Not long after posting my top ten albums of 2018 I came to a realization that I listen to a lot more current singles than entire albums in one year. Moreover, these singles are a lot more varied than the albums I typically listen to. It’s been my dream to expose the masses to media they haven’t seen or heard before. For that reason, I am making this new list which will be much denser. For the sake of time and to maintain a lack of redundancy I have omitted singles from albums that I’ve talked about in depth here already and I’ve also omitted singles I’ve talked about on my track reviews. So in alphabetical order by artist name, here are some of the finest singles of 2018.
I’ve talked about my rather elitist thoughts about the music industry before, and I’ve made it a point to be contrarian on a lot of topics revolving around music in general. However, this year Ariana Grande blew me away with her powerful single about forgiveness in relationships. I like the precedent she’s trying to set after her split with Pete Davidson. It’s a good message for her largely adolescent fanbase, and aside from that everything about this song is nice to listen to.
Something about Billie’s voice makes me so somber. I suppose that’s the most substantial reason for why I enjoy this song so much. I don’t think Its main purpose is to be melancholy but I feel like that’s Billie’s greatest strength. Despite everything she consistently delivers a fantastic performance on every song she’s apart of.
Billy Lemos and Family Reunion form an almost unbreakable pairing in this single. The easy listening guitar riffs from Billy Lemos and the vibrant coos from Family Reunion together create a fun, catchy track that’s sure to please the ear of any listener. It’s just a shame the song barely crack’s two minutes.
It’s my current belief that nobody can make anything quite as catchy as Nicolás Pablo Rivera Muñoz. His voice is so unique but it pops out perfectly on every track he puts out, especially this one. He juxtaposes dreary subject matter over such a happy go lucky instrumental it’s hard to tell where his heart is half the time. Regardless of how I’m feeling I always find myself singing along to it.
“Attics” is the track you listen to when you want to wind down. Everything about it is mellow. It’s one of those songs you listen to when driving across the coast at night when no one else is on the road, or when you need something to lull you to sleep.
Donald Glover’s politically charged social commentary garnered more than just the attention of a few news outlets. It gained nationwide acclaim for its implications about today’s society. The fact that its catchy and easy to dance to seems to serve its overall purpose even further. Donald Glover knew he was making a hit as he created this track, and deservedly so. The world needed to hear it.
Daniel Caesar consistently releases some of the most beautiful singles I’ve ever heard. While he has yet to move to any new territory lyrically, he always manages to make his tales about failed love sound appealing. I suppose that’s the sheer power of his heavenly voice. The uncredited T-Pain cameo is also much appreciated. The collaboration is very fitting, as T-Pain has a song of his own dedicated to a stripper.
Eugene Cam is one of the greatest producers I’ve ever heard. He can turn any sound into something pleasing to listen to. This track is no exception. There are no lyrics, there is no deeper meaning, it’s just three minutes for you to be lost in sonorous sounds. In all honesty, that’s what every song should strive for.
This one is for the people who want to get lost in their feelings. “Break My Heart Again” is a saddening vignette about Finneas O’Connell’s brush with heartbreak. He’s gone on record saying that some of the lyrics are verbatim texts he’s sent to his ex-lovers, hence why you can hear iPhone key’s tapping at the beginning of the track. This is one of the longer singles on this list of sorts and it’s for good reason. Finneas takes his time on this track. His slow pace fuels the pain behind his words.
Flipp Dinero embodies most things I like about modern rap. Fast paced verses and production, vulgar lyrics, and little to no direction. One might call those weaknesses, but I always find enjoyment in the little things nobody seems to care about. His naturally raspy voice clears up a little bit as he sings the chorus very energetically. What you see is what you get. It’s a fun track and nothing else.
I had this song recommended to me a few days ago and in that short time span I’ve fallen in love with it. I understand I’ve already featured a Daniel Caesar song on here but can you really blame me? He has the voice of an angel. Yes, its another song about sex but Daniel Caesar has the uncanny ability to make it sound much deeper than that. For that reason alone, I believe everyone should listen.
Kali Uchis has such a graceful voice its hard to tell what she can’t sing over. This track makes efficient use of the musical stylings of the band BADBADNOTGOOD and Tyler, the Creator. The song feels retro but maintains that contemporary vibe most songs today hold onto. It’s incredibly nice to just sit back and listen to.
The late Gustav Elijah Åhr and Jahseh Onfroy deliver us a powerful song from beyond the grave. Something about this song is so haunting but so intriguing at the same time. There’s a lot here that I don’t think was fully developed in the short career’s both of these rappers had. It’s sad to hear what could have been two fantastic artists have their career’s cut so short. At least we have something to remember them by.
Moontower captures any kind of vibe they want to with their synth-infused rock anthem “William.” The track follows the protagonist aptly named William as he fights to gain the courage to find his unnamed heroine. A lot is ambiguous about the song but whats most salient is its excellence in musicality. It’s a track that has appeal for everyone.
From the first line Ollie croaks to the meek scat singing he does at the end of the track the listener can hear the weakness in his words. The track acts as a love song and an ode to anxiety. There is such a strange casual nature that blankets the track that makes it such a unique take on what is normally bleak subject matter. It doesn’t help that the instrumental is so upbeat either but I suppose that adds to the overall allure of the track.
This was my favorite song for a time. Something about the title caught my eye and from the opening drum beat, I was instantly hooked. Everything about this song is elegant. The soft, matter-of-fact way Ricky Montgomery delivers his words, the scat singing in the chorus offer the listener such an unusually enjoyable musical experience.
“Moving On” is the most generic kind of songs. It’s medium pace, it has a general instrumental, and it covers a pretty standard subject matter. Despite all that, it’s still one of my favorite songs of this year. I can’t put my finger on it, perhaps it’s the lead singers adolescent voice, or maybe the generic sound just appeals to me because it’s so universal. Regardless, its definitely worth the listen.
Scott James makes everything he says sound like a riddle. He sings with such a vulnerable voice but always pipes up midway through the song as if in every track he overcomes a difficult challenge. “One of a Kind” is a track best experienced alone. It’s unknown who Scott James is singing about in this track. Just that he worries about them dearly. That ambiguity is enough to make the track just that much more enticing.
Smino always makes good use of some of the most idiosyncratic beats I’ve ever heard. There are so many changes to flow of the track, and funny ad-libs the song is just a blast to listen through. Both Smino and Mick Jenkins carry their weight lyrically, which is a rarity for most duo rap songs.
The final song I’m talking about here has especially hard-hitting lyrics. I had no clue there were so many flowery ways to describe heartbreak until I heard this track. It’s relatable in the most frustrating of ways. Time and time again there comes a song that you feel was specifically written for you. I’m almost certain that many feel that way about this track. Give this one a listen, its a gorgeous ballad.