Now that I’ve had a chance to spotlight the year’s best singles, it’s time to look at the standout albums of 2018’s first six months. As usual, I split the categories between full and mini, with three strong contenders from each.
What are your picks?
FULL LENGTH ALBUMS
Infinite – Top Seed
While their first comeback track as a six-member group may have been somewhat underwhelming, the full album was anything but. Blitzing through a surprising number of genres, it’s an eclectic, high-quality sampling of what makes Infinite such a dynamic force.
NCT 2018 – Empathy
It’s hard to consider Empathy a traditional album, since all of its tracks were released as singles at some point. Yet taken together, it’s a veritable greatest hits collection.
Best album tracks: n/a
SHINee – The Story Of Light
Released as a series of three EPs, The Story Of Light is best taken as a whole. Moving from club-ready sounds to tropical pop to stark balladry, the album rarely puts a foot wrong.
Best album tracks: Chemistry, Jump, Who Waits For Love
** Special shout-out to EXO’s fantastic Countdown album, which I didn’t include here since it was released in Japan.
GFriend – Time For The Moon Night
It’s not surprising to find a GFriend album on my list. They’re one of the most consistent girl groups out there, and seem to put nearly as much care into their album tracks as they do their singles. Time For The Moon Night was another stunner.
Best album tracks: Flower Garden, Tik Tik
Golden Child – Miracle
Song for song, this was probably my favorite album from the first half of 2018. It’s just wall-to-wall polished pop music, delivered with gusto and chock full of enduring hooks.
Best album tracks: I’m Falling, Crush
Stray Kids – I Am NOT
A breakthrough of a debut, I Am NOT painted a fully-realized picture of Stray Kids’ sound. I don’t often fall for the more aggressive, hip-hop side of idol pop, but the songwriting here is too tight to ignore.
Best album tracks: Mirror, 3rd Eye