The year 2018 has peaked and troughed more than a theme park rollercoaster. Politics, breakups and drama have filled our screens but if there’s one good thing we can take away from it all – it’s music. We’ve interviewed a handful of great musicians over the year and listened to endless music on Glass shoots so we’ve decided to compile a list of our top 50 releases of 2018 in order to look back on the year fondly.
1. Peggy Gou – It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)
South Korea’s Berlin based it-girl Peggy Gou has taken 2018 by storm with her party anthems and remarkably cool Instagram looks. It Makes You Forget is a classic dancefloor banger as it pumps out feel-good party vibes in a fun disco-house fusion. Gou’s track has spread like wildfire and filled dancefloors across the globe appearing in all good DJ sets. Having toured extensively in 2018 it’s safe to say 2018 is the year of Gou and we think she deserves the number one spot. Let’s see what she brings in 2019!
2. Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry
It’s been another tumultuous year for Grande but the release of her fourth chart-topping album Sweetner showed Grande’s ability to come out stronger than ever. No Tears Left To Cry is ode to sadness and moving on. Both uplifting and subtly melancholy it’s catchy garage beat lays down the foundations for Grande’s poppy soprano melodies which lull us into her world.
3. Childish Gambino – This Is America
Donald Glover is a man of many talents but This is America stands out as his most noteworthy release of his career as it caused a stir with is violently truthful message. It was largely received by fans and the press as the song and music video explore widely controversial topics such as race, gun control and police brutality in America – an ongoing issue that seems to see no progress. Elements of trap and hip-hop battle it out with the slower, more melodic parts of the song. Glover’s This Is America is perfectly chaotic and hits home excellently.
4. IDLES – Samaritans
Punk was dead but IDLES resurrected it. Exciting rumours of IDLES emerged earlier this year as the band gained a reputation for a punk act with a little magic. Samaritans is a song that explores male depression, as the band challenge the norms of what is to “be a man”. It seems IDLES have single handedly broken down the stereotype of punk belonging to lad culture as their music appeals to everyone as they tackle relevant issues faced in day-today life.
5. Robyn – Honey
Our favourite Swedish pop-princess Robyn made her long anticipated comeback after an eight-year hiatus with her latest release Honey. The track named Honey off the album is her most powerful as it evokes raw sexuality as Robyn sings, “You’re not gonna get what you need but I, baby I have what you want, come get your honey” over a typically familiar Robyn-style building synthesised backbeat.
6. Ariana Grande – Thank You, Next
If someone knows how to move on and make good music out of it, it’s Ariana Grande. The song hears her thanking the past men in her life singing, “thank you, next” while satirically acting out famous scene from 1990s chick flicks. The video doesn’t make much sense but she seems to be having fun and the song is extremely catchy.
7. Drake – In My Feelings
Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding? Who is Kiki? We don’t care. This is a timeless track Drake from his unnecessarily long album Scorpion.
8. Jorja Smith – Blue Lights
As the youngest entry on this list, Jorja Smith easily stole the show this year with her release of Blue Lights, a song that hears elements of Amy Winehouse mixed with classic r&b sounds. “Better run when you hear the sirens coming,” is a sample from Dizzee Rascal’s Sirens that echoes the fear that young people in Britain face when they are faced with the police. Smith’s entire album is a soulful snap of the sound of British youth and her previous cv of collaborations with Stormzy, Drake and Kendrick Lamar have her set up for another great year.
9. BTS – FAKE LOVE
It’s safe to say that BTS are the pop Beatles of 2018. Their fans made headlines this year for falsely checking into flights at airports just to get close to the band, and they have millions of fans worldwide. Their high energy song FAKE LOVE broke its way into the UK charts offering a new take on boy band music as FAKE LOVE sees their seven members them rapping and singing over a bass fuelled track. K-pop seems to be a bit of a love-hate genre but we are all for the catchy tunes and stand firmly by BTS.
10. Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds – Three Lions
We know this isn’t strictly a new release from 2018 but this songs made its way back into the charts during the high-energy time of the world cup when England inevitably had a national meltdown in anticipation to winning the football world cup. Chants of “it’s coming home” filled pubs and stadiums over the course of the month and the song has re-lived its legacy once again.
11. Thom Yorke – Suspirium
Following in the footsteps of bandmate Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke made his debut in the film soundtrack world with Suspiria. Eerie piano and vocals from the Radiohead frontman are no surprise but are utterly fitting for the horror-fantasy soundtrack.
