Just over half of 2018 is behind us and it feels like it's been forever! These are testing times, marked by political tensions across the world and pressing social issues, with every day turning out to be a bombardment of absurdity. Fortunately, one of the few saving graces of the year has been the eclectic string of releases in the music world. There has been a wave of protest music, with several bands making an urgent comeback to provide a voice of revolt, reminding us of the massive power that music holds to move the masses, reinforcing the relationship between art and politics.
Kendrick Lamar won the Pultizer Prize for Music this year, cementing hip hop's status as the most pervasive and ubiquitous genre of our time. Meanwhile, the boundaries of other genres like rock, metal and even the traditional-leaning country have been pushed more than ever before.
From exciting debuts to welcome comebacks to genre-defying acts of experimentation and career-defining moments, this year in music has showcased the best that the musical world has to offer with a few unexpected surprises thrown into the mix. With new heights of creativity being attained and unexplored territories being unraveled in the first half of the year, the second half will hopefully only get better. As we review the year that was, here is our list of the 25 best albums of the year so far, across multiple genres.
25. Invasion of Privacy - Cardi B
Genre: Hip Hop
Released: April 15
Cardi B’s 'Bodak Yellow,' the most chantable song of 2017, announced the Bronx MC to the world. The pressure to follow was ridiculously high, almost impossible to meet. But that's just what Cardi did with her debut album 'Invasion of Privacy'. Through its 13 tracks, Cardi leans forcefully into her many influences, flitting effortlessly between many genres of the rap world, sometimes incorporating elements of trap and Latin music on the way.
The album boasts a string of A-list collaborations, including Migos, Chance the Rapper, Kehlani, SZA, 21 Savage and more with production credits to at least four times the number of guest appearances. With 'Invasion of Privacy', Cardi has ironically put herself in the same place where she found herself after 'Bodak Yellow'. She's raised the bar so high yet again that it feels almost impossible to best.
Best Tracks: Bickenhead; I Like It; Bodak Yellow
24. All At Once - Screaming Females
Genre: Punk Rock
Released: February 23
Label: Don Giovanni Records
New Jersey-based punk trio Screaming Females are back this year with all their DIY meditative glory. The aptly titled seventh studio album is the perfect description for the musical approach for the band — a sound that feels like its flooding behind the walls of a dam before it breaks forth 'All At Once'.
Having established their sound and presence on the punk scene, Screaming Females push new frontiers on the new album while retaining their familiar gritty sound. 'I’ll Make You Sorry' is their first foray into pop-punk, whereas album opener 'Glass House' is a biting commentary on social media delivered with Marissa Paternoster’s signature vibrato. The band tapped Fugazi’s Brendan Canty guests as a second drummer, who adds his typical clatter on tracks like 'Soft Domination'. It's an album that comes with a sense of urgency that's almost infectious to the listener.
Best Tracks: Soft Domination; I'll Make You Sorry; Glass House
23. God’s Favorite Customer - Father John Misty
Released: June 1
Label: Sub Pop
Written during a two-month period when singer/songwriter Joshua Tillman was, as he sings on the glum title track, “on the straits,” Father John Misty's fourth studio album 'God's favorite Customer' is far from a happy tale.
Tillman has made a reputation for himself with his biting, deconstructionist wit while tackling lofty ideals like love, loss and the American Dream on previous attempts, but this time around, he turns it inwards, churning out the introspection with a stream-of-consciousness that while retaining all the cleverness, still comes across as a raw and unfazed confessional collection of intimate heartbreak songs that continue to blur the lines between Tillman and his Father John Misty alter-ego. It's a fine balancing act and is arguably his most intimate and honest work so far.
Best Tracks: Mr. Tillman, Please Don't Die, God's Favorite Customer
22. Pray For the Wicked - Panic! At the Disco
Released: June 22
Label: Fueled by Ramen/DCD2
For an album that was teased with special potato care packages to select fans, PATD's 'Pray For The Weekend' was surprisingly sophisticated. Arriving after a 10-week stint playing entrepreneur Charlie Price in Broadway's 'Kinky Boots', Brendon Urie makes an emphatic comeback infusing his unique brand of emo-pop with shiny brass and sweeping strings, now showcasing Urie's freshly theater treated voice. '(F*ck) A Silver Lining' and 'Say Amen (Saturday Night)' are as grandiose as any of Panic's biggest hits and the rest of the album pulsates with an equal amount of energy as Urie soars through the arrangements, his voice as highly resonant and stage-ready as ever. Who would have thought that the 90's kid with dark eyeliner and serrated fringes would end up as emo's true eccentric master innovator? With 'Pray For the Wicked', Urie embraces slick pop aesthetics and Rat Pack swagger to truly prove that he is just that.
