#50 through #1 will be played the following day at the same time. Short clips of #300 through #101 will be played throughout. After everything is done I’ll also post a list of my 30 favorite albums of 2018 here.
To put the standards of what would make me listen to an album last year in perspective, I listened to La Luz’s Floating Features because I liked the band name. It was certainly a nice listen the first time. But in an odd case of recursive discovering, I revisited this album after another member from this site really got into it. This song has ended up as the biggest beneficiary of that. A cruisy tune that is anchored by a nice jangly riff. Last edited:
With an air of ~m y s t e r y~ surrounding them, British group Another Sky released this song at the start of 2018. I can only describe this song as ‘London Grammar but like really intense’. This does feel like a somewhat misleading debut single, as by the end of 2018 they released some rougher tunes and gave us lyrical gems such as ‘PUT YOUR LSD WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS’.
English-Icelandic trio Dream Wife brought the fiyah to my list last year. In a good example of album tracks showing a different side of an artist, this is significantly more low-key than their singles. There are a grand total of 3 unique lines here with occasional minor variety but the melody is so good I did not notice until I did my research for this list. Sidenote: the fact that this song which prominently features the word ‘kids’ (or KEEDS) comes right before a song called “Kids” on their album is a little confusing.
Stepping up the pace a little bit with a song I randomly heard through Spotify at one point. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat is one of those BBC Radio 6-core bands I’m surprised to find out is actually American. This song is held together by the urgent piano loop that plays throughout. It takes a while before the chorus comes in but it’s a belter.
I don’t know where the time goes but it is moving much too fast
I consider Sarah Blasko one of my favorite artists but this is the first time she’s made it into one of my lists. Depth Of Field feels like the mid-point between her previous 2 albums through having some nice string arrangements while still retaining some synthpop influences. This rather sweet track about her son ended up being my favorite. I quite enjoy Sarah Blasko’s falsetto which was notably prominent on this album.
We’ll fall soon enough. We’ll fall through the ground
Anna Calvi’s Hunter is close to on par with her previous album for me but this is the only song that made the top 100. I’m the kind of person who is intrigued by album openers & closers and how well they fit. This feels like an appropriately grand album closer. Oddly enough this is the second year in a row a song named “Eden” has made my list.
You sit for hours just to see the girl you pictured in a dream as the only girl
I regret to inform you that Hockey Dad are not in the top 100 of this list. It’s interesting to me that this is the Soccer Mommy song that triple j initially got behind. Like sure the chorus is pretty catchy but there’s something kind of off about it at the same time? And of course there’s the end of the song which sounds like your radio is melting. These things very much add to the appeal for me though.
She set my hair on fire, pushed a gun into the wire
I’m probably the least patriotic person on this website because wow I’ve listened to virtually no Dutch music in 2018. Fortunately I came across EUT’s album late last year and I quite enjoyed it. Trust me when I say that their name is easier to pronounce if you’re Dutch. I think this song puts the laxer standards of our country in perspective as it is very unambiguously about doing cocaine.
Only human hate could give us something so unforgiving
The idea that this song evokes for me is that literally any concept or invention was abnormal at one point in time. Many things I take for granted in my life did not even exist shortly before I was born. Like their 2014 entry “Glory” it’s the chorus that really stands out for me.
Please don't try to guess what's on my mind, you probably won't like what you'll find
I first heard The Beths during my year end rush of 2017, which turned out to be only minor foreshadowing for the pretty good year they had on my chart in 2018. Making upbeat pop rock tunes about being deeply insecure is a pretty good way to win me over. In a rare case of having Stockholm Syndrome for something I already liked in the first place, I feel like I heard this song just about any time I listened to triple j in December and think that might have secured it a spot on this list.
You don't have to pretend you are not scared, everyone else is just as terrified as you
Courtney Barnett’s debut album is pretty solid but I like her second album a bit more. Very likely because it’s a more accessible listen. “Charity” is a particularly catchy song that I feel like I’ve undercharted a bit.
I've been waiting to find it. You've been waiting to flyyyyyyyyyyyy
The song title that is simply too iconic to censor. In case you don’t know Phantastic Ferniture are a trio fronted by Julia Jacklin, whose album from 2016 is, of course, The Nutshack. (there’s a throwback!) Phantastic Ferniture is basically her outlet to make less serious music. This song is essentially 1 long intro and 2 very long choruses but it is a blast the entire way through.
It's true that everyone would like to have met a love so real
Sharon Van Etten did write this haunting slow burner but it’s not the first version of this song that was released. Donna Missal released the simply titled “Jupiter” a few months earlier. I’d heard a few of her songs through Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and intended to check out her album which I forgot until I realized I’d heard her version of this song before. I really like that version as well, it ended up not quite making the top 100 of this list partially because in a year where I liked so much music it felt a bit tacky to include 2 versions of the same song. If you want to hear a much poppier version of this song you should give it a chance.
