Best Songs From 2018

Looking for some good music from 2018? The year saw a wide range of hits in various genres. From the ever-popular rap and hip-hop sound, to some outstanding country and rock ballads. Here are some of the best songs from 2018.

“God’s Plan” By Drake

Song year: 2018

Ranked by the Billboard 100 as the top song of 2018, Drake’s hit song covers a few different topics in his signature style, including what it’s like to have negative wishes from others impacting your life and the emotional impact of feeling like part of a plan.

The song is relatively short, at just over three minutes, but its skippy flow and smooth delivery makes it instantly memorable. As this shows, people don’t get to the top of the charts unless there’s something genuinely good in the music.

“I Like It” By Cardi B

Song year: 2018

Cardi B has an impressive range of upbeat music. “I Like It” mixes Latin trap with hip hop, both heavily influenced by other cultural music. Rolling Stone considers it the best summer song of all time, and by topping the US Hot 100 as Cardi’s second song to reach the rank, it elevated her to the first female rapper ever with multiple hits on that point.

Although mainly Cardi B’s song, “I Like It” also features a lot of work from J Balvin and Bad Bunny in support, and several writers that were working on the song to tune it to perfection.

“The Middle” By Zedd, Maren Morris & Gray

Song year: 2018

“The Middle,” as its name suggests, is a song about one person taking a look at their situation and asking their partner to meet them in the middle and figure out how they got where they are. Although the song frames it as a domestic dispute, it also has echoes of the entire industry, where egos can make it hard to work together and create good things.

“In My Feelings” By Drake

Song year: 2018

It takes a lot of work to have multiple top hits in the same year. Drake managed two in the Top 10 (a feat only equaled by Post Malone in the same year), and this particular one is a bounce-style track that quickly inspired a dance challenge on social media. It was also the most-streamed song at the time, breaking the record for most streams in one week.

Although an excellent song on its own merits, “In My Feelings” is also notable for making Drake the record holder for most number-one hits on the Hot 100. That’s a distinctive honor for such a highly competitive field.

“Yumeiro Asterisk” By Tokino Sora

Song year: 2018

One of the first songs from the Japanese singer and virtual entertainer Tokino Sora, “Yumeiro Asterisk” (roughly “Dream-Colored Asterisk” in English) was written as part of a community initiative and then selected by Sora from the list of submissions.

The lyrics are broadly optimistic, focusing on the imagery of stars and moving forward to chase dreams. While it’s hard to enjoy in full unless you’re fluent in Japanese, it’s still worth a listen for the variety.

“Lucid Dreams” By Juice WRLD

Song year: 2018

Mainly a song about loss, “Lucid Dreams” discusses heartbreak and the feeling of being alone after separating from someone. The lyrics focus partially on lucid dreams as a central element, where strange things and emotions can happen to the one experiencing them. The song also focuses on some of the complexities and mixed feelings in relationships.

Good music from 2018 has relationships as a frequent element. That’s not unusual, as it’s a popular topic in any year, but changes in society in 2018 helped accelerate its focus in songs.

“Never Be The Same” By Camila Cabello

Song year: 2018

Most people are more familiar with Camila’s smooth, easy-listen song Havana, but the follow-up “Never Be The Same” came out right at the end of 2017, hitting the radio proper at the start of 2018 and qualifying for this list on the technicality. Its powerful drum hook and mix of power pop and electro techniques make this a bold song, showing off Cabello’s impressive range.

“Come On To Me” By Paul McCartney

Song year: 2018

Rap and hip-hop tend to dominate the top of the charts, but musical legend Paul McCartney occasionally steps out to remind people why he’s one of the most well-known singers of all time. Primarily a positive rock song, McCartney did much of the writing and producing himself, a notable departure from artists who mainly rely on others for that work.

McCartney has more experience in concert halls than many others on this list, and that’s often the best place to enjoy his songs. There’s a real difference between quieter beats with rapid-fire lyrics and fully melodic songs that take advantage of concert hall acoustics to elevate their sounds.

