By writer/critic Kristians Fukss
The 80 best songs of this year – crossing almost every genre, welcoming newcomers like Westerman, Wild Pink and Let’s Eat Grandma and celebrating know acts. Here are our picks for the best songs of the year – part 2.
39. Hidden – Rival Consoles
Persona – Ingmar Bergman’s film that inspired Rival Consoles’ newest album – Persona. Brilliant piece of electronic that while slowly unfolding has so much in it, with its mystical synths and heavy beats.
38. Tried – BADBADNOTGOOD & Little Dragon
A perfect duo – a jazz band and the lovely Swedish band Little Dragon. Marking the first collabration between them, the song is a beatiful, with beautiful intrumentals and beautiful lyrics.
37. I Will Be Waiting – Let’s Eat Grandma
/Experimental Sludge Pop / Avant/Synth-Pop
The until now not so known British art pop group surprised with one of the best albums of the year – I’m All Ears – showing young, brilliant and electric tallent. I Will Be Waiting is not another love song, it’s longing taken to another level.
36. Overload – Georgia Anne Muldrow
Driven by rhythm, Georgia Anne Muldrow knows where she wants to go and is goig with big steps. She sings about long term bonds with her husbands; she has found a way to be unique and stand out, boasting happiness.
35. STARGAZING – Travis Scott
The third studio album of Travis Scott’s career has been his most anticipated; although it’s not a masterpiece, it did not let us down. STARGAZING – the intro track of the album is also on of the most interesting and mastered ones – with a beat swich in the middle Travis offers a brief look into his life.
34. Love Me Right – Amber Mark
/Dance Pop / R&B
Also one of the best discoveries this year – Amber Mark’s EP Conexão. In this single, led by piano-groove, Amber uses her voice as the main trick of the song with different ways of expressing it and different things to express. Mark is an artist to watch in the future.
33. 9/10 – Jeff Rosenstock
The third full-lenght release from Long Island based Jeff Rosenstock positevily surprised and offers a great range of contemporary rock. 9/10 is the finest example of it – fresh and beautiful, it stands as delightful lovesong.
32. Buck Shots – A$AP Rocky
Rocky tried something more experimental this year with Testing and it was a sucsses. On Buck Shots he teams up with Playboi Carti and Smooky MarGielaa and the new producer Kelvin Krash. Rocky’s enthusiastic flow goes perfectly together with the beautiful synths and keys, while police syrens and gunshots goes perfectly together with the song’s theme – guns & violence.
31. Believe – Amen Dunes
Amen Dunes is a project of Damon McMahon, whose music over the years has changed, leading him to this year’s album Freedom – one of the best albums of the year. When he started writing it his mother was diagnosed with cancer, according to a press release, Believe recons with his mother’s impending mortality. As the result – a master class in slow build up, alternative & folk elements with strong emotional power.
30. Honey – Robyn
Swedish artists Robyn came back after 8 years of silence with album Honey. Honey is happiness on the line with a club hit with an melncholic tone. Her heartbreak is on the dancehall, with her beautiful voice she sings to us hopefully: Can You open up to the pleasure? / Suck it up inside like a treasure / Let the brightest place be your passion.
29. In My View – Young Fathers
/Alternative Rap / R&B
The Mercury winning british trio has made an unique and quite fun album that is mixing genres and creating a new outlook. Reflecting global and personal chaos Young Fathers can offer fresh and enjoyable music that lasts.
28. Rome (Always in the Dark) – Low
/Slowcore / Experimental Rock
The most unique and in a way beautiful album of the year is Double Negative by Low. This particular track is not as light, it’s very forward, strong, wintry and a bit eerie. Vocals leaving in the second plan, Low is creating their own world – distant, dark and hypnotic.
27. Now U Got Me Hooked – Against All Logic
/Experimental Tehno / Club
A brilliant sideproject from Nicolas Jaar – eleven songs that arrived early this year unannounced. Very upbeat and energetic Jaar finds new ways to express himself – here with an unique rythmic passages, vocal samples and mixing it into an electronic music masterpiece. The best thing – it is not an boring house record, it is a sound of tomorrow, experimenting with everything from minimalism to exceptional perfection in soundmaking.
26. Screwed – Jenelle Monea feat. Zoe Kravitz
Zoe joins the Grammy nominated artist on her best work yet – made into a beautiful film Dirty Computer, it has made its way to critics and fans. Screwed is a song gone free – it is wild but smart, mixing screaming, singing and raping Monea shows her game taking it with precision and direct.
25. Lifetime – Yves Tumor
Another song from Yves’ Safe in the Hands of Love. This time the way love is approach – with heavy drums and vocals. “Scorpion can’t hold me back / I cannot breathe, I swear it’s torture / And I miss my brothers”. Yves is powerful enough to bring pain to his voice, we can feel everything he is feeling.
24. Pienso en tu mirá – Cap 3: Celos – Rosalía
The newcomer has already climed up many’s hearts and showed what she’s capable off. She shows how well can she mix flamenco with modern music, as result – her debut album El Mal Querer (The Evil Will).
23.Open Again – Thom Yorke
Open Again is the spirit of Suspiria – the title comes from a new dance piece made in film about rebirth; Thom was able to capture the esence of it with submerging sounds that like an open waterfall fall onto us. It’s an uneasy beauty, hypnotic rebirth that could be visualised as the universe coming together.
22.The Opener – Camp Cope
Opening track of the alternative Melbourne’s trio Camp Cope 2018’s studio album – tuneful game of their own personals strugles in life, love and society. Everyday human emotions are brough in the daylight very strongly and clearly – nothing fake here; their bittersweet debut is a room full of feminism and very true human emotion
21. Hunter – Anna Calvi
Anna lifts herself with the new Hunter album, five years after 2013’s One Breath. The title track is very strong but feels so light, it lifts up just as Calvi is lifting herself up. The radiant light structure feels like an ending to an indie film, while the track itself is filled with a feeling like being in love, while the lyrics play with selflove.