The most out there song on this list by quite a large margin. This genuinely feels like music from another planet. I noticed some buzz for this song and at first I didn’t really get into it but I was certainly intrigued. The album this is from Kazuashita (pronounced ke-zu-wesh-ta) is also very good though it’s more of a full listen album for me rather than one with a lot of individual highlights.
Cause I was fine on my own, tolling steady like a dial tone
Directly after the song on the album about the feeling of being in love we get this song which is all like: ‘No! I hate this feeling! Please get it away from me!’ With the way the guys from the band occasionally provide backing vocals I can only conclude that The Beths are Migos for millennials from New Zealand.
They want a barcode on my wrist to auction off the kids that don't fit their description of a utopia (black)
Jeez. I was introduced to Saba through being featured on “Angels” by his fellow Chicagoan Chance The Rapper. This was the first solo song I heard from him and it’s a real doozy. Over a thick bassline Saba raps about impactful events of his life including the death of his uncle and his cousin.
This is unquestionably the best Warpaint song of 2018. Seriously if Warpaint were notable enough to get one of those ‘If You Like’ specials on triple j Unearthed this song would certainly be on it. I was fairly impressed with Sleepclub’s debut single “Cut You” and they’ve really upped the intensity for this one.
Obama’s favorite Courtney Barnett song of 2018 and also mine. Sadly I don’t think he had Sleepclub on his list though. I feel like I was a bit late in appreciating this in comparison to some other members here. This song contains one of my favorite line deliveries of 2018 in ‘car crasssshhh’.
For every second we outrun the moon, dread the sun come up
In a year where the band Daughters dominated year end lists (or maybe just Fantano’s I’m not sure), I’m boldly including a solo single by the singer of Daughter instead. Compared to Daughter’s (the comma is very important here) usual indie rock stylings this is kind of a low-key sad banger. Notably this is the longest song in my top 100 this year at almost 7 minutes. There is a radio edit of course but radio edits are for cowards.
It’s true, I cower when I will speak so let's get 'round to why
After landing a collaboration with Daft Punk against all odds in 2017, Parcels released their self-titled debut album the following year. It is basically Random Access Memories made by 5 Australian dorks, which is something I’m extremely here for as it turns out! “Tieduprightnow” is a song I always casually enjoyed when I heard it on the radio but it really clicked with me when I got into the album. Speaking of, while I’ve mostly listened to the album version I’ll be playing the single version today which is 1 minute longer for whatever reason.
79. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain
Broke on a barstool, throwin' your paycheck away
The third oldest song on this list is ironically the second to last song I heard. This could be considered the first country song to make my list though I’d personally describe more as like ‘Southern gospel’ or something. What I’m saying is I don’t know what country is. Courtney Marie Andrews’ voice is very special and it’s what makes the song stand out for me.
78. Jean Grae & Quelle Chris (feat. Dane Orr) - Peacock
They came first for me and I spoke up
I wanted to try and listen to more rap albums in 2018 and I feel like I’ve kind of failed in that regard. That said I listened to Jean Grae & Quelle Chris’ Everything’s Fine and I really enjoyed it. It’s largely because they’re very charismatic rappers but this song also stands out because of the airy, somewhat urgent production. Dane Orr provides some nice sax in between the verses.
Give me a full length mirror so I can see the whole picture
Big props to Julia Jacklin for making this list with 2 different projects in the same year. I think this is the first time that has happened. This is a relatively lighter tune compared to the gut punch that is her Loud Luxury cover although it does explore some similar themes. It also has the honor of being my second favorite song of 2018 that vaguely reminds me of 70s Fleetwood Mac.
I've been looking on the bright side for my whole life, now I'm looking for trouble
Half Waif’s Lavender is another one of those albums I listened to on a whim and then really enjoyed. “Lilac House” clocks in at under two and a half minutes (amazingly it’s only the fourth shortest song on this list!) and doesn’t waste any time. The production bumps with a lot of force and it has some intriguing melodical moments in the chorus.
The last time I saw your face you had aged so rapidly
In one of my upcoming retroactive lists I’ll most likely talk about how I first heard of TEEN. A rather prolific group of 3 sisters, this song is certainly an interesting turn for them. It’s an upbeat electro pop song about the death of their father. Despite those contrasting elements and that it kind of starts sounding like a gaudy Eurovision entry half way through (I’m probably one of the few people who would say this in a non-negative context) the emotion still comes through.
74. Rejjie Snow (feat. Anna Of The North) - Charlie Brown
C O O L you brought heroin to my school
This is the first time a cover has made one of my lists. (I don’t really count “Jupiter 4” as a cover) The original version is Republic Of Loose & Isabel Reyes-Feeney’s “The Steady Song” a big radio hit in Rejjie Snow’s native Ireland back in 2008. I’m kind of surprised it was a radio hit considering the crass lyrics but I’m not complaining. Rejjie adds 2 additional verses which makes the song feel a bit more complete. Anna Of The North is a cleaner vocalist than Isabel Reyes-Feeney but she does have some wild delivery. (UNBEWEEVABWY COOO)
I thought this song was just okay on my first listen but it just wouldn’t leave my head after that for some reason. I feel like there’s a lot of indie rock on this list and I apologize to people who find this list a bit samey, but damnit I like this stuff too much. I’m kind of surprised triple j played “Heat Wave” instead of this, I feel like this has the stronger hook.
