As our end of year reviews draw to a close, we wanted to present the personal picks and highlights of the Crack Magazine family.

These are the albums, tracks, tweets and images which have struck a chord over the last 12 months.

Be sure to check out the rest of our end-of-year lists spanning Albums, Tracks, Mixes, Films, Reissues & Compilations and more.

Oscar Henson


Top 10 Albums
1. Jon Hassell – Listening to Pictures
2. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
3. Frankie Cosmos – Vessel
4. Skee Mask – Compro
5. Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
6. Tirzah – Devotion
7. Deena Abdelwahed – Khonnar
8. Eleventeen Eston – At the Water
9. Watching Airplanes – Psyop
10. Peel Dream Machine – Modern Meta Physic

Top 10 Tracks
1. Clairo – Pretty Girl
2. Charli XCX – 5 in the Morning
3. Laurel Halo & Hodge – Tru
4. K-LONE – BB-8
5. Snail Mail – Full Control
6. Travis Scott – Sicko Mode
7. Connan Mockasin – Charlotte’s Thong
8. Leif – Bluebird
9. Ploy – Roy’s Rolls
10. Reckonwrong – Paris is Melting

Most Overrated Album
Helena Hauff – Qualm

Most Underrated Album
Pursuit Grooves – Felt Armour

Favourite Music Video
Ariana Grande – thank u, next

Favourite Tweet

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Tommy Cash, shot by Charlotte Rutherford

Best Performance I’ve Seen
LOFT @ Simple Things Festival

Jack Wells

Graphic Designer

Top 10 Albums (Unranked)
Jammer – Are You Dumb? Vol. 5
D Double E – Jackuum!
Bugzy Malone – B. Inspired
Chip – Ten10
Ghetts – Ghetto Gospel II
Drake – Scorpion
Migos – Culture II
Novelist – Novelist Guy
M Huncho – 48 Hours

Top 10 Tracks (Unranked)
Octavian – Break That
D Double E – Bark it
AJ Tracey – Lo(v/s)er
Fredo – Ay Caramba
Mr Eazi & Giggs – London Town
Jammer – Skank on Me
M Huncho – Come Up
Manga Saint Hilare – Slew
Ghetts – London
Bugzy Malone – Die by the Gun

Most Overrated Album
Kanye West – ye

Most Underrated Album
D Double E – Jackuum!

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Tommy Cash, shot by Charlotte Rutherford

Onyx Collective © Eleanor Hardwick

Davy Reed

Associate Editor

In 2018, my stummy hurt

Top 10 Albums
1. Playboi Carti – Die Lit
2. SOPHIE – Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
3. Moses Boyd – Displaced Diaspora
4. LD – The Masked One
5. Nines – Crop Circle
6. Key! and Kenny Beats – 777
7. Tirzah – Devotion
8. Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love
9. DJ Taye – Still Trippin
10. Various Artists – Muggy Vol.1 (curated by Dean Blunt)

Top 10 Tracks
1. 03 Greedo – 100 Bands ft. OMB Peezy
2. Unknown T – Homerton B
3. Overmono – iii’s Front
4. Headie One – Know Better ft. RV
5. Frankie Cosmos – This Stuff
6. Octavian – Little
7. Flohio – Bands
8. Funeral Future – Heute nicht
9. MihTy (Jeremih & Ty Dolla & $ign) – This Perfect Timing
10. Lil Wayne – Big Bad Wolf

Most Overrated Album
DJ Koze – Knock Knock

Most Underrated Album
RP Boo – I’ll Tell You What!

