The best album of 2018, according to the 180-or-so voters in the Uproxx Music Critics Poll, was Kacey Musgrave’s “Golden Hour,” a judgment with which I heartily concur.
It was at the top of the ballot I submitted to Uproxx, the entertainment/popular culture website that is picking up the annual critics survey after the demise of the Village Voice and its longtime Pazz & Jop critics poll.
The chief revelation of the survey: Eight of the top 10 albums came from women, either solo artists or bands.
Rapper Pusha T, whose “Daytona” came in at No. 4, and English band The 1975’s “A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships,” which finished at No. 8, were the only men on the list -- reversing what has been a decades-long trend of male domination.
There are likely to be plenty of reasons put forth for the female domination -- more women participating in the survey, greater awareness and access to work of female artists and even the #MeToo movement.
But I’d say it’s simpler than that -- these women put out the best records of the year. Period. Half the albums of my top 10 and top 20 for the year were by women -- and I wasn’t considering gender when I put it together.
Here are the other albums by women that made the top 10:
* 2. Janelle Monae, “Dirty Computer"
* 3. Mitski, “Be The Cowboy”
* 5. Cardi B. “Invasion of Privacy”
* 6. Lucy Dacus, “Historian”
* 7. Ariana Grande, “Sweetener”
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* 9. Boygenius, “Boygenius”
* 10. Noname, “Room 25"
The top 10 albums pretty well span the range of styles/genres in the fractured music world -- hip-hop, pop, R&B and even some rock, or at least rock adjacent -- made the list.
The other, I couldn’t really call it a revelation, so let’s go with confirmation, is there are too many albums released and too many critics writing about them to reach any kind of a definitive list of the “best.”
“Room 25,” for example, received 143 points from the voters -- with each ballot being tabulated 10 points for No. 1 down to 1 point for No. 10. A total of 628 albums receiving votes.
That amounts to 1.7 albums for each day of the year -- if someone attempted to listen to all the discs, which will never happen.
That said, I’d recommend all of the top 10, particularly the must-hears from Musgraves, Monae, Dacus and Cardi B.
Music at the movies
“Bohemian Rhapsody” wasn’t the best music bio-pic of 2018 -- that was “Blaze” -- much less the best movie of the year. Nor was “Green Book” a comedy or a musical.
But those pictures got the Golden Globes Sunday, proving again that the awards presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are inane and irrelevant.
I’m guessing that “Bohemian Rhapsody” won’t be among the up-to-10 movies that will be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. “Green Book” could make that cut but certainly won’t win. And if the Queen story has a shot at anything, it’s for Rami Malek playing Freddie Mercury -- but it’s a long shot.
And look for “A Star Is Born,” the year’s other acclaimed music-rooted movie, to do much, much better at the Oscars than it did at the Globes.