The newest song in this list in terms of release date! It’s also the second song that shares a name with a Coldplay song. December isn’t as busy for big releases meaning a lesser known Australian band like this managed to get a spot in New Music Friday. This song feels like a nice midpoint between dream and synthpop with an almost hypnotic quality. They haven’t released much but if they put out more stuff of this quality I’ll definitely consider myself part of the Gauci gang.
In a week now we’ll move on friend there’s no accidents for love
I don’t know much about this band and I feel like there’s not much of a narrative here so here goes nothing. This is Mellow Gang, they’re British, they make dreampop, this song’s pretty good, it goes pretty hard in the last chorus, there’s no lyrics for this online so I’m probably wrong about the above lyric, I heard this and then put it in my playlist and then just kind of forgot about it a few months. Okay there was more here than I thought.
This song is way too good for what is essentially the B-side of a B-side. Song titles have a weird way of affecting how I experience a song at times. The melody on the chorus has become the official soundtrack of being underwater for me.
Methyl Ethel’s work ethic certainly has to be commended, they’ve released some form of music every year since 2013. Thankfully I continue to like quite a lot of it. “Scream Whole” picks up the pop sensibilities of “Ubu” with a somewhat similar bassline. It’s infused with a good old dose of weirdness I expect from them.
Friendly Fires had not released anything since 2011 but they came back in 2018. After being underwhelmed by the previous single, “Heaven Let Me In” is a total bop that I immediately got behind. Disclosure co-produced this song which probably makes this the best thing they’ve done since [s]“Baby Shark”[/s] “Magnets”.
The world don't stop even when you're living in color
I’m not sure why I waited until the very end of 2018 to listen to Caroline Rose’s album. I didn’t exactly love it but there’s a decent amount of stuff there that’s up my alley. The ‘Becomes A Mom’ portion of the song title doesn’t play as much into the song directly, it’s more of a general song about being an adult.
Foxing’s Nearer My God seemed like an album where the people who liked were very passionate about it. It is probably one of the most interesting rock albums I’ve heard in 2018. The song I gravitated to is “Lich Prince”, a song that hits with a lot of force and kind of reminds me of Band Of Horses’ “The Funeral” in terms of structure. I feel like out of all the songs on this list this has the most potential to grow on me further.
If there is any album released in 2018 I am confident in saying is good it is 7 by Beach House for the simple fact that I actually own a CD copy of it. A total of 9 songs from the album are present in my top 300 which is the most of any artist, but this is the only song that broke into the top 100. While you arguably know what to expect from Beach House at this point, “Drunk In LA” feels like one of the most emotionally loaded songs of theirs to date.
I do not go quietly into the night that calls me, even when I’m alone
While it did not have a song I love as much as “Easier Said” I liked Sunflower Bean’s second album a lot more than their first. It feels like they went a lot deeper into their 70s influences to great effect. Yes, this is the other song in this list that feels like it owes a decent amount to 70s Fleetwood Mac. Everything about this song is just so incredibly pleasant sounding.
I made up my mind some time ago, no one's gonna tell me where I can go
I swear this is a 2018 list guys, I’m saying this because this is probably the most obviously 60s sounding cut on Floating Features. I got into this song right when I finished high school and ever since then I do what I want, I do what I want, I do what I want. There’s simply no better way to feel free than this.
I have to be clear about one thing: Be The Cowboy is a good album but I still think Puberty 2 is better. Thank you for understanding. I do have to thank Mitski for severely shortening the average length of this list. This being the shortest song in the list by 1 second. “Washing Machine Heart” is a total thumper that has some great hooks in its short running time.
When you finally go you go you go you go you go you go you go
We begin at the very end. “Prior Things” is a great song to close off Bark Your Head Off, Dog. While it certainly weighs in to several of the previous songs on the album this track goes full on with the strings, which of course means I’m here for it. I would probably pay at least a minor sum of money to hear a 10 hour version of ‘you go you go you go’.
Staring at a horse, got dead legs it's got nothing going on
British singer Westerman gets a good first impression with this calm yet tense tune. It’s honestly held up far better for me than I expected. To paraphrase a Double J article from memory this song sounds like a bizarro version of 80s adult contemporary. This sure was an interesting year for horses in music.
Oh and once everything starts to shift, tip the weight that makes this whole thing give
Here we have the very last song of this list that I heard. This was an instant highlight when I decided to give LONER a listen. Production wise it is significantly more reserved than the rest of the album. You might not be surprised to hear that this is not the last song in this list that’s about being lonely.
