It’s crazy to look back on the year and try to even pinpoint a certain set of the “best songs” of 2018. Many songs are on this listen because they’re meaningful to me. Many songs are on this list because they’re expertly produced and vocally executed. Not all of the songs I picked were singles, some were simply album tracks. Not all the singles on this list were huge hits, but I loved them and hope you like them too. What were your favorite tracks?
Mariah Carey – Caution
This album track – should be single – marks a creative peak for Mariah, though her new album Caution, is filled with them. Caution oozes confidence and sensuality. While borrowing the stylings of Drake’s dark and sensual hits, the track remains markedly Mariah.
Rita Ora – Anywhere
Rita Ora finally released an album in 2018. An album she promised was coming for 6 years. Anywhere was the second official single off her new album, Phoenix. The song works wonders at embodying the lust for life and love it describes in its lyrics. The vocal performance, production and music video do it justice and drives its impact deep into our subconscious.
Toni Braxton – Long As I Live
Toni delivered a solid album with Sex & Cigarettes. Long As I Live, the second single, oozes classic Toni and has been one of her more successful releases when considering past album cycles. I would like Toni to have success with upbeat singles or songs that don’t harken back to her earlier years of success (this also is something I feel strongly about in regard to Mariah’s current chart success). Long As I Live is pure Toni and pure R&B. It’s so good the song along with the album achieved multiple Grammy nominations, her first as a solo artist since The Heat/He Wasn’t Man Enough in 2001.
Grace Carter – Why Her Not Me
It will be interesting to see where 2019 takes Grace Carter. She’s built a name for herself in the UK, and her debut EP features very solid songs. Why Her Not Me asks for an answer to what seemingly could be described as deep betrayal. Haunting and mesmerizing. A debut album is in the works after a successful UK tour.
Carrie Underwood – Backslidding
Carrie Underwood released her best album in 2018, Cry Pretty. The album is packed with strong material. Backsliding is modern country with a twist of pop sensibility at its perfect state.
Cardi B – I Like It (Ft. Bad Bunny & J. Balvin)
I Like It reminds me a lot of Angie Martinez’s Live at Jimmy’s, except it is fully realized. The song sounds like summer, and definitely deseed to be the summer smash it turned out to be. The energetic tune peaked at the top of the charts and it still lingering long after its impact.
Christina Aguilera – Deserve
Christina delivers serious vocals throughout this four-minute tour de force. MNEK co-wrote and produced this gem off her Liberation album. Unorganized album campaign aside, Deserve definitely deserved a single treatment or some attention. It’s a compelling listen that mixed impassioned choruses with playfully and interestingly crafted verses.
Lily Allen – Come On Then
If there was ever a perfect opener to a pensive album Come On Then and Slow Burn would be the go-to songs to be inspired by. Come On Then is pointedly honest about the public battles Lily has faced in the UK Press. Lily has always been honest, so it is no surprise that she leads the album with this thoughtful and mesmerizing song.
Thalia – Lento (Ft. Gente de Zona)
One of the best Latin songs of the year. Lento was the second single lifted from Thalia’s 11th studio album Valiente. Though it wasn’t a huge success on radio, it was a viral hit and also remains a HUGE banger of a song. Thalia remains a forced to be reckoned with in the Latin community and remains viable as an artist who is willing to take musical risks.
Heather Morgan – A Hundred Miles
Heather Morgan released an amazing album, Borrowed Heart, earlier this fall. Songwriter first, Heather has crafted hits for country stars (interestingly enough mainly male country artists) but finally released an album’s worth of original material. A Hundred Miles must be what heartbreak sounds like; the realization that a relationship may be ending. The songwriting is thoughtful and deep. Engaging listen with a twist of sadness and relief.
Sigrid – Sucker Punch
Sigrid’s been releasing critically acclaimed should-be pop smashes for months now. Sucker Punch is just another in a long list. A full-length album is to be released in March of 2019. Sucker Punch is a big, bold song about that initial feeling of knowing there’s something deep brewing between two people. Sounds do good, but definitely could hut bad.
Ariana – thank you, next
The video really brought it home. Much better than anything sweetener delivered.
Dido – Friends
Dido is finally returning after a lengthy hiatus. Friends is the more enjoyable End of Night from 2015’s Girl Who Got Away.
Kylie Minogue – Shelby ‘68
Blends the country/pop concept successfully. Remains Kylie in every way. Golden shows Kylie in a renewed state of euphoria within her craft.
Meghan Trainor – Let You Be Right
The song that changed my general disdain towards Meghan into appreciative listener. This song is a banger. Treat Myself, the track’s parent album, has been delayed until the end of January.
The Knocks – Brazilian Soul (Ft. Sofi Tukker)
The Knocks continue to release wonderfully produced tunes. They partnered with Sofi Tukker to release this smooth cut. Sung in both Portuguese and English, Brazilian Soul is a steamy and sensual track that sounds like the Knocks and marries mainstream sensibilities at the same time. When will the HIT come their way?
Paulina Rubio – Desire (Me Tienes Loquita)
Paulina Rubio released a new album this year to practically little to no fanfare. None of its singles have been success