Tag Archives: Best of 2018 (Music)

As if you needed another list – UPROXX Critics Poll

Lacking firm evidence that the Pazz and Jop poll would continue after the dissolution of the Village Voice, I submitted a ballot to the UPROXX Critics Poll. It’s not much different from the ranking I posted last month, but it’s worth preserving because I sent it first. By now Kacey Musgraves’ triumph, to which I remain indifferent, should surprise no one.

2018: The year in singles

As noted, I listened to more than five hundred singles in 2018, not counting the stuff I didn’t grade. None of the 9’s ended up getting the most phone play, a development I noted here.

9

Jessie Ware – Overtime
Cassie – Don’t Play it Safe
Laura Jean – Girls on the TV
Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex

8

Ariana Grande – Thank You Next
Lana Del Rey – Venice, Bitch
Tamia – Leave It Smokin’
Doja Cat – Mooo!
Tracey Thorn – Queen
Havana D’Primera – Tres Días
Dierks Bentley ft. Brothers Osborne – Burning Man
Aya Nakamura – Copines
Cupcakke – Duck Duck Goose
Ashley Monroe – Hands on You
Ravyn Lenae – Sticky
Let’s Eat Grandma – Hot Pink
Roselia – R
K. Michelle – Crazy Like You
Ella Mai – Boo’d U
Hayley Kiyoko ft. Kehlani – What I Need
Meshell Ndegeocello – Waterfalls
Simmy – Umahlalela

7

Travis Scott – Stop Trying to Be God
Ariana Grande – Breathin
Pistol Annies – Got My Name Changed Back
Travis Scott ft. Drake – Sicko Mode
Maddie & Tae – Friends Don’t
fromis_9 – Love Bomb
The Aces – Last One
Rosalía – Malamente
Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers – Apocalypse Now (& Later)
Twice – Yes or Yes
Cuco – Amor de Siempre
Exo – Tempo
Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next
Charly Bliss – Heaven
Prince Kaybee ft. Busiswa & TNS – Banomoya
Miranda! – La Colisión
Elza Soares – Banho
Zeal & Ardor – Built on Ashes
María Del Pilar – Original Dreamers
Shaun – Way Back Home
Red Velvet – Power Up
Roisin Murphy – PlaythingJohn Prine – Summer’s End
Sidney Gish – Sin Triangle
Sam Tudor – New Apartment
Camp Cope – The Opener
U.S. Girls – Pearly Gates
Noisestorm – Crab Rave
Gang Parade – Breaking the Road
Foxing – Heartbeats
Andrew Bayer ft. Alison May – Immortal LoverTVXQ – Road
Tyler, The Creator ft. A$AP Rocky – Potato Salad
Azealia Banks – Treasure Island
Janelle Monáe – I Like That
Ella Mai – Trip
Maren Morris – Rich
Zico x IU – SoulMate
Cardi B ft. Kehlani – Ring
Perfume – Let Me Know
Polycat – I Want You
Hercules & Love Affair ft. Mashrou’ Leila – Are You Still Certain?
Chelsea Jade – Laugh It Of
Julia Holter – I Shall Love 2
Silk City ft. Dua Lipa – Electricity
Pale Waves – Eighteen (7)
Denzel Curry ft. JPEGMAFIA and ZillaKami – Vengeance | Vengeance
Troye Sivan – Bloom
Taconafide – Tamagotchi
Nyssa – Cowboy
Neneh Cherry – Kong
Lindsay Ell – Criminal
Childish Gambino – This is America
(G)I-DLE – Latata
Lil Uzi Vert ft. Nicki Minaj – The Way Life Goes (Remix)
Luna – Free Love
Hayley Kiyoko – Curious
October – 1000 Eyes
Cardi B – Be Careful
Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
Javiera Mena ft. Li Saumet – Intuición
Jax Jones ft. Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
Natalie Prass – Short Court Style
Nicky Jam x J Balvin – X
Black Eyed Peas – Street Livin
Younha – Parade
Cardi B ft. 21 Savage – Bartier Cardi
Gwenno – Ti Ha Mor
Rae Sremmurd, Swae Lee, Slim Jxmmi ft. Juicy J – Powerglide
MNEK – Tongue
Tracey Thorn ft. Corinne Bailey Rae – Sister
Apink – I’m So Sick
Disclosure ft. Fatoumata Diawara – Ultimatum
Kate Boy – Giants
Amara La Negra – Insecure
Years & Years – Sanctify
Kacey Musgraves – Space Cowboy
Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel
Veronica Maggio – 20 Questions
Courtney Barnett – Nameless, Faceless
IV of Spades – Mundo
Alice Glass – Cease and Desist
Soccer Mommy – Your Dog
Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li
Mitski – Geyser
Little Boots ft. Planningtorock – Eros
Róisín Murphy – All My Dreams
Arctic Monkeys – Four out of Five
BTS – Fake Love
Tirzah – Gladly
Dead Sara – Unamerican
Amara La Negra – What a Bam Bam
iKON – Love Scenario
Mist – Game Changer
Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis – Get You
Myléne Farmer – Rolling Stone
Jonghyun – Shinin’
SHINee – Good Evening
The 1975 – Give Yourself a Try
Bolbbalgan4 – Travel
Shakira & Maluma – Clandestino
Cazzu – Chapiadora
Da Pump – U.S.A.
LOONA/yyxy ft. Grimes – Love4eva
Kesha – Hymn
Selena Gomez – Back to You
Pusha T – If You Know You Know
Boygenius – Bite the Hand