“Sicko Mode” By Travis Scott

Song year: 2018

“Sicko Mode” is a trip in several senses of the world, with its official video featuring bold coloring choices and a slapping style best described as eccentric. Scott manages to hold the tune together, however, showing both his creativity and his flexibility in a single song that’s worth the journey of listening to it.

Several songs on this list are best in video form, and “Sicko Mode” is one of them. Music videos are common enough for modern song releases, but artistic videos are a different experience from what’s essentially an elaborate background for the song.

“Delicate” By Taylor Swift

Song year: 2018

Taylor Swift manages songs about relationships and emotion in ways few can compete with. This electropop hit is something of a balance track for its album, focusing on a theme of vulnerability and concern about how past reputation can affect her in future relationships.

Some people consider this song to be more autobiographical than most of her other work, and its mellow sound helped it shoot up to the top of the airplay charts and ultimately reach double platinum status in America.

“Pristine” By Snail Mail

Song year: 2018

The first single from Snail Mail’s debut album Lush, “Pristine,” is an indie rock song acclaimed as an instant masterpiece, offering a clear creative progression for its vision while delving deep into the writer’s feelings. Even more impressive is that this was all done as the singer’s first experience with tight studio deadlines, where it’s easy for even experienced artists to slip up.

Snail Mail deserves serious acclaim for that achievement, and while “Pristine” may be the hit song, the entire album is worth a listen if you have the time.

“High Horse” By Kacey Musgraves

Song year: 2018

“High Horse” is a country song that goes straight for the jugular. In a genre where horses are mainly associated with cowboys, Kacey Musgraves focuses on another saying involving them and the people who think they’re so much better than everyone else. It’s bold, blunt, fearless, and emblematic of Musgraves’ up-front style.

Country music is a consistently popular genre but doesn’t have the same style of mass appeal as some of the other genres on this list. Country songs that break through the crowd tend to be outstanding works that resonate with many people, and Musgraves’ “High Horse” is no exception to that trend.

“thank u, next” By Ariana Grande

Song year: 2018

“thank u, next” (no capital letters there) is an unusual song mixing R&B, soul, and pop music together and showcasing gratitude for failed relationships. Here, Ariana Grande talks about the different things she learned from relationships, as well as her own strength, and Rolling Stone quickly moved it onto their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“Nervous” By Shawn Mendes

“Nervous” By Shawn Mendes

Song year: 2018

They say that confidence is attractive, but this slick soul-pop song shows how admitting to weakness can work out. It’s also an impressively relatable song because many of us aren’t nearly as confident as we like to pretend. “Nervous” is relatively short, coming in at less than three minutes, but it fits a lot of real emotion into its runtime.

“Love It If We Made It” By The 1975

Song year: 2018

Although ostensibly an electro-rock song, “Love It If We Made It” also mixes in several types of pop, a little disco, and some staccato for a memorable sound. Originally intended as a parody using tabloid headlines, the band eventually rewrote it as a look at social events. Today, it serves as an album highlight, while its psychedelic video version adds visual impact.

“Bassackwards” By Kurt Vile

Song year: 2018

Note the careful spelling in the title. “Bassackwards” is a slow alternative song, coming in at almost ten minutes. That’s well over twice the length of practically any other song on this list, and in a world where shorter songs are often more popular, that helps it stand out far more.

“Bassackwards” is a chill and introspective song, best enjoyed when you’re relaxing on the couch and feeling thoughtful. It’s also far slower than the energetic pop songs that otherwise populate this list, and the contrast between them is striking.

“Mi Cama” By Karol G

Song year: 2018

Karol G’s Spanish-language hit “Mi Cama” is a distinctively Latin sound. The song goes into one of the complexities of relationships: what happens when one former partner is happy while the other thinks they’re in despair? People are complicated, and so is the beat here, featuring bedspring sounds creatively remixed into the tune.

“Unless It’s With You” By Christina Aguilera

Song year: 2018

Love songs are a perpetual favorite on the charts, with Christina Aguilera serving as one of the queens of the genre. “Unless It’s With You” is the finale for its album, wrapping up the themes and focusing on the hope for a positive relationship and a wedding that’s based on real feelings, not just glamor, glitz, and crowds.

