Top 5 Art and Entertainment Releases of 2018

The year of 2018 is over and it is finally time to bring an end to my end of the year lists.

This list represents all that was beautiful in 2018. Whether it was a pure form of artistic expression or a well-crafted product, I believe that the following 5 releases deserve to be celebrated.

These are the 3 questions I asked myself when I made my picks:

  • What review score did it receive?

I have a review scale for a reason. If one release gets an 8/10 and another release gets a 9/10, I likely preferred the release that got a 9/10.

  • What type of art/entertainment release was it?

If a movie trailer got an 8/10 and a musical album got an 8/10, the album will have a much greater chance of being chosen since it is more artistically significant. I’m sure you could guess what I would pick between a movie poster and a 15 hour long video game.

  • How substantial was the release?

Continuing on from the previous answer, this also affected how I viewed the release’s artistic significance. However, it is slightly deeper and more complex than merely answering what TYPE of release it was. Answering this question meant I had to take into account how MUCH the release had to offer (which is unrelated to the AMOUNT of content). For example, a 30 minute musical album packed full of interesting ideas has more artistic significance than a 60 minute musical album which is vacant of interesting ideas.

So without further ado, let’s kick this list off…


Harutosyura by Haru Nemuri

What I Said About It:

“Haru Nemuri delivers one of the strongest pop albums of recent years by blending rap and noise rock influences into the mix. While some songs are certainly more direct and entertaining than others, I wouldn’t say that there is a single weak track on here (excluding the remixes which aren’t even really that bad either). Every song delivers in its own unique way and adds something to the overall construct of the album. I am excited to see what is to come with Haru since this is her first real album.”

Why #5?

Harutosyura is a brilliantly crafted album that streamlines a multitude of influences into a cohesive and listenable package. Haru Nemuri and her band pack every minute of the album with emotion, passion and interesting ideas. While there were other great albums this year from artists like Daughters and Kero Kero Bonito, Haru Nemuri’s release felt a little closer to home for me.

Link to the review:


Ant Head

What I Said About It:

“Ant Head is a great piece of experimental film-making and helps to prove that David Lynch is one of the greatest living directors (if not the greatest) and one of the greatest of all-time. As is expected, Lynch makes use of a lot of his common themes in both the imagery and the words. While I didn’t feel like it was anything NEW for Lynch, it was a great mash-up of things he has explored before and it felt distinct enough that it was still incredibly enjoyable.”

Why #4?

While Ant Head received the same review score as the Haru Nemuri album (a 9, like everything else on this list), it earns a slightly higher spot due to its artistic significance. Of course artistic significance is subjective but for me Ant Head is a much more dense and open work of art than Harutosyura. It is a purely Lynchian experiment and a successful one at that. Equal parts terrifying and captivating.

Link to the review:


Kids See Ghosts 

by Kids See Ghosts

What I Said About It:

“Kids See Ghosts is a hell of a trip into the minds of recording artists Kanye West and Kid Cudi. Listening to this album is akin to a religious experience – an enlightenment and re-awakening. It proves to anyone that has doubted Kanye’s recent efforts that Kanye definitely still has the chops, both lyrically and in his production.”

Why #3?

Kids See Ghosts affected me on a much more personal level than the previous two entries. There were several times that I was almost brought to tears while listening to this album, specifically by the sequence of “Reborn”, “Kids See Ghosts” and “Cudi Montage”. A trio of life-affirming and up-lifting songs that reach deep down into the soul. “Cudi Montage” is one of the greatest album closers of all-time. Despite my love for the album as a whole, it is brought down a little by the first 4 songs which were significantly less impactful to me than the last 3 songs. Still not a fan of Pusha T on the opening track either which always delays how quickly I get into the album on each listen.

Link to the review:


Donut County

What I Said About It:

“Donut County makes you feel like it’s creators poured their hearts into it. And they did. It is a passionate little game full of life. It’s characters are charming, loveable, and funny. The art-style is simple but gorgeous and fitting. The soundtrack digs into your soul and suits every moment of the game perfectly (“Bird of Paradise” is one of my favourite video game songs EVER). It is a wholly unique and incredible game that must be played to be truly experienced.”

Why #2?

Donut County has been a very hole-some experience for me over the last half a year since its release. While the game is only about an hour and a half on a first run through, I have managed to accumulate about 15 hours in this game. Whether I am extremely stressed, anxious, or just in need of something quiet and slow, Donut County appeases my racing mind. Hand-crafted by the passionate Ben Esposito, Donut County is a remarkably personal experience and one that no one should miss.

Link to the review:


Thoughtscapes by Willy Hooker

What I Said About It:

“Willy Hooker crafts a monolithic album about the theme of dreams, pondering what they do to us and how they affect us and the significance of what happens inside of them. There are several repeated themes and ideas throughout the album that work to make the album feel like a cohesive package and sound like a full experience. Intelligently written, emotionally captivating, and incredibly enjoyable. A fantastic listen for anyone who is open enough to listen to it.”

Why #1?

In my review, I said that my least favourite tracks were “REALIZATION” and “500 STOREYS OF VERTIGO”. That was over a month ago. I have been obsessively re-listening to this album over the past week and I can safely say that I love both of these tracks now.

As a result of this obsessive re-listening, I have also picked up on dozens and dozens of ideas that I hadn’t picked up on before. Whether it is the meaning of a certain line or an instrument layered deep in the background, I am constantly picking up on new things. And as I pick up on new things, the album’s emotional resonance becomes stronger and stronger.

“tired” may well be my favourite opening track to any album ever. It is one of the most enjoyable songs on the album and it also brilliantly introduces several of the themes that are carried through the entire album.

Furthermore, the closing duo of “THOUGHTSCAPES” and “dawn” bring a masterful album to a masterful close.

At an almost 75-minute run-time, THOUGHTSCAPES is an epic creation filled with passion and bursting with creativity. It is a long journey that demands your attention and understanding, but it is easily the most rewarded I have felt all year from an art/entertainment release.

The most deserving candidate for my #1 pick of the year.

Link to the review:

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