12. Disclosure – Ultimatum
This nine-minute track featuring Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara is Disclosure’s newest offering since their last full length album Caracul. Diawara’s voice is sampled on a loop whilst the beat builds up into a traditional Disclosure drop. Ultimatum is the sound of the summer heat and works well on any party playlist.
13. Ex:Re – Romance
Daughter’s Elena Tonra is brutally honest in Romance, the single from her new solo project Ex:Re. Having taken a break from Daughter, Tontra took this year to work on her solo work which sees Tonra’s angelic vocal qualities juxtaposed against beating drum. Romance is breakup music for adults. The truth slips out in a monologue form as Tonra tells her story in a fast-free flowing delivery.
14. Pusha T – If You Know You Know
It seems Pusha has a way with his entrances as this track blows the doors of his Kanye West produced album wide open. The drop in this song is well worth waiting for as Pusha claims “if you know you know” over and over again on top of a juicy beat.
15. MØ, Diplo – Sun In Our Eyes
The sun-soaked Sun In Our Eyes is a love letter to those sunny summer days spent dancing until the sunset. Diplo’s notorious for making hits and seems to have done it again with this summer anthem.
16. Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Dua Lipa has proven herself a chart-topping success with her versatile debut album and handful of music awards however, her most recent success has been through collaborative dance tracks such as Electricity with Diplo and One Kiss with Calvin Harris. One Kiss became a summer anthem and became the unlikely anthem for millions of football fans after Lipa performed at the opening ceremony for the UEFA champions league final. One goal is all it takes!
17. Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex
The year 2018 was a fairly quiet one for Del Rey until she made a late appearance in September teasing fans with two singles. Mariners Apartment Complex sounds like a song you’ve heard before. It’s chord progression and classic ballad-like qualities flood your ears with deja vu but that’s just Lana’s way of drawing you in. By the time the song ends you’ll find yourself playing it again and again. She’s done it again and by the looks of it we can expect more to come in the near future.
18. Mac Miller – Self Care
Self Care was Mac Miller’s musical response to his breakup from Ariana Grande. Both of them released fantastic post breakup music and Self Care explores themes of denial and struggles with mental health. RIP Mac.
19. Kurt Vile – Bassackwards
Bassackwards welcomes us into Kurt Vile’s jumbled melodic world of washy chords and poetic thoughts. The track starts with reversed guitar tracks played over a drum beat. A warming bassline comes in and before you know it you’re riding the Kurt Vile train. Vile’s melodic musing are those of a introvert with a lot to say. It’s all over the place but it makes perfect sense and comes together to make a classic Kurt Vile masterpiece.
20. Loyle Carner – Ottolenghi
It’s hard to follow up a debut success, but apparently when you’re Loyle Carner it’s a piece of cake. Ottolenghi is a jazzy hip-hop number which is accompanied by Jordan Rakei who appears in the playful video with Carner as they share a train journey. The track makes reference to Carner’s cookery school and gives fans something to chew on before his next release.
21. Blood Orange – Charcoal Baby
22. The Internet – Wanna Be
23. George Ezra – Shotgun
24. BTS – IDOL
25. Lykki Li
26. Robyn – Missing U
27. Maroon 5 – Girls Like You ft. Cardi B
28. Selena Gomez – Back To You
29. Frank Ocean – Moon River
30. Oneohtrix Point Never – The Station
31. Aphex Twin –T69 Collapse
32. Kamasi Washington – Street Fighter Mas
33. Yasmin Lacey – Something My Heart Trusts
34. Boy Azooga – Face Behind Her Cigarette
35. Christine and the Queens –The Walker
36. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
37. Fontaines DC – Chequeless Reckless
38. MGMT – When You Die
39. Nick Mulvey – In Your Hands
40. Connan Mockasin – Con Conn Was Impatient
41. Kali Uchis – After The Storm ft. Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins
42. Taylor Swift – Delicate
43. Frankie Cosmos – This Stuff
44. Baxter Dury – White Coats
45. Teleman – Family Of Aliens
46. The Lemon Twigs – Small Victories
47. Cosmo Sheldrake – Wriggle (Mr Jukes Edit)
48. A$AP Rocky and Skepta – Praise the Lord
49. Courtney Barnett – Need A Little Time
50. Girl Unit – WYWD ft Kelela
by Katrina Mirpuri