Every December, music publications unveil their Albums of the Year lists, Noisey included. To pull back the curtain on this process, a lot of work goes into curating the albums and compiling these lists. There are several rounds of voting, a few screaming matches, tons of writing, threats to walk out forever, editing cram sessions, and last-minute panic attacks, all to assure that you, the reader, are presented with the very best music the year had to offer. Then, on the predetermined publication date which has moved several times to accommodate writers missing deadlines, we present to the world our finished list and enjoy the fruit of our labor: One thousand college bros named Chad in our mentions yelling at us for not ranking Drake higher.
Among the sea of bickering Chads, one heroic Noisey reader has emerged over the years to take on the Herculean task of listening to and reviewing all 100 albums on Noisey’s Albums of the Year list. Three years ago, Twitter user Kevin Hare took it upon himself to give each album on our 2016 list a listen and boil his thoughts down to a single tweet. He did the same in 2017. But unlike most of the incoherent lunatics who inhabit the internet, Kevin is an insightful lunatic with eclectic tastes and a thirst for new music. His mini-reviews are sometimes incisive and sharp, and sometimes dismissive. Either way, we appreciate his candor and commitment to the task.
"A few years ago when I started doing this, I worked at a music merch company and our holiday season was the most hectic of the year," Hare, a 31-year-old Philadelphia-based music fan tells us. "So this was a way to kind of distract from the craziness and help pass the time when I was working on that all the time."
Kevin has become something of a recurring joke here at Noisey. It’s common to hear things said at staff meetings like “I can’t wait to see what Kevin thinks of this” or “Woo boy, Kevin ain’t gonna like this one bit, I'll tell you whut.” (Quoting King of the Hill is also popular at staff meetings.) He is our beautiful online son, birthed from the uterus of our content, and we love him. (Also, in full honesty, we called him Stan for many weeks because that is his Twitter handle.) Every year, we root for him to complete his task and plow through all 100 albums, but every year he seems to tap out a few albums shy. This year, though, he got all the way to the end over the course of 11 days. What changed this year?
“[The] simple answer is that I got Spotify Premium finally and that made it a lot easier,” says Hare. “But I think a big reason why I stopped other times is that I think the most interesting parts of these types are lists are the bottom halves, that’s where a lot of stuff to discover lies, where maybe someone can squeeze in their novelty pick or something.”
Not everything on our list was Kevin’s speed this year. He didn’t like our #83 pick, J Balvin’s Vibras, which he described as the “soundtrack to a beer commercial”:
Our #14 pick, Julia Holter’s Aviary, didn’t seem to float his boat either:
But he described our #11 pick, Pusha-T’s Daytona, as his favorite of the year:
And our #41 pick, JPEGMAFIA’s Veteran, was a solid discovery:
When asked, Kevin said his favorite finds were City Girls’ Period (#28) and Mastersystem’s Dance Music (#76):
We salute him for getting all the way through this year. Take a journey with Kevin through our 2018 list by following the thread below, or take #thekevinchallenge and write your own reviews of our objectively perfect list: