I know what you’re saying, hey Mr. Soulman what do you know about other types of music? Just stay in your lane and rake the leaves. Well it turns out I love all types of music…imagine that.
This is the first year I’ve undertaken an “All-Genre’s” best of list and like the strictly soul version it is naturally limited to the songs I heard, and liked. You may find yourself saying whaaaaat?…that track is garbage, and that’s ok. Hey let me know in the comments what your favorites of the year were. I’m all ears.
Anyway these are tracks that either got stuck in the ol’ noggin, and wouldn’t leave, tracks that were instant bangers that I had on repeat, or tracks that snuck up on you while you were trying to sleep (Mooo!), inserting themselves into your brain stem. One thing is for certain there is a lot of nostalgia for the 90s here. Not just me though, like everyone…
The order of the tracks are strictly based on intuition and feeling…it was really hard!
These ARE the best 50 tracks from 2018, all the tracks, trust me. ENJOY
50. Alt-J-In Cold Blood feat. Pusha T (Twin Shadow Remix)
I fantastic remix on a fantastic remix album. This year Alt-J presented us with an entirely remixed version (Reduxer) of their album (Relaxer) from last year. An album full of moments and surprises but ultimately a really fun listen with a ton of guests. Here they discuss the new project.
49. Melody’s Echo Chamber-Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser la Neige
Acoustic and electric guitars, lilting vocals and bold rocking drums kick off the beginning, opening up to a mix of swirling psychedelia and introspection as we soar along. The various different parts of this song combine to make the entire experience a memorable journey. This song and the journey it takes you on craftily conjures up faint impressions of 60’s Acid Rock, French New Wave cinema, 90’s Pop and Grunge, and a completely contemporary sound.
48. Jack White-Get in the Mind Shaft
A new sound and style from the maestro Jack White. On here he serves us up a fat slice of futuristic funk, orbiting somewhere near Earth but sonically exploring the outer-reaches of our galaxy.
47. Nine Inch Nails-Ahead of Ourselves
N.I.N. is back and true to form with this gritty, grimey, glitchy, fuzzy, electronic and industrial metal slab. The gears keep turning for Trent Reznor and while you can hear those gears grinding together on his tracks, the sparks flying off of them have re-lit the fire, instead of grinding to a halt.
46. GUM-The Blue Marble
Neo-psychedelia in the vain of Flaming Lips is all the rage right now, and this song is a more than prime example. Just dig those 90s drums!
45. La Luz-Mean Dream
If I had been working on an Album of the Year list longer that 25 spots, this album would sit at 26. One of my favorite albums of the year, packed full of great songs. Also one of my favorite songs of the year, ‘Mean Dream’, is a song that is so surprisingly stylish that it sorta creeps up on you like the music in a Quentin Tarantino movie, adding more to the scene than even the acting.
44. Doja Cat-Moo
If you don’t know now you know. This one is truly something special. If she wasn’t so confident this might be weird.
43. Vince Staples-FUN!
Just toss E-40 onto a track called FUN! and I’m pretty much already sold,…but to add the amazing Vince Staples into the mix, then I’m really sold.
42. Ed Ruscha V-Woo Are You
Trying to describe this track is a little like trying to hold onto a slippery salamander. It’s like a jazzy, funky, tropical, psychedelic version of Bowie’s ‘Major Tom,’ with a slight reggae swing. There I gave it my best effort. I hope it amuses you.
41. Commodo-Bitch and Moan
Conjuring up a terrifying trip through Cambodia on a fishing boat with savage, spear wielding natives lurking in the shadows, or a sweltering jungle scene being stalked by an invisible alien in a tech suit, is just the type of thing that Commodo does before breakfast. Slick jazz breaks, and banging echo drops punctuate this raw type of music that lives just outside the realm of edm/dubstep/trap.
40. MK. Gee-Fool
The track starts off with intricate bass and guitar picking, with swelling vocal harmonies that rise and explode into distorted 80s casio tape loops. The overall impression feels like returning to your warm cozy blanket as night descends, after a long day at the beach.
39. Sunni Colon-Mornin Dew
Calling this music Satin Psicodelic is an apt description. Island vibes in the sun, 90’s drum machines and popular sounds, and a jazzy smooth style makes this track swing and reminisce. Think PM Dawn, “Set Adrift on Memory’s Bliss of”…
38. Jay Rock-WIN
Win Win Win Win, all he does is Win. Even 2018 needed a few anthems.
37. YOTA (Youth of the Apocalypse)-Drop the Bomb feat. MF DOOM
When a super group composed of members of the Gorillaz and Klaxons unite you pay attention. A fun playful track with MF DOOM rapping over a classic sounding hip hop beat and children’s vocal chorus.
