#NerveBigReview2018: Top 5 albums of the year

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By Maya Derrick

Well if one thing is for certain, 2018 definitely wasn’t a let down in the world of music. We’ve had a ton of awesome albums, plenty of tunes that will live on for years to come, and of course that controversial Mercury Prize award. Nerve’s Maya Derrick had the difficult job of picking her top five albums of the year…

1. Black Panther Soundtrack

If the cast of Marvel’s Black Panther wasn’t star studded enough for you, the soundtrack won’t fail to disappoint, either. With the likes of Kendrick, SZA, The Weeknd and Jorja Smith working with relatively unknown artists from all over the world, this album is home to an experimental collection of unique, varying sounds.  Not only does it compliment the Black Panther film, but it also stands on its own two feet as an individual album.  In an era where black representation in cinema is on the rise, the album adds to the positive representation of actors within the film industry; showcasing the talent of directors, actors, musicians and production staff before anything else. With the soundtrack making waves across genres and the globe, it’s undeniably worthy of the title of Nerve’s album of 2018.

2. Invasion of Privacy

Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy is as outrageous as she is in real life. The rags-to-riches star isn’t afraid to speak her mind – her honesty towards herself, and her peers no less, is encapsulated in every single hit on the album; there’s no opinion of hers that’s too insensitive for her to hide. Staying true to her roots, the fusion of Bronx and Latin vibes pays homage to her heritage, and simultaneously the environment she grew up in. The consistent current of energy that ebbs and flows through the album perfectly captures Cardi’s popping personality – daring, comical, dominating, but equally vulnerable, emotional and personal. Her biographical album has completely changed the rap game, setting the bar extremely high for her future releases.

3. Staying at Tamara’s

George Ezra’s getaway second album was the soundtrack to everyone’s summer. The mix of catchy hooks and moody ballads captured the hearts of the nation (my grandma included), seizing the chaos of the modern-day world and catapulting into the lives of his listeners, no matter how old. Crowd-pleasing tunes have been Ezra’s style since his early days of Budapest and Cassy O, and although many have claimed this album was playing it safe, playing safe has definitely paid off. Adventurous and playful, yet retrospective and reflective, it’s clear that whatever fuelled Ezra’s escape to the furthest corners of Europe fuelled his best song writing to date. And let’s be honest…it made everyone want to pack up their bags and travel, right?

4. Dua Lipa (The Complete Edition)

Okay, I’m going to slightly cheat here. Dua Lipa’s self-titled album was released in 2017 and absolutely crashed the pop music scene, fighting its way to the top of the UK album chart. But, 2018 brought bigger and better things for Dua fans. With previously unreleased and unheard tracks, this 25-song strong album gives a new lease of life to her debut album. It’s sassy, unapologetic and a generally bright album, with shady undertones that make every living soul want to call out those that have done them wrong – she’s empowering the next generation of go getters.

Where can Dua Lipa go wrong? Brought to life with a voice like no other, the album opens on a dream-like note, and transports you through every imaginable emotion. Whether this album makes you want to hit the dancefloor, sing in the shower, or do something spontaneous, it’s safe to say Dua Lipa’s truly left her mark on 2018.

5. Sweetener

Well, it’s safe to say that Ariana Grande’s had one hell of a year and a half. With events including a terrorist attack at her Manchester concert that left 22 dead, the untimely death of her ex-boyfriend, Mac Miller, and the subsequent breakdown of her engagement to Pete Davidson, she’s come back bigger and better than ever. Taking everything in her stride, Ari returns with a confident, vibrant comeback album worthy of high praise. Although Grande’s grown up under the public’s spotlight, this album seems to have shown her maturity; it shows that she’s finally found her true sound. It’s undeniable that the stream of recent events shaped her latest album; she takes her fear and heartache in her stride, which bleeds through each track. From soothing, powerful ballads to straight up bops, it’s easy to see Grande’s musical growth and development.

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