2018 Albums of the Year: IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance 

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The Telescope presents the top albums of 2018. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us this year.

“My blood brother is an immigrant
A beautiful immigrant
My blood brother’s Freddie Mercury
A Nigerian mother of three
He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood
He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love
He’s made of you, he’s made of me
Unity”

What a positive, non-judgmental message filled with love and unity. In fact, IDLES entire second album, Joy as an Act of Resistance is filled with messages of inclusivity and love, in case that isn’t obvious by its title. But if you think this powerful message is delivered using sad folky acoustic guitars, think again.

Singer Joe Talbot has said time and time again that IDLES are not a punk band. Sure, okay, but with the aggressive power behind the music and Talbot singing like someone who would easily headbutt you and then spit on the floor at a pub if you ever got in his way, I can understand the label’s origin.

The aggression doesn’t stop with the band’s music – their live show is just as raw and angry. I was fortunate enough to see IDLES twice in 2018, and their combative stance was just as apparent. That doesn’t mean the audience didn’t feel any love; at my first show, the band led the crowd in a spontaneous, acapella version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (note – this was at an outdoor show in March in Austin) and at my second IDLES experience, the entire audience sang the chorus to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”. To quote Talbot after my first singalong: “That was a fucking miracle.”

Joy as an Act of Resistance was released August 31, 2018, and if you’re looking to add some aggressive positivity into your life, as well as a surprising cover of  Solomon Burke’s “Cry to Me”, this just may be the album for you.

-Michelle Farres

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