, 2018. It is the first album released by the Prince estate with material from his archive, the Vault.
Recorded in 1983 at Prince’s Kiowa Trail home studio in Chanhassen, MN & engineered by Don Batts, Piano & A Microphone 1983 is a nine track, 35-minute album features a previously unreleased home studio cassette recording of Prince at his piano. The private rehearsal provides a rare, intimate glimpse into Prince s creative process as he worked through songs which include 17 Days and Purple Rain (neither of which would be released until 1984), a cover of Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You, Strange Relationship (not released until 1987 on his critically acclaimed Sign O’ The Times album), and International Lover.
4. Lenny Kravitz – Raise Vibration
Raise Vibration is Lenny Kravitz’s eleventh studio album and it contains twelve compositions. Kravitz plays most of the instruments himself, with longtime guitarist Craig Ross and keyboardist/orchestrator David Baron being the only collaborators (other than string and horn players),
Raise Vibration produced two singles. “It’s Enough!” a song against corporate greed, political corruption, and racism and the follow-up single “Low” explores the perils of his near-mythical sensuality with intonations alluding to his past intimate relationships.
3. David Bowie – Loving The Alien (1983 – 1988)
DAVID BOWIE ‘LOVING THE ALIEN (1983 – 1988)’ contains a brand new production of the 1987 album ‘NEVER LET ME DOWN’ by Bowie producer / engineer Mario McNulty with new instrumentation by Bowie collaborators Reeves Gabrels (guitar), David Torn (guitar), Sterling Campbell (drums), Tim Lefebvre (bass) as well as string quartet with arrangements by Nico Muhly and a guest cameo by Laurie Anderson on ‘Shining Star (Makin’ My Love)’. The eleven CD box is named after the opening track from the ‘Tonight’ album and includes newly remastered versions of David’s most commercially successful period ‘LET’S DANCE’, ‘TONIGHT’, ‘NEVER LET ME DOWN (ORIGINAL and 2018 VERSIONS)’, the live album ‘GLASS SPIDER (Live Montreal ’87)’, the previously unreleased ‘SERIOUS MOONLIGHT’ live album, a collection of original remixes entitled ‘DANCE’ and the non-album / alternate version / b-sides and soundtrack music compilation RE:CALL 4.
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2. John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once (The Lost Album)
Recorded between the ’62 album “Coltrane” and the ’64 album “Crescent” (both with the same band), this album fills in a hole in Coltrane’s studio recordings. Plus the band was coming off a two week gig at Birdland where they were blowing minds setting a new horizon in the jazz genre, so they were really together as a group. Coltrane’s bluesy minor key workouts are in evidence on this album using both tenor and soprano saxes. Included are lengthy (7-8 + minutes) tracks (“Slow Blues”, “One Up One Down”) plus four shorter versions (around 4 minutes) of “Impressions” (a couple without Tyner) with Coltrane trying to find what he wanted on this now well known song during this session.
1. Kamasi Washington – Heaven And Earth
Our Favorite Album from 2018 goes to Kamasi Washington’s second studio album “Heaven And Earth”.
Heaven and Earth is more a refinement of the ideas expressed on The Epic than an entirely new paradigm. There is less wandering, more focus, more inquiry and directed movement, as well as an abundance of colorful tonal and harmonic contrasts. More than anything else, it establishes Washington as a composer and arranger of dizzying potential and still underscores his twin rep as a soloist and jazz conceptualist.