The Top Songs Of 2018

2018 has been a whirlwind of a year. Sometimes I didn’t know if I was coming or going, and I may have missed out on some music due to a need for sleep every now and then. That said, it was a great 12 months of music.

I’m in the minority, I assume, in thinking that overall it was a down year for rap. I think there’s a battle going on for the identity of the genre right now, with most of the old guard waving the white flag. We got good stuff from Kendrick via the Black Panther album and some features (“Mona Lisa” with Lil’ Wayne finds itself on the list below), and Earl Sweatshirt tried his best to end the year on a high note. Still, the charts were dominated by watered down performers like Cardi B and Post Malone. I’d throw Drake in there, as well. He hasn’t done anything interesting since Take Care, but Scorpion had something like 20 singles get on the charts. Even the usually good for a laugh Kanye couldn’t make rap fun this year.

Not that any other genres took any crazy turns for the better in 2018. Leave it to the freaks and weirdos that keep music interesting year in and year out by defying genre. At this current moment every song ever recorded is available to be heard. So it makes sense that someone who listens to Otis Redding might also be a big fan of Ghost. Or that hip-hop listeners might also enjoy Johnny Cash.

For decades music writers have put forth this notion that “rock is dead.” Actually, it’s the whole idea of music genres that’s been dying. And in 2018 the eulogies have all been written and we’ve moved on. These songs are the best 50 I heard in americana/folk/country/rock/punk/bluegrass/r&b/rap/disco/pop/post-pop/nü-metal/psychedelic/shoegaze/garage.

(my list is in descending order, so disregard the Spotify numbers)

50. More Giraffes-“Basement”

49. Anna Burch-“2 Cool 2 Care”

48. Dan Rico-“Desirée”

47. Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes-“Running”

46. Ric Wilson-“Split”

45. Oliver Ignatius-“Citys A Hell”

44. Margaret Glaspy-“Before We Were Together”

43. Colter Wall-“Saskatchewan 1881”

42. Keegan Dewitt & Kiersey Clemons-“Hearts Beat Loud”

41. Sons Of An Illustrious Father-“Extraordinary Rendition”

40. Arthur Buck-“American Century”

39. Titus Andronicus-“Above The Bodega (Local Business)”

38. Bhi Bhiman-“Beyond The Border”

37. Hinds-“Finally Floating”

36. Slothrust-“Birthday Cake”

35. Alynda Segarra & The Special Men-“Don’t Tell Me It’s Over”

34. Linda Gail Lewis & Robbie Fulks-“Memphis Never Falls From Style”

33. Brandi Carlile-“Hold Out Your Hand”

32. Arkells-“People’s Champ”

31. Childish Gambino-“This Is America”

30. Hop Along-“Not Abel”

29. Lauren Ruth Ward-“Sideways”

28. Saba-“GREY”

27. The Vaccines-“I Can’t Quit”

26. Jeff Tweedy-“Let’s Go Rain”

25. Gallant-“Ha Ha No One Can Hear You”

24. Josh Ritter-“Miles Away”

23. Ike Reilly-“Boltcutter Again”

22. Miya Folick-“Leave The Party”

21. Katie Toupin-“Boys Will Be Boys”

20. Phillip-Michael Scales-“Shame”

19. Grand Am-“All That I Ever Do”

18. Ezra Miller & Oliver Ignatius-“sadtown”

17. Erin Rae-“Putting On Airs”

16. Run The Jewels-“Let’s Go (The Royal We)”

15. Elohim-“Panic Attacks”

14. Sundara Karma-“Illusions”

13. Spiritualized-“The Morning After”

12. Natalie Prass-“Short Court Style”

11. St. Lenox-You Have Got To Feel It

10. Villagers-“A Trick Of The Light”

9. Lil’ Wayne-“Mona Lisa”

8. Conor Oberst-“No One Changes”

7. First Aid Kit-“Hem Of Her Dress”

6. Dirty Projectors-“Right Now”

5. Tracyanne & Danny-“Jacqueline”

4. Odetta Hartman-“Misery”

3. Janelle Monae-“Make Me Feel”

2. Prince-“Nothing Compares 2 U”

1. Ezra Furman-“Love You So Bad”