2018 in Review: Top Albums

Jordan Smith: “Only Love”


Jordan Smith released Only Love, his third album since The Voice, in 2018

Jordan Smith released Only Love, his third album since The Voice, in 2018.

Jordan Smith proved he could slay cover songs en route to victory on Season 9 of The Voice.

So when Republic Records rush released his debut album just three months later with covers like “Amazing Grace,” “Over the Rainbow” and “You Are So Beautiful,” it seemed like more of the same, though the album became one of the biggest post-show commercial successes a Voice winner has enjoyed.

The question: Given more time, what would Jordan do on a follow-up album?

We got the answer in early August when “Only Love” landed.

Gone were the covers. Added were more songs — six, in fact — that Jordan wrote or co-wrote. And, just as he had promised, the album included tracks “very different from what I think people are expecting me to do.”

Meaning upbeat, R&B-inspired pop songs like “Lonely Eyes,” “End in Love” and “Burn It All Down.” Each wonderfully addictive.

Of course, this being a Jordan Smith album, emotional power ballads are still the highlight. Title track “Only Love” — a song Jordan called “my baby” — was the lead single and cracked the Top 24 on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart.

Since the album landed, Jordan scored another songwriting claim to fame when Celine Dion recorded “Ashes,” a song he co-wrote, for the “Deadpool 2” soundtrack.

And he released a holiday song, “All is Well,” with Christian artist Michael W. Smith at the same time he joined Smith and Amy Grant for a series of Christmas shows.

Here are highlights from “Only Love.”

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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