Favourite Music Video
Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future & James Blake – King’s Dead

Favourite Tweet

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Onyx Collective, shot by Eleanor Hardwick

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Irreversible Entanglements @ Tusk Festival, Gateshead

Drag Queens / Berlin / Post-Drag © Vitali Gelwich

Femke Campbell

Graphic Designer

Top 10 Tracks (Unranked)
Junglepussy – State of the Union
Tirzah – Holding On
Shygirl – Gush
Sam Wilkes – Descending
700 Bliss – Basic
Oneohtrix Point Never – The Station
Robyn – Honey
Reckonwrong – I’m a Spoon
Lana del Rey – Venice Bitch
Prince – 17 Days Piano & a Microphone Version

Best Performance I’ve Seen
AMMAR 808 @ Stranger Sounds from Beyond

Best Video
Prince – Mary Don’t You Weep

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
The Divine Queer Secrets of Berlin’s Post-Drag Sisterhood, shot by Vitali Gelwich

Christine and the Queens © Michelle Helena Janssen

Louise Brailey

Head of Digital

Top 10 Albums
1. U.S. Girls – In a Poem Unlimited
2. Mitski – Be the Cowboy
3. DJ Richard – Dies Irae Xerox
4. Oneohtrix Point Never – Age of
5. Playboi Carti – Die Lit
6. Jonny Greenwood – Phantom Thread (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
7. Eartheater – IRISIRI
8. Deena Abdelwahed – Khonnar
9. Robyn – Honey
10. Pusha T – Daytona

Most Overrated Album
Tierra Whack – Whack World

Most Underrated Album
Buttechno – Cherskogo Drive

Favourite Tweet

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Kylie Minogue @ Cardiff Arena

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Christine and the Queens, shot by Michelle Helena Janssen

The album I kept returning to
For me, 2018 lacked continuity. Distracted by life events – and, yeah, changing modes of presentation, and consumption, yada yada yada, someone should write a think-piece! – I experienced culture in flashes and fragments, snatched from some wider cultural drift. There were undoubtedly moments I will cherish forever: the bar scene in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, or Patti Lupone bringing down the house in the gender-swapped revival of Company in London… but I was left hunting for something to really love. For someone who had effectively processed everything through the lens of pop culture, I felt I was skim-reading my own life. It was bad.

Jonny Greenwood’s Phantom Thread soundtrack offered me a work of art I could really stay with, to get to know and to exist in. It wasn’t my favourite, but it offered something I needed, at the right time. For the most part I refused to tease it apart or scrutinise it too much. When I put it on my headphones, I was just content to live in its world, as sumptuously rendered as PTA’s masterpiece it was written to accompany. I hope 2019 brings more stability, clarity and all the other risible words that make me cringe. I’m looking forward to it. Thank U, Next was also amazing.

Drag Secrets / Psoriais © Vitali Gelwich

Luke Sutton


Top 10 Albums
1. Robyn – Honey
2. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
3. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
4. Tirzah – Devotion
5. Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
6. Swearin’ – Fall into the Sun
7. Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears
8. Rosalía – El Mal Querer
9. Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy
10. Mariah Carey – Caution

Top 10 Tracks
1. Lady Gaga – Always Remember Us This Way
2. Kim Petras – Heart to Break
3. Charli XCX – 5 in the Morning
4. Mitski – Two Slow Dancers
5. Dua Lipa (feat. Calvin Harris) – One Kiss
6. Low Spirits – The Plumber
7. Connan Mockasin – Charlotte’s Thong
8. Sunken – Over the Days
9. Ariana Grande – Breathin’
10. Gently Tender – Avez-vous déjà

Most Overrated Album
Octavian – Spaceman

Most Underrated Album
Empress Of – Us

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
The Divine Queer Secrets of Berlin’s Post-Drag Sisterhood, shot by Vitali Gelwich

