Friends and other acquaintances have told me I have horrid taste in music. They say music I enjoy has immature lyrics, takes itself too seriously, has a grating sound, and is repetitive and simplistic. I've had two decades now to come to terms with this, and I no longer apologize for my tastes. The Music Stats tool puts on full display exactly which music I listen to. But that's just numbers – if you want the nuance, read on for my 2018 album recommendations.

In no particular order, here are albums that I'm recommending, informed but not dictated by my listening statistics.

  • "I'll Be Your Girl" by the Decemberists

    The Decemberists continue to amaze me with the evolving of their sound and lyrics, with each new album for the past half decade continuing to hit the sweet spot. I'll Be Your Girl is no exception, with a great sound end-to-end.
  • Superorganism

    Superorganism is a new group, made up of musicians who are all new to me. The singer (and frontwoman) is a teenage Japanese woman, but the music is a collaborative effort between many talented musicians, each adding and tweaking their songs in a way which could have been bad, but is in fact good. The total sum of each song is a bizarre, noisy, catchy, poignant melange of dreamy lyrics, perfectly-timed samples, and booming basslines. Pretty much near perfect album.
  • "Noire" by VNV Nation

    VNV has been in my ear since at least 2002, and over the years the sound has definitely matured. The raw emotion of their youth has been replaced by more spiritual, soul-searching ideas. I love it. I love VNV's early stuff, and I love their newer stuff. This album, the first by Ronan Harris without Mark Jackson, is a smooth continuation from their previous release, further developing and refining that sound which defines Futurepop.
  • Reyna Tropical

    I first heard of Reyna Tropical in a movie theater in the Portland Airport. That makes Reyna Tropical the best thing I've ever found in an airport in my entire life. Based in Southern California and singing mostly in Spanish, Reyna's debut (self-titled) release somehow manages to sound disinterested without being disconnected. It's the perfect approach to their material and the EP is a delight which hopefully leads to a full album soon.
  • "The 9th of Nine Hearts" by Banco de Gaia

    I started listening to Banco way back in 2003 when I grabbed their "10 Years" double album at a flea market at college. Their music has always been "pleasant" but never been a top favorite. Until now, Banco's umpteenth album has really sunk its teeth into my ear, especially (but not only) the stand-out track, Burn the Witch.

Ten additional tracks worth listening to

Because I'm me, I keep at all times a playlist of my favorite tracks. Here are ten tracks from that list that didn't appear on the above albums, but that I think are worth listening to.

Track NameAlbumArtist
Creature ComfortEverything NowThe Arcade Fire
If..!Electronica 1: The Time MachineJean-Michel Jarre featuring Little Boots
When I Was Done DyingGliss RifferDan Deacon
Everything at Your FeetA Moment ApartODESZA featuring Dana Jean Phoenix
StarsPhenomenaSolitary Experiments
Pray to GodMotionCalvin Harris featuring HAIM
I Need LoveSirFischerspooner
Bare My SoulSafe From HarmEmpathy Test
Are Your Lost in the World Like Me?These Systems Are FailingMoby & the Void Pacific Choir
Insane LullabyDark Night of the SoulDanger Mouse & Sparklehorse featuring James Mercer

In conclusion

Nobody cares what music I listen to.