In 2018 almost every artist that you wanted to drop an album did, and although not all of these were all-the-way-through great (looking at you Drake), it was an INCREDIBLE year for singles. There were massive radio hits that would kick the party into twelfth gear like Paul Walker hitting the nitrous in a Fast and Furious movie, and there were also deep cuts on albums that you could sing your heart out to in your car alone, pretending you’re in an emotional music video. Whichever vibe you preferred, there were plenty of songs produced in 2018 that could fit your mood. This is why it was so difficult to pick a Top Ten but I think I narrowed it down. Just as I did with my Top Ten Albums list, I’d like to note that this is COMPLETELY BIASED. I am by no means a music critic. I liked certain songs just because they remind me of a funny memory, I liked certain songs because I can sing them better than others, and I liked certain songs for reasons I can’t even explain. That being said, let’s get to our Honorable Mentions.
Honorable Mentions (In No Specific Order)
“Praise Da Lord (Da Shine)” -A$AP Rocky feat. Skepta
“Tints” -Anderson .Paak feat. Kendrick Lamar
“Light On” -Maggie Rogers
“Jackie Chan” -Tiesto & Dzeko feat. Post Malone and Preme
“Heard About Us” -The Carters
“Shotgun” -George Ezra
“Freeee (Ghost Town Pt.2)” -Kids See Ghosts feat. Ty Dolla $ign
“Wala Cam” -Chance the Rapper feat. Super Bwe & Forever Band
“Redemption” -Jay Rock feat. SZA
“Sundress” -A$AP Rocky
“Stir Fry” -Migos
“Cheers” -Anderson .Paak
Alright, since I had a tough time choosing I wanted to break down the 5 that were closest to making the Top Ten but just couldn’t make the cut. Here are the ones that fit into the Top 15, but not in that ultimate Top 10 Tier.
Top Fifteen of 2018
15.) “Tribe” -Bas feat. J. Cole
I was waiting for a song like this for a long long time. One of my all time favorite songs is another one of their collabs “My N**** Just Made Bail“, which a similar acoustic guitar-based beat like this one. Coming from one of the most underrated albums of the year too, Bas delivers his hottest bars and J. Cole complements him perfectly. A great song for riding around this summer.
14.) “Potato Salad” -Tyler, the Creator & A$AP Rocky
This music video is a perfect representation of why I love this song. It’s just two friends having fun and being goofy. The rhymes are filled with a ton of word play, the beat is an old Kanye production that’s simple but catchy, and you can tell these two rappers (some of the best in the game right now) are just hanging out and making each other laugh. Tyler dropped multiple one-off songs but this one was an easy standout and some of my favorite verses from him period.
13.) “Anthem” -Greta Van Fleet
God I love these guys. They are the only ones making real classic sounding rock music in the year 2018, and this song proves it. They’re sending a peaceful protest message that makes you want to buy a VW van and follow them on tour across the country wearing the same Tie Dye shirt every day not showering. And it’d be awesome. When he goes in on the high note before the bridge I lose my mind every time. If you haven’t hopped on the Greta Van Fleet bandwagon yet I hope this song introduces you to them, ’cause they’re going places.
12.) “New Light” -John Mayer
This is everything I’ve ever wanted out of re-branded John Mayer. John Mayer went from acoustic sad boy ego-maniac to being an extremely online meme god who’s just here to have some fun. He called this a “summer bop” before dropping it and he was exactly right. The melodic beat, the fun guitar beats, the relaxed lyrics (“pushing 40 in the friend zone”) and this music video to top it off made this an instant Mayer classic. Between that and his Instagram show Current Mood, 2018 has been a surprisingly great year for John.
11. “Small Worlds” -Mac Miller
Speaking of John Mayer, fun fact, he did the guitar in this song and even covered it at Mac’s Memorial Concert. I could not stop listening to this when it was originally released as a single. The uniquely chill production, Mac’s extremely honest lines, the instrumental breaks, and the end part that is so beautifully written and carries so much weight especially after his death: this song is easily in my top few Mac Miller songs and despite it making me sad listening to it, seeing where he was headed musically, I have to appreciate how awesome it is.
All right, no messing around. Time for the big boys. I now present, my Top Ten for 2018.
Top Ten Songs of 2018
10. “San Marcos” -BROCKHAMPTON
This song is GORGEOUS. It was a notoriously tough year for the “best boy band since One Direction” after one of their founding members was revealed to be a sexual harasser. Their frustration, pain, and confusion was shown on a lot of the album, but this track had an optimistic view. They’ve gone through a lot of tough times, they’ve been doubted, they’ve doubted themselves, but instead of letting that deter them from their dreams they’re doubling down and using that pain to create something better. That last bit of everyone joining in to sing “I want more out of life than this” legit MOVED ME the first time I heard it. One of my favorite songs of theirs and one of the most underrated songs of the year if you ask me.
9.) “What’s The Use?” -Mac Miller
Everyone who knows my music taste knows I can’t resist a groovy bass-line and boy did this song deliver. The hook is impossible not to dance to, which is why I played it almost every day when I took a shower so I could jam out in the privacy of my own home. Even though Mac is singing the hook he doesn’t hold back with some fire verses to go along with it. Swimming is a great album with some of the most sophisticated stuff we’ve heard from Mac Miller but this fun groovy song was just so good I have to declare it the best of the album and one of the best of the year.
8.) “Psycho” -Post Malone feat. Ty Dolla $ign
I loved Post’s first album Stoney but was nervous about Beerbongs and Bentleys after “Rockstar” was the single. It was a little too hard for me. I didn’t want this dark trap from Mr. Malone I wanted the fun dreamy sound of White Iverson…and then he dropped this song. It’s everything you could ask for in a Post Malone song. Catchy chorus, a smooth beat, and a great guest feature. This song was an easy one to throw on at any time and no one would be mad. Playing video games? Psycho. Going for a drive? Psycho. Studying for a test? Psycho. You couldn’t go wrong. The versatility and universal love for this song easily gets it on the Top Ten.
