Jake’s Take’s The Top 20 Albums of 2018

Jake's Take Bitmoji
(Bitmoji property of Jake’s Take)

In a few short weeks, we will say “Farewell” to 2018! Jake’s Take is continuing its celebration of the Best of 2018 by revealing its Top 20 albums.  Did your favorites make the cut?  Read on to find out!

(Album cover property of Warner Bros. Records)

#20-Dancing Queen by Cher

The Internet exploded with joy when entertainment icon and Kennedy Center Honoree Cher announced that she would cover ABBA’s biggest hits in a new studio album. The Oscar and Grammy-winning songstress previously covered “Fernando” and “Super Trouper” in Mamma Mia! 2: Here We Go Again with castmates Andy Garcia, Amanda Seyfried, and Meryl Streep. However, Dancing Queen successfullygave Cher the opportunity to introduce a new generation to ABBA’s music throughclub bangers (“Gimme! Gimmie! Gimmie! (A Man After Midnight)), workout songs(“Waterloo”), and honest ballads (“One of Us”).

Key Tracks: “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight),” “SOS,” “Waterloo,” & “The Winner Takes It All.”

(Album cover property of Capitol Records UK & One Mode Productions)

#19-Youngblood by 5 Seconds of Summer

5 Seconds of Summer (Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin, and Michael Clifford) dropped their third studio album this year.  Luke, Calum, and Michael played a critical role as they co-wrote a majority of the album with a plethora of superstar collaborators including Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter, the Monsters and Strangerz, Rami Yacoub, and Rivers Cuomo. Youngblood not only peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, but it also showed the band’s growth as musicians.

Key Tracks: “Youngblood,” “Want You Back,” “Talk Fast,” & “If Walls Could Talk.”

The Carters Everything Is Love
(Album cover property of S.C. Enterprises, Roc Nation LLC, Parkwood Entertainment LLC, & Sony Music Entertainment)

#18-EVERYTHING IS LOVE by The Carters

Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Jay-Z surprised the music industry when they dropped their first joint album earlier this year. Surrounded by an elite team of producers and songwriters such as Pharrell Williams, James Fauntleroy II, Boi-1da, Mike Dean, Offset, and Quavo, the Carters delivered an epic R&B/Soul/Hip-Hop album.  EVERYTHING IS LOVE received three Grammy nominations for Urban Contemporary Album, Best Music Video for “Apes**t,” and BestR&B Performance for “Summer.”

Key Tracks: “Apes**t,”“Boss,” “Friends,” & “Heard About Us.”

Dan + Shay album cover
(Album cover property of Warner Music Nashville)

#17-Dan + Shay by Dan + Shay

Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney are turning into one of my all-time favorite country music duos! Their third studio album off of Warner Nashville marked the third time that Smyers teamed up with Scott Hendricks to executive produce their album. The duo teamed up with songwriters Jesse Frasure, Nicolle Galyon, David Hodges, and Hillary Lindsey to craft the perfect tracks that not only satisfied their fan base but also earned their first two Grammy nominations. In addition, their collaboration with Kelly Clarkson, “Keeping Score,” received praise from numerous music outlets.

Key Tracks: “Alone Together,” “Tequila,” “Keeping Score,” & “Speechless.”

(Album cover property of Republic Records)

#16-Sweetener by Ariana Grande

While the singer-actress’ personal life was constantly in the tabloids this year, Ariana Grande proved that she could deliver impeccable music.  Along with her manager and executive producer Scooter Braun, the “God is a woman” singer recruited an all-star production and songwriting team that delivered one of her best albums this decade. Max Martin, Ilya, Savan Kotecha, Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj, and Missy Elliott were a part of this impeccable team that created superb pieces of ear candy.  Not only did Sweetener helped the “Dangerous Woman” performer two more Grammy nominations, but several major media outlets put the album as a part of their Best of 2018 lists.

Key Tracks: “blazed,” “the light is coming,” “God is a woman,” & “breathin.”

Leaving Thomas album
(Album cover property of MDM Recordings, Inc.)

#15-Leaving Thomas by Leaving Thomas

Leaving Thomas is one of my favorite new acts of 2018! Best friends Annika Odegard and Bryton Udy released their self-titled debut EP on January 26 and I have not stopped listening to them. This duo has a bright future in the music industry thanks to their impeccable songwriting and arrangement skills. I cannot wait to see what they do next in their career.

Key Tracks: “Waiting Kind of Girl,” “Blame It on the Neon,” “Shame on Me,” & “Best Adventure.”

(Album cover property of Clark Beckham)

#14-Year One EP by Clark Beckham

There is an old adage that states “Good things come to those who wait.” For fans of friend to the blog, Clark Beckham, they were finally awarded with a new EP! The American Idol runner-up showcased five new songs that perfectly showcased his artistry. From the energetic “Must Be Hard Being You” to the powerful ballad “I Need,” the Year One EP showcased that Clark is just getting started on the newest chapter in the music industry.