Best Tracks: Say Amen (Saturday Night); Hey Look Ma, I Made It; (F*ck) A Silver Lining
21. Heaven and Earth - Kamasi Washington
Released: June 22
Label: Young Turks
In 2015, with his sprawling triple album 'Epic' Kamasi Washington announced himself as well as his West Coast Get Down crew as perhaps the boldest and most volatile voices in Jazz — the kinds that could play classic concert halls or indie rock festivals interchangeably and without any hesitation. On the twin-themed sophomore double-album 'Heaven & Earth', the Kendrick Lamar collaborator continues to prove his merit as one of the finest Jazz artists of the time. With his signature sweeping sound, broad melodies, expansive sonics, and double rhythm section (courtesy of bassist Miles Mosley and twin drummers Tony Austin and Ronald Bruner Jr), 'Heaven and Earth' is a two-and-a-half hour odyssey through the saxophonist's maturing Afrocentric aesthetic. While the A-side 'Earth' opens with a noir-styled anthemic reworking of Bruce Lee's B-movie theme 'Fists of Fury', the B-side 'Heaven' announces itself with 'The Space Traveller's Lullaby', signaling a decisive turn towards spirituality and the cosmos.
Best Tracks: Fists of Fury; Street Fighter Mass; Hub Tones
20. Dirty Computer - Janelle Monae
Released: April 27
Label: Wondaland/Bad Boy/Atlantic
After two concept albums and a few roles in Hollywood blockbusters including 'Moonlight' and 'Hidden Figures', multi Grammy-winner Janelle Monae is back with 'Dirty Computer'. On her third studio album, Monae abandons her alter egos to serve up her most personal and intimate record so far. The 14 tracks are again divided into three different sections, each one weaved around a concept that sees Monae reacting to reactions about her identity. The album comes just after the pop sensation came out as pansexual and after years of deflection, it feels like she's ready to pour out her true self. The futuristic funk that Monae's mastered is still thick on the album, with flourishing harmonics, bright synths and tight rhythm sections supporting her honeydew vocals. Also supporting her on her endeavour are a string of A-list collaborators including Pharell Williams, Zoe Kravitz, Brian Wilson and Grimes. Apple Music puts it aptly in the album's bio, 'Dirty Comupter' is "as uncompromising and mighty as it is graceful and fun".
Best Tracks: 'Make Me Feel', 'Django Jane', 'I Got The Juice (ft. Pharrell Williams)'
19. Virtue - The Voidz
Released: March 30
Label: RCA Records
Virtue sees the return of Julian Casablancas' side project The Voidz. With his main act The Strokes attaining middle-age status as a band on temporary hiatus, Casablancas finds a new outlet for all the crazy experimentation and sonic exploration that is otherwise subdued by the boundaries of The Strokes' signature sound. Although the opening track 'Leave it in my Dreams' is instantly relatable with the sound and feel of The Strokes, the rest of the album is a far cry from it. Embracing the weirdness, the album has a diverse range. From the psychedelic comic horror of 'Pyramid of Bones' to the bizarre existential breakdowns of 'ALieNNation' and 'All Wordz Are Made Up', the new album flits through themes like philosophy, politics and metaphysics in the typical style of post-Strokes Casablancas.
Best Tracks: 'Pyramid of Bones', 'QYURRYUS', 'All Wordz Are Made Up'
18. Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves
Released: March 30
Label: MCA Nashville
On her latest release, Kacey Musgraves continues her quest to broaden the horizons of country music, but with a radical shift that deviates from her previous sound. With strings, vocoders and electronic beats, she introduces sounds unfamiliar to the genre, including Bee Gees-style disco beats ('High Horse') and pop synth hooks ('Velvet Elvis'). The result is Musgraves’ most accessible record and her most ambitious, a culmination of her pop and country instincts. And it's all done with such grace that even the toughest of country purists will find themselves grooving along, making the album a deft crossover between two disparate genres.
