Highly-anticipated new albums from Eric Church and Carrie Underwood satisfied two of the most passionate fanbases in country music, but neither have the best album of 2018.

Brothers Osborne earned critical acclaim for Port Saint Joe, but you won't find them in the No. 1 spot, either. The best album is from a country veteran who hasn't found a consistent spot on country radio yet. That may or may not change — rarely does the most mainstream, radio-ready project also top a list of any given year's best albums.

Of course, artists like Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley may say otherwise, and we've included both of their 2018 albums on this list of the year's best projects from country music's biggest stars and hottest newcomers. Ours is a list that rewards artistic merit and critical praise more than commercial success, so an immediate gold or platinum release may get shunned. Fan feedback does help shape our picks, however — don't worry Pistol Annies fans, we hear ya.

What'd we get right? Did we get it all wrong? Tell us your favorites in the comments section. While you may not agree with our rankings, we encourage you to take a chance and spin all of these albums front to back.

Here Are the 10 Best Country Albums of 2018:

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