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Bob Boilen's Top Albums And Songs Of 2018

Lucy Dacus' sophomore album, <em>Historian</em>, tops the list of Bob Boilen's favorite albums in 2018.
Dustin Condren
Courtesy of the artist
Lucy Dacus' sophomore album, Historian, tops the list of Bob Boilen's favorite albums in 2018.

The music I loved most in 2018 was often filled with more graceful and subtle tones, like the works of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, German composer Niklas Paschburg and the mysteriously soulful serpentwithfeet. I loved songs with introspective stories. Lucy Dacus, Adrianne Lenker and John Prine were a few favorites in that department. As always, I also looked for some humor, and for that, no one made a record like Superorganism. David Byrne's album American Utopia, his best in decades, had all of these elements, being thoughtful, funny and, at times, subtle.

I will say that 2018 felt like the least exciting year in my recent musical memory. That's not to take away from the excitement I felt for the records I loved. But given the quantity of music in 2018 (it felt like I got a new song in my inbox every minute), there was less music that spoke to my soul than usual. Maybe if I were a big fan of R&B and hip-hop I'd feel differently, but that music rarely speaks to me.

Others music I loved in 2018 include albums by the River Whyless, Mitski, Saint Sister, boygenius, Courtney Barnett, Kamasi Washington, The Decemberists, Khruangbin, Cautious Clay, Haley Heynderickx and Tierra Whack.

My Top Ten albums are listed below followed by a playlist with my 100 favorite songs. Hit random and hopefully you'll find something new.

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In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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