Best Tracks: 'Slow Burn', 'Butterflies', 'High Horse'
17. I’m All Ears - Let’s Eat Grandma
Released: June 29
Label: Transgressive Records
In 2016, two teenage girls from the UK, Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, embarked on an ambitious project which resulted in the debut album 'I, Gemini' under the band name 'Let's Eat Grandma'. Two years later, still teenagers, the girls return with 'I'm All Ears', an album that showcases a growing maturity in songwriting as the outfit manages to capture the sounds of the modern pop template like a perfect photograph. As Pitchfork puts it, Let's Eat Grandma "renders flattened communication as poignant, striking not because of the novelty of being made by teenagers but because it speaks with such commanding precision to the experience of a teenager in 2018." While the first half of the album quickly announces the growth in their career, the second half of the album shines even brighter, including a pair of breathtaking epics ‘Cool & Collected’ and ‘Donnie Darko’, that make you wonder how someone so young could be so on-the-mark.
Best Tracks: It's Not Just Me; Cool & Collected; Donnie Darko
16. DAYTONA - Pusha T
Genre: Hip Hop
Released: May 25
Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam
A decade after the peak of his career and arriving just after this decade's most infamous rap beef with Drake, Pusha-T's 'DAYTONA' reminds us why King Push still wears the crown. In stark contrast to most streaming era albums that sometimes boast 20+ tracks, Pusha's new album's highlight is brevity. Produced and ruthlessly edited by Kanye West as the first of his five back-to-back releases of the year, every bar, hook and sample across the seven tracks on 'DAYTONA' has a clear-cut purpose. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do on an album is to strip away all the fat and let the bare essence take the spotlight. Pusha's 'DAYTONA' does exactly that, making it a masterclass in minimalist production and songwriting.
Best Tracks: What Would Meek Do; Infrared; If You Know You Know
15. The Now Now - Gorillaz
Genre: Alternative/Synth Pop
Released: 29 June
Label: Parlophone/Warner Bros.
Just a year after the sprawling, collaboration-heavy 'Humanz', Damon Albarn hit the studio right away, evidently with some unfinished business. It's a rare occurrence for Gorillaz to follow up their work so quickly but the album doesn't feel one bit hurried. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Trimming down the long list of collaborators to just three — George Benson, Jaimie Principle and Snoop Dogg — 'The Now Now' is a well rounded, adventurous attempt that blends cheerful, summery groove with melancholic lyricism, blending elements of synth pop, soul, electronic, hip hop and jazz. In our review of the album, we said: "The album is an emphatic statement from Albarn. A statement which says that Gorillaz isn't done yet, that he has something more to say and that he's going to say it the only way he knows - via the sound, style and infinite swagger of the world's most notorious virtual band." You can read Meaww's album review of 'The Now Now' here.
Best Tracks: Tranz, Hollywood (ft. Snoop Dogg and Jamie Principle), Fire Flies
14. Beyondless - Iceage
Genre: Post Punk
Released: May 4
In 2014, with their third album 'Plowing Into the Field of Love', Danish punk rockers Iceage took on a new creative direction. With flourishing horns, keyboards, and acoustic guitars introduced into the arrangements, the songs became more dynamic and eclectic, and muchmore accessible to a wider rock oriented audience. All this without leaving their darker side behind. With 2018's 'Beyondless', Iceage continues to flesh out their new-found sound, perhaps displaying greater maturity and control than ever before. The influence of frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's side project Marching Church is discernable on the record. Featuring a guest appearance by Sky Ferreira ('Pain Killer') and slick production by Nis Bysted, Iceage are unafraid to embrace the sonics of modern pop as they evolve as a band. 'Beyondless' proves yet again that Iceage is a band that refuses to stop moving and exploring their sound, emerging every time with a more refined approach to the music.
Best Tracks: Pain Killer (ft. Sky Ferreira); Catch It; Beyondless
13. The Sciences - Sleep
Genre: Stoner Rock/Doom metal
Released: April 20
Label: Third Man Records
Two decades after the birth of stoner rock and a decade after its lull, doom metal power trio Sleep have resurrected it from the grave and smeared its ashes all over their new album 'The Sciences'. It's an epic comeback album for the band, the first original material recorded in 19 years and fittingly, the three-minute album opener sounds like a revving engine, eagerly waiting to hit full throttle. The full-throttle arrives via the lead single 'Marijuanaut's Theme', which has one of the best guitar solos the band has ever produced and 'Giza Butler' is a gloriously sludgy homage to Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. In stark contrast to 1999's one-hour-plus stoner rock meditation 'Dopesmoker', the new album comes with just six tracks that don't hesitate to venture out past the 10-minute mark, with no radio-friendly edits. Aptly released on 4/20 via Third Man Records, 'The Sciences' emphatically puts Sleep back on the top of their genre-defining career.
