Most Underrated Albums of 2018

Story posted December 27, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment by Arts Staff.

As 2018 wraps up, the CommRadio Arts Department will be taking a look back at the year in music. For underrated albums, the albums placed on this list were deemed to be very good albums by the Arts Department, but did not receive the credit they deserved by fans and critics. Here is the Arts Department’s list of the most underrated albums of 2018.

Mac Miller - Swimming

On his last project before his untimely death, Mac Miller showed all of the growth that he had continued to show on all of his previous projects. The production and lyricism shows a more mature Miller dealing with his struggles head on and coming out on the other side wanting to be a better man. Although he wished for better times, he was working on himself and being the person he wanted to be. His tragic death only amplified this album more, showing a man crying out for help at times. The help never came, but music fans will always have this, his best body of work, to look back on and fondly remember the greatness of Mac Miller. - David Arroyo

Frankie Cosmos - Vessel

Greta Kline, best known by her band name, Frankie Cosmos, released one of the most vulnerable records of 2018. Kline’s soft and soothing voice can be recognized on any track. Frankie Cosmos often carries the false reputation of superficialness that falls within the same category of many indie rock bands. However, Vessel is more than just dreamy pop music. Greta Kline evolves the band’s music with more hard-hitting instrumentals and deeper lyrics. Kline opens up on this album like never before by pairing her soft voice with heavier music. Each song on Vessel is a different story for Kline, some exploring love, others exploring self-development and growth. - Jenna Minnig

Read our full Vessel review here.

Soccer Mommy - Clean

Sophie Allison, who goes by her stage name of Soccer Mommy, joined a list of other influential women in music this year. The young singer-songwriter is only in her early twenties and already stands out among other artists in music. Allison’s record, Clean, is one of the most easily relatable albums of the year. For other young women listening, the stories on many songs from the record may be similar to personal experiences they might have had. It’s as if the singer took her diary and turned it into an album. Allison is no stranger to expressing herself through words, and that is made clear with the small number of instrumental arrangements on each track. Rather than overwhelm the listener with production elements, the singer uses her soft voice as the most powerful instrument. If anything, it is evident that Clean is one album from 2018 that is easy to come back to for more than one listen. - Jenna Minnig

Read our full Clean review here.

Architects - Holy Hell

Metalcore is not exactly a genre that screams melodic and beautiful, but that was exactly what Architects were able to accomplish with their latest album. Reflecting on the loss of Tom Searle, one of the band’s members, the group put together an album full of brutal breakdowns and all the emotion that should be present when talking about the death of a loved on. Architects crafted something simultaneously beautiful and hard hitting, with airtight production. As far as metal acts go, there were not many groups who measured up to the quality of work of Architects this year. - David Arroyo

Read our full Holy Hell review here.

A$AP Rocky – Testing

In an age of hip-hop where most things created by mainstream artists often seems cookie-cutter and placed for a purpose, A$AP Rocky flipped the switch. TESTING was exactly what Rocky did on the album testing new soundscapes that accented his charisma, style and infectious braggadocio. The project has its shortcomings; sometimes the songs seem a bit empty in meaning or they aren’t fully fleshed out, but that doesn’t make them unenjoyable. The perfect example being “Gunz N Butter” where Rocky samples Project Pat’s “Still Ridin Clean.” The mashup isn’t perfectly in-sync but it still provides an enjoyable controlled chaos. Rocky does a good job of constructing enjoyable songs while also positioning himself to move forward in his craft that may not be entirely focused on making rap music. The last song on the project, “Purity,” has the lyric, “Lose someone every release, it feels like the curse is in me,” might point to a reason why he has found himself disillusioned with the industry and is more focused on making music that he likes instead of projects that will get him acclaimed by critics. - Jerome Taylor           

 

Jenna Minnig is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email jennaminnigx@gmail.com.

David Arroyo is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email arroyodavid01@gmail.com.

Jerome Taylor is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jerometaylor91697@gmail.com.

About the Contributors

David Arroyo's photo

David Arroyo

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo currently serves as one of two General Managers for CommRadio. David is a former arts & entertainment director, social media director and editor for the station. He has produced for multiple Penn State sports while in CommRadio, has done play by play for Penn State sporting events such as football, basketball and volleyball and co-hosted and produced his own talk show. During the fall of 2017, David was an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David most recently interned at WPVI-TV, 6abc in Philadelphia during the summer of 2018. While at 6abc he was a programing intern and helped in the production of their weekly show “FYI Philly.” David has interned at B94.5 (State College) and Center City Film and Video (Philadelphia). Follow him on Twitter (@_arroyodavid) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jenna Minnig's photo

Jenna Minnig

Sophomore / Broadcast Journalism

Jenna Minnig is a sophomore from Hershey, Pennsylvania. She is a director of the Arts & Entertainment Department in CommRadio where she writes music and movie reviews and also discusses the latest news in the entertainment industry. In addition to CommRadio, Jenna has interned for Philadelphia Magazine, Happy Valley Improv and Nittany Entertainment. To contact Jenna, email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jerome Taylor's photo

Jerome Taylor

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Jerome Taylor currently serves as one of two Arts & Entertainment Managers for CommRadio. He currently serves as a host for the department’s flagship radio show, “The Nittany Record Club.” He has also written several album reviews and has contributed to several lists that the department has produced. Jerome has also served as a beat writer and producer for several Penn State sports including, lacrosse, volleyball, and basketball. After graduation Jerome hopes to work in the broadcast journalism field covering sports or entertainment. Follow him on twitter (@ThatGuy_Rome) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).