I’m not coming back, I like it. The air is gone, there is no fear
This is the first time La Force aka Ariel Engle appears in one of my lists as a solo artist but in 2017 she appeared here through being the vocalist of Broken Social Scene’s “Stay Happy”. Yet another album closer, this song is a duet with her husband & fellow Broken Social Scene member Andrew Whiteman based on e-mails they wrote to each other early in their relationship. ‘Epistolary’ meaning a series of letters. Fun fact: this is the first time I actually had to look up what a word in a song title meant.
We're growing in a vicious garden, we don't complain or nothing
You probably did not notice but Unknown Mortal Orchestra released 2 albums in 2018. The second one was an intentionally low-key instrumental release that I did not hear at all. The first album they released that year was fairly all over the place for me in terms of both quality and sound. This ended up as a highlight for me, it is basically an even better version of “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” from Multi-Love.
That's a real one in your reflection. Without a follow, without a mention
What more can be said about the biggest chart hit in this list by quite a large margin? I remember seeing a tweet around the time of this song’s release that essentially boiled down to that part of the reason this song is so good is that it’s a rare Drake song that’s not about himself. That certainly is a good point. I do also have to commend this song (and I guess “In My Feelings” as well) for giving New Orleans bounce a mainstream moment. When towards the end of the song Drake says ‘It’s a short life’ over the Lauryn Hill sample I get a tiny bit emotional.
Run if you stole a shard of sunlight. Don’t ever tell them, I’ve got your back
There’s definitely some point to be made with the shifting of how I consume music with the fact that with Christine and the Queens’ debut album I’m mostly familiar with the French versions while with her second album I mostly know the English versions. “Doesn’t matter” is a glorious electropop tune that’s managed to become my favorite Christine and the Queens song to date.
Only silence can restore the sense of place I had before
Emily Haines from Metric of course also appeared on this list last year through Broken Social Scene. Sadly, Feist did not release any music in 2018 to complete the trifecta. Art Of Doubt is a surprisingly ambitious album from Metric this late into their career. “Now Or Never Now” is a fairly lengthy track but it does not remotely overstay its welcome.
Throw me from the water and I won’t know how to be
Lupa J is primarily known for being a two-time Unearthed High finalist, which I think makes her the first Unearthed High alumni to appear in one of my lists. (I still have faith in Montaigne) She hasn’t gotten much airtime on triple j since then which is unfortunate because this song’s pretty good! Noticing that there a lot of songs on this list that I’d describe as having ‘thumping beats’ and this is another one.
There’s a monster always waiting outside my window
The artist behind my #2 of 2017 make a quick return to this list with another great tune. It’s going to be hard to top “I’m Still Here” for me but I’ll admit this song is more ambitious in some regards. Holiday Party are 3 for 3 for at this current time so I look forward to whatever they release next.
I'm just an object of disdain to you. I'm only seventeen, I don't know what you mean
Look, I’ll admit the list might be a bit lacking in terms of bangers but at least I get to finish the first half on one of the biggest ones there is. With production from the iconic duo that is SOPHIE and the lead singer of The Horrors, “Hot Pink” immediately convinced me that listening to a band called Let’s Eat Grandma was a very correct decision.
You can thank the ACI for the placement of this song. I did like it when I first heard it but it didn’t fully click with me until quite a few listens in. While I’d say this is definitely close to a lot of stuff that is usually right up my alley it is a bit showier (for severe lack of a better term) than those songs and I probably needed to get used to that.
It is far from a controversial statement to say that in the 2010’s The Strokes are not exactly performing on peak levels. But then again I really like their 2016 single ”OBLIVIUS” so I’m probably not the right person to say anything about that. I bring this up because The Voidz is of course Julian Casablancas’ slightly more out there side project. This song is a lot to take in but is fairly accessible in spite of that.
I’ve been ignoring the calls, I’ve been riding my bike with no handlebars
How To Socialise & Make Friends is another strong album from Camp Cope though I do like self-titled a bit more. (self-titled is not on Spotify here anymore aside from two of the singles. I hope it comes back someday) What is interesting about this song is that it kind of lacks a chorus and is more just a string of anecdotes, one of which just happens to be the title of the song. It feels like a random title in the context of this song that seems more fitting for the album as a whole. (in a slightly ironic way but still)
I don’t think I heard a song more desperate sounding in 2018 than “Scream” and I absolutely mean that in a good way. But then what would you expect from a song about being in love at the edge of death. It’s a song that throws out everything including the kitchen sink which is appropriate for a band that released their album on a Wednesday instead of a Friday.
Oh yes. I did not get the “Slow Mover” hype at all but I pretty much immediately got behind this. It just feels like there are a lot more stakes here and that guitar tone is very crunchy. I also just really would not mess with her after hearing this. One of my favorite things is that after being asked what the time signature of the intro was she said it was in ‘Freetime, bitch’.