Favourite Music Video
Charli XCX & Troye Sivan – 1999

Favourite Tweet

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds @ Primavera

Music memory
Entering nightclubs can be stressful. Being grilled by a door picker in Amsterdam or staying mute under any circumstances in Berlin queues – it’s tense at the best of times. I’d heard a lot about Nowadays in New York. The sound, the lights, the atmosphere, the programming, all things I care deeply about. My role at Crack involves looking many venues up and down and as someone who spends a lot of time in clubs, it’s become second nature to scrutinise the experience. It’s the finer (and most would argue insignificant) details which seem to stay with me. So when I finally made it to Nowadays, there was something that struck me. They were pumping this ginger aroma into the foyer – and I was shook by this attention to detail, a gesture that immediately put me at ease in this tiny room with a pay desk. (And obviously the night was amazing.) It may seem like utter nonsense but it felt significant to me – as a small moment of calm in a year that was determindley not chill. My kind of boujie mindfulness, in a way. Here’s to more calmness inside and outside the rave in 2019.

Megan Wallace


Top 10 Tracks
1. Shygirl – Rude
2. Sega Bodega – Kisses 2 My Phone
3. Dorian Electra – Career Boy
4. Hayley Kiyoko – Sleepover
5. Charli XCX – No Angel
6. Charli XCX ft. Troye Sivan – 1999 (EASYFUN remix)
7. Bea Pelea – Si No Te Vuelvo A Ver
8. Lotic – Hunted
9. Tommy Genesis – Play With it
10. Rico Nasty – Party Goin Dumb

Top 10 Albums
1. Tommy Genesis – Tommy Genesis
2. Moses Boyd – Displaced Diaspora
3. Kim Petras – Turn Off the Light, Vol 1
4. Kali Uchis – Isolation
5. S4U – Heart 2 Say
6. SOPHIE – Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
7. Helena Hauff – Qualm
8. The Internet – Hive Mind
9. Deena Abdelwahed – Khonnar
10. Tommy Cash – ¥€$

Most Overrated Album
Rosalía – El Mal Querer

Most Underrated Album
S4U – Heart To Say

Best Music Video
Man to Man – Dorian Electra

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Little Simz Cover, shot by Jack Bridgland

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Beach House @ Troxy

Ben Horton

Marketing Manager

Top 10 Albums
1. Eartheater – IRISIRI
2. Skee Mask – Compro
3. Playboi Carti – Die Lit
4. Low – Double Negative
5. Meek Mill – Championships
6. Deena Abdelwahed – Khonnar
7. Tirzah – Devotion
8. Afrodeutsche – Break Before Make
9. Uniform & The Body – Mental Wounds Not Healing
10. Amnesia Scanner – Another Life

Top 10 Tracks
1. Ben Vince – What I Can See ft. Micachu
2. Novelist – Smiles
3. SOPHIE – Immaterial
4. Mars89 – End of the Death
5. Borai & Denham Audio – Make Me
6. Tirzah – Holding On
7. Playboi Carti – Shoota ft. Lil Uzi Vert
8. Overmono – iii’s Front
9. Charli XCX – 1999
10. Laurel Halo & Hodge – Tru

Most Overrated Album
Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Most Underrated Album
Jay Glass Dubs – Plegnic

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Tommy Cash, shot by Charlotte Rutherford

Favourite Music Video

Favourite Tweet

Best Performance I’ve Seen
SOPHIE @ Sónar

Musical memory
The parts of this year that have really stuck out for me this year have featured friends and acquaintances – old and new – in front of and behind the decks. Moments like Deena Abdelwahed knocking out hard-as-nails techno as the sun came up at Ortigia Sound System. Anina playing darkside drum‘n’bass at a LOFT party in Bristol. Crack Magazine’s very own DJ Facta fearlessly dropping Nelly into a DMZ-era dubstep set in the early hours of Simple Things Festival. Memories that really make me want to talk loads of shit about the importance of raving and the transcendental power of dance music.

It’s tempting to try and contrive some kind of rationale about the need for unity during a particularly fraught time in human history here, but tbh, that’s likely to make me sound like even more of a misty-eyed pill casualty than I usually do. So, to conclude: tunes are wicked and so are mates. Happy 2019.