Key Tracks: “Must Be Hard Being You,” “James & Natalie,” “Sleep,”& “I Need.”

Bebe Rexha Expectations
(Album cover of Warner Bros. Records)

#13-Expectations by Bebe Rexha

Bebe Rexha had a huge 2018! The singer-songwriter finally dropped her debut album, Expectations. She co-wrote all of her album with collaborators David Garcia, Jason Evigan, Justin Tranter, Lauren Christy, and The Stereotypes. Expectations had an amazing amount of superb singles such as “Ferrari,” “Self Control,” and the massive hit “I’m A Mess.” While Expectations peaked at number 13 on Billboard’s Top 200, the Recording Academy nominated her for two Grammys.

Key Tracks:“Ferrari,” “I’mA Mess,” “2 Souls on Fire,” & “Self Control.”

Charlie Puth Voicenotes
(Cover property of Warner Music Group and Artist Partner Group)

#12-Voicenotes by Charlie Puth

Sophomore albums often makes or breaks the average recording artist. However, Charlie Puth did not disappoint with Voicenotes. The “One Call Away” singer stated that Voicenotes took so long to be released, because he produced the entire album himself.  Some of Voicenotes’ true highlights were his collaborations with Boyz II Men (the A cappella “If You Leave Me Now”), James Taylor (“Change”), and Kehlani (“Done for Me”).

Key Tracks: “The Way I Am,” “Attention,” “If You Leave Me Now,” &“Change.”

(Album cover property of Atlantic Records UK & Warner Music UK)

#11-What is Love? by Clean Bandit

Clean Bandit (Grace Chatto, Jack Patterson, and Luke Patterson) released their sophomore album and wanted fans to answer the title question: What is Love? The EDM and Classical Crossover trio recruited an all-star group of performers to help them find the answer. Some of their collaborators included Craig David, Demi Lovato, Ellie Goulding, Julia Michaels, Luis Fonsi, and Rita Ora. What is Love? took listeners across the emotional spectrum that perfectly blended EDM and Classical Crossover genres and set the standard for future EDM-Classical Crossover artists.

Key Tracks: “Baby,”“Solo,” “Mama,”& “We Were Just Kids.”

(Album cover property of Interscope Records)

#10-A Star is Born Soundtrack by Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s A Star is Born is one of the year’s biggest box office and critically acclaimed hits. The film focuses on alcoholic singer-songwriter Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), who discovers Ally Maine (Lady Gaga) and she becomes an international superstar. With the help of collaborators such as Lukas Nelson, Jason Isabell, Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt, and Hillary Lindsey, both Cooper and Gaga delivered some of the year’s best music.  The soundtrack is currently nominated for four Grammys, while the film is nominated for five Golden Globes.

Key Tracks: “La Vie en Rose,” “Maybe It’s Time,” “Shallow,” “Music to My Eyes,”& “Always Remember Us This Way.”

Angel City Chorale One World
(Album cover property of Angel City Chorale)

#9-One World: Live from Los Angeles by Angel City Chorale

Friends to the blog, Angel City Chorale, celebrated their 25thanniversary in a huge way. They became household names thanks to their inspirational run on America’s Got Talent.  Also, the Season 13 semifinalists also released a  live album that showcased the massive choral group at their finest.  Under the direction of their artistic director Sue Fink, the Angel City Chorale sang a diverse selection of songs that ranged from gospel hymns to pop songs.  

Key tracks: “Africa,” “1000 Beautiful Things,” “Adiemus,” “Blazing Saddles,”& “I Go to the Rock.”

(Cover property of One Voice Productions, LLC)

#8-The Greatest Showman A Cappella by Peter Hollens

It has been one year since The Greatest Showman dropped into theatres and countless recording artists spent most of 2018 covering the Benj Pasek and Justin Paul-penned tracks. However, friend to the blog, Peter Hollens delivered the ultimate tribute to the Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya-starring film with The Greatest Showman A Cappella. What made this album stand out from other tribute albums was Peter’s decision to incorporate his fanbase, the Hollensfamily, throughout the album. Peter gave his fans the opportunity to showcase their talents as a collective and because of that, he raised the bar for other artists to interact with their fans.

Key tracks: “The Greatest Show,” “Come Alive,” “Never Enough,” “This is Me,” & “From Now On.”