7.) “Heat Wave” -Snail Mail
This one might come as a surprise to people but that’s just because this sort of music isn’t as fun to talk about. With Pusha-T, Travis Scott, Kanye and Drake being in the news 24/7 it’s clear to see I’m into rap, but there’s no beef amongst Snail Mail and anyone else in the public eye. Their album Lush was one of my favorites of the year. These guys have such a cool alt-rock sound that I fell in love with. You can just hear the passion in them jamming on their guitars and in the lead singer’s vocals and I could not get enough of it. I discovered this song at a time when I was filled with anxiety and throwing this on in the car and belting out all the words was cathartic as hell. Huge fan of this band and this song so definitely check them out if you haven’t yet.
6.) Sicko Mode -Travis Scott feat. Drake
I mean c’mon. You can’t go anywhere without hearing this song and I am not mad about it. It’s trap music’s Bohemian Rhapsody. From Drake’s pumped up intro, to the heavy bass-induced beat that Travis spits BARS over, to the outro where Drake talks about using a somewhat responsible amount of Xanax: this song is a masterpiece. It gets places lit as hell. I went to Travis Scott’s concert in Boston earlier this month and let me tell you the TD Garden almost burned to the ground when this song came on. I was jumping so high in my seat I thought I was going to fall off the balcony. The definition of a BANGER and a number one song to be the cherry on top of Astroworld.
5.) “The Middle” -Zedd, Grey & Maren Morris.
“Oh you’re so basic you picked every girl’s favorite song of the year to be on your list?” DAMN RIGHT I DID. I don’t care how much this got overplayed on the radio when this song comes on everybody gets a smile on their face, gets in the mood to get wild, and jams the hell out. This song gives me the vibes I haven’t felt since “Closer”. If you have a problem with this song you’re really just trying too hard. This beat is fun as hell, Maren Morris’s vocals are heat, and it makes people happy. It has an intangible charm to it and I really don’t know what 2018 would’ve been like without it. On the record, I freaking love this song.
4.) “Ghost Town” -Kanye West feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR, Kid Cudi & 070 Shakes.
You guys really thought there wouldn’t be a Kanye song on this list? Get real. This was the easy highlight off ye in my book. You get some classic Kid Cudi vocals, some great rhymes from Kanye and one of my favorite outros ever from 070 Shakes. The rock influences Kanye incorporated into this album and Kids See Ghosts worked so perfectly but I think this is my favorite example of that new sound he was going for. It also perfectly captured his idea of the album, describing his mental health issues and his coming to terms with it. Scream-singing “AND NOTHING HURTS ANYMORE I FEEL KINDA FREEEEEE” is something I did too many times in 2018 to not put this song in my top 5.
3.) “God’s Plan” -Drake
Ahh pre Pusha-T beef Drake…simpler times.
Words really can’t express how HUGE this song was. True story the night it came out my friends and I listened to it upwards of 30 times. And I am not ashamed to admit that every time we sang the iconic “I only love my bed and my mama I’m sorry” line, we got 10x more gassed up about it. Say whatever you want about this song being overplayed or making fun of white boys for snapchatting themselves singing the aforementioned iconic line but there was really nothing like this song coming on when you’re surrounded by a group of friends. Everyone goes off. Everyone knows the words. It’s fun. It’s up-lifting. If I’m being honest 20 years from now this is probably going to be one of those songs that kids are calling a classic, and it’s well deserved.
2.) “Better Not” -Louis the Child feat. Wafia
Before you get mad at this #2 overall pick, I do want to say that I’m not sure if this is a Providence College thing or not but this song was unbelievably MASSIVE between my friends at school. Maybe it was just the Friars who developed an undying love for this song but dear lord do I love it with all of my heart. The lyrics are reminiscent of the Chainsmokers before they became garbage, the beat drop is so fun and unique, and it also was released at a perfect time. I don’t hesitate in saying that April of 2018 might’ve been the best month of my life. I had little to no responsibilities other than to make the most of my senior year, I was enjoying it getting nice out with my best friends, and I had plenty of time to put on music and jam out to it, whether I was going out or just hanging on my balcony during the day. All of those memories are stored in this song and it makes me comically emotional every time I hear it but damn do I love that it can take me back to that time.
1.) “Nice for What” -Drake
An obvious choice? Yes. But the right one? Also yes. I find it hard to believe that a song could possibly be this good. I made this take the day after it was released and still stand by it 100%.
I mean he created a song that is impossible to dislike. Everyone was freaking out “oh what’s Drake gonna do after ‘God’s Plan’? How could he possibly top that?” and then he drops this heater out of the sky and a music video to match the awesomeness of him handing out milly to people in need. This song was the feel good jam America needed. Everyone has been at each others necks with social media poisoning our brains, politics driving loved ones apart and a constant self-loathing deepening with every minute (ok, that last one might not be everyone, just me), and this song comes on and wipes that clear from our brains. You forget about your troubles and you just sing and dance and feel happy. Not to mention it’s all about girl power. That’s just an added bonus. The lyrics to this song could be about hating puppies and I’d probably still love it but he’s just gassing girls up for 4 minutes? Sign me up. Banger of the year. Possibly banger of the century. It has lost zero of it’s magic and I am going to be playing this at my wedding and my funeral. Mark my words: best song ever.
What did I miss? What doesn’t belong? Not even looking for an argument I just genuinely had so many songs to chose from I most likely missed one. Ok, thanks. Have a great new year.