6

Tori Kelly ft. Kirk Franklin – Never Alone
Letrux – Flerte Revival
Got7 – Lullaby
Leslie Grace, Becky G, & CNCO – Díganle (Tainy remix)
Bad Bunny ft. Drake – Mia
The Goon Sax – We Can’t Win
Pentagon – Shine
Shawn Wasabi ft. Raychel Jay – Squeez®
Car Seat Headrest – Nervous Young Inhumans
Drake ft. Michael Jackson – Don’t Matter To Me
No Rome – Saint Laurent
S.H.E – Seventeen
Ought – Desire
IN2IT – SnapShot
Cardi B – Money
Post Malone x Swae Lee – Sunflower
Leverage Models – Senators
Hubert Lenoir – Fille de Personne II
Afro Kitty Jones – Rearview Love
Sigrid – Sucker Punch
Young Thug ft. Elton John – High
Halsey – Without Me
ori Kelly ft. Kirk Franklin – Never Alone
Bad Bunny ft. Drake – Mia
Kacey Musgraves – High Horse
Santigold – Run the Road
Billie Eilish – You Should See Me in a Crown
Alex Anwandter – Locura
Tiffany Young – Over My Skin
Old Dominion – Hotel Key
Lele Pons – Celoso
Seungri – 1, 2, 3!
Idles – Great
Momoland – BBoom BBoom
Darius Rucker – For the First Time
GAC – Sailor
Kyle ft. Kehlani – Playinwitme
Billie Eilish ft. Khalid – Lovely
Hatchie – Sleep
Dean – Instagram
Céline Dion – Ashes
Ciara – Level Up
Demi Lovato – Sober
Lizzo – Boy
Aastha Gill ft. Badshah – Buzz
GFriend – Time for the Moon Night
Hyolyn ft. Gray – Dally
Migos – Stir Fry
Charli XCX ft. Carly Rae Jepsen – Backseat
Mitski – Nobody
Meek Mill ft. Miguel – Stay Woke
Chaka Khan – Like Sugar
Little Big Town – Summer Fever
Dej Loaf ft. Leon Bridges – Liberated
Kimbra x Dawn – Version of Me
Meg Myers – Numb
Raye & Mr. Eazi – Decline
Sugarland – Still the Same
Thomas Rhett – Marry Me
Nilufer Yanya – Baby Luv
BTS – Mic Drop (Steve Aoki remix)
IAMDDB – Trophy
SOB x RBE – Carpoolin’
Mamamoo – Starry Night
Rich the Kid – Plug Walk
King Princess – 1950
Pearl Jam – Can’t Deny Me
Big Bang – Flower Road
George Ezra – Paradise
Blac Youngsta – Booty
MoStack – What I Wanna
Sade – Flower of the Universe
Echosmith – Over My Head
Big Bang – Flower Road
Perfume – Mugen Mirai
Jack White – Ice Station Zebra
j-hope – Daydream
Jordan Davis – Singles You Up
Brandi Carlile – The Joke
Superchunk – Erasure
Nathy Peluso – La Sandunguera
Kassi Ashton – California, Missouri
Sun-El Musician ft. Mlindo The Vocalist – Bamthathile
BLØF ft. Geike Arnaert – Zoutelande
Hop Along – How Simple
Bazzi – Mine
En Vogue – Rocket
Red Velvet – Bad Boy
Chvrches – Miracle
Protomartyr – Wheel of Fortune
Yxng Bane – Vroom
Banx & Ranx + Ella Eyre ft. Yxng Bane – Answerphone
Sugarland ft. Taylor Swift – Babe
J Cole – ATM
Mr Black – El Matrimonio
EO – German
Ne-Yo ft. Stefflon Don & Bebe Rexha – Push Back
Big Freedia – Rent
Ariana Grande – No Tears Left to Cry
Freya Ridings – Lost Without You

