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
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.
- Let ‘Em Talk (feat. Eagles of Death Metal)
- Woman (feat. The Dap-Kings Horns)
Chastity Brown was the opener for poet Andrea Gibson. The Twin Cities based singer-songwriter deserves a broader recognition of her craft.
- After You
They Might Be Giants
- Mrs. Bluebeard
- Let’s Get This Over With
A solid concert by a well traveled duo.
- Rocks and Water
- 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.
- Party For One by Carley Rae Jepsen
Tops the cake because this confection is just for me.
- Girls Like You by Maroon 5
The videos really make this song.
- Body Talks (feat. Kesha) by The Struts
As a duet this is a quintessential rock song.
- Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
The Minneapolis sound suits Monáe.
- May I Have This Dance (feat. Chance the Rapper) by Francis and the Lights
I want to learn this dance.
- Life to Fix by The Record Company
- S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
- Weekends by Amy Smart
Funk & Soul Sponge
The top tier contains a funky soul sponge baked to perfection.
- Need Your Love by Curtis Harding
- Black Man in a White World by Michael Kiwanuka
- Smile by Durand Jones & The Indications
- 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.
- &Run by Sir Sly
- Bad Ones (feat. Teegan and Sara) by Matthew Dear
- broken by Lovelytheband
- Go Out Fighting by Dr. Dog
- Los Ageless by St. Vincent
- My Enemy (feat. Matt Berninger) by CHVRCHES
- PARAD(w/M)E by Sylvan Esso
- The Horn by Paul Fojut, lyrics by William Shakespeare
Performed during a performance of As You Like It by Original Practices Milwaukee.
- All My Days by Alexi Murdoch
- Saint Valentine by Gregory Alan Isakov
- There Are Many Ways to Say I Love You by Sylvan Esso
- When I Grow Up from Matilda the Musical by Tim Minchin
Coating the second tier is a very pretty instrumental icing.
- The Soundmaker by Rodrigo y Gabriela
Committing the primary sin of baking, I opened the oven while baking this tier. Result: a random assortment of pop songs.
- Africa by Weezer
- Dear Life by Beck
- Entitlement Crew by The Hold Steady
- Evangeline by Matthew Sweet
- Everyone Wants to Be Famous by Superorganism
- Golden Touch by Razorlight
- High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco
- Last Dance by The Raveonettes
- Little of Your Love by HAIM
- Lottery by Jade Bird
- The Middle by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey
- Stand Up Tragedy by The Fratellis
- Everything is Awful by The Decemberists
Sums up 2018 politics.
- Rebellion Rises by Ziggy Marley
- Own Light (What Hearts Are For) by Brother Ali
- Plastic Hamburgers by Fantastic Negrito
- This Is America by Childish Gambino
This is the only way to end a Top Songs 2018 list.
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.)