(But also, seriously, there are so many good love songs out there. Check out our list of 107 of the best for more.)

“Party For One” By Carly Rae Jepsen

Song year: 2018

“Party For One” is something of a self-care anthem and a highlight among a slew of such songs coming out in 2018. It’s relatively brief at just over three minutes, but its upbeat mix of dance-pop and synth-pop helps put the focus on the brighter side of things.

Unusually, although launched as the lead single for its album, “Party For One” isn’t part of the standard tracklist and appears mainly on the deluxe version of the album.

“Best Years of My Life” By Pistol Annies

Song year: 2018

The third track on the Pistol Annies’ Interstate Gospel album, “Best Years of My Life” is a country-style look at women trapped in dim and empty marriages, too tired to try and escape. It’s a strange mix of happy and sad, blending right in and taking an honest look at things that should be better.

“Curious” By Hayley Kiyoko

Song year: 2018

It can be hard to understand your place in the world, especially if your life doesn’t quite fit a conventional track. Kiyoko’s “Curious” focuses on the emotions of being in a love triangle and the uncertainty of results, complete with a willingness to flip the whole thing over if it gets to that point. It’s also a song from her first real album and likely the starting point of a long career.

“How Simple” By Hop Along

Song year: 2018

As its name suggests, “How Simple” is a relatively gentle song that doesn’t overstay its welcome. It focuses on quieter relationships and some of the complexities that can come with them, especially for people who don’t know much else.

It’s also the opening song for Bark Your Head Off, Dog, a solid album with eight more tracks. Like many album songs, it works as a single but has more impact if you listen to the entire thing in order, so consider pulling it up that way for your fill of indie rock style.

“Beverly” By Low Cut Connie

Song year: 2018

Low Cut Connie isn’t as well known as some other bands on this list, but as the support for frontman Adam Weiner, it’s produced some shockingly high-quality rock and roll hits and gotten endorsements from everyone from Barack Obama to Elton John.

“Beverly” focuses on the feeling of being ignored in a relationship. Although not overly long, there’s plenty of real emotion that many people listening can connect with.

“Fake Love” By BTS

Song year: 2018

Korean Pop bands aren’t as well-known in America as most of the other artists on this list, but they are staggeringly popular in their home country. BTS produced the first Korean album to be certified platinum in the United States and hit the top of both the Hot 100 and Global 200.

“Fake Love” is the second song from their third studio album, with a distinctive fusion style that really gets the groove going.

(If you haven’t heard K-Pop before, check out our favorites from the genre. You might just find out why it’s such a worldwide hit.)

“This Is America” By Childish Gambino

Song year: 2018

It was hard to miss clips from Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” when it first came out, with the video packed full of shocking imagery alongside a mix of trap and hip-hop sounds. Unusually for a song, “This Is America” works best when you watch it rather than just listening, as artist Donald Glover’s visuals take the song to an entirely new level.

Fair warning, though: This video isn’t for kids. Many hip-hop songs trend toward adult audiences, but Childish Gambino goes even further than usual.

“Bad Breath” By Willie Nelson

Song year: 2018

Willie Nelson has been producing hits for longer than many of today’s artists have been alive, and his astounding track record has made him easily one of the most recognizable figures in country music.

“Bad Breath” is the third track on his 67th studio album (one of two albums in 2018 alone!), focusing on ideas of mortality in the aging singer and making quips in a waltz style. “Bad Breath” is unlike anything else on this list, just as Nelson is unlike any other singer.

“Africa” By Weezer

Song year: 2018

“Africa”’s most famous version might be from Toto, but Weezer’s version stands in its own right as an amazing song. Unusually, they brought in “Weird Al” Yankovic for the song as one of the main singers. Although mainly known for his parodies, Yankovic’s expertise in different genres is on full display here as a beautiful cover of a classic song.

Top Songs From 2018, Final Thoughts

This list covers some of the best songs from 2018, but there’s plenty more where these came from. One of the most important things to remember about the music industry is that there’s always more to enjoy. Rather than waiting for the music to come to you, going out and finding it yourself can help you find far more songs to enjoy.

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