I’m in love with what I call, it’s a foreign light
Here’s a song I’m really baffled triple j did not get behind. I first heard of Clea around the time I started listening to triple j with her single “Dire Consequences”. In 2018 she really impressed me with her debut album Vermillion which despite coming out very late in the year managed to slip into my album poll votes. I did hear this when it was a single a few months earlier but it didn’t click enough to immediately stick. Like “Missing Me” this song exudes a strong level of confidence (baaaby) from the performer.
Hard to tell if this emotion is something I should let you open
What So Not will probably never become one of my favorite artists or anything but this song really is very impressive. A fair amount of the credit should go to BUOY’s captivating vocal performance. I really liked her song “Clouds & Rain” from a few years back and I hope to hear more from her in the future. With that said What So Not’s production is atmospheric in a very nice way and manages to be intense at the right moments.
We saw him in one brutal gesture tear that rabbit open and you turned to me: ‘Isn’t this supposed to be for children?’
This was a very late riser in my Bark Your Head Off, Dog power rankings but here it is. Like La Luz’s “Mean Dream” it is anchored around a memorably offbeat riff. A generally fascinating song about some of the odd formative moments that you experience in childhood that contains one of my favorite lyrics to type out in full.
I’m in the middle of a gap year currently, well I hope it’s only a year at least. I am taking a slight risk by including this here because I know there was a version of this song released in 2015. I cannot find that version on the internet at all though so I’m just going to assume it sounds different enough from this version. A rather simple song about unrequited love, I feel that the last minute isn’t quite as engaging musically but I like what they’re going for nonetheless.
My first impression of The Goon Sax through a song that was on my 2015 playlist was rather negative so I was surprised when I heard this song and I really enjoyed it. Dismissing an artist based on one (1) song is kind of stupid anyways but that’s just me. The album has some more pretty good tunes as well although it didn’t quite make my album list. The shorter length of most of the songs help them avoid overstay their welcome. I’m also glad I managed to get this song in a position with a 4 in it.
It's getting hard for me to remember all of the names from my life
I feel like every year there is that one unremarkable indie rock track that I really get into and this year that’s [s]one fourth of my list[/s] “Letting Go” by Wild Nothing. I mean, I do like the rest of the album a fair bit as well so maybe he just has a knack for writing good melodies but I’m just going to chalk it up to me being lame. I can’t wait to get to his more acclaimed stuff from the start of the decade and be like: ‘Sorry guys, I prefer the boring stuff!’ (or maybe I’ll think it’s the greatest thing ever who knows)
I don’t think it really come across in the write up of her previous entry but Clean by Soccer Mommy is one of my favorite albums of 2018. I probably could have included more non-single cuts from her in the top 100 besides this one. It’s probably for the best that didn’t happen because the padding for attempting to write 6 different entries would have been glorious. As for this song it’s the musical equivalent of being wrapped in a blanket, it’s so comfortable.
38. Deafheaven (feat. Chelsea Wolfe) - Night People
And the black sands of your body slipped through
Deafheaven might have been the very last band I ever thought would make an appearance in one of my lists but as it turns out 2018 was pretty wild. For whatever reason I gave their album a chance and latched onto this song. Of course this is pretty much the opposite of a usual Deafheaven song being a ballad of reasonable length that only has clean vocals. Of note here is the feature credit of Chelsea Wolfe, whose album from 2017 I really enjoy which kind of contradicts Deafheaven not being my thing but whatever. I didn’t credit her when I was charting this song because she wasn’t credited on Spotify but since she is credited on the upload of the music video and that she feels fairly pivotal to this song she is credited here now. Last edited:
Kimbra’s latest album was arguably a more consistent album then the one that preceded it but also a less interesting one in my opinion. Sure you might not like “90s Music” and I wouldn’t blame you for it but I had not heard anything like it before and not anything like it since. But at the very least it also features one of my favorite songs of hers to date. I am always down for a good synthpop bop and “Lightyears” really delivers. I regret not charting Sigrid’s “Strangers” in 2017 but this song feels like the hypercharged version of it.
And there will be times when your heart is lonely, there will be days when he never comes home
I just wanted to start off with the fact that this song title is slightly awkward for me because for a large part of my childhood ‘lula’ was used as a euphemism for ‘penis’ in my household. I am sure you’re very happy to know this information. I wish I had heard of Farao earlier in 2018 because then I might have had time to give her album more than one listen. Thankfully this only needed one listen to stand out. The chimes really make it I think.
One minor odd detail I noticed about this list is that all the songs on this list I’d consider dreampop(-ish) are by artists that are all from different countries. After Australia and the United Kingdom we now to go to Canada. This admittedly feels like a weird song for me to place so high. Especially because I charted this during the brief period where I wasn’t as motivated in seeking out new music. At least part of why is that the instrumental intro is possibly my favorite of the year, it’s beautiful and it just always gets to me.
