50 Best Albums of 2018 So Far

Including Janelle Monáe, Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves, the 'Black Panther' soundtrack and more

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Ashley McBryde, 'Girl Going Nowhere'
50
36/50

Ashley McBryde, 'Girl Going Nowhere'

We Say: The title track of McBryde's Girl Going Nowhere is a whispered anthem about crushing it in the face of doubters. Most triumphant artists would holler, gloat, swagger, flip the bird, but in this opener, McBryde barely raises her voice, which quivers potently over a muted snare, guitar notes flashing like phone screens in a dark arena. Then "Radioland" crashes in, a country rocker about old-time broadcast bliss, invoking John Cougar's "Jack and Diane" and McBryde's daddy, "a rock star riding on a tractor listening to Townes Van Zandt." ... McBryde's got a big, vibrato-tinged alto, biker-chick style, and she wrote or co-wrote everything here, including "A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega," with a sharp eye for piercing detail. She has a serious gift. W.H.

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