Best Tracks: Marijaunaut's Theme; Giza Butler; The Botanist
12. KOD - J. Cole
Genre: Hip Hop
Released: April 20
Label: Dreamville/ Roc Nation/ Interscope
On his fifth full length release, J. Cole raises the bar yet again with 'KOD'. Taking cues from its multiple-meaning title (Kids on Drugs, King Overdose, and Kill Our Demons), the album explores a variety of topics including drug abuse (KOD) addiction ('Once an Addict'), depression ('The Cut Off ft. kiLL edward'), greed, African-American culture, and taxation in the United States ('ATM') — all handled masterfully through the versatile flow of the North Carlina rapper. J. Cole is comfortable in his own skin as he reflects on the excesses of the hip-hop industry, his consciousness leading him through the bars, brazenly including himself in the narrative too. As XXL puts it aptly in their album review, 'KOD is an overall strong effort that connects emotional trauma, mental health stigma in the Black community and the real problem of drug glorification.'
Best Tracks: 'KOD' ; 'The Cut Off (ft. kiLL edward)'; 'Kevin's Heart'
11. Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel
Released: May 18
Label: Milk! / Mom + Pop
Courtney Barnett announced herself on the indie scene with her 2015 debut 'Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.' Her sharp wit and crafty lyricis combined with a 90s grunge-influenced sound carved a niche for the Aussie singer.Onher sophomore album 'Tell Me How You Really Feel', Barnett is angrier and noisier than her debut, while still maintaining most of her cyncial, introspective themes and style. The album features a cameo by the Deal sisters Kim and Kelley (on tracks 'Nameless, Faceless' and 'Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence') and drops high and mighty references to the likes of Margaret Atwood and Nelson Mandela while successfully not coming off as pretentious or dishonest. Bursting with more contradictions and a wider variety of personal intimacies than ever before, 'Tell Me How You Really Feel' is a solid follow up to a highly acclaimed debut, one that confirms Barnett's talent as a master songwriter.
Best Tracks: 'Nameless, Faceless', 'Hopefulessness', 'Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence'
10. Kids See Ghosts - Kid Cudi/Kanye West
Genre: Hip Hop
Released: June 8
Label: GOOD Music / Def Jam
The love-hate relationship between Kanye West and Kid Cudi finally resolves itself via the collaborative seven track stunner 'Kids See Ghosts'. Yet again, Kanye shows us the power of brevity in hip hop, trimming off all excesses to produce a crisp, ethereal album that packs as much into an album as one can under 30 minutes. Evocative of the title and the surreal album art, 'Kids See Ghosts' has a haunting, almost psychedelic feel to it as both rappers address the ghosts of their past, especially in relation to mental illness and their individual battles with them. Although talks about a Kanye/Cudi collaboration have been around for almost a decade, it's almost a stroke of fortune that the album did arrive when it did, allowing both artists to draw from a broad range of personal experiences and various styles. Album opener 'Feel the Love' is a masterpiece that blends Cudi's idiosyncratic flow with Kanye's percussive ramblings, as Yeezus yet again pushes the limits of the human voice, this time using it as a bassline. On “Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2),” the sequel to “Ghost Town” from Kanye's own 2018 album 'ye', both rappers scream in unison, “Nothing hurts me anymore… I feel free” with such tangible, full-bodied energy, it feels as though this very recording was, in itself, a moment of great healing.
Best Tracks: 'Feel the Love', 'Free (Ghost Town Pt. 2)', 'Reborn'
9. In a Poem Unlimited - US Girls
Genre: Art Pop/Electronic
Released: February 16
In her sixth studio effort, Meg Rhemy, through her solo project U.S. Girls, is at her most mature, charged by a sense of uncontrollable immediacy. The genres she flits through are as diverse as the themes she addresses. She dips her toes into groovy disco ('M.A.H'; 'Incidental Boogie'), soul ('Velvet 4 Sale') and symphonic pop ('Rosebud') as she tackles heavy themes ranging from abuse of power, domestic violence and even U.S. foreign policy. Although highly politically charged, it's the delivery that sets it apart. At no point does Rhemy preach her message, choosing instead to let the allegories percolate slowly, intertwined between her soulful melodies.