Sorry I don't react the way you want me to sometimes, I only wrote it cause it rhymed
But this is my favorite cut from How To Socialise & Make Friends. Georgia Maq goes through several events here relating to a childhood friend and/or ex-lover. There are some great lines here though I was never going to put anything else in the lyric spot other than the one I chose. This is probably the best example of song title/music association I mentioned earlier because the excellent bassline feels genuinely space-esque.
“The Fox In Motion” reminds me, of all things, of a deep cut from the second HAIM album. “Found It In Silence” to be exact. I’ve seen people compare this song specifically to HAIM but not to that exact song so I want to take credit for this one. I don’t think it’s exactly what the song is about but “The Fox In Motion” feels like a coming of age. It’s like the start of an adventure that you know is going to change your life for good.
I mean I think it is perfectly understandable why this is Mitski’s biggest song. The production absolutely goes off and I imagine that this is rather relatable content for a lot of people. And of course who could resist that mammoth chorus? You guessed correctly: not a single person.
Don't you get too far from yourself, you're so hard on yourself
Here’s another artist that had a somewhat misleading first impression for me though thankfully not a negative one. Towards the end of 2017 triple j playlisted “Trouble Adjusting” a nice enough 90s style alt rock tune. In 2018 it turned out Miya Folick had far more up her sleeve though. It does seem weird that a poppy single like “Stock Image” that feels pretty on brand for current day triple j gets banished to Double J instead. But as is well established by now, I know literally nothing. This is one of the most uplifting songs of 2018 and I’m glad I get to put something like this on my list too.
I understand by taking your hand that the big bad world will still throw rocks at my door
I think EUT have a lot of potential. Their debut album has a lot of good ideas that don’t always come together but I really think they have something here. “Sour Times” could have easily succumbed to being the type of radio filler that I’m not into at all. (the kind of tacky hey’s in the chorus are admittedly my one criticism) But the bubbliness of the chorus combined with some great melodic tension put this ahead of the pack. Like this song says: you have to try take the bad with the good, and this is good.
You would have heard “O.K, Meet Me Underwater” yesterday and here we come to the main event. It is always nice when a really good song comes out early in the year. “Pirouette” immediately leaves an impression with its rollicking guitar melody. She said this song was left off her album that came out in 2017 (which I relistened to after getting into this song and I just want to say that “Baybee” is a great song I should have acknowledged sooner) not because it wasn’t good enough, but because it didn’t really fit and I genuinely believe that.
I don’t want to be left behind. Do you want to be?
If “Scream Whole” is the “Ubu” of this album cycle then “Real Tight” is the “Drink Wine”. Unlike “Drink Wine” this did take a little time to fully click with me though. The most obvious hook, which also contains the title of the song (I guess there you have one big difference between this album cycle and the previous one) does not come in until towards the end.
THIS HAS HAPPENED THIS WILL HAPPEN THIS IS HAPPENING
Fun fact: The Hop Along songs in the top 100 of this list are in exact reverse order of how they are on the album. (going #100 to #1) Clearly I’m very excited for Bark Your Head Off, Dog: Collector’s Edition. “Not Abel” was the second song I heard from Hop Along and a good indication they weren’t going to be a fluke for me. A song that’s starts off rather low key but makes some rather interesting decisions which all builds up to a last minute change up that makes me go sicko mode.
STOP! Okay but Madonna really snapped with this one. Can’t wait to give this a +5 in The New ARIA Logo. In all seriousness, did you know that I like songs that have or vaguely sound like they have strings in them? I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before. Also I would have likely heard this song eventually anyways but shout out to “Pearly Gates” to being in New Music Friday early on in 2018 meaning I was more inclined to listen to this album.
Always talk to other people, dart my eyes across the room
I find it hard to believe that I wasn’t immediately into this song when I first heard but I wasn’t until I listened to the album a month later that I was like: ‘Oh yes’. A song about the satisfying feeling of defying being belittled with an equally satisfying guitar tone to go with it. I thought the line was ‘dote my eyes across the room’ at first which makes no sense considering the meaning of ‘dote’.
I haven’t written a word since September, well at least not any good ones
The first of my chart #1’s to appear in this list, but it finished higher than 4 of my #1’s from 2017 so good job. Frida are an Australian band fronted by Eilish Gilligan, who has gotten more recognition for her solo material. Her solo stuff is quite poppy while Frida are more of an indie rock band which is probably why I didn’t notice initially. It certainly not due to lack of competition but Frida have the most un-Googleable band name in this list. I wonder if it’s an intentional ABBA reference.
Kokoro wa shibarenai, Datte zettai nante zettai nai kedo
Ha ha ha Ozuna I ain’t understand shit. But seriously I want to give a shout out to the person that transcribed this song on Genius. It’s very thorough and it made me appreciate the song more than I already did. Thanks to an indirect Twitter recommendation I came across this song by Japanese math rock group tricot. It might a bit less silly than a certain other Japanese group but it’s arguably just as loud at times. Potage is like a very thick soup, for the record.