5

The Struts ft. Kesha – Body Talk
Wizkid – Fever
Dua Lipa & Blackpink – Kiss and Make Up
Avril Lavigne, Ashley Tisdale & G.E.M. – Trophy Boy
Marie Davidson – Work It
The Struts ft. Kesha – Body Talks
Nile Rodgers & Chic ft. Craig David & Stefflon Don – Sober
Jimmie Allen – Best Shot
Clean Bandit ft. Marina & Luis Fonsi – Baby
Poppy ft. Grimes – Play Destroy
Yoko Ono – Imagine
Maggie Rogers – Fallingwater
Lauren Jauregui – Expectations
Cat Power ft. Lana Del Rey – Woman
Jake Shears – Big Bushy Mustache
Let’s Eat Grandma – It’s Not Just Me
Teyana Taylor – WTP
Paul McCartney – Fuh You
Loren Gray – My Story
Girls’ Generation-Oh!GG – Lil’ Touch
Son Lux – Slowly
Rico Nasty – Rage
AJ Tracey ft. Not3s – Butterflies
Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt – Found/Tonight
B Young – 079ME
Hardy Caprio ft. One Acen – Best Life
Avril Lavigne, Ashley Tisdale & G.E.M. – Trophy Boy
Luke Bryan – Most People Are Good Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
Walker Hayes – You Broke Up with Me
Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush
Ozuna x Manuel Turizo – Vaina Loca
Ariana Grande – God is a Woman
Sheryl Crow ft. Annie Clark – Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You
Rae Morris – Atletico
Snoop Dogg ft. Charlie Wilson – One More Day
The 1975 – Love It If We Made It
Eric Church – Desperate Man
Robyn – Missing U
Benny Blanco ft. Halsey & Khalid – Eastside
Panic! at the Disco – High Hopes
Blood Orange – Charcoal Baby
Kylie Minogue – Dancing
Jason Derulo ft. French Montana – Tip Toe
AKB48 – Ja-Ba-Ja (5)
Portugal. The Man – Live in the Moment (5)
Kendrick Lamar ft. Zacari – LOVE.
EXO – Universe
Craig David ft. Bastille – I Know You
ex Orange County – Loving Is Easy
Sam Fender – Greasy Spoon
Amy Shark – I Said Hi
Liam Payne ft. J Balvin – Familiar
Andra – Indiferenta
Manchester Orchestra – The Gold
Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B – Finesse (Remix)
adytron – The Animals
Sigala & Paloma Faith – Lullaby
Meghan Trainor – No Excuses
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – You Worry Me
Hoodboi ft. Tkay Maidza – Glide
Tinashe ft. Future – Faded Love
Sofia Reyes ft. Jason Derulo & De La Ghetto – 1, 2, 3
Beach House – Lemon Glow
YoungBoy Never Broke Again – Outside Today
Marshmello ft. Anne-Marie – Friends
Kojo Funds ft. RAYE – Check
Jason Aldean – You Make It Easy
Justin Timberlake ft. Chris Stapleton – Say Something
Chris Stapleton – Broken Halos
=LOVE – Teokure Caution
The Carters- APESHIT
The Internet – Roll (Burbank Funk)
Chvrches – Get Out
Blacklist ft. Carla’s Dreams – Tequila
Gorillaz ft. George Benson – Humility
Anderson .Paak – Bubblin’
Brad Paisley – Bucked Off
Jonas Blue ft. Liam Payne & Lennon Stella – Polaroid
Goldfrapp ft. Dave Gahan – Ocean
Shakka ft. AlunaGeorge – Man Down
Christine and The Queens ft. Dâm-Funk – Girlfriend
Jason Aldean ft. Miranda Lambert – Drowns the Whiskey
Purple Disco Machine – Dished (Male Stripper)