Drag Sisterhood / Martini © Vitali Gelwich

Anna Tehabsim


Most Overrated Album
The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships

Most Underrated Album
Matty – Déjàvu

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
The Divine Queer Secrets of Berlin’s Post-Drag Sisterhood, shot by Vitali Gelwich

Favourite Tweet

(or anything from @cher)

My cherished stomping soundtrack
I stomped around Berlin a lot this winter. Not to techno, in fact I barely went to clubs. Instead, I just stomp-walked my way around the city – that determined stride where you’re kind of feeling yourself a little more than usual. Ultimately you could say it was a head-clearing exercise in what was a hectic, very transformative year for me in many ways, but the real reasons aren’t that deep: my bike had broken and I was too lazy to fix it; I bought some boots that gave me an inflated sense of power while I clattered around Neukölln’s cobbled streets in them. On these expeditions, Robyn’s Honey was my sidekick. Its pulse became my driving force. Its radiance suffused my strides with purpose as I slinked to various destinations, Robyn’s voice gently stretching time as I untangled my thoughts. So much that, for me, Honey will always take me back to that moment, this sense of forward motion and – if we’re getting deep – its promise of progress and growth. One step at a time.

Thomas Frost


Top 10 Albums
1. Skee Mask – Compro
2. IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance
3. DJ Healer/Prime Minister of Doom – Nothing 2 Lose/Mudshadow Propaganda
4. Christine and the Queens – Chris
5. Ancient Methods – The Jericho Records
6. Daughters – You Won’t Get Want You Want
7. Low – Double Negative
8. Young Echo – Young Echo
9. Beach House – 7
10. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake

Top 10 Tracks
1. Donato Dozzy – Cleo
2. Laurel Halo & Hodge – Tru
3. IDLES – Colossus
4. Christine and the Queens – Damn
5. Norman Nodge – Embodiment
6. AQXDM – Ballad
7. Parquet Courts – Before the Water Gets Too High
8. Ancient Methods – The House of Rahab
9. Helena Hauff – The Smell of Suds and Steel
10. Hammer – C-Space

Most Overrated Album
Tirzah – Devotion

Most Underrated Album
CUTS – A Gradual Decline

Favourite Music Video
IDLES – Colossus

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Aphex Twin, imagery by Weirdcore

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Blood Orange @ Club to Club Festival

Duncan Harrison

Creative Projects Manager

Top 10 Albums
1. Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
2. IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance
3. Yves Tumor – Safe in the Hands of Love
4. Kanye West – ye
5. SOPHIE – Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides
6. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
7. Skee Mask – Compro
8. Tirzah – Devotion
9. Tierra Whack – Whack World
10. Sons of Kemet – Your Queen is a Reptile

Top 10 Tracks
1. IDLES – Samaritans
2. Kanye West – Ghost Town ft. PartyNextDoor, 070 Shake & Kid Cudi
3. Rosalía – Malamente (Cap.1: Augurio)
4. Janelle Monáe – Django Jane
5. Valee – Womp Womp ft. Jeremih
6. Fatima – Caught in a Lie
7. Nines – I See You Shining
8. BTS – Fake Love
9. Oneohtrix Point Never – The Station
10. Sade – The Big Unknown

Most Overrated Album
Brockhampton – Iridescence

Most Underrated Album
Laurel Halo – Raw Silk Uncut Wood

Favourite Music Video
A$AP Rocky & Tyler The Creator: Potato Salad

Favourite Tweet

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Nines, shot by Jack Bridgland

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Janelle Monáe at The Roundhouse, Tyler, the Creator at Primavera, Helena Hauff at Hope Works, Sheffield

My musical memory of 2018
At the end of Teddy Perkins, the essential, chilling sixth episode of Atlanta season 2, they play Stevie Wonder’s Evil. The song is almost half a century old but it’s used to such stirring, unforgettable effect in that episode that it felt brand new, and just as arresting as anything which came out this year. The whole episode felt dazzlingly original and meaningful. Perhaps it’s a reflection of a year that’s felt more and more unanchored, something so full of imagination and purpose hit harder. Either way, I’ve listened to it daily ever since. Spoiler alert: Rest in peace Teddy. Trust me, you won’t be forgotten.