Following Sadie from Speedy Ortiz on Twitter is probably one of my better judgement calls of 2018. You might be surprised that an up-tempo number like this was made by the same band that did “No Below”. And I did see a lot of comments about this song from people that were like ‘Oh no. Did they….. SELL OUT???’. But on the actual album this is from there is still plenty of darker, rockier stuff so those ‘concerns’ were very unfounded in my opinion. I also like the music video which I don’t think is weird at all. @antonnalan
In trying to think about what it is that I enjoy some much about this song I drew this conclusion. I think it is just calm enough that it justifies being called “Dreaming”. The vocal delivery has like a decent amount of force to it. There are points where the production gets almost a little bit jazzy but it largely remains in the confines of a pop song and it’s a lovely one.
Hatchie’s solo career continued to take off in 2018. After a well-received debut EP she finished off the year with this song which became the first song of hers that I really love. It is admittedly pretty similar in structure to her previous singles but the melody is seriously one of the best and the entire song just soaks in it.
Natalie Prass’ The Future And The Past was an album I really enjoyed in 2018 but I didn’t think it had a highlight that was strong enough to make the top 100 of this list. But while making this list “The Fire” clicked with me very strongly all of a sudden and it made me really happy. Just in general I feel like this is a good song to represent the album as a whole. An upbeat tune about the uncertainty of living in these weird, weird times.
Another band that had a minor hit on my chart at the end of 2017, Hater somewhat against the odds where the only artist to have two #1’s on my chart in 2018. The song this reminds me most of is Wolf Alice’s “Planet Hunter” with its very gentle melody. Unlike that songs big last chorus “Fall Off” subverted my expectations with a cruisy instrumental outro that lets you float in the song like a sea or whichever body of water you prefer. The music video features the band getting haircuts. I think the singer of Methyl Ethel just spontaneously materialized in Sweden.
You’ve been on my case when I’ve been messing around
Nicole Millar previous singles were a bit closer to dance but “Gimme A Break” was the first time she went full on pop and it’s great. Of course, a big part of why I love this song so much are its similarities to my #12 of 2017: “Now” by Grace Mitchell. I think I still prefer “Now” at this stage but one thing I’ll give “Gimme A Break” over it is that Nicole Millar nails the sassy overtones of the song.
Move from your old house, this city can be so loud
Snail Mail’s Lush is a solid debut album but it didn’t make me spontaneously combust by how good it is or anything. “Speaking Terms” is an excellent deep cut though. It’s a slower, regretful song about a break up that doesn’t seem to end very well. I like the trick of not using the second half of the chorus until the second time.
Shining like a sun in your mind, I’m trying to catch a smile
Proof that literally any minor hit on someone else’s chart could become my next big hit. I did really enjoy the album from everyone’s favorite Russian dream/synthpop crew as well, but the main reason this is the only song of theirs present in the top 100 is that the songs do start to blend in after a while. “Dance AM” stays ahead of the pack by being an exciting synthpop track with minor rock influences. I hope the lyric is correct.
Are you just stirring the sand beneath the water in vain?
The chorus heavy singles that led up to the release of GOOD MOOD made it seem like it was going to be an apology for their last album being such a downbeat affair. Then the album actually came out and there turned out to be a decent amount of experimentation compared to Ball Park Music’s previous work. It took a while for me to appreciate it because “The End TImes” is such a good opening track the rest of the album just seemed average in comparison. Just the excellent melody of that intro alone, which reminds of “Video Killed The Radio Star” strangely enough.
Caitlin Park used to make somewhat folky music under her own name. In 2017 she rebranded herself as HANDSOME and well this isn’t very folky. This might be a rare case where being in a bad mood was actually good for a song I had not heard before. I think I wasn’t really in the mood for anything and thus wasn’t distracted when I heard this. I feel like this song would be the result of Gordi messing around with electronica. Well, more than she already has.
I’ll turn you away. Don’t make yourself comfortable, love
This song is only slightly over 3 minutes long but you go through so much in that time. It starts off with a hushed vocal line but then it turns into a defiant and confident break-up track that has evocative lines about things like flying through your life like an acrobat. And yet there still a sense of lingering insecurity about life in general.
I'm just calling 'cause I'm used to it and you'll pick up 'cause you're not a quitter
This was the first great song I heard in 2018 and it has held up very well considering that. When the horns came in I just knew I was in for a good time. I remember this song being on New Music Friday Australia but when Drake released “God’s Plan” and a song you don’t remember this song got the boot in favor of those. The minor possibility that there’s even one person that didn’t hear it because of this who would have really liked this song is sad to me.
This is far newer to me than everything else in the top 10 but I wouldn’t have placed it here if it didn’t deserve it. I acknowledge that this comparison is probably only in my head because all of these artist are Norwegian, but in terms of accessibility this feels like the midpoint between Susanne Sundfør and Jenny Hval. If the synth in the chorus is not what heaven feels like I’m not sure if going to heaven is worth it. This is the highest unambiguously synthpop song in this list which feels like an achievement in its own right.
