Well, it’s been a great year for music, and especially can’t-even-be-called-music. Seeing as the year is just about over, we’re going to wrap up with a list of the best albums of the year. We are glad to say that CTEBCM is and remains at the forefront of music journalism, and we are proud to present you the first top 5 of the year! Who really wants to wait until 2018 is actually over to decide what was best? Not us! Let’s stop pretending that releases in December matter. In fact, we can safely assume that nothing that comes out after today is worth mentioning. Anyway, let’s get down to it.
#5. Hago – Hago
A brilliant technical progressive metal album full of djenty riffs and exotic Middle Eastern scales, Hago’s self-titled debut is an instant classic. Also, they had the good sense to release it early in the year, so as to make it onto this list. Finally, the band sent us a free physical copy of their CD, that’s really what tipped the scale to include them as #5 on our list!
#4. Brian! – Chasms of Color and Thought
Brian! never fails to impress us with their wacky avant-garde yet mathy bassoon sound. Blending psychedelic and progressive vibes while venturing into experimental ambient spoken word tangents, they have put out one of the best albums of 2018. Especially considering that had they released it a month earlier, it wouldn’t even be worth mentioning.
#3. Unreal Overflows – Latent
We love the jazzy tech death of Unreal Overflows, especially how it breathes new life into the style originally pioneered by the likes of Cynic and Suffocation. They really know how to play guitar, very impressive!
#2. Grave Upheaval – Sciomancy
Grave Upheaval’s savagely macabre and twisted album makes you want to burn down a church in a fit of demonic possession. We’re pretty sure it would be a sweet card for your EDH deck, if it existed. You know what would be even darker than this album? If it were released in April, damning it to the oblivion of not being on our best of 2018 list.
#1!!! Justin Timberlake – Man of the Woods
Perennial CTEBCM favourite Justin Timberlake dropped another stunning LP this year, and we have to give it its due. This extremely challenging and borderline unlistenable album may be a polarizing choice, but we think it perfectly represents the aesthetic that the readers of our blog crave. You’ll definitely question if it even should be called music, or if it would be better released in December so that no one would have to consider it the best of 2018.
Well, that wraps up our best of the year list. There were many strong contenders who released albums in the months of January, February, and March, and, unfortunately, we can’t mention them all here, because none of them sent us free promos. But, without a doubt, there will not be any better music released this year. As for those artists foolish enough to release albums in December or any of the preceding eight months: well, they should have known better!
This April’s fool post was an idea we had, me and Dillon, perhaps before the end of 2016. Since then we always forgot or failed to take advantage of every opportunity to publish such a post. No more!
In a way, it’s more than a simple joke: it’s a statement, a critique of music journalism, and a tongue-in-cheek parody of it. For many years now, many outlets have competed to bring out their year’s-end list first – in 2018, we won that battle already! That might be good for the website, the number of clicks they can have, and ultimately their ad revenue. However, this is to the detriment of who these outlets work for: the fans and artists.
Fans, first, because they receive a faux sense of completion. Pitchfork’s best of 2017 posts started on December 11, NPR’s on the 12th, and Billboard’s on the 13. Some worse offenders were the Rolling Stone magazine, on November 29th, Paste magazine on the 27th, and CBC Music on the 20th! What does it say to the fans and artists out there? That no music published past mid-November is worth listening to? That if you release an album in December, you won’t get the attention of the more popular music outlets? At best, some magazines and website will write an “Albums We Missed” post, but that also means they are not judged by the same standards, and this post won’t reach the same audience as the real “Best Of” one.
We, and Toilet ov Hell, have been visibly against such practice. Calling for a boycott won’t work, not when it’s called by two music websites that are absolutely meaningless, when compared to the Pitchforks and Rolling Stones. We don’t know how to eradicate this pestilent, anti-journalistic practice, but we can try with humour.
At the end of the day, it’s a call on the common sense of people. We mustn’t let December become a musical desert because the bigger magazines close their floodgates in November. Albums released in this month should be judged on the same level as any other. To fans I say “Don’t close yourself to new music once you start seeing these Best Of posts coming out!” To outlets I say “Stop acting in such shameless self-interest and greed as this, be humble, and wait until the year is over before thinking of wrapping it up!” To artists I say “If you release your music in December, you will have to work twice as hard on promotion, but don’t let that change your plans. Put pressure on the promoters and reviewers, and maybe they’ll push their wrap-ups back!”
Happy Fools’ day.