(Album cover property of Interscope Records)

#7: YOUNG & DANGEROUS by The Struts

English rock band The Struts (vocalist Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies) released their sophomore studio album, YOUNG &DANGEROUS. Produced by Butch Walker and Sam Hollander, The Struts showcased their impeccable ability as musicians through a wild 13-track roller coaster ride. From their fiery “Primadonna Like Me” to “Body Talks,” their superb collaboration with Kesha, The Struts showcase why Foo Fighters, Guns n’ Roses, the Rolling Stones, and the Who trusted the band to open their respective tours. In fact, they might be their generation’s best rockers.

Key tracks: “Primadonna Like Me,” “In Love With a Camera,” “Bulletproof Baby,” “Who Am I?” & “Body Talks (featuring Kesha).”

Janelle Monae Dirty Computer
(Album cover property of Bad Boy Records LLC)

#6: Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae

My fellow Kansas City native, Janelle Monae, delivered the best album of her career this year. Dirty Computer showcased the Hidden Figures and Moonlight actress at her vocal finest. Her third studio album was full of impactful songs that not only inspired her fans, but also peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart. Deep Cotton, Mr Hudson, Justin Tranter, Julia Michaels, Mattman & Robin, and Pharrell Williams were among some of the songwriters and producers that helped make this album a success. Dirty Computer was not only nominated for the Grammys’ Album of the Year award, but it also found itself on numerous endof the year charts as well.  

Key tracks: “Crazy, Classic, Life,” “Pynk,” “Make Me Feel,” “I Got the Juice,” & “I Like That.”

(Album cover property of BMG Rights Management)

#5: Golden by Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue’s fourteenth studio album brilliantly blended country, pop, and dance music together in a beautiful album. Golden marked the first time in 21 years that the “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” singer co-wrote all the tracks. Thanks to hitmakers such as Nathan Chapman, Sky Adams, Liz Rose, and Jesse Frasure, the album spun off five singles and peaked at the top spot on Australia, Ireland, Scotland, and the United Kingdom’s music charts.

Key tracks: “Dancing,” “Stop Me from Falling,” “Golden,” “Raining Glitter,” “Every Little Part of Me,” & “Music’s Too Sad Without You.”

(Album cover property of Reprise Records)

#4: Bridges by Josh Groban

Josh Groban delivered one of the best albums of his career with Bridges. The “You Raise Me Up” singer worked with a plethora of co-writers including Toby Gad, Bernie Helms, and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue and Mark Sheehan on nine original tracks for this uplifting pop album. In addition to the nine new tracks, he recorded outstanding duets with Sarah McLachlan (“Run”), Andrea Bocelli (“We Will Meet Once Again”), and Jennifer Nettles (“99 Years”). Bridgespeaked at the number two spot on the United States’ Billboard 200.

Key tracks: “Granted,” “Symphony,” “River,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Run,” & “99 Years.”

(Album cover property of Capitol Records)

#3: Egypt Station by Paul McCartney

Rock legend Paul McCartney released probably his best album of the decade with Egypt Station. The“Live and Let Die” singer-songwriter collaborated with producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Kelly Clarkson, and Sia) and the result was an outstanding collection of 16 tracks. The arrangements were world class and the fantastic lyrics showed that the 18-time Grammy-winning performer still produced impeccable material. 

Key tracks: “I Don’t Know,” “Come On To Me,” “Who Cares,” “Fuh You,” “People Want Peace,” & “Caesar Rock.”

(Album covered property of Aftermath Records, Interscope Records & Top Dawg Entertainment)

#2: Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar & Various Artists

It’s safe to say one of the most inspirational phrases that was shouted this year was “Wakanda Forever!” Marvel Studios entrusted Kendrick Lamar to create an album worthy of their superhero blockbuster film.  In addition to the “HUMBLE” rapper, Black Panther: The Album featured an all-star cast of rappers and R&B/Soul artists such as Future, Khalid, SZA, Travis Scott, and The Weeknd.  The album received seven Grammy nominations and “All the Stars” is nominated for the Golden Globes’ Best Original Song award.

Key tracks: “All The Stars,“The Ways,” “King’s Dead,” “Redemption,” “Big Shot,” & “Pray for Me.”

Christina Aguilera Liberation
(Album cover of Sony Music Entertainment)

#1-Liberation by Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera’s Liberationlands at our number one spot! It has been six years since her last album and longtime Fighters have been waiting to hear new music from her. She did not disappoint! Ms. Aguilera recruited a plethora of all-star producers, songwriters, and collaborators to bring Liberation to life.  From the powerful and Kayne West co-produced “Maria” and the Demi Lovato-assisted “Fall in Line” (which received a Grammy nomination) to the honest “Twice” and beautiful ballad“Unless It’s With You,” Liberation saw the former Voice coach at her finest vocally and artistically.

Key tracks: “Maria,” “Fall in Line,” “Like I Do,” “Twice,” Accelerate,” & “Unless It’s With You.”

I do not own any of the clips that are sprinkled throughout the album. They belong to the artists and their respective record labels.

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