Lots of songs moved music fans this year, so today we’re going to be going over what I consider to be some of the best. This list has everything from alternative rock, metal. To hip hop and even some mainstream rock pop, if that’s even what it’s called. Either way, enjoy!
10. PARQUET COURTS
BEFORE THE WATER GETS TOO HIGH, WIDE AWAKE!
Recently in the last year I got into this band, and well, I was easily converted. This song especially has that indie weird niche that latches itself to my liking more often than not. The instrumentation is somewhat upbeat, but the lyrics display a darkness of surrender under unimaginable difficulties and setbacks. It’s very end of the world and gloomy, but it’s still a great, albeit simple song. It’s unnerving among other things, and that aspect of memorability gives it the 10th spot in our year end countdown.
9. LET’S EAT GRANDMA
IT’S NOT JUST ME, I’M ALL EARS
Plenty of parallels exist between Let’s Eat Grandma, the British pop indie duo featuring Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth, and the Scottish electro phenoms CHVRCHES. Its hard to resist and overlook, but Let’s Eat manages to stay afloat on their own merit. Songs like “It’s Not Just Me” help in that path. It’s one of the best, most darkly danceable songs of the year, and while the album has plenty of different sounds and styles coming from it, this track is the shining star among all of them. Honestly, vulnerability and rhythmic energy make the song great. Expect to hear more about this band in the coming months and years.
CANARY YELLOW, ORDINARY HUMAN CORRUPT LOVE
With their fourth album plowing ahead aggressively in their pursuit of brutality demonstrated in beautiful tones and energy, San Francisco based Deafheaven continue to raise awareness and momentum. The crowning jewel of their latest and brilliant album,”Canary Yellow” might be the best song they’ve recorded thus far. The opening is poignant and shines like a cloudless day spent under a shady tree, but it’s eventual evolution into darkness laden with meaningful lyrics and heavy construction make it all the better. There’s no band currently making music this seamless and varied right now, and it’s a testament to what George Clarke and company are capable of.
7. PANIC! AT THE DISCO
HIGH HOPES, PRAY FOR THE WICKED
For the record, I am not a fan of the Brendon Urie led Panic! at the Disco, but a great song is a great song. It’s super positive(which is something we can all use from time to time), but it’s also honest about the struggles of finding your own path. It’s hard not to resist that. The opening horns and the general upbeat energy joining up while Urie belts out great encouraging messages make for a truly unforgettable track. You just can’t not smile and want to dance when you hear it. For those reasons it lands at number 7.
6. KING TUFF
NEVERENDING SUNSHINE, THE OTHER
Much of Subpop artists King Tuff discography has left me wanting more, but finally on their breakout record “The Other,” the band seems to finally worked all their elements into an ingenious mix of psyche rock, funk and rhythm heavy instrumentation. The best example of this is “Neverending Sunshine,” with its lustful glimmer of magnetism and whimsy. The vocals are laid a little bit behind all the music, but the mix works well to ensure that all the elements of sing feed effortlessly and play off one another. If this band can keep amazing tracks like this a thing of the future, I’ll be keeping a much closer eye on their soon to be major stardom.
5. COURTNEY BARNETT
CHARITY, TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL
A few years ago I put Barnett’s “Pedestrian at Best” as my song of the year, and while “Charity” doesn’t quite make it to the top of the heap, it doesn’t lessen the greatness of the artist and this song. It’s a jingly indie rock track through and through, and Barnett’s honesty and trepidation burrow itself into the heart and soul of the track. It’s a high point for an album that isn’t as groundbreaking as her earlier offerings, but Courtney still has the gift of guitar playing, not to mention the very much biographical feel of her songs that make her so special in the first place.
4. PUSHA T
HARD PIANO, DAYTONA
Of all the best hip hop songs of the year, “Hard Piano” is without a doubt the one I went back to more than all the others. The introductory beat is infectious and worth of many heavy bobs, but there’s so much more to this song that makes it memorable. The brutal honesty on his feelings of the unfortunate need of the Me Too Movement splinter like an explosion. Pusha T delivers a meaningful, lyrically heavy track that shreds 90% of other hip hop artists in the world. Simply put he’s a genius of the English language, and this song is perfect example of why he deserves to be just as known as all the other blockbuster rappers making formulaic music these days.
TWO SLOW DANCERS, BE THE COWBOY
Oh Mitski how your voice and melodies soothe me so. Among all the incredible songs on “Be the Cowboy,” the most unrelentingly beautiful track finds itself at the very end of the record. “Two Slow Dancers” is a sad track full of remembrance, in which the two souls intertwined in a beautiful arrangement share a moment that will live in their minds and hearts forever. Many songs make me think long and hard, but few songs can convey just how real emotions can make art transcendent and meaningful. That’s what Mitski accomplishes in this song, and it’s masterfully done, to say the least. It’s capability to bring joy and memories from a dark sad place is remarkable, and it’s an instant classic.
2. MIDDLE KIDS
MISTAKE, LOST FRIENDS
Middle Kids is likely to blow up in the very near future, and if I’m right, a large part of it will have to do with the amazing qualities presented on “Mistake.” The indie rock trio from Sydney manages to be rock and roll that’s effortless but also thought provoking. We’ve all been in positions of desperation and uncertainty, which is why this song touches chords with the listen so much. The loud guitar work towards the final bridge of the song is also great. With Hannah Joy bellowing her unsure lyrics throughout, this song was never not gonna be a smash. It’s a remarkable first blow to the bands smaller fanbase, and if they haven’t earned a bigger audience from this song , I don’t know what will do the trick.
ME AND MICHAEL, LITTLE DARK AGE
For many of us, MGMT have fallen and regained their vision and popularity several times over, but with “Me and Michael” the duo of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have delivered what I think is the best album perhaps since their first album over a decade ago. The best song on the album, and the best song of the year is a triumphant mixture of bullish loyalty and synchronized mindsets that the band has always needed to make their best and most profound songs. I’ve listened to this hundreds of times this year, and it still fills me with hopefulness and optimism. Many bands aren’t capable of this, but Andre and Ben blow that away with a truly memorable song. It’s up there in my eyes with some of their early mega hits, and for that reason “Me and Michael” stands at number one on my countdown of 2018’s Song of the Year. I hoped you enjoyed this list. I’ll be back in a few days with my Top Twenty Albums of 2018. Thanks For reading!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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