Top Songs 2018. The eighth annual listing of top music for the year. Kesha’s wonderful album Rainbow is the gem here: listen to it. The rest have been whipped, beaten, folded, baked, layered, and piped into a beautiful musical cake worthy of a great British bakeoff. 

Or Spotify if that’s your preference (not complete).

Top Songs 2018

Album cover for Rainbow by Kesha

Kesha’s Rainbow Album

If you followed Kesha’s fight to take control of her music career from an abusive producer, Rainbow’s songs play as a powerful debut by a strong independent female songwriter who infuses pop, dance, and country structures with personal tragedy and triumph. If you are unaware of the backstory, the pop hops, the ballads belt, the dance has attitude, and the country harkens back to when tunes were driven by what made the musician unique. Like it’s namesake, Rainbow 🌈 is the sum and the parts: you’re either drawn to this harmonious contradiction or you admire its existence from afar.

  1. Let ‘Em Talk (feat. Eagles of Death Metal)
  2. Woman (feat. The Dap-Kings Horns)
  3. Praying

Concerts

Chastity Brown

Chastity Brown was the opener for poet Andrea Gibson. The Twin Cities based singer-songwriter deserves a broader recognition of her craft.

  1. After You

They Might Be Giants

TMBGx5

  1. Mrs. Bluebeard
  2. Let’s Get This Over With

The Weepies

A solid concert by a well traveled duo.

  1. Rocks and Water
  2. Vegas Baby

Showstopper Top Tier

This year I watched the Great British Bakeoff for the first time, so why don’t we employ a poorly executed baking metaphor!  These songs were the top tier of my musical cake, each a showstopper.

  1. Party For One by Carley Rae Jepsen
    Tops the cake because this confection is just for me.
  2. Girls Like You by Maroon 5
    The videos really make this song.
  3. Body Talks (feat. Kesha) by The Struts
    As a duet this is a quintessential rock song.
  4. Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
    The Minneapolis sound suits Monáe.
  5. May I Have This Dance (feat. Chance the Rapper) by Francis and the Lights
    I want to learn this dance.
  6. Life to Fix by The Record Company
  7. S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
  8. Weekends by Amy Smart
    Amazing.

Funk & Soul Sponge

The top tier contains a funky soul sponge baked to perfection.

  1. Need Your Love by Curtis Harding
  2. Black Man in a White World by Michael Kiwanuka
  3. Smile by Durand Jones & The Indications
  4. You Worry Me by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

Triple Layer Second Tier

The second tier is a flavor triple layered concoction with high quality pop crunch on top, a bright layer of theatrical panache in the middle, and an emotionally reflective ganache on the bottom.

  1. &Run by Sir Sly
  2. Bad Ones (feat. Teegan and Sara) by Matthew Dear
  3. broken by Lovelytheband
  4. Go Out Fighting by Dr. Dog
  5. Los Ageless by St. Vincent
  6. My Enemy (feat. Matt Berninger) by CHVRCHES
  7. PARAD(w/M)E by Sylvan Esso
  8. The Horn by Paul Fojut, lyrics by William Shakespeare
    Performed during a performance of As You Like It by Original Practices Milwaukee.
  9. All My Days by Alexi Murdoch
  10. Saint Valentine by Gregory Alan Isakov
  11. There Are Many Ways to Say I Love You by Sylvan Esso
  12. When I Grow Up from Matilda the Musical by Tim Minchin

Instrumental Icing

Coating the second tier is a very pretty instrumental icing.

  1. The Soundmaker by Rodrigo y Gabriela

Bottom Tier

Committing the primary sin of baking, I opened the oven while baking this tier. Result: a random assortment of pop songs.

  1. Africa by Weezer
  2. Dear Life by Beck
  3. Entitlement Crew by The Hold Steady
  4. Evangeline by Matthew Sweet
  5. Everyone Wants to Be Famous by Superorganism
  6. Golden Touch by Razorlight
  7. High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco
  8. Last Dance by The Raveonettes
  9. Little of Your Love by HAIM
  10. Lottery by Jade Bird
  11. The Middle by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey
  12. Stand Up Tragedy by The Fratellis

Political Piping

The inclusion of actual plastic hamburgers makes the bottom tier difficult to eat.
  1. Everything is Awful by The Decemberists
    Sums up 2018 politics.
  2. Rebellion Rises by Ziggy Marley
  3. Own Light (What Hearts Are For) by Brother Ali
  4. Plastic Hamburgers by Fantastic Negrito
  5. This Is America by Childish Gambino
    This is the only way to end a Top Songs 2018 list.

Judges’ Thoughts

Paul Hollywood commented that the funk & soul sponge was, indeed, baked perfectly, however, the second tier’s flawed merging of multiple flavors cannot be covered up with a simple icing. Lastly, the political piping just didn’t work. “How did you even get on our show?” he asked.

Mary Berry was more forgiving, but reminded me that when completing a technical it’s best to attempt the requested bake. In that vein, Top Songs 2018 is an atrocious Swiss roll.

(Peruse all of the Top Songs posts.)

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