36. The Damned-Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow
The Damned are back and still cranking out a vintage Misfits sound, complete with all of the bizarre references and nod to space travel and beyond. A driving bit of punk that became it’s own instant classic.
35. Joan as Police Woman-Warning Bell
Just a gem of a track, sort of a lighthearted but funky 90s female singer-songwriter, like Tori Amos or Fiona Apple with the heavy piano, but just really incredible and sweet.
34. Dick Stusso-Modern Music
Just a fine ol’ tune. Not too complex, not at all pretentious, just a song you can hang your hat on.
33.Charlotte Day Wilson-Nothing New
After her initial success with last years EP CDW, she is back with a new short set of tracks. Nothing new is an ultra catchy song that channels old school RnB with a futuristic soul vibe. Singing, writing, and producing her own music seems effortless, and I can imagine it only points to bigger things in her future.
32. Her’s- Low Beam
With a retro 80’s vibe and just the right hint of sleaziness this track stalks it’s way into your regular rotation.
31. Jordan Rakei-Wildfire
A funky lil Afrobeat drum pattern hides in the back while the RnB vocals and jazzy guitars swirl and drip.
30. Das Kope-L.A.X.
Reminiscent of Tame Impala’s last effort with the overstated bass and guitar duo coming through hard, with a stylish and fashionable vocal track and synth pairing.
29. Bishop Nehru-Driftin’
A really slick flute sample holds together this old school stripped down hip hop beat. Great rapping, a solid backing track, and nuthin’ fancy.
28. Mikaela Davis-Other Lover
An angelic harp like string instrument and lilting singing punctuates the heavenly atmosphere, while a funky drum track holds it down.
27. Tropical Fuck Storm-You Let My Tyres Down
Tropical Fuck Storm is a great name for this type of Post-Modern grunge/metal music. This track wins the award for the most authentic 90s grunge of the year. Drug fueled Aussies passionately rage on this song that feels more like three songs instead of one.
26. MORTEN-Family (feat. Dave East)
The banginest banger of the year, and Dave East raps the hell out of it too. The head-cracker of 2018!
25. Post Malone-Rockstar (feat. 21 Savage)
Not much needs to be said for this one. It’s a worldwide phenomenon and there’s probably no way you missed it. Still I feel it needs to be here because it’s so catchy and sorta sums up a lot of the vibes of 2018.
24. The Shacks-Follow Me
Such a great song. Unique and original while simultaneously possessing a very familiar vintage 60’s sound and style that I am more than susceptible to.
23. Amen Dunes-Blue Rose
An interesting timeless sounding tune without a chorus. The song just peddles along at a fast pace with an interesting rhythm, a buzzing hive of sound, and nothing really definitive standing out except the vocals. I’m sort of reminded of U2, or other classic 80s.
22. Spiritualized-Here it Comes (The Road) Let’s Go
Subtle horns underscore this folksy even twangy country song about nostalgia and the open road.
21. Kanye West-I Love It (feat. Lil Pump)
When I tell friends that I love this song, they look at me like I must literally be losing my mind. Yet I can’t help it, I really do think this song is a banger. So catchy, so slick, so hip and of course it has Lil Pump who I also consider one of my guiltiest pleasure’s. File it under immature and ignant, morbid fascination I guess, but I couldn’t live with my fraudulent self and the best of list if I hadn’t included it, and high up the list too. Shame on me.
20. Sudan Archives-Nont For Sale
Traditional African instrumentation and world music influences blend with trap, hip hop and R&B in this anthem of empowerment and anti-colonialism. A sensational hit that walks a similar path as M.I.A.
19. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-Ninth Configuration
Typically speaking I wouldn’t consider myself to be a big BRMC fan, but this song is just really really good, and I couldn’t deny it. It’s a mellow, hard rock song with a tasteful amount of grunge straight from the 90s. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 90s and haven’t really heard something so authentically grunge and actually good in a very long time. I don’t know, I guess I should stop making excuses for liking it…
18. Louis Cole-Things
Louis Cole offers us up a track with a practical message. On this upbeat song with heavy synths and pulsing drums Mr. Cole lays it all out for us and hooks us in. Later he adds a fantastic string section that builds and builds until it takes off soaring through the atmosphere and finally leaves the song and it’s message orbiting somewhere near Earth.
17. Parquet Courts-Freebird II
Just a simple bit of garage rock here. It’s refreshing to hear such a no frills, straight forward bit of rock n roll.
16. Travis Scott-STARGAZING
It was really hard to pick one track off of Scott’s unbelievably good new album ASTROWORLD, but I landed on this one because of it’s iconic nature, and sort of being emblematic of the entire album.
