As you might have guessed from the title, here is a top ten list of my favourite songs from 2018.
10) ‘Nightclub’ – The Vaccines
I really liked The Vaccines’ Combat Sports album in the early half of 2018, and was torn between including this track and ‘Surfing In The Sky’ on this list. I probably played the latter more back then, but at this point I like ‘Nightclub’ more, it is by far a stronger, smarter track. I especially liked the rhyme of “bubble bath” with “sociopath”, followed by “the God-given right of the socialite”.
9) ‘Boo’d Up’ – Ella Mai
A huge hit in the US, it didn’t even make the top 40 over here in Ella Mai’s home country the UK, which is a shame. I suppose though it is very American-sounding, going back to old school ’90s US R&B. In any case, it is a delightful, lovely track. Let’s hope we hear a lot more from Ella Mai!
8) ‘Please’ – Samantha Harvey
Pop-soul singer Samantha Harvey released this tearjerker heartbreak ballad. There was also a duet version with The X Factor series 13 winner Matt Terry, and nothing against him – his winners song ‘When Christmas Comes Around’ has found its way on a lot of festive playlists, so it is probably better than it was given credit for at the time – but I definitely prefer the solo version of ‘Please’. My favourite lyric is “You kind of left me here like a penny on a train track”, which Samantha Harvey herself also said was her favourite lyric from this song.
7) ‘Dancing’ – Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue celebrated her 50th birthday this year, gaining another number one album Golden, with ‘Dancing’ being the lead track from it. The song is very joyful and sweet, even if it’s in the sense of “life’s too short”. The video directed by Sophie Muller is similar, in that it’s very sparkly, but one of the concepts of it is Kylie literally dancing with the Grim Reaper! ‘Dancing’ was in a more country direction than Kylie Minogue had gone previously, specifically mentioning the work of Dolly Parton as an influence, and Kylie Minogue trying to sound like Dolly Parton is very much something I’m here for!
6) ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ – Ariana Grande
This was the first new single released by Ariana Grande after the terror attack at her concert at Manchester Arena in 2017. The song deals with themes of trying to move on after such a tragedy. It is also one of the most intriguing pop songs in a long time, an intricate mid-tempo dance track which Ariana Grande sings very skillfully. The video is directed by Dave Meyers, who also directed the video for ‘Havana’ by Camila Cabello. The video for ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ has very surreal dream-like visuals. The worker bee at the end as a tribute to the city of Manchester is a nice touch.
5) ‘Strangers’ – Sigrid
Sigrid is the only act to appear both on this list and my 2017 top 10 songs list, and I actually mentioned ‘Strangers’ on that list too! A year later and I still really like the track. It’s the biggest hit to date for her, and is a magnificent synth-pop song.
4) ‘Shotgun’ – George Ezra
George Ezra’s first number one single in the UK, and very much the song heard all over the UK in summer 2018. It will perhaps always be associated with summer holidays, barbeques, the 2018 summer heatwave and England doing well in the 2018 World Cup. I’ve included the lyric video as, frankly, it’s much better than the main video! I prefer it for a number of reasons. The lyric video has more of a fun, easygoing tone to it, and I think George Ezra looks quite pretty in it, and I like his clothes in it as well.
3) ‘All For You’ – Years & Years
‘If You’re Over Me’ was their bigger hit this year, but I liked ‘All For You’ more! Another surreal video, the album Palo Santo is a concept album about a futuristic sci-fi world, so the videos from it all have a connection to each other. But looking at the song on its own terms, ‘All For You’ is an energetic electropop track about finding the courage and feeling a boost for your self-esteem after leaving a toxicly bad relationship.
2) ‘Viszlát nyár’ – AWS
Hungary’s entry for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest were metal band AWS. ‘Viszlát nyár’ has been variously translated into English as ‘Summer Gone’, ‘See You, Summer’
and ‘Goodbye Summer’, and oddly enough it was my most played song during this summer! But it isn’t really about the season of summer, it’s metaphorical. It’s about
loss and grief, and trying to move on from it. Apparently it is dedicated to the lead singer’s late father. The powerful, storming instrumental is a key part to this track’s appeal, but the lead singer Örs Siklósi does stand out, he has a great voice and he is very adorable and charismatic.
1) ‘Not So Bad In L.A.’ – Allie X
This was my favourite song from Allie X’s Super Sunset album. There were a few others I enjoyed a lot, such as ‘Science’ and ‘Little Things’, but ‘Not So Bad In L.A.’ was my favourite, and indeed my favourite song of 2018. I’m a sucker for “darkness beneath the glitz and glamour of Hollywood”, which this track talks about. It mentions blue skies every day and shiny white teeth, but beyond that surface it’s a world where you’re considered too old “when you turn 25”, that “your appetite fades, but you’re still starving”, and it’s “a city that lives while its bright stars die”. The Dream Factory can quickly turn into a nightmare, and that is conveyed with the music, which begins dreamy but becomes nightmarish as it goes along. The video features Allie X in various Hollywood starlet looks, and the video itself matches well with the music, as it gets increasingly creepy when the music starts sounding more eerie, with everyone wearing veils with strange faces painted on them.
So those were my favourite tracks of 2018.
Happy New Year Everyone!