2018 was yet another year in which pop's broad beauty fought back against the label-led oppressors that threatened to return it to the comatose state it awoke from when The Strokes rebirthed it in 2001.
The early-2010s were sorely lacking in experimentation, instead relying on excess from producers keen to make good on the elimination of choruses and chords. But a musical revolution steered by global uncertainty has seen pop bite back with statements both grandiose and gritty. Ariana Grande's 2017 may have been defined by terror, but her 2018 brought hope via sh*thot singles and record-smashing YouTube views. Childish Gambino unleashed shock, awe and cogent social commentary on the mainstream. Kate Nash - fabulously reinvented as an exceptional character actor on Netflix' GLOW - meshed garage punk with her pop origins to give others just like her inspiration to do the same.
As evidenced within this very list, it was an awesome year for instrumentation. Guitars were no longer the preserve of the greying middle class, regardless of local radio's attempt to maintain the status quo. Keys unlocked ventures remarkably still untold for synth-pop. Saxophones haven't been this well deployed since Rip, Rig & Panic were tearing up sitcom sets.
These are the 10 best records of the year, but it was a race well ran by a genre no longer on life support. Though the global future remains uncertain, these long-players popped the boys, empowered the girls, and dared to give youth back to the young.
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.