Strong women dominated in 2018 in various genres, from country (Kacey Musgraves) to pop (Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe, Robyn) to hip-hop (Cardi B). Lady Gaga also wowed with A Star Is Born. But ultimately it was Kendrick Lamar — who topped our list last year with his solo album DAMN. and our 2015 list with To Pimp a Butterfly — who prevailed again with another soundtrack, his expertly curated Black PantherThe Album, which also just scooped up the most Grammy nominations.

Listen to our wide-ranging album picks below from our individual writers and editors, plus Yahoo Entertainment’s overall top 5.

Yahoo Entertainment Staff Overall Top 5

1. Various Artists — Black Panther: The Album
2. Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour
3. Cardi B — Invasion of Privacy
4. Janelle Monáe — Dirty Computer
5. Robyn — Honey
6. Ariana Grande — Sweetener / Drake — Scorpion (TIE)
7. Kamasi Washington — Heaven and Earth
8. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper — A Star Is Born soundtrack
9. Jack White — Boarding House Reach
10. Ghost — Prequelle

Lyndsey Parker, Yahoo Entertainment Music Editor

1. The Struts — Young & Dangerous
2. Dreams — No One Defeats Us
3. Jake Shears — Jake Shears
4. Hanson — String Theory
5. Ghost — Prequelle
6. BØRNS — Blue Madonna
7. Fischerspooner — Sir
8. MNEK — Language
9. Shopping — The Official Body
10. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. — Glamping EP

It seems reports of rock ‘n’ roll’s death have been greatly exaggerated. On their Butch Walker-produced sophomore banger, Luke Spiller (the Struts’ spectacularly Zandra Rhodes-caped frontman, who could have easily played the lead in Bohemian Rhapsody if Rami Malek hadn’t been available) and his fellow British glam-rockers vamp and amp their way through the disco-rock euphoria of “Who Am I?” (think the Stones’ “Miss You” or Rod the Mod’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”), the Crowesy cowbell jam “Primadonna Like Me,” the hard-charging football terrace chant “Bulletproof Baby,” and the Victoria’s Secret fashion show themes “Body Talks” and “In Love With a Camera” with unbridled Jagger swagger. Dave Grohl, authority on all things rawk, declared the Struts the best opening act to ever tour with the Foo Fighters, but expect them to be headlining stadiums on their own in 2019. —LP

Ethan Alter, Yahoo Entertainment Senior Writer

1. Keegan DeWitt — Hearts Beat Loud soundtrack
2. The Coup — Sorry to Bother You soundtrack
3. Various Artists — Climax soundtrack
4. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper — A Star is Born soundtrack
5. Various Artists — Black Panther: The Album
6. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross — Mid90s soundtrack
7. Lorne Balfe — Mission: Impossible — Fallout soundtrack
8. John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies — Halloween soundtrack
9. Terence Blanchard — BlackKklansman soundtrack
10. Jóhann Jóhannsson — Mandy soundtrack

Much like Hustle & Flow over a decade ago, one of the joys of Brett Haley’s underseen drama — which stars Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons as a father and daughter who bond through music — is observing the creation of a great song beat by beat. The title track functions as the movie’s emotional climax but also stands alone as an infectious indie rock anthem in its own right. Since we’re not getting any more Parks & Rec any time soon, here’s to Offerman and Clemons hitting the road as a traveling band. —EA

Steve Baltin, Writer

1. Florence + The Machine — High as Hope
2. twenty one pilots — Trench
3. Alison Wonderland — Awake
4. Rod Stewart — Blood Red Roses
5. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper — A Star Is Born soundtrack
6. Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour
7. John Coltrane — Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album
8. Paul Simon — In the Blue Light
9. Robyn — Honey
10. A$AP Rocky — Testing

Delivering an album that at its best calls to mind Joni Mitchell’s seminal Blue in its raw vulnerability, Florence Welch continued in 2018 to evolve into both a premier singer-songwriter and a stunning live act, making this album’s songs even more powerful in concert. —SB

Robert Burke, Writer

1. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever — Hope Downs
2. Courtney Barnett — Tell Me How You Really Feel
3. Judas Priest — Firepower
4. First Aid Kit — Ruins
5. Idles — Joy as an Act of Resistance
6. Spiritualized — And Nothing Hurt
7. Shame — Songs of Praise
8. The Orielles — Silver Dollar Moment
9. Young Fathers — Cocoa Sugar
10. Low — Double Negative

The full-length debut from the Melbourne quintet Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is a jangle-pop masterpiece for 2018. The playing here is precise, within the width of a hair, yet still manages to sound loose, emotional and just plain fun. Consistently good, well-timed melody is the ornate detail that elevates Hope Downs to the winner’s circle. —RB

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