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Best Albums Of 2024: 10 Essential Releases Of The Year
List & Guides

Best Albums Of 2024: 10 Essential Releases Of The Year

From waves of neo-psychedelia to lashings of pop-punk ire, the best albums of 2024 prove this year has been packed with watershed moments.

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The music scene has been full of get-up-and-go in 2024, as proven by the array of exciting new albums we’ve been treated to, across multiple genres. From unexpected collaborations to rousing rock revivals, the best albums of 2024 find many artists embracing their most inspired and daring impulses. Whether it’s grime MCs expanding into new sonic territories or synth-pop visionaries reaching new artistic peaks, there is an abundance of riches that simply beg to be heard.

Celebrating the most mind-melting records of the year, here is our list of the best albums of 2024.

Listen to our Charts playlist here, and check out our best albums of 2024, below.

10: Ghetts: ‘On Purpose, With Purpose’

By branching out into other genres such as soul, R&B, Afrobeats and gospel, British grime MC Ghetts has delivered his strongest offering yet with his formidable fourth studio album, On Purpose, With Purpose. Fired up by watching Jay-Z’s 2004 documentary, Fade To Black, the UK rapper has let his turbo-charged creative process loose here, from the amapiano beats of Tumbi to the smooth nu-soul grooves of Double Standards, the latter of which features Mercury Prize-winning artist Sampha on guest vocals. “What I wanna say to people is: Find your purpose,” Ghetts said of the album’s meaning in an interview with Loud And Quiet. “’Cos we’ll all just live and die chasing money without finding the purpose.” Clearly, with On Purpose, With Purpose, Ghetts has finally found his.

Must hear: Double Standards

9: Hurray For The Riff Raff: ‘The Past Is Still Alive’

When Hurray For The Riff Raff songwriter Alynda Segarra’s father died at the end of 2023 – when Segarra was still wrestling with post-pandemic anxieties and the impact of COVID-19 on the music industry – it felt as if her world had been shaken to its core. “Grief is all over the album,” Segarra told Vogue of The Past Is Still Alive. “It’s about being present. It’s also about mourning loss, but it’s a lot about love in many different forms.” Across a captivating collection of poetic indie Americana songs dealing with weighty themes of bereavement and nostalgia, Hurray For The Riff Raff’s ninth studio outing ranks among the best albums of 2024 for framing Segarra’s life lessons with the spiritual and philosophical insight of an outsider artist seeking to find meaning in the immutable face of tragedy.

Must hear: Hawkmoon

8: NewDad: ‘Madra’

Imbued with the ethereal vocal harmonies of Cocteau Twins and the gothic jangle of The Cure, Madra, the debut long-player by Galway-based indie band NewDad, channels Julie Dawson’s ghostly voice into a nocturnal spirit walk that guides listeners through the melancholic realm of dream-pop and more than earns its spot among the best albums of 2024. The grungy lope of Sickly Sweet sees Dawson embody the eerie tones of Pixies-era Kim Deal, while Nosebleed has the hallucinatory air of synthwave at its most chilling. “This album feels streets ahead of anything we’ve done before,” drummer Fiachra Parslow said in an interview with NME. “We may have been given funding and better equipment, but the fundamentals of our work? They’re the exact same.”

Must hear: Angel

7: Dylan John Thomas: ‘Dylan John Thomas’

Scottish singer-songwriter Dylan John Thomas seems to possess the innately catchy folk-pop sensibility of a free-spirited troubadour roaming the Glaswegian backstreets. Full of upbeat acoustic singalongs and more than a dash of freewheeling ska, his self-titled debut studio album mixes folky power-pop with melancholic wit, playfully plucking strings in the cheery style of Simon And Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac or Dire Straits. “For me people like Paul Simon, Lindsey Buckingham and Mark Knopfler, they don’t get mentioned as proper great guitarists,” Thomas told The Line Of Best Fit. “I don’t think there’s many better guitarists than those three.” Easily one of the best albums of 2024, Dylan John Thomas seems to be picking up the baton from its creator’s fellow Scot Gerry Cinnamon and sprinting ahead with a winning songbook all its own.

Must hear: Fever

6: Allie X: ‘Girl With No Face’

If you have a fondness for gothic synth-pop with shades of early-80s art-punk, Canadian songwriter Allie X’s third studio album, Girl With No Face, brings the genre yipping and yelping into the 21st century. “I had a sound in mind right from the get-go, and it was basically my favourite genre of music and what I was listening to at the time,” Allie X said in an interview with PAPER magazine. “My flagship songs were Sweet Dreams [by Eurythmics] and Blue Monday [by New Order].” Also inspired by the dystopic bass grooves of post-punk pioneers Joy Division and the darkwave melodicism of Depeche Mode, tracks such as the wiry Yazoo-like thump of Off With Her Tits and the Day-Glo electro-pop of Black Eye proves that Allie X’s kooky vocal style is anything but gloomy, lifting as much from Kate Pierson of The B-52s as she does from Kate Bush’s eccentric box of tricks. An intoxicating work of synth-laden delirium, Girl With No Face ranks among the best albums of 2024 for proving why Allie X is an art-pop maverick at the top of her game.

