My Top 40 Songs of 2018

20.  Seeb & Dagny – “Drink About”

“Drink About” is a song about trying to let go of someone on your mind, even if it’s impossible, and it does a fantastic job at conveying the emotions behind it all.  Dagny is a brilliant singer, and she shows her range of skills here so well between the calmer and rational view of the situation, and the pained and emotional chorus.

Seeb is the DJ behind the song and does really well to accentuate these feelings, giving the drops a more manic feel whilst leaving the verses to drive themselves on.  It’s really well-crafted and a great listen.

19.  Major Lazer – “Blow That Smoke” (feat. Tove Lo)

Tove Lo is one of my favourite pop singers, with the voice of an angel and the heart of a devil, and this song leaves her squarely in the middle between those two.  It’s a “traditional” Major Lazer song, bringing a lovely tropical vibe throughout while also being about weed – but it’s just as radio-friendly in its music as any other from the group.

It didn’t blow up in the way that other songs from Tove Lo’s contemporary MØ have, but it’s in the same ballpark and definitely worth listening to if you’re a fan.

18.  Black Honey – “Midnight”

Perhaps not one you’ll have heard, this one was recommended to me by a friend and almost instantly went down as one of the best of the year.  It’s got an incredibly futuristic rock feel to it, whilst having synthy undertones and a great vocalist taking you through.  I think it’s a song you could play just about anywhere and get a positive reaction, on the radio, in a club or just anywhere.

Having listened to the rest of Black Honey’s debut album, it still stands out as the best of the bunch, and hopefully a sign of more to come.

17.  Ariana Grande – “no tears left to cry”

For most of the year this was the flagship Ariana Grande song, as the lead single of her album Sweetener.  It largely tells an uplifting story of her bounceback following an incredibly difficult 12 months, and it incorporates equal parts dreamy synths and sassy R&B elements.

All-in-all, it proves how she’s arguably the queen of modern pop music, as she pulls off what could be too emotional a tune with a level of fun that makes it a really endearing and replayable ong.

16.  Wolf Alice – “Bros” [2013]

The winners of this year’s Mercury Music Prize, Wolf Alice broke into the mainstream of British music with a couple of their unique indie songs.  It also brought back some of their original songs, like this fine song, “Bros”.

Much like “Seek Bromance” earlier in the list, it’s a really lovely song about a friendship full of love, with both spurring each other on and being there for each other through thick and thin.  Lead singer Ellie Rowsell sounds amazing throughout the song, conveying each emotion effortlessly and providing the variation over a rather simple riff in the background.

15.  CHVRCHES – “Wonderland”

CHVRCHES new album was a little bit disappointing, not quite hitting the electric highs or emotional lows that were found on their first two efforts, but “Wonderland” comes close.  It has a strong energy running through it, that fades away into an ethereal chorus that exposes a fundamental “stick or twist” situation between accepting reality or continuing to dream.  Closing out Love is Dead, it is a powerful reminder of the way CHVRCHES can still craft a song.

14.  One Bit & Noah Cyrus – “My Way”

Noah Cyrus sounds almost exactly like her older sister Miley.  It’s a compliment, and it’s enough to make you do a double-take here.  But I think one of the song’s clear messages is that she’s different and trying to do things “My way”, and she does a very good job of being a singer on a dance track that manages to impart plenty of her own feeling on it.

The beat itself underneath is riffed from Mylo’s “Doctor Pressure”, but re-tooled nicely as a modern dance tune.  It makes it very catchy, and it’s short, sharp energy rush made it a great song just to fire on throughout the year.

13.  Nina Nesbitt – “Loyal To Me”

I’m really glad that Nina Nesbitt is back on the scene, as she is probably one of Scotland’s best vocal talents, and can write a brilliant tune too. This one is very basic, but this acoustic-feeling track is so good because it resonates so clearly.  Essentially, it’s a girl-power track about not keeping together with a cheating boyfriend, but it’s written so well to take Nesbitt’s voice to different places throughout the track and giving it many more layers than what you’d initially expect.

12.  Banx & Ranx & Ella Eyre – “Answerphone” (feat. Yxng Bane)

Another underrated talent singing about a poor boyfriend, Ella Eyre’s signature raspy voice is in full flow on this track.  Banx & Ranx lay down a really good beat that ties in nicely with the themes of the song and lets Ella do her best over it, featuring a nice guest appearance to provide a little relief.  On the whole it’s a really well put-together song, and you’ll not tire of listening to it.

11.  Cardi B – “Bartier Cardi” (feat. 21 Savage) [2017]

Cardi B has been one of the biggest breakout stars over the last two years, going from a reality/Instagram star to being the hottest (female) rapper in the world right now.  She’s genuinely very funny but has got immense talent as well, which have made her the pop culture sensation that she is.

“Bartier Cardi” shows off her darker side, bringing in a dark and dissy feel that isn’t too in line with her character. Being her second hit though, it makes sense for her to show that she has this club in her bag too, and she pulls it off spectacularly.  It’s got some of the best flows you’ll hear in rap and is delivered with such confidence that you’d be mistaken for thinking she’s been around for ten years longer than she has been.

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