Best Tracks: 'Velvet 4 Sale'; 'Rosebud'; 'Incidental Boogie'
8. Always Ascending - Franz Ferdinand
Released: February 9
Franz Ferdinand's first album after the departure of their guitarist Nick McCarthy sees the band go through a major sonic shift. They have traded their signature indie rock anthems for heavily synth driven disco-rock, courtesy of latest member Julian Corrie (better known by his stage name "Miaoux Miaoux"). The music is packed with clever references, both sonically as well as lyrically. Alex Kapranos' distinct vocals breathe life into crisp lyrics about the American healthcare crisis ('Huck and Jim'), the self-serving side of altruism ('Lois Lane') and the estrangement of living in the selfie era ('Academy Award'). Approaching the peak of their maturity in their career, it looks like Franz Ferdinand has no plans of slowing down any time soon. Check out our full review of the album here.
Best Tracks: 'Always Ascending'; 'Feel the Love Go'; 'Slow Don't Kill Me Slow'
7. '7' - Beach House
Genre: Dream Pop
Released: May 11
Label: Sub Pop
The simply titled seventh album by Beach House, '7', received great acclaim from critics who praised the adventurous nature of the record and the consistency of the band, with some calling it the Baltimore duo's best album to date. The praise is not unwarranted. Dropping usual producer Chris Coady for Spaceman 3's Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember, Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand fully embrace their bliss on '7', their haziest, dreamiest album yet. As opposed to the speedy process of their previous studio efforts, the recording of '7' lasted over eleven months, and the effort clearly shows through the 11-track effort. They move seamlessly from meditative to trippy, adopting swelling, stately, Brian Eno-like arrangements on album closer 'Last Ride' and enter a reverb-drenched landscape of synths on 'L'Inconnue.' Seeming more unabashedly themselves than ever, this is the sound of Beach House doubling down on the aqueous dream-pop perfection that made them indie heroes in the first place.
Best Tracks: 'L'Inconnue', 'Dive', 'Last Ride'
6. Hope Downs - Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Genre: Indie rock
Released: June 15
Label: Sub Pop
On their much-awaited debut album 'Hope Downs', Aussie indie rockers Rolling Blackouts C.F. perfect their unique triple guitar attack with a depth and attention to detail that immediately demands multiple listens. The album title comes from the Hope Downs mine, which, according to the band, "refers to the feeling of standing at the edge of the void of the big unknown and finding something to hold on to." And that's exactly what pours forward on the record. With steady thumping drums, a bass line that's impossible not to nod along to and Keaney's high-energy acoustic strumming serving almost as a second percussion instrument, the album addresses themes of consumerism ('An Air Conditioned Man'), social disparity ('Mainland'), cafe culture and colonialism ('Capuccino City'), loneliness and our innermost fears ('How Long'). In Meaww's review of the album, we said that "the Aussie rockers have just cemented themselves as the next big thing to watch out for on the indie scene with a near-flawless debut album." You can read the full review here.
Best Tracks: 'An Air Conditioned Man', 'Talking Straight', 'Bellarine', 'Mainland'
5. Superorganism - Superorganism
Genre: Indie Pop
Released: March 2
For an indie-pop outfit from all across the world that had only met over the internet and never in real life until they decided to rent a house in London last year, Superorganism's self-titled debut album is surprisingly tight, sounding as though it's been made by bandmates that have known each other for ages. Last year, they previewed the heady, addictive lead single 'Something for your M.I.N.D.' That was just a taste of the maximalist sound that bridges chilled-out dream pop and crisp, upbeat psychedelic jams to create an undeniably hooky album that transports you to summer, no matter what the weather is like outside!
Best Tracks: 'Something for your M.I.N.D.'; 'Everybody Wants to be Famous'; 'Reflections on the Screen'
4. Prequelle - Ghost
Genre: Prog rock / Heavy metal
Released: June 1
Label: Loma Vista
Just before the release of their fourth studio album 'Prequelle', the identities of the members of one of the most secretive bands in the world were leaked. But that didn't stop the frontman, who we now know is Tobias Forge, from adopting a new incarnation of his 'Papa Emeritus' stage persona. Changing up the entire line-up of the band after their 2016 album 'Popestar' and adopting the persona of Cardinal Copia, Forge returns with an album that could very well be one of the band's most career-defining acts. 'Prequelle' is set in the medieval times and centered around the bubonic plague. But through his sharp lyricism and a strange blend of a pop-friendly doom metal sound, Cardinal Copia/Forge transform the album into a biting allegory of the modern socio-political landscape. It's undoubtedly the most clinical and intelligent protest music of the year so far and raises the bar for all other voices of political dissent. The opening track "Ashes" features Minou Forge, Tobias’ daughter, singing a haunting version of 'Ring a Ring o' Roses', a nursery rhyme said to have originated during the Plague. 'Rats' is about something "spreading as wildfire and completely destroying things quicker than you know," like the Black Death. In another plague reference, 'Dance Macabre' aims to capture a "joyous nocturnal sort of life in a disco song", such as people excessively partying because they know they are going to die. The album closer 'Life Eternal' is moody and contemplative as it asks if you were given the choice to live forever, "Would you want to do that?" More accessible than any of their previous records, its Ghost's most far-reaching record so far and arguably their craftiest too.