4

NCT 127 – Regular
HRVY – I Wish You Were Here
Olly Murs ft. Snoop Dogg – Moves
Tim McGraw – Neon Church
The Chainsmokers ft. Kelsea Ballerini – This Feeling
Aqours – Water Blue New World
Carly Rae Jepsen – Party For One
PBSR – Volcano
MorMor – Heaven’s Only Wishful
Siberia – Cuore di Rovo
Hello Pro All Stars – Yeah Yeah Yeah
Cheryl – Love Made Me Do It
Billie Eilish – When the Party’s Over
Lauren Alaina – Ladies in the 90s
H.E.R. ft. Bryson Tiller – Could’ve Been
Alice Merton – Lash Out
Childish Gambino – Summertime Magic
Twice – Dance the Night Away
Bebe Rexha – I’m a Mess
Luis Miguel – La Festival del Mariachi

Two Feet – I Feel Like I’m Drowning
YG ft. 2 Chainz, Big Sean & Nicki Minaj – Big Bank
Danielle Bradbery ft. Thomas Rhett – Goodbye Summer
Tessa Violet – Crush
Jess Glynne – All I Am
Calvin Harris & Sam Smith – Promises
Trippie Redd – Taking a Walk
Joyce Manor – Think I’m Still in Love with You
Marshmello ft. Bastille – Happie
Carrie Underwood ft. Ludacris – The Champion
John Mayer – New Light
Martin Garrix ft. Khalid – Ocean
Alessia Cara – Growing Pains
Chance the Rapper – I Might Need Security
TK Kravitz ft. Jacquees – Ocean
Gentle Robot – Slow
St. Vincent – Fast Slow Disco
Florence + The Machine – Hunger
Keith Urban ft. Julia Michaels – Coming Home
Chvrches ft. Wednesday Campanella – Out of My Head
The Chainsmokers ft. Emily Warren – Side Effects
Noah Kahan & Julia Michaels – Hurt Somebody
Blossoms – I Can’t Stand It
Ozuna X Ele A El Dominio – Balenciaga
Ramz – Family Tree
Travis Scott ft. Kanye West & Lil Uzi Vert – Watch
Fuse ODG ft. Ed Sheeran & Mugeez – Boa M
Not3s x Mabel – My Lover (Remix)
Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me
Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA – All the Stars
Walk the Moon – One Foot
Pink – Beautiful Trauma
Gang of Youths – The Heart is a Muscle
Daphne and Celeste – Alarms
Trixie Mattel – Break Your Heart
Panic! at the Disco – Say Amen (Saturday Night)
Remy Ma ft. Lil Kim – Wake Me Up
Camila Cabello – Never Be the Same
Jake Owen – I Was Jack (You Were Diane)
Justin Timberlake – Filthy
Superorganism – Something for Your M.I.N.D.
Eminem ft. Ed Sheeran – Rive
Daddy Yankee – Dura (4)
Post Malone ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Psycho
Tiwa Savage ft. Wizkid & Spellz – Ma Lo
The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar – Pray for Me
Blocboy JB ft. Drake – Look Alive
Maroon 5 – Wait
Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B – Girls Like You
Kanye West – All Mine
5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood
Miguel ft. J. Cole & Salaam Remi – Come Through and Chill
Christina Aguilera ft. Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz – Accelerate
Stray Kids – Grrr
A$AP Rocky ft. Skepta – Praise The Lord (Da Shine)
Sigrid – High Five
Julia Michaels ft. Trippie Redd – Jump
Lali ft. Pabllo Vittar – Caliente

