Andrew's 2018 in review: Favourite Songs

My choices for favourite songs of the year with a twist!

2 years ago

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2018 is coming to an end and "listmas" is in full effect. I'll be coming out with genre specific lists in the coming days and at the end release my albums of the year list. Now I'm sure I could pick endless amount of great songs from this year, and I wanted to do something different from other "favourite songs" lists. So in this list you will only see songs that aren't part of full projects (though I do cheat on one instance, maybe two) and also I'm only listing one song per artist (kind of cheat on this again). I'm doing this just because the vast amount of songs from albums I love would make this list well over a hundred, and since I'm going to be releasing a full album list, just check that out. Though it definitely pains me to leave off some genuinely great songs from some albums (High Horse, PROM/KING, and Nobody), it also doesn't mean there are some great deep cuts out there. Also I should mention I don't like ranking things as my opinion constantly changes so this is just a list of favourites and not what I think is "best".

Well I already featured this song in my October in Review, so it should come to no surprise of me highlighting it again. The song comes from in my opinion, the greatest in K-Pop. With BBIBBI we get IU's more R&B influenced side that sounds like a summer hit. Definitely turn this song on for your anti K-Pop friends.

Charli XCX is dominating the mire underground pop scene at the moment (if you can even call it underground). It was hard to pick a stand out track of the singles she released this year but I found myself playing this one the most. Produced by none other than the wonderful SOPHIE, this track is a hard hitting, club influenced electro-pop track. Girls Night Out makes you want to dance and sing along to all night.

Okay, so this is my first cheat. Technically this is from an album but I also see it as a collection of songs the artists on the label did together. Plus it's a really fucking good song. The song features Rich Brian, Joji, DZknow of Higher Brothers, and August 08 (plus some NIKI on backing vocals). This song was definitely the highlight of the labels album, and is a summer hit altogether. You get lush R&B vocals and some great rap verses as well. A song that gives me almost a nostalgic feeling.

Rina Sawayama is a London based musician. She came out of nowhere last year with her wonderful EP/album RINA. Taking large influence from early 2000's R&B and pop, Rina also adds her unique voice and her own twist to the music. Working largely with producer Clarence Clarity, she has made her name for herself in underground pop music. Though funnily enough Clarence Clarity didn't fully produce this track and just oversaw the project. Rina also released a couple other singles this year so go check them out for more bubblegum/R&B infused pop bops. Why I picked this one was just because the instrumentals and hook go so well together. You won't get this one out of your head for sure.

Ah yes, a track I wonder why it wasn't included on his full project Veteran. Nonetheless we still got this monster of a track. Riding in on a bass heavy rap track, JPEGMAFIA goes off into his own style of noise rap. This is the type of track to play at the gym or to get the cops called on you at a party because your suburban neighbors are scared.

Gallant's voice is angelic. Smooth as ever when he sings and Gentleman is no different. Gallant also released a string of singles this year so picking my favourite was difficult. Gentleman came out on top for just how sexy it sounded. Definitely a song to play during your pillow talk moments.

Sufjan Stevens and Christmas music - are you even a little surprised? But with that said this track, like all other Sufjan Christmas tracks, it honestly great. For all you lonely souls out there this Christmas, the track is for you. A track meant to be played near a fire place, watching the snow fall outside, and maybe reading your favourite Pablo Neruda poems.

James Blake returns to form with this track as well as the track When a Car Moves Beside You from earlier this year. Subtle, glitchy R&B beats with Blake's heartbreaking voice on top will for sure leave you chilled in the middle of a cold winter night. So grab some tea, curl up, and maybe hug your pet because Blake is certainly not bringing us bangers this Christmas. Lookout for his album rumoured to be out before his tour next year as well.

Is this technically cheating? From his EP but not an album, so depending on how you view the term "full project" is up to you. The whole EP is great classic folk goodness. I wanted to highlight it as the EP seemed to get little attention from around the web. Anyways, the track is classic The Tallest Man on Earth, showing his guitar chops while singing away with a not ordinary folk voice. This song was meant to be played during a love scene in a rom com movie, particularly directed by Judd Apatow.

We were all hopeful the WANGA$AP project was real. It's too bad this looks like the only thing to come out of it.  As this style of song isn't quite something both rappers attempt. Almost a Madlib-esque beat, the rappers trade bars so effortlessly making you want more from the two. Track is played best taking a large rip with the boys and questioning every little thing in life.

Frank Ocean is by far one of my favourite musicians and if not one of the best active musicians right now. With a voice like no other (and smooth as hell), Frank does a classic cover of Moon River. Giving his own Blonde like twist, sparse chords are played throughout. The track is played best when you want to get over your ex while downing that last drink you made yourself.

Another K-Pop track? Yeah, well this time from new girl group (G)I-dle. This year they surprised me with a great new EP, and right after that they released this wonderful track. It's infectious and catchy, with great rap verses in between the chorus'. The track was meant you be played while you are partying in downtown Seoul (or your bedroom).

Everyone knows John Legend, but Wendy? I hope people know Wendy but if you don't she is from the famed K-Pop group Red Velvet. The track itself is nothing out of the ordinary but a nice duet between the two voices. I just wanted to take the time to highlight it as I'm enjoying western pop's embrace of K-Pop. Hoping to see more collabs between the two industry's in the future. The track is definitely meant to be played binge watching Disney movies.

Iceage - Broken Hours

Iceage came out with the wonderful album Beyondless this year. Though the album was a bit of departure from their previous album, this track shows a bit more intensity that the new album lacked. So if you didn't like Beyondless slow and broodiness, maybe give this track a chance to fuck your shit up. Best played when at an underground punk show in your friends basement.

Queen of everything is back, after long teasing of new projects for ages. She returns gloriously with a track about masturbation of all things. Yet she turned it into a bop, and anthem you can just sing along. I look forward to a full album of hers in the coming year if she can pull out more tracks like this. The track is meant to be played for... well for a party of one.

Okay, I swear this is the last time I cheat on this. I already featured Charli XCX once but I'm going give myself a pass since it is also a Troye Sivan song. Troye Sivan is a rising star in pop music and having a collaboration with the beloved Charli XCX helps him move away from becoming a Zayn to maybe a more Justin Timberlake. The song itself is another club banger, which definitely brings you back to 1999. You should listen to this song at 90's party, ironically.

Ryuichi Sakamoto released a remix album this year of async. This track wasn't apart of it (at least digitally), so it came out as a single. Which is a shame as Life, Life was my favourite track off of async and Anenon's remix is beautiful. Using Anenon signature dreamy textures, along with ambient sax playing, it using the world of Life, Life and builds onto it even more. Track is meant to be played while having an existential crisis before bed.

For my last track, I had to include a Saba track. The past couple weeks, Saba has been dropping loosies from what I assume to be b-sides from the spectacular album CARE FOR ME. The track itself is classic Saba like, with jazzy instrumentals and Chicago rap flow. The features are Xavier Omar, giving a lush vocal performance, and a verse from fellow Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins. This final track is meant to be played at, well anywhere because it's fantastic.

Andrew Kalichak

Published 2 years ago