Christine and the Queens © Michelle Helena Janssen

Ade Udoma & Michelle Helena Janssen

Art Directors

Top 10 Albums
1. Pusha T – Daytona
2. Key! – 777
3. Rosalia – El Ma Querer
4. Trouble & Mike WiLL Made It – Edgewood
5. Kanye West – ye
6. Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts
7 Quentin Miller – X.X.
8. Travis Scott – Astro World
9. G Herbo & Southside – Swervo
10. Gunna – Drip Season 3 (Deluxe)

Top 10 Tracks
1. Gunna – Pedestrian
2. Kanye West: Ghost Town ft. PartyNextDoor, 070 Shake & Kid Cudi
3. Pusha T – If You Know You Know
4. HoodRich Pablo Juan – We Don’t Luv Em ft. Gucci Mane
5. Tokyo the Producer & Lash Vanegro – Exotic
6. Valee – Womp Womp ft. Jeremih
7. Rosalía – Malamente (Cap.1: Augurio)
8. Yves Tumor – Licking an Orchid ft. James K
9. Teyana Taylor – Rose in Harlem
10. Theophilus London – Bey Bey (remix) ft. Giggs

Most Overrated Album
Eminem – Kamikaze

Most Underrated Album
Key! – 777

Favourite Music Video
Cardi B – Be Careful and A$AP Rocky – Forever

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Christine and the Queens Cover, shot by Michelle Helena Janssen

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Rico Nasty @ Birthdays, Dalston

SOPHIE, B&&B 2018 © Kasia Zacharko

Vivian Yeung

Digital Assistant

Top 10 Tracks
1. Kanye West – Ghost Town ft. PartyNextDoor, 070 Shake & Kid Cudi
2. Robyn – Honey
3. U.S. Girls – M.A.H.
4. Snail Mail – Pristine
5. Lana del Rey – Venice Bitch
6. Eartheater – Peripheral
7. Tirzah – Holding On
8. Deena Abdelwahed – A Scream in the Consciousness
9. Overmono – iii’s Front
10. Schacke – Automated Lover

Favourite Music Video
Cardi B – Money

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
SOPHIE at Bread&&Butter by Zalando, shot by Kasia Zacharko

In my feelings…
When I first moved to Bristol, the way in which I experienced the city was how I soundtracked it on my commutes to and from work, while I took in the images moving past on bus windows. Like many, the morning commute provides me with ample listening time to catch up on new music, gradually awake and mentally prepare for the day ahead. The journey back, however, usually took on a different tone – the biggest bangers, or something to unwind to. And as the year went on, the albums and tracks that resonated with me were the ones I returned to whilst travelling down my most well-worn roads through the city, on the way home.

As there’s been a shift in how mental health has been discussed in recent years, perhaps it’s now common knowledge that winters can be the hardest. As the clouds rolled over in May, Beach House’s 7 soundtracked that collective feeling – that those around me were beginning to feel lighter. Longer days to be stretched out by the sun were just round the corner, along with the summer’s heatwave, and I found myself turning to this particular album again and again.

There are plenty of massive moments, from the line Who knows if there are roses in heaven on Pay No Mind to the washes of euphoria on L’Inconnue and Drunk in LA. Beach House’s 7 didn’t just sound like sunlight streaming in through the window, it felt like I was luxuriating in it, bathing in its most sumptuous, though still melancholic, moments as the fountains started running in the centre of Bristol and the gloom of winter was slowly being shaken off.