“Not Running” is an interesting contrast with the rest of Future Me Hates Me. Most of the album is about deep insecurities and other general awkwardness. But here you have a song about facing your fears and being there for the one you love no matter what happens. The chorus is one of their most anthemic ones and it builds up to a powerful finish.
It’s just the necessary price you pay if you listen to your instincts
We got this. A strong contender for the most ambitious song on this list. I’m pretty sure both members of Let’s Eat Grandma are younger than me but they’ve already explored more musical ground than some artists will in their entire career. Fittingly, “Falling Into Me” is about plunging yourself into the deep end. It also has a well-earned saxophone solo.
I can see it in the face you make, I’ve seen it since the first day
If “Fall Off” is the “Planet Hunter” of 2018 then “It’s So Easy” would logically be the “Don’t Delete The Kisses”. They are admittedly in reverse order in terms of success for me but it still works I think. This song pretty much instantly won me over with that woozy synth riff. I was pretty much nostalgic for it the first time I heard it which might actually just be another indication that I don’t know what words mean.
Having both “Crumbling Castle” and “Thinking Of A Place” in my list in 2017 must have burned me out because 2018 was a pretty good year for shorter songs. “Geyser” is of course the finest example of it. It is one of the most memorable first listen experiences for me. At around 27 seconds in there’s a brief bit of distortion and I genuinely thought that Spotify was acting up when I first heard it. In general this was a lot to take in which is probably why it didn’t immediately make my chart but I quickly couldn’t get enough.
Okay but that is lyric of the year material. I don’t think I’m even being ironic about that at this stage. Pretty much out of nowhere Moaning Lisa dropped my favorite Australian song of 2018 rather close to the end year. They’ve shown a few different sides already before from the iconic gay anthem that is “Carrie (I Want A Girl)” to the comfortable feeling after breaking up that is, err, “Comfortable”. “Lily” meanwhile is a a full on cathartic indie rock ballad. In what was a big year for emotional indie rock for me this might be the most emotional one.
Two faced bitches never lie and therefore I never lie
You might remember that on December 31, 2017 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard released their fifth album of that year. Slightly more under the radar, Sidney Gish released her second album No Dogs Allowed. I’m going to pretend that that awkward release date is the reason it hasn’t shown up on any big year end lists. After an Avalanches-esque intro song about the fun of teaching parakeets how to talk we get this song. It really is just pure fun. It’s the type of song that sounds even better on a sunny day. There’s just a high amount of charm here in general. The old timey sample that talks about personality that reminds me of that Godspeed You! Black Emperor song about Coney Island for some reason. Also the valuable lesson about Japanese trade relations in the nineteenth century. I highly doubt I’ll ever go to college in the United States but I feel like this song describes the experience in a nutshell.
We will not be awake for long, we'll meet in the smallest great unknown
Yeah, you could say I am into jazz. Okay, I am not fooling anyone there. Jenny Hval really does seem like a very interesting artist but I haven’t really made time to dig further than I have at this point but I probably should. Especially since this is from a more low-key project. “Spells” is from an EP called The Long Sleep where the other songs feel like a very extended outro for this song. And I don’t mean this as a diss but this is very great to hear before sleeping. A calm and beautiful song that feels very free in the directions it goes. I simply never got sick of it, but maybe I did get tired.
Don’t worry we will both find out just not together
And here we are at the beginning. A song that I found uniquely intriguing on first listen and ended up impressing me so quickly to the point that it’s currently the only song to debut at #1 on my chart. It is hard to say what my favorite thing about this song is. Frances Quinlan’s out there but wonderful sounding voice? The lyrics? The title drop of the song coming in and you think it’s the chorus but then the actual chorus comes in and it’s even better? The guitar riff before the last chorus? The last chorus sounding like a group of people shouting it? Yes, “How Simple” would have been a very worthy #1 for me but there was one song I liked just slightly more. But there is good news for Hop Along as they have the most entries in the top 100!
When you’re near my heart starts beating faster. The world starts moving slower and I just freeze
Not charting your EOY #1 is the new meta. At face value this might seem like a “The Fire” situation but I assure you it is not. When Future Me Hates Me this song and “Not Running” were very big standouts. The issue was that I don’t really like debuting two songs from the same artist at the same time so I had to make a choice. As it turns out now, I made the wrong choice. A resolution for 2019 is that I get more patient with situations like this but I cannot guarantee anything. I always knew this was going to end up very high here but it wasn’t until two weeks ago I realized this was a potential #1. “Little Death” is about all the emotions and feelings that overcome you when you have crush. It has probably been a little while since I have been able to directly relate to a song like this but I think this nails the feeling more than anything else I’ve heard. Sure it can be dreadful but when you think about that person the feeling you get is still very good at its core.