Five reasons 2018 music was spectacular 

click to enlarge ROMAN SAMBORSKYI
  • Roman Samborskyi
Discerning music cognoscenti whose opinions can be trusted agree that 2018 — in fact, the whole latter half of this decade — represented an unusual flowering of talent not seen since the British Invasion or early punk era. Yet certain music critics not to be named have given up seeking out new music. To let them know the extent of their loss, here’s five reasons this year won a gold star.

1. Rookies ruled the roost. It’s hard to remember a time when so many artists like Soccer Mommy, boygenius, Bodega, The Beths and Snail Mail released such dynamite debuts.

2. Experimentalists could stretch out. The sheer number of weird improvisational artists may be down since the turn of the millennium, but when the likes of Kamasi Washington and Mary Halvorson offer complex works exceeding an hour, music is scarcely under tight control.

3. Streaming did not eliminate the physical artifact. OK, maybe CDs are on life support, but vinyl LPs are in fine multi-colored shape. Also, with better residual deals out there, it looks silly for artists like Lucy Kaplansky to launch streaming boycotts.

4. Old-timers from many decades offered decent work. Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono hit home runs, while reunions of artists from the ‘90s like The Breeders, Belly and The Rock*A*Teens remained relevant.

5. Women dominated all scenes. Our music editor Bill Forman describes this further on p. 26, but remember the old adage “Women hold up half the sky”? Try two-thirds, maybe three-quarters.


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