I should have written this a month ago but here ya go. All based on my personal opinion. This list should be in ascending order
  1. Lost Time - Taco Cat (Rock)
    Lost Time is savvy with pop culture references and millenial moodiness. Not to mention their flavor of rock is just a joy to listen to
  2. 10 Songs - Sam Means (Indie)
    Means, the less famous member of The Format, emerges after a 10 year musical hiatus to give a gentle, Formatty dose of insight into his light hearted, if not deep in thought, life
  3. Fever Daydream - The Black Queen (Electronic)
    I say "electronic" with a grain of salt. The album is synth heavy, recalling a lot of what made part of 80s subculture what it is. Dark, brooding, and very retro feeling. Fever Daydream is an existential time machine.
  4. Not to Disappear - Daughter (Indie Pop)
    Daughter takes a stylistic shift from her usual "indie girl with guitar" vibe. Allowing herself a full band and a wider range of emotional style and sound, Not to Disappear is a risky step in the right direction.
  5. A Man Alive - Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (Alternative)
    A Man Alive is weird, experimental, and an overall fearless endeavor both musically and lyrically. Thao grapples heavily with the mixed feelings towards her father while wrapping them in a sound that you just have to hear. It's unconventional all across the board and is unforgettable as a result.
  6. Weezer (White Album) - Weezer (Rock)
    Do you like Weezer? It's Weezer at their Weeziest. Harkening familiar sounds from their Blue Album era while also channeling and building off what they created on Everything Will Be Alright in the End. 22 years later, Weezer still delivers
  7. A Sailor's Guide to Earth - Sturgill Simpson (County)
    Simpson shows country's sensitive, reflective side. A crooningly deep voice against a back drop of orchestrated country sounds singing about fatherhood and legacies. As well as laying claim to one of the few good examples of a Nirvana cover.
  8. I Don't Think It Is - Say Anything (Punk)
    Say Anything shifts again, leaving traces of their recent techno heavy vibes and embracing the hard guitar and Bemis' increasingly gravelly vocals. The newlywed dad starts seeing the benefits of conformity and more fully accepting people while also using his punk roots to drive the points home
  9. Stranger Heads Prevail - Thank You Scientist (Progressive Rock)
    Thank You Scientist shoots for the moon on this album. Loud guitars, jazzy horns, high pitched strings, and mid 2000s rock vocals. The huge album doesn't believe in down playing anything. The album is long, heavy, and a cornocopia of great sound.
  10. Lola - Carrie Rodriguez (Folk Country)
    Rodriguez is taking back counrty for the Latina sisters out there. Masterfully playing the sounds of the genre while lyrically redefining what it's capable of. Intelligent, poignant, and a beautiful love letter to her Mexican heritage
  11. The Suffers - The Suffers (Soul)
    This big band brings the soul sound of the 60s and 70s and keeps it relevant in an era of drum kits and DJ duos. The Suffers, despite their name, are a jovial bunch that embraces a side of femininity that is more "house wife" than "riot grrrl" and still manages to make it sound as progressive and empoweing as any other girl power artist.
  12. This Unruly Mess I've Made - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Hip Hop)
    No sophomore slump here. The rapper/producer team come back bigger and better after the insane success of The Heist. While there's no Thrift Shop level of catchy here, the album is exactly what you'd expect: Fun at times, introverted in others, and fiercely political.
  13. Oh Ho - Joey Hines (Folk)
    The charm of Oh Ho comes from unique lyrics and story telling that are so very specific and yet universally understandable. Hines is quirky and weird with a very different outlook on life, but that's what makes the album so dang relatable. Relentlessly optimistic and personal, Hines hits home.
  14. Hopelessness - Anohni (Pop)
    Anohni doesn't hold back. A swirling vortex of existential dread and hesitant optimism mixed in with thundering pop music that is certain to make you feel something and want to fix everything.
  15. Helter Seltzer - We Are Scientists (Rock)
    WAS is indie rock's best kept secret. Clever word play is the name of the game on Helter Seltzer with familiar feeling thoughts on romance told in ways you haven't really thought of deliberately before. The music and hooks get stuck in your soul and this band stays true and inventive for the 5th album in a row.
  16. Hella Personal Film Festival - Open Mike Eagle (Hip Hop)
    "Hella Personal" is right. Taking an old school approach to hip hop production and swirling it with Mike's anxieties, fears, and social awkardness, OME has created a stepping stone to talking about poverty and race relations that ia easy to approach by speaking candidly of his own experience and situation.
  17. Stranger to Stranger - Paul Simon (Folk)
    The Simon half of Simon and Garfunkel hits an absurdist and culturally biting masterpiece on his 74th year. Not missing a beat, the folk pioneer learns new tricks, explores a levy of societal observations, and just sounds like he's having fun doing it
  18. Teens of Denial - Car Seat Headrest (Punk)
    I've spoken briefly on this album before, but it bears repeating. Teens of Denial swings for the fences with an explosive side that is deliberately contradicted by all the thoughts and worries of your average American teen. Supposedly there's a story being told around a fictional character, but it can't help but feel like every 17 year old's autobiography
  19. Robert Ellis - Robert Ellis (Country)
    Following the termination of his 5 year marriage, Ellis put his head and heart into his music and created the most human piece of work of the year. Never demonizing his ex-lover and refusing to play the victim, Ellis brings the full scope of an ending relationship and does not pull punches when discussing sensitive subjects. Channeling the 70s outlaw country sound while also modernizing it, Ellis has taken his wealth of live and life experience and made one of THE albums of the decade.
  20. Lemonade - Beyoncé (Beyoncé)
    How do you genre specify Beyoncé's opus at this point? The focus of this album has been put on Jay-Z over and over, but there's so much more going on. Womanhood, racism, a full emotional spectrum, tough questions without answers, the list could be endless. Beyoncé has cemented herself as a cultural icon, but this album has launched her into revolutionary status. Not just the best of the year so far, but among the best of our short millennium.