The last 12 months have been rich with great music – and, consequently, albums – across all genres, areas of the world, and any other way you can think of to categorise artists. The nominees for Best Album supported by Orange Amplification at the VO5 NME Awards 2018 include six stellar examples of that brilliance – some that will reduce you to floods of tears, others that will have you planning your next big night out, and some that do both. Recap them all below.
The Vo5 NME Awards 2018 will take place at London’s O2 Academy Brixton on February 14. You can watch the ceremony live on the night via NME’s Facebook page.
1Lorde – ‘Melodrama’
They said: “It’s about contrast: really big and grand, and really tiny and intimate. Going from the personal, emotional stuff to the headlines and the web. It goes from the world to my bedroom. You’re talking about literal, out-there violence and, like, heart violence.”
We said: “It’s a rudely excellent album, introspective without ever being indulgent, OTT in all the right ways, honest and brave, full of brilliant songs with lyrics to chew over for months.”
Did you know?: The voice saying “What is this tape?” on ‘Hard Feelings/Loveless’ is Paul Simon, sampled from a documentary about ‘Graceland’.
Best track: ‘Green Light’
2J Hus – ‘Common Sense’
They said: “The album is so diverse. I see music as all one. That’s what my album represents, because there are so many different sounds.”
We said: “J Hus’s prodigious genre-hopping means that – despite containing only four brief guest spots – his 17-track debut album remains energised and entertainingly unpredictable from end to end.
Did you know?: The album’s Afrobeats sound was inspired by J’s mother, who’d take him to parties as a kid where they’d play “African music all night long.”
Best track: ‘Bouff Daddy’
3Wolf Alice – ‘Visions Of A Life’
They said: “The main thing we learned from making the first album is that you only regret the things you don’t do,” says Rowsell. “This time around, if we had an inkling of an idea, even if it seemed a bit silly, we’d try it out and see what happened.”
We said: “With ‘Visions Of A Life’ Wolf Alice are removing any doubt about their status in the UK music scene. Best band in Britain? 100 per cent.”
Did you know?: The girl dancing around a podium with a horse’s head on it on the album cover is Ellie Rowsell’s auntie.
Best track: ‘Don’t Delete The Kisses’
4Gorillaz – ‘Humanz’
They said: “I wanted it to be more balanced. Because if we were going to call the record Humanz, I had to [have more women on it]. On the last record, we had people like Bobby Womack and Ibrahim Ferrer and Ike Turner who, musically, are patriarchs. I wanted to work with some matriarchs.”
We said: “The lawless, world-altering scenario ‘Humanz’ presents us with is not a poorly attended inauguration but a massive, cross-genre party, composed largely on an iPad by Damon Albarn and illustrated by his mate Jamie Hewlett.”
Did you know?: Every collaborator was asked the following question before beginning work on their contributions: “Imagine a night where everything that you believed in was turned on its head. How would you feel?”
Best track: ‘We Got The Power’
5Loyle Carner – ‘Yesterday’s Gone’
They said: “I’ve never been able to write positive tunes. I guess when I’m happy I don’t want to write – I want enjoy being happy.”
We said: “On ‘Yesterday’s Gone’ US rap’s trademark arrogance is replaced by unabashed sensitivity and some serious emotional openness.”
Did you know?: The album features a hidden track the rapper’s dad recorded on a secret album before his death in 2014.
Best track: ‘Mrs C’
6The National – ‘Sleep Well Beast’
They said: “We play to our strengths but you also have to go out on young sapling branches. The people on the edge of the pond are not the ones that people watch – you need to be out on thin ice. You might die, but artists need to do that.”
We said: “Matt Berninger, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and Bryan and Scott Devendorf stray outside the previously clearly defined lines of what The National sound is.”
Did you know?: The album became the band’s first ever UK Number One on its release.
Best track: ‘Turtleneck’