3

Alessia Cara – Trust My Lonely
Eleni Foureira – Fuego
Kanye West & Lil Pump ft. Adele Givens – I Love It
Annalisa ft. Mr Rain – Un Domani
Carrie Underwood – Love Wins
Shawn Mendes & Zedd – Lost in Japan (Remix)
Eminem ft. Joyner Lucas – Lucky You
Twenty One Pilots – My Blood
Ben&Ben – Maybe The Nigh
Alessia Cara – Trust My Lonely
Little Mix ft. Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Charli XCX ft. Troye Sivan – 1999
Twenty One Pilots – My Blood
Annika Norlin – Showering In Public
Ben&Ben – Maybe The Nigh
Regi ft. Jake Reese – Ellie
Kanye West & Lil Pump ft. Adele Givens – I Love It
Annalisa ft. Mr Rain – Un Domani
Carrie Underwood – Love Wins
Eminem ft. Joyner Lucas – Lucky You
Frankie Cosmos – Jesse
Lauren Daigle – You Say
Dean Lewis – Be Alright
Anne-Marie – 2002
Yuno – No Going Back
Jaden Smith ft. Nicky Jam – Icon (Remix)
Sanni – Pornoo
Twenty One Pilots – Jumpsuit
Jax Jones & Mabel ft. Rich the Kid – Ring Ring
Lenny Kravitz – Low
Kygo ft. Miguel – Remind Me to Forget
George Ezra – Shotgun
Julia Michaels – Heaven
Foster the People – Sit Next to Me (Stereotypes Remix)
Hailee Steinfeld & BloodPop – Capital Letters
Louis Tomlinson – Miss You
Ramz – Barking
Bazzi ft. Camila – Beautiful
DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper & Quavo – No Brainer
Tyga ft. Offset – Taste
Backstreet Boys – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Liam Payne & Rita Ora – For You
Shawn Mendes ft. Khalid – Youth
Halsey ft. Big Sean & Stefflon Don – Alone
Logic ft. Marshmello – Everyday
Meghan Patrick – Country Music Made Me Do It
Troye Sivan – My My My!
Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran & Future – End Game
Dua Lipa – IDGAF
Sofi Tukker ft. NERVO, The Knocks & Alisa Ueno – Best Friend
They Might Be Giants – I Left My Body
Ozuna ft. Cardi B – La Modelo
Lewis Capaldi – Mercy
Tom Walker – Leave a Light On
Bryce Vine – Drew BarrymoreMabel & Not3s – Fine Line
Dierks Bentley – Woman, Amen
Skylar Spence – Carousel
Janet Jackson x Daddy Yankee – Made For Now
Brett Young – Mercy
Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life
Zayn ft. Timbaland – Too Much
Parcels – Tieduprightnow
Jennie – Solo
Jess Glynne – Thursday
Kane Brown – Lose It
Ellie Goulding & Diplo ft. Swae Lee – Close to Me

2

Train ft. Cam & Travie McCoy – Call Me Sir
Isaac Gracie – Running On Empty
LSD – Thunderclouds
HOLYCHILD – Hundred Thousand Hearts
Yves Tumor – Noid
Loud Luxury ft. Brando – Body
Drake – God’s Plan
James Bay – Wild Love
Chris Lane ft. Tori Kelly – Take Back Home Girl
LSD – Genius
A$AP Rocky ft. Moby – A$AP Forever
Lykke Li – Hard Rain
Khalid x Normani – Love Lies
Jack and Jack – Beg
Weezer – Africa
5 Seconds of Summer – Want You Back
of Montreal – Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia
Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey – The Middle
Piso 21 ft. Manuel Turizo – Déjala Que Vuelva
David Byrne – Everybody’s Coming to My House
Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble – This Is Me
G-Eazy ft. Halsey – Him & I
Hov1 – Heartbreak
Juice WRLD – All Girls are the Same
Drake – In My Feelings
Ina Wroldsen – Strongest
Rudimental ft. Jess Glynne, Macklemore & Dan Caplen – These Days
Lil Baby & Drake – Yes Indeed
David Guetta and Sia – Flames
Juice WRLD – Lucid Dreams
M-22 ft. Medina – First Time
Jonas Blue ft. Jack and Jack – Rise

