Note: these are in no particular order, and are only in reference to songs released in the year 2018. I love a lot of music and artists, but these are 10 songs I believe deserve special recognition.
you should see me in a crown | Billie Eilish
“Count my cards, watch them fall
Blood on a marble wall…”
Cool, moody, and completely enthralling, this new single by Billie is a good sign that her debut full-length album will be something of great magnificence.
Second Night of Summer | BØRNS
“Throwing me that shade like I’m not cool enough…”
Blue Madonna kicked off 2018 on a great start musically, and, in my honest opinion, is even more impressive than BORN’s 2015 debut album. This song in particular is a highlight from the album, groovy with fantastic synth-laden interludes. It’s a great song to blast while driving on a summer night.
Wilson (Expensive Mistakes) | Fall Out Boy
“I became such a strange shape
Such a strange shape from trying to fit in…”
Although MANIA was largely inflated and directionless (with an alienating and odd lead single), this song is a stand out. Energetic, fun, and with lyrics formed from movie quotes and references, “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” is a great addition to the FOB discography.
Mr. Tillman | Father John Misty
“I’m feeling good, damn, I’m feeling so fine, I’m living on a cloud above an island in my mind…”
Sardonic, darkly witty, and intensely self-aware—“Mr. Tillman” is Father John Misty (a.k.a. Josh Tillman) at his best. (I mean, I’m a little worried for him, if I’m being honest, if half of these lyrics are true. But it’s a great song!)
Respect Commander | Jack White
“She has all my respect
And I cannot protect
My heart from her command…”
Before the release of Boarding House Reach, Jack White was quoted as saying that his new album was, “good gardening music or roofing music or, you know, back-alley stabbing music”. I think this song pretty much captures that sentiment. Divided into two parts – a frenetic instrumental segment, and a bluesy, guitar-driven segment – “Respect Commander” sees Jack White channeling his inner Jim Morrison, and it will have you saying (like a friend of mine said after I forced her to listen to the whole thing in my car): “Wow, that was wild.”
After the Storm | Kali Uchis (feat. Tyler, the Creator & Bootsy Collins)
“The sun’ll come out, nothing good ever comes easy
I know times are rough, but winners don’t quit, so don’t you give up
The sun’ll come out, but we’ve been struggling endless days
Someday we’ll find the love, ‘Cause after the storm’s when the flowers bloom…”
This song became my anthem for a better part of this year, as I embarked on the winding adventure that was making my TV show, “The Coroner’s Assistant.” Kali’s words of wisdom kept me going on the harder days, after we had to cancel long-planned shoots, find new locations last minute, and hope that the weather didn’t turn on us. “After the Storm” is empowering and will make you believe that your hustling and hard work will be worth it.
Life In Pink | Kate Nash
“What’s wrong with me?
Am I person yet?”
In April 2018, Kate Nash released her latest album after five years. This album encapsulated the Kate Nash I knew and loved when I was a lonely, insecure teenager: a songwriter who addresses topics like mental health issues, creativity, hope, and belonging. “Life in Pink” does all that – in a bubbly pop rock song that will make you want to roll down the windows and scream along.
Mariners Apartment Complex | Lana Del Rey
“You lose your way, just take my hand
You’re lost at sea, then I’ll command your boat to me again
Don’t look too far, right where you are, that’s where I am
I’m you man…”
Working with Jack Antonoff, the producer of her upcoming 2019 album, Norman F***ing Rockwell, Lana Del Rey released two singles at the end of the summer that caught her fans off guard and blew them away. “Mariners Apartment Complex” is one of her best singles to date, capturing perfectly the nostalgia that Lana’s music has always strived to encompass, with her vocals sounding better than ever after letting go of her beloved reverb.
Dancing’s Not a Crime | Panic! At the Disco
“We could be waltzing
But Darlin’ don’t be throwing shade, now
Don’t call me Saint California if you’re at another altar
Just gimme your vows, gimme your vows…”
Pray For the Wicked was a divisive album for many long-time Panic! fans. I thought it was an incredibly fun record, energetic and confident – and “Dancing’s Not a Crime” is Pray for the Wicked at its most fun. (And, of course, Brendon totally kills it vocally, like always.)
Chlorine | twenty one pilots
“Hide you in my coat pocket, where I kept my rebel red
I felt I was invincible, you wrapped around my head…”
Dynamic, layered, complex, “Chlorine” is a stand out from Trench, the phenomenal latest release from this Columbus duo. This track is stunning from start to finish, crafted with Tyler Joseph’s endlessly inventive lyricism and undeniable energy.