Benjamin Brook

Video Production

Top 10 Albums
1. Kids See Ghosts – Kids See Ghosts
2. Juice WRLD – Goodbye & Good Riddance
3. Brockhampton – Iridescence
4. Metro Boomin – Not All Heroes Wear Capes
5. Octavian – Spaceman
6. Lil Baby & Gunna – Drip Harder
7. Travis Scott – Astroworld
8. Pusha T – Daytona
9. Playboi Carti – Die Lit
10. Mac Miller – Swimming

Top 10 Tracks
1. Brockhampton – Weight
2. Kids See Ghosts – Reborn
3. Juice WRLD – Scared of Love
4. Octavian – Hands
5. Lil Baby & Gunna – Drip Too Hard
6. Travis Scott – Sicko Mode ft. Drake
7. Rae Sremmurd – Guatemala
8. Joji – Yeah Right
9. Pusha T – Santeria
10. Sheck Wes – Mo Bamba

Most Overrated Album
6ix 9ine – Dummy Boy

Most Underrated Album
Octavian – Spaceman

Favourite Music Video
Col3trane – Tyler

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
Tommy Cash, shot by Charlotte Rutherford

Best Performance I’ve Seen
slowthai @ Exchange, Bristol

Music memory
Thursday 7th June 2018, our last day of a week in sunny Los Angeles. It was the week after ye came out and the week before Kids See Ghosts was set to drop. We spent the week blasting Ghost Town through the hire car speakers at least 40 times a day between infinite tourist spots, galleries and eateries.

Kid Cudi’s nostalgic crooning on this track took me back to 17. When my friends and I could first drive and go anywhere, he was on our stereo’s. The 070 Shake feature made driving on the highway with views of the LA skyline feel cinematic.

It had been an unforgettable week already, but over breakfast we found out they were doing the KSG launch in LA, and my colleague managed to blag guest-list. We had tickets to Kevin Hart that night, instead we made our way to a secret spot off Hollywood Boulevard, signed our N.D.A’s (sorry G.O.O.D) and jumped on a coach that drove us an hour or so out of the city.

There’s something about waiting at the bar next to Courtney Love that screams ‘I don’t belong here’, but there we were nonetheless. Unabashedly rinsing the free drinks. I can still remember the bass from Feel the Love disrupting the crowd as the album first started. We congregated around the bonfire for the second play and flew home the following morning still in awe.

Radical dance © Kent Andreasen

Rachel Grace Almeida

Junior Editor

Top 10 Tracks
1. Snail Mail – Pristine
2. Yves Tumor – Lifetime
3. Tirzah – Gladly
4. Rosalía – Pienso en Tu Mirá
5. Yussef Dayes, Alfa Mist & Mansur Brown – Love is the Message
6. Thom Yorke – Unmade
7. Girl Unit, Kelela – WYWD Remix
8. SOPHIE – Immaterial
9. US Girls – Rosebud
10. Death Grips – Black Paint

Favourite Tweet

Favourite Crack Magazine Image
London’s Dance Community, shot by Kent Andreasen

Best Performance I’ve Seen
Sons of Kemet @ Lido, Berlin

Music memory
This past year has been utterly unpredictable, to put it lightly. With each week that passed, world politics resembled a hellish labyrinth no one could escape. People around us unexpectedly died. Personal relationships took strange left turns. In the midst of all the chaos, I found solace in repetition.

Every Saturday morning this summer, I’d wake up and do the same things over and over: make the bed, feed the cat, water the plants. Then I’d play music through the speakers while my boyfriend made breakfast, shards of light pouring in through the living room window. This became our unspoken ritual.

More often than not, it was Tirzah’s Gladly that was playing. All hazy and rose-tinted, the simple, no-frills love song also became a comforting source of repetition for me. With one reprised loop throughout the entire song, Tirzah’s vocal delivery is understated and familiar, never flinching its warmth. It channels the cyclical nature of worn-in love; the satisfying banality of a repetitive task. Making the bed, feeding the cat, watering the plants.

2018 was the year we all desperately needed to embrace love and self-care. Gladly was the perfect soundtrack.


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