Best Tracks: 'Rats', 'Dance Macabre', 'Miasma', 'Life Eternal'
3. Ordinary Corrupt Human Love - Deafheaven
Genre: Post Metal / Blackgaze
Released: July 13
With a title inspired by a Graham Greene novel, Californian genre-bending blackgaze poster children 'Deafheaven' return for their most ambitious effort to date. While they established their signature sound on the instant classic 'Sunbather' (2013) and extended the treatment on 2015's 'New Bermuda', 'OCHL' sees the band push the boundaries of blackmetal to breaking point, subverting all the regular cliches of metal to create a sound that is as aggressive and unrelenting as it is cathartic and melodic. Four out of the seven tracks on the album venture well past the 10-minute mark as the band weaves deftly through the sinusoidal phases of all-out black metal and heart-melting shoegaze. 'Honeycomb' shows us the raw aggression of George Clarke's deafening howls and Daniel Tracy's rapid-fire drums, while 'Canary Yellow' is prolific enough to claim the title of Deafheaven's most definitive track so far. In our review of the album, we said that 'Ordinary Corrupt Human Love' is an album "that while reconfirming the band as a genreless powerhouse, also gives them the new status of the flag-bearers of the indie mainstream." Read our full review of the album here.
Best Tracks: 'Canary Yellow', 'Honeycomb', 'Glint'
2. Boarding House Reach - Jack White
Released: March 23
Label: Third Man/Columbia/XL
Jack White seems to be in complete creative control of his solo career as is evident on his third solo studio album 'Boarding House Reach.' White is at his most playful, experimental best on the album, tinkering with a range of genres ranging from gospel to hip hop, to country to funk to electro-jazz to even brief spells of spoken-word poetry. We even see White attempt rap on the track 'Ice Station Zebra,' which apparently was a product of White's collaboration with Jay-Z, which never saw the day of light. Almost two decades into his career, White still keeps things fresh as ever, as he sounds comfortable in his own skin throughout the album. Check out Meaww's review of the album here.
Best Tracks: 'Over and Over and Over'; 'Ice Station Zebra'; 'Hypermisophoniac'
1. Eat The Elephant - A Perfect Circle
Genre: Prog Metal
Released: April 20
While Tool fans still await the new album patiently, frontman Maynard James Keenan warms up for his big follow up by teaming up with guitarist Billy Howerdel to produce 'Eat The Elephant', A Perfect Circle's comeback album after 14 years, a follow up to 2004's 'eMotive'. The album marks a new sound for a band that has aged and matured exceptionally well. While Maynard still touches upon his usual array of themes — modern societal, religious, and political issues, and his perceived lack of accountability in humanity — the execution is clinical, supported by Howerdel's expert laying of arrangements, this time with a copious help from a grand piano. The title track sets the tone of impending doom that is later fully realized on the single 'The Doomed' as Maynard warns the hopeful against their ignorant optimism. 'Disillusioned' is a warning against the dangers of social media addiction and 'The Contrarian' is a direct stab at Donald Trump's lies and deception. 'Talk Talk' is a scathing rebuke of American Christianity's stance on gun control while album closer 'Get the Lead Out' sees the band experiment with synths and electronics as they take on a new sonic challenge. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-inspired 'So Long and Thanks For All the Fish' is a satire on man's self-fulfilling prophecy of doom, with lyrics painting images of "mushroom clouds" and "ticker tape parades" all drowned in pop-culture references. Among all the albums that have been a result of the recent wave of resurgence of 90s protest music, 'Eat The Elephant' stands out as a gold-standard that sets the bar extremely high. In our five-star review of the album, we called 'Eat The Elephant' a "comeback album many bands would kill for." Check out Meaww's review of the album here.
Best Tracks: 'Disillusioned', 'The Doomed', 'Talk Talk', 'Delicious', 'The Contrarian'