Singles Edition: Editor’s favorite songs of 2018
We gave you our favorite albums, now here's the songs that helped our editors get through the year
January 3, 2019
Houndmouth’s familiar indie, folk and blues tone is gone with their newest album “Golden Age.” The first single “This Party” set the tone for their transition into more pop and electronic sounds, but they make it work. “This Party” may discuss wishing to not be at a party, but this track could make you dance the night away.
Not Today – Alessia Cara
I eagerly awaited for Alessia Cara to release more music after her first album in 2015. Fortunately, she delivered with her sophomore album, The Pains of Growing, in November this year. This is the second song on the album, and it surprised me with its upbeat background music but melancholy lyrics. She sings about the future day that she’ll forget the pain of a fresh break-up, with a sad but optimistic voice. With lyrics like, “One day that song won’t make me cry anymore / One day I’ll get up off the bathroom floor / Oh, piece by piece I’ll be restored,” it’s a song you can smile through whether you just got out of a relationship or have found yourself since your last one.
Chlorine – Twenty One Pilots
Off of twenty one pilots’ 2018 concept album TRENCH, “Chlorine” is a five-minute-long track that delves into singer Tyler Joseph’s psyche. The extended metaphor throughout is that songwriting (“the beat”) can be cathartic and cleansing to him, yet also harmful in large amounts, much like chlorine; he has a love/hate relationship with his career. Since Joseph almost always pens songs about internal struggles, he views pondering those topics too often or deeply as risky or damaging. “Chlorine” will make you dive right into a saltwater pool of feelings and smooth harmonies.
Chloe x Halle breakdown the importance of remaining grounded in this song. The piano ballad acts as a reminder to the sisters that if the rain and sky falls, they still have the ability to look at things better than the present situation. Their angelic voices form a choir singing this quick proverb.
This song accompanied me on many late night drives. It made me happy; it made me sad. But it never failed to make me feel something. The Lumineers always fill their songs with powerful lyrics and even stronger instruments, and this song does not disappoint.
Sold Out Dates – Gunna & Lil Baby
Rising hip-hop stars Gunna and Lil Baby came together at the beginning of 2018 to release this stellar track before there was even any indication they’d both be dominating the charts for the rest of the year. Over a beat that seamlessly blends country-rock guitar with rap hi-hats and blown-out bass, the duo takes turns trading phrases that feel predestined to be someone’s Instagram caption. Memorable bars and a smooth instrumental come together to forge one of the most effortlessly cool songs of the year.
After a three-year hiatus, the Australian pop punk band we all loved as teenagers, 5 Seconds of Summer, returned with a bang. This song was their second single of the year and the name of their third album, which came out in June. It was immediately a hit across the world and for good reason. The build-up from the verses to the chorus is perfectly matched with the pulsing bass and drums. As a whole, it showcased the band’s growth immensely. 12/10 recommend for loudly bopping in the car with friends.
Alt-pop artist Vesperteen’s single “Speed of Light” from his sophomore album The Hype is Dead is both energetic and infectious. It explores a romance between singer Colin Rigsby and an unnamed individual. With creative lyrics like “I looked everywhere under the sun / And found you under the moon,” this track is sure to inspire you poetically. As a bonus, “Speed of Light” is accompanied by a music video depicting an LGBTQ+ love story, filmed in Columbus, Ohio.
Female rocker Mitski just doesn’t want to be alone. So much so that album standout “Nobody”, finds her opening windows just to hear the sound of people interacting. “I don’t want your pity, I just want somebody near me” she croons, as the disco-inspired beat picks up and turns a sad song about “nobody” into a relatable song that everybody can dance to. Being completely alone has never sounded so cheery. As Mitski put it when releasing the song’s music video, “sometimes you just got to dance the lonesome away”.
This year, renowned Christian singer Lauren Daigle released her second album, Look Up Child. It brought a refreshing new sound to the world of Christian music by combining lyrics of worship with the instrumentals of pop and alternative music. This song specifically provides a story about listening for God’s voice of hope in the midst of doubt and fear with a light and “reggaeton” beat. It is one, among many songs, on Daigle’s album that have caused some to call her “the Christian Adele.”
Childish Gambino has proven time and time again that he is a lyrical genius, and “This is America” is his greatest modern-day flex. The song presents all of the problems that black people in America undergo, with an amazing and entertaining beat underneath it. The music video also takes this summer smash hit to a new level.
Originally by Passion Pit, Young & Sick take a mellow turn on the formally upbeat track. This version allows you to absorb the lyrics fully, not being overpowered by claps, background vocals and electronic beats as it does in the original. Lay in bed when you listen to this and let your body drift away with this soft and gentle song.