Top 50 Tracks of 2018 (30-21)

30. Mitski “Geyser”

Pitchfork donned the enigmatic Mitski “Queen of 2018” when honoring her with Best Album for her breakout release on Dead Oceans, Be The Cowboy. Mitski’s brand of emotional and autobiographical songwriting connects her deeply with her fervent fanbase. Her live show combines her artistry as a singer songwriter with guided choreography and a sort of performance art that highlights the narratives of her songs. Mitski has unquestionably tapped into the wounded psyches of so many in a time so rife with damage of all sorts while offering solace in her songs as well:

But I will be the one you need
The way I can’t be without you
I will be the one you need
I just can’t be without you

– Greg Scranton

29. Kacey Musgraves “High Horse”

According to Spotify’s “Your Top Songs 2018” list, I listened to Kacey Musgraves‘ “High Horse” more than any other song this year which makes sense. It is the catchiest cut from Musgraves’ Golden Hour and despite some cringeworthy lyrics, the 80s Fleetwood Mac meets slick modern disco sound papers over those cracks easily. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

28. Melody’s Echo Chamber “Shirim”

Melody Prochet of Melody’s Echo Chamber has established herself as shimmering, psychedelic pop-princess with her second album Bon Voyage. Closer “Shirim” is a polyrhythmic blend of various wind instruments and chugging drum machine. Vaguely disco guitar lyrics overlay strange, slightly industrial shuffling noises. There are also some ELO- sounding electronic chords to boot. It’s a dense track, as is the album as a whole. There’s a method to the maximalism though – the guitar licks and drum machine establish a constant rhythm throughout. It’s got an extroverted, danceable vibel despite it feeling somewhat overstuffed and overwhelming at times. It’s like bouncing around in a squishy, inflated castle – overstimulating, but undeniably fun. – Jacqueline Sun

27. Liza Anne “Paranoia”

Liza Anne’s third full-length release, Fine But Dying, represents a new stylistic direction for the singer-songwriter. After a couple of albums of sparse, forlorn songs, Anne has come forth with a stunner of an album, possessing a sense of anger and catharsis totally absent in her earlier works. That energy is present from the very moment the drums on “Paranoia” kick in, and only builds from there. Anne’s determined vocals, along guitar parts and backing vocals that feel slightly disturbed, create an immediate feeling of suffocation. The listener can feel the claustrophobia of being stuck in one’s own mind as Anne’s distorted screams close in. Anne boasts a masterful ability to create such visceral emotional response, and “Paranoia”, along with the rest of Fine But Dying, make it clear that she is as in control of that power as she has ever been. – Tom Heubel

26. Phantastic Ferniture “Gap Year”

Phantastic Ferniture is a garage rock band fronted by singer-songwriter, Julia Jacklin. You may know Julia Jacklin from her melancholy, acoustic guitar work, but Phantastic Ferniture is not that. “Gap Year” is an upbeat, guitar driven track with a rolling melody and rhythmic bassline. Jacklin’s silky and distinctive vocals build up to a towering and shaking conclusion. “I would love you, even if you don’t need me to / I can do it all by myself, yeah,” she sings infectiously. It’s a summery track, perfect for a drive or solo dance party. – Jacqueline Sun

25. Oh Sees “Sentient Oona”

Seriously, you thought there’d be a “best of” list without an Oh Sees cut? It’s simple math people, 20 albums a year guarantees you a spot on every year end “best of” list. Ok, a little hyperbole there, but boy oh boy is John Dwyer the busiest bloke in psych/garage rock? Heck yes he is and thank god. Sentient Oona extends the underground fantasy ethos of prior Oh Sees releases combined with a drug fueled sweaty nightmare. Dwyer and company continue to pump out exceptional records and equally impressive live shows and show no sign of slowing down. “You’re welcome universe.” Sincerely, John Dwyer. – Greg Scranton

24. Czarface & MF Doom “Bomb Thrown”

With a catchy old school sample that sounds like something Prince Paul would have used in the early 1990s, DJ/producer 7L whips up a stunning retro-stylized groove for the CZARFACE crew of Esoteric and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck -joined by MF DOOM– to flex their braggadocio over. The track features each of the rappers throwing out challenges to any and all up and comers who think they can match rhymes with these seasoned veterans. “Sorry Charlie, get back up on your Harley, win, lose or draw, plus beat you at Atari,” DOOM raps, laying down blow after vicious blow during his stinging final verse. “Bomb Thrown” is a throwback that proves the longer you’ve been in the rap game, the stronger your skills are on the mic. – Andy Mascola

23. The Carters “APESHIT”

Beyonce and Jay-Z‘s Everything Is Love was an incredibly forgettable album with the exception of the lead single, “APESHIT.” The song is notable for Beyonce because it marks her first foray into obviously mainstream trap. With Pharrell‘s thumping production and Migos‘ ad libbing “skrrt, skrrt, skrrt” during the chorus, there is not a lot that is timeless about “APESHIT” but its timeliness is what makes it great. With plenty to say about racial politics and Jay’s line about saying no to the Super Bowl, the song is unabashedly 2018, almost prophetically. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

22. LAUREL “Adored”

On an album full of down-tempo tracks, “Adored” is in full attack mode featuring stabbing guitars, LAUREL’s pained yet aggressive vocals, and a driving rhythm section. “Adored” captures the danger of inertia in a relation, as LAUREL vacillates between complete dissatisfaction with her relationship, singing “Why we’re living life together/Don’t we both deserve better?” and a resigned complacency, as she acknowledges “that you’re less/But kind of better than the rest/So I think I’ll stay a while” The lyrics belie the aggression of the instrumentation, as though LAUREL is trying to summon the passion to get out of the rut she finds herself in. This contrast highlights the ups and downs of our relationships with others, and coalesces into an immediately relatable work. – Tom Heubel

21. Soccer Mommy “Your Dog”

Off her debut album, Clean, Soccer Mommy’s “Your Dog” is this year’s best “fuck you” track to your ex. With an absolutely based, crunchy, bassline, and cutting lyrics like “I don’t wanna be your fuckin’ dog / that you drag around…/I’m not a prop for you to use” there’s no way this song won’t make you feel empowered. The catchy guitar riffs make the track prime head-bobbing material as well. “Your Dog” highlights everything that makes Clean great – vulnerable lyrics, simple yet catchy melodies, all with welcomed brevity and wit. – Jacqueline Sun

50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-01

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