1

For King & Country – Joy.
Mitchell Tenpenny – Drunk Me
Little Big – Skibidi
Lukas Graham – Love Someone
Jason Derulo x David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj and Willy William
Steel Banglez ft. Yungen, MoStack, Mr Eazi & Not3s – Bad
DJ Khaled ft. Jay-Z, Future & Beyoncé – Top Off
Jason Mraz – Have It All
The Chainsmokers – Everybody Hates Me
Why Don’t We – Trust Fund Baby
Imagine Dragons – Natural
Snow Patrol – Don’t Give In
Russell Dickerson – Yours
Iggy Azalea ft. Quavo – Savior
Rita Ora ft. Cardi B, Bebe Rexha & Charli XCX – Girls
Tove Lo ft. Charli XCX, Icona Pop, Elliphant & Alma – Bitches (1)
Post Malone – Better Now

0

Hozier ft. Mavis Staples – Nina Cried Power
Calum Scott – You Are The Reason
Kygo ft. Imagine Dragons – Born to Be Yours
AJR ft. Rivers Cuomo – Sober Up
Mason Ramsey – Famous

The best albums of 2018, pt. 3

12. Toni Braxton — Sex & Cigarettes

Four years after triumphing with the Babyface collaboration Love Marriage & Divorce, which chronicled the ebb and flow of two intelligent, horny adults as powerful as Shoot Out the Lights and Love Wars and surpassing them in vocal firepower, Toni Braxton records an unofficial coda. Chromosomally repelled by cynicism, she stumbles from scenario to scenario, obsessed with the women her exes bed (“I need you to know that it’s difficult,” she insists on “Coping”), and finding erotic satisfaction that belies societal presumptions about age and pleasure. Eight songs, less than thirty minutes. 2018’s best trad R&B album.

11. Earl Sweatshirt — Some Rap Songs

He mumbles and growls through fifteen songs in less than half an hour — a bigger bargain than Toni Braxton! — and at times the images and beats take a sullen pleasure in not cohering (“I found a new way to cope,” he rasps). Haunted by the death of pops Keorapetse Kgositsile inspires a series of admissions complemented by scuzz-covered beats that mitigate the pathos.

10. Eric Church – Desperate Man

So far it hasn’t been the hit that his previous three albums were, and I hope fans recoiled from his at best confusing politics and not from the loosey goosey approach that 2015’s Mr. Misunderstood augured.

9. Superchunk – What a Time to Be Alive

The vets take their cues from the title joke, irony at its resonant: recording punk this vital does its part in keeping the blues at bay, or what they call the clouds of hate. Unlike many #Resistance efforts, What a Time to Be Alive is chary of defeatism. On “Reagan Youth” Superchunk sound delighted by the challenge of continuing the battle of quashing conservative bullshit that was alarming in 1981. That’s how you do it.

The best albums of 2018, pt. 2

Let’s continue this streak…

16. Meshell Ndegeocello – Ventriloquism

On first listen her covers, many acoustic, gratify eighties nostalgists. Play it in the background and her vocal and instrumental choices emphasize odd stresses — listen to what she does with “Sensitivity” and “Don’t Disturb This Groove.” “Tender Love” becomes R&B country in the vein of Willie Nelson and Al Green.

15. Bali Baby – Baylor Swift

Treating vowels like fresh chewing gum, this Atlantan rapper is like prime Kesha in her appropriation of freestyle tropes and her from-the-block crassness. If the bridges were faster and the choruses kept up, Baylor Swift would compete with K-pop.

14. Alex Anwantder – Latinoamericana

Queer synth pop from Chile, stubborn about its lightness, itself a kind of queerness.

13. Amen Dunes – Freedom

What with his vocal resemblance to David Gray, Damon McMahon was insufferable at first. As albums by the more performatively political Parquet Courts faded, this dense effort became my token indie rock album of the year. The arrangements are precise, and if McMahon doesn’t know what he’s signifying a quarter of the time there’s a difference between opaque and inscrutable. McMahon is opaque.