It’s been an excellent year for music. From pop to rock to rap, each genre has grown to produce some of their best content in years. It was really tough narrowing down the best songs of the year to just ten entries, but I did make a playlist of my favorite 50 songs from this year. You can check that out alongside the top 10 list below!
10. Say Amen (Saturday Night) by Panic! At The Disco
I may not have jived with the entirety of Panic! At The Disco’s latest effort, Pray For The Wicked, but the lead single, Say Amen, is something else. The song was a product of lead singer Brendon Urie’s summer stint on Broadway last year and the theatricality of that experience is not just across this song, but the whole record. The religious overtones have become a staple of Panic’s discography, and Say Amen is no stranger to that. It’s more than enjoyable and has my favorite vocals on the entire album.
9. All The Stars by Kendrick Lamar and SZA
More often than not, movie soundtracks will fall flat with a generic pop song as the film’s theme. Black Panther chose a different path for its soundtrack by allowing twelve time Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar curate the entire thing. The lead single, All The Stars, sees Lamar tackles a dark electronic rap with a beautiful hook from relative newcomer (to the major charts) SZA. Both of them shine in this song that just might earn Lamar another Grammy next February.
8. Do It All The Time by iDKHOW
Up until a few months ago, I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (often stylized iDKHOW) was the most interesting unsigned band in the world. Do It All The Time hails from their debut extended play and features a really strong bass line that’s set against barbed lyrics about “selling lies” in the music industry from lead singer, Dallon Weekes. The song is remarkable and will be stuck in your head after just one listen.
7. Cemetery by COIN
This indie pop band has slowly, but surely, won over my heart in 2018. I became captivated by their sound after seeing them live at Paramore’s Art + Friends in Nashville this September. They are further cemented as one of my favorite bands with Cemetery. The track from the band’s upcoming third album focuses on the glorification of wealth in the face of ultimately, dying all alone. It presents an argument between choosing time for the family or the company.
6. Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song) by Bleachers
Jack Antonoff’s biggest job this year was crafting the music behind for Love, Simon. The lead single from the soundtrack is by far one of the best songs from Bleachers, period. Alfie’s Song is written on behalf on Antonoff’s godson. The passion placed into it is evident through the great acoustic riffs and even better lyrics.
5. Amigos by Human Resources
Human Resources was a small glimmer out of the many concerts I attended this year. As they opened with Amigos in Athens, Ga. before Bleachers played, I knew I was witnessing something special. The band’s lead vocalists get the chance to shine bright on this second single from Champagne. It pulls off as a straight dance song while also providing great commentary on a relationship gone wrong.
4. Heat Wave by Snail Mail
Even at the ripe age of 19, Lindsey Jordan can articulate her feelings better than those twice her age. She proves this time and time again on her debut album Lush, but Heat Wave stands out as my favorite. It’s a modern take on the social construct of love and the excess of procrastination that has overtaken the lives of many people my age.
3. Leave The City by Twenty One Pilots
Leave The City was not exactly the conclusion I expected from Trench when Twenty One Pilots returned from a year of silence last summer when Jumpsuit debuted. However, it is the perfect close to the narrative that Tyler Joseph has crafted. I also get the feeling that it does leave the open for a deeper dive into this world on a future album.
2. Slow Burn by Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves pushed beyond the bounds of the country genre that she lives in with her new album, Golden Hour. Slow Burn serves a beautiful opener to this truly spectacular record. It’s a realistic, chilling ballad with down to Earth lyrics. It’s so gorgeous that it’s the song that caused to fall in love with her entire discography.
1. Love It If We Made It by The 1975
The 1975 know how to craft an album that can perfectly portray rage and resistance in the tumultuous times we live in. Love It If We Made It is the song leading that charge. It showcases a politically-charged, social frustration with the way the world is turning right now. It’s a expression of the anger for those who not only want to see the world move on from those who seek to set us back, but also wish to see us move forward.
Top 50 Songs of 2018 Playlist