15. Anderson .Paak-6 Summers
Political rap done by just the right person at the right time. A perfect track for 2018.
14. Richard Swift-Broken Finger Blues
After the untimely death of a musician the tendency is to elevate that person to legendary status immediately, but with Richard he was already there, and as evidenced by his music was working at a masterful level. This track shows us where he was headed and then leaves us in a bittersweet melancholy wondering what he could’ve done next.
13. Thomas Dybdahl-All These Things
A swampy, twangy, rockin’ blues song at it’s core, with a little funk and an enigmatic transcendent quality.
12. Montero-Running Race
A jaunty little earworm that will dig itself into the brain with the quickness of a sidewinder snake. A track based in fantasy and imagination.
11. Father John Misty-Just Dumb Enough to Try
In my humble opinion Joshua Michael Tillman aka Father John Misty has greatly benefited from the production of Jonathan Wilson, who happens to be one of my favorite artists out there currently. This track is a nearly perfect pop song that has trimmed the fat expertly and served us up a glorious cut.
10. Pusha T.-Come Back Baby
Project Wyoming needed to be acknowledged and I like most everyone else have chosen to do so through Daytona, Pusha T’s part. Almost as iconic of a song as the photo of Whitney Houston’s bathroom that adorns the album cover. In Pusha’s own words, he’s been brilliant.
9. Jonathan Wilson-Over the Midnight
As I said Jonathan Wilson is one of my favorite producers and artists around. His work w/ Roger Waters, Father John Misty, and solo have produced some of the finest moments in my listening experiences lately. After waiting for what seemed like a lifetime I finally got to hear his new album, Rare Birds, and it was a stunner. Too many great tracks to count, and everyone’s list who included Mr. Wilson contained different choices for the best tracks. To me that is clear evidence of a fantastic album. I chose Over the Midnight because it spoke to me the most, with it’s soaring and sprawling frame. It has a classic Springsteen and American 80’s vibe that I love and clocks in at over seven minutes which allows the listener to get truly lost.
8. Lord Huron-When The Night Is Over
A stellar bit of prairie noir, sounding akin to the lush drapery and romanticism of the cinematic arts, with a smooth and soulful body that ambles along with significant swagger.
7. Calexico-End of the World With You
Complete with references to famous artist James Turrell’s craters this Arizona band sheds the mariachi to get back to more roots rock. More than just a fantastic bit of prophecy and doom, this track shares it’s love of apocalyptic pessimism with many of the other tracks on here, but encourages the listener to find peace and happiness together with your closest friends and lovers all the way until the very end of time.
6. Unknown Mortal Orchestra-Hunnybee
Just when you thought the smooth sounds of Disco, Yacht Rock, and 70’s jazz had completely vanished, UMO come back to reaffirm it’s stylish and sexy qualities using their signature sounds to push those genres ahead.
5. Childish Gambino-This is America
Easily the most emblematic and monumental video moment of the year, and maybe the decade. The song is super fire too, even if it was copped from another rapper and made more famous. (American Pharoah)…(That’s sorta the point though, isn’t it. This IS America after all.)
4. J. Cole-The Cut Off (feat. kiLL edward)
A rare moment of heartfelt intimacy and confession in hip hop, and an inner journey into the world of drugs, fame, and depression reaching out for a beacon of hope. Still a supremely satisfying rap song in the old school style.
3. Noah T. Jackson-Virginia Vine
Sounding close to CSNY, The Band, or classic Neil Young with a decidedly gritty feel, closer to city life than the rural Appalachians, this brand of upbeat folk rock is both simple and complex filled with fantastic harmonizing and nostalgic songwriting. The overall feel acts like a soothing tonic.
2. Dirty Projectors-That’s a Lifestyle
How they do it I’ll never know, the Dirty Projectors are a truly inventive and unique group as this new album proves yet again. An intricate even folksy acoustic guitar starts off, and then inextricably adds another acoustic guitar pattern. This takes off into competing electric guitar riffs woven delicately into that pattern. Add in the signature vocal harmonies, overdubs, and studio tricks. What is left for the reveal of the entire song is not just the catchiest hook of the year but an amazingly well crafted tapestry of musical artistry.
1. Damien Jurado-Allocate
The standout violin section adds a grittiness and a tinge of sadness to the song, along with its lyrics about distance, disillusionment, and disappointment. A poignant urgency underscores a certain haunting atmosphere in this masterpiece of a track from the seasoned vet Damien Jurado. He begs you not to notice that far-away look in his eyes with his whispering voice. Allocate derives its strength from its simplicity and beauty.