Must hear: Black Eye

5: Liam Gallagher And John Squire: ‘Liam Gallagher John Squire’

This epic collaboration was always going to be a winner, bridging the worlds of Britpop and Madchester by uniting former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher with one of his childhood heroes, The Stone Roses’ guitar legend, John Squire. “I’ve always been rock, and I’ve always been roll,” Gallagher confessed to The Guardian. “But saying that, John inspired me to be in a band. So, maybe he gave me the rock and the roll.” After opener Raise Your Hands delivers a heavier twist on sunshine-pop, the Byrdsy jangle of Mars To Liverpool takes us into orbit, allowing the journey through the neo-psychedelic cosmos to continue thanks to the trippy acid-rock of UK Top 20 hit Just Another Rainbow and the bluesy, Cream-era Britrock of I’m A Wheel. All in all, with its adventurous soloing and retro-chic production, Liam Gallagher John Squire easily ranks among the best albums of 2024 by encapsulating everything that is so timeless and alluring about 60s-inspired rock’n’roll.

Must hear: Mars To Liverpool

4: MGMT: ‘Loss Of Life’

As their first studio album in six years, MGMT’s psych-pop comeback, Loss Of Life, sees Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser gazing over the precipice of middle age while clinging onto the last vestiges of youthful whimsy. “We both turned 40 while making this album,” VanWyngarden told Billboard, “and we wanted to find a way to retain our light-hearted, playful approach to things but to challenge ourselves to have more of a sincere and hopeful message.” From the dreamy aura of Mother Nature to the playful acoustic folk-pop of Bubblegum Dog, Loss Of Life sees MGMT turn in one of the best albums of 2024 by imbuing the idiosyncratic ethos of hippie campfire singalongs with the eccentric pop japery of Brian Eno, The Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett. Simultaneously VanWyngarden and Goldwasser’s most puckish yet well-rounded album to date, Loss Of Life is a pleasing return to form from one of the most unpredictable and delightful indie-pop outfits of the past twenty years.

Must hear: Mother Nature

3: The Smile: ‘Wall Of Eyes’

Having experimented with everything from IDM to glitch-core with Radiohead, it’s refreshing to hear songwriter Thom Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood embrace alt-rock once again on The Smile’s second studio album, Wall Of Eyes. That’s not to say the results are any less challenging than the duo’s earlier work; recorded at Abbey Road Studios, with producer Sam Petts-Davies and string arrangements by the London Contemporary Orchestra, Wall Of Eyes lives up to its status as one the most anticipated new albums of 2024 thanks to moments such as Yorke’s flirtation with hypnotic bossa nova textures on its title track and the lushly hypnotic folk that frames Bending Hectic. “I turn up with a bunch of phone recordings; doodles that are not even edited or formed and are fairly shapeless,” Yorke told NME of his songwriting process for the record. “We put them into shape then this thing appears that has this momentum.” Anchored by the welcome input of jazz drummer Tom Skinner (Sons Of Kemet), Yorke’s thought-provoking songs of ambient-pop despair and psych-folk melancholia carry surreal and atmospheric undertones, easily making Wall Of Eyes one of the most richly rewarding listens among the best albums of 2024.

Must hear: Wall Of Eyes

2: The Last Dinner Party: ‘Prelude To Ecstasy’

Winners of the Rising Star award at this year’s BRITs, all-female indie-rock band The Last Dinner Party served up one of the best albums of 2024 with their debut studio album, Prelude To Ecstasy, which peaked at No.1 in the UK. Veering from whimsical baroque pop to glammy rock hooks reminiscent of 70s duo Sparks, the album is “very David Bowie– and Queen-influenced”, lead guitarist Emily Roberts told Guitar.com. “It’s very Florence And The Machine and euphoric, and the idea is for the audience to feel a sense of catharsis when they’re listening.” Stirring and silver-tongued, singer Abigail Morris more than aids the collective release as she yo-yos from quirky falsetto on The Ronettes-style rumble of The Feminine Urge to bittersweet oath-uttering on Nothing Matters. With Roberts schooling us throughout with her stately art-rock riffs, The Last Dinner Party have left everyone hankering for another helping.

Must hear: Nothing Matters

1: Green Day: ‘Saviors’

Recorded in London’s legendary RAK Studios, Green Day’s 14th studio album, Saviors, sees the Californian punk-pop trio make a pilgrimage to the city their heroes John Lydon and Joe Strummer called home. Bidding farewell to the sun seems to have done the group the world of good, as Saviors boasts a gutsy and spirited clutch of gems that rank among the best Green Day songs, among them the Ramones-like spin cycle of Look Ma, No Brains! and the rollicking rehab reverie of Dilemma. “We were definitely trying to write one of the best records of our career,” bassist Mike Dirnt admitted on the CBC podcast Q With Tom Power. “We even held off on a lot of touring this year and said, ‘Look, let’s just really focus on giving these songs time to evolve.’” Ranking up there with Dookie and American Idiot, and reigniting the group’s mojo like a cluster of flies in a bug zapper, Saviors is one of the strongest albums the boys from East Bay have produced – and that’s just one of the reasons why it tops our list of the best albums of 2024.

Must hear: Dilemma

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