20. High Horse – Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves is the Texas country icon, her newest album Golden Hour is the best country of the year. High Horse is the most upbeat part of it. She’s changing country music’s narative, broadening its horizonts with many difrent influences and energic drums.
19.Venice Bitch – Lana Del Rey
Second single from Lana’s upcoming album Norman Fucking Rockwell is one of the most interesting productions in her career – nothing like she’s ever done. Many guitars melt together in a dream like episodes with Lana’s dreamy lyrics; the longest Lana’s song in her catalogue. The multiple hooks are not reptetive and the 10 minute runetime is not too much, with this guitar and voice the whole album could be just this song.
18. no name – Noname feat. Yaw & Adam Ness
The rapper / poet is continueing her own syle of contemporary rap and with her second studio album she presents even more interesting ideas. Room 25 was recorder only in a month in Los Angeles in order to pay her rent and get new material for her shows, as a result came one of the best albums of 2018. Lyrics delivered slowly and with confidence; the instrumentals stand out as an light sunshine in an dark world. Simply remarkable.
17. Sandalwood I – Jonny Greenwood
Radiohead’s lead guitarist and keybordists has been making great sountracks for a while. Phanton Thread’s is taken to another level of soundmaking. Capturing the spirit of the film, this track is clear beauty and lightness, the opposite of You Were Never Really Here’s soundtrack, also done by Jonny Greenwood this year.
16. Ace – Noname feat. Smino & Saba
Another track from Noname’s Room 25 – quite different than no name it delivers some of the best lines mixed with a fun instrumentals from Noname’s producer Phoelix.
15. Love It If We Made It – The 1975
British band’s most political and provocative single yet – an anthem of today’s society’s problems. The 1975 knows what to say and how to say it – produced by themselves, Matty screams the truth and wants us to embrace it.
14. Unmade – Thom Yorke
Another masterpiee from Thom and his Suspiria soundtrack – now he shows his beautiful songwriting skills, as well his angelic voice.
13. Fly – Low
/Slowcore / Sadcore
Low continues their unique songwriting with Fly. Their voices are practiclly flying over the low instrumentals. The song is hard to describe; a modern wonder.
12. Recognizing the Enemy – Yves Tumor
Yves Tumor keeps pushing himself further, now his emotions are full and he screams them out. It evoks such emotions, adds beautiful cello solos making a fearful empathy. The chorus is built up carefully, when it comes it feels like the world is trmbling down.
11. My Jesus Phase – Eleanor Friedberger
The opening of My Jesus Phase is like a soundtrack of a dream sequence – telling her thoughts, one after another, Eleanor tells her vision. The dream / The Chance / Thsi Akward Dance. She knows how to make the atmosphare magical with synths and heventhly voice.
10. Missing U – Robyn
The disco-ish part of Robyn’s new album is Missing U. It feels like the song is spinning and a bit magical, the beat is for dancing, the lyrics for dreaming.
9. This Old House Is All I Have – Against All Logic
The exotic album opener starts with an unusual, smoky sounds, distan and terrific, with distortions and swim-in noise that blend with simple drums – creating some of the finest electronic sounds in years.
8. This Time Around – Jessica Pratt
The most delicate song on this list – Jessica Pratt’s single. With her voice and guitar echoing in a mysterious way, she makes way for a mutual feeling of remedy.
7. Rosebud – U.S. Girls
Synths and the voice come in an exquisite way together, adding the drums we get one of the best alternative records of the year. The arty disco 70’s vibe is here; U.S girls have done their best work yet.
6. Kong – Neneh Cherry
/Experimental Electronic Art Rock/Pop
Swedish musician’s career is spanning more than 30 years and still today she is one of the best – her newest album Broken Politics is dazzling. Kong is co-produced by Massive Attack’s 3D & Four Tet; its an dark, though beautiful pro-refugee ballad.
5. MALAMENTE – CAP.1: Augurio – Rosalía
Barcelona based artists shows her Catalan soul – claps that go perfectly with more urban rhythms, developed into the first and main single of her newest album that became a worldwide hit. Thanks to its flamenco influence, Rosalia adds melodic hooks into an ressitable combination.
4. Disarray – Low
The pulsing set of tones that define the song are like unknown lightning to the mainstream music. Low has creat an unique crambling sound of tomorrow – something unheard before. Mimi Park’s and Alan Sparkhaw’s voices are harmonic and enriches the sound to the maximum, with its ambient tones rushing through the air to our ears.
3. Falling Into Me – Let’s Eat Grandma
/Experimental Sludge Pop
Starting with powerful synths and the talk-like singing starts most forward song of the year. British band that consists of two childhood friends appeared only 2 years back but now have acclaimed widespread acclaim. Thanks to the producer David Wrench the instrumentals are captivating, the drums are echoing in an interesting beat, bass giving it even more power and the lines “We’ve got this” and “No hesitation on the traffic lights” gives it an total look as the song goes further than just a pop song.
2. Noid – Yves Tumor
/ Experimental / Altrock
The cheerful drums and the bassline is not what defines this masterpiece of experimental music, produced by Yves Tumor himself. It is the lyric’s meaning: Sister, mother, brother, father / Have You looked outside? / I’m scared for my life, Yves sings in the choros about police brutality in America, as screams are hear in the background.
1. Suspirium – Thom Yorke
Thomas Edward Yorke has not only made Rock masterpieces for Radiohead, this year Thom made an unbelievably simple and perfect track with Pino as its main force and flutes as heventhly as ever. When I arrive, will you come and find me? / Know tomorrow’s at peace…