2018 in Review: Top Albums

2Steel Girls: “The Real Thing”


Krystal Steel and Allison Steel of 2Steel Girls released The Real Thing in 2018

Krystal Steel and Allison Steel of 2Steel Girls released The Real Thing in 2018.

We met the 2Steel Girls on Season 3 of The Voice back in 2012.

Six years later, Allison and Krystal Steel are still the only mother-daughter duo ever to make The Voice. And they’re still making music together.

In fact, they released their most impressive project yet in 2018, “The Real Thing,” an 11-song album that dropped in June.

Officially, it’s a country album, according to iTunes. After all, that’s the style of music Allison and Krystal have performed for most of their career.

But, in truth, “The Real Thing” defies genre boundaries. The first three songs on the album feature a flat-out rocker called “Lost,” a pop tune with a ’50s twist called “Sugar Rush” and a country-tinged ballad called “Inside Your Heart.”

And then there’s the album’s pinnacle, back-to-back funk-infused tunes called “I Won’t Grow Up” and “Queen Bee.”

Allison Steel told Voice Views earlier this year that she and daughter Krystal had one goal in selecting songs for “The Real Thing” — to record songs they loved, regardless of genre.

“It’s fun and takes you on a journey,” the duo says on Facebook. “It’s bad-ass and quirky. It’s bold and tender. And it definitely isn’t regular. It’s everything we have ever wanted in an album.”

And one of the best of 2018. Here are three highlights from “The Real Thing.”

Editor’s Note: By my count, former contestants from The Voice released more than 70 albums or EPs, more than 90 music videos and more than 800 original songs in 2018.

This week, I’m featuring my favorites, spotlighting what I’m calling the Top 5 music videos, Top 20 songs and Top 5 albums/EPs.

I hesitate to call them the best because that’s very subjective. Besides, I easily could have made each of these lists five times as long and still omitted lots and lots of great music.

That’s why I grit my teeth when Marshmellow or Ann-Marie or even a coach or advisor winds up with a guest performance spot on The Voice. I’ll never understand why the show doesn’t do more to promote its alumni.

Ah, but this isn’t a time for griping. It’s time to celebrate the accomplishments of talented artists.

I’ve also posted a complete list of post-Voice singles, albums and EPs, with links for your listening pleasure. And a blog with all 90-plus music videos. Please, check them out. Find your own favorites.

And if I’ve missed anyone, let me know. Stage names change. Side projects are created. Tracking the output of 600 post-Voice artists … well, I’ll be shocked if I didn’t miss someone. Just let me know by commenting below or emailing [email protected]. In terms of singles, my goal is to list any where the former contestant is the primary vocalist.

Coming tomorrow: The Top 5 post-Voice albums of 2018.

Happy listening.

Top albums

1. Adam Wakefield, “Gods & Ghosts”
2. Jordy Searcy, “Dark in the City”
3. Jordan Smith, “Only Love”
4. 2Steel Girls, “The Real Thing”
5. Red Marlow, “Country as Cornbread”

Top songs (not ranked)

Adanna Duru, “Doll”
Amanda Brown, “Take a Pill”
Amy Vachal, “Wait”
Austin Jenckes, “In My Head”
Brian Nhira, “‘Til Death Do Us Part”

Cartelli, “Last Night’s Mascara”
Chloe Kohanski, “Come This Far”
Christiana Danielle, “Resignation”
Darby, “Save a Thought for Me”
Domo, “Currency”

D.R. King & Jackie Foster, “Love is a Drug”
Jamie Lono, “New Orleans”
Johnny Gates, “Brooklyn Nights”
Koryn Hawthorne, “Down Goes Rome”
Loren Allred, “Never Enough”

Matt McAndrew, “Game Over”
Natalie Stovall, “Making Out in Cars”
RaeLynn, “Queens Don’t”
Riley Biederer, “Heartbreak Back”
We McDonald, “Head Up High”

Top Videos

1. Faultlines (Ashley Morgan), “Rain”
2. Sawyer Fredericks, “Hide Your Ghost”
3. Darby, “Play Pretend”
4. Brian Nhira, “Is This Love?”
5. Dawson Coyle, “Saturn”

All 2018 music videos
All 2018 albums and EPs
All 2018 singles

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