‘If You Know You Know’: The best 50 songs of 2018
Another year down and once again the music world stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam.
From bands and artists you know and love dropping more great projects, to unknowns looking to carry the torch into the 2020’s..the music world had a great year.
As a music guy, one of my favorite things to do highlight the best tunes of the year in a playlist (no spoilers, you can save it via Spotify at the bottom.)
Below are in my humble opinion the best songs of 2018. Let’s dive in starting with an English band with quite the interesting name.
50. Let’s Eat Grandma – It’s Not Just Me
Watch out CHVRCHES, new British synth-pop duo were clearly inspired by your sound and put out an LP near the same level as “The Bones of What You Believe.”
49. Wet – You’re Not Wrong
I have many of these on the list, but this song seems like it should be in a billion commercials/movies.
Wet, from Brooklyn, released this song as the first single off their sophomore album and it’s a great reminder to put your pride away and take advice from others.
48. Interpol – If You Really Love Nothing
When rock was reinvented in the early 2000’s, bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes got tons of credit, but there was one band making music to give a sense of what post-9/11 NYC was like.
The result was one of the best albums of all-time, “Turn On The Bright Lights.” Now, with “Marauder” they are still channeling that song four albums later…and it works.
47. Curren$y & Freddie Gibbs – Saturday Night Special
When you pair two of the wittiest rappers in the world with one of the best producers ever, good things are going to happen.
“Fetti” is a fun, short album that Curren$y and Indiana’s own Freddie Gibbs put out a few months ago. Check out one of the best tracks below.
46. Part Time & Ariel Pink – I Can Treat You Better
Welcome back to the 80’s folks. David Speck, aka Part Time, teamed up with the equally-weird Ariel Pink for the lead single to his sixth LP, “Spell #6.”
45. Forth Wanderers – Nevermine
This is just straight up good ole fashioned American indie rock. Of course they are signed to Sub Pop.
44. Childish Gambino – This Is America
Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, dropped of a bomb shell of a music video this summer for his single “This Is America.” It showcases how mass shootings have become a norm in America.
Take a look at the intense video below.
43. Hookworms -Negative Space
“Negative Space” by British band Hookworms wins the 2018 award for being the most unique.
42. Mumford & Sons – Woman
Speaking of British bands, Mumford & Sons ditched the banjos for synths on their latest album “Delta.” The result is spectacular and it’ll be interesting to see if they continue with this sound moving forward.
41. Travis Scott – BUTTERFLY EFFECT
It was a good year for Mr. Scott. He was already extremely popular, but his LP “ASTROWORLD” launched him into the stratosphere.
As a result, he’s headlined major festivals like Lollapalooza and is playing Bankers Life in February.
40. Børns – Faded Heart
Moving to an artist that played Indy this year, Børns second album “Blue Madonna” continued to rack up streams after he emerged into the scene in 2015.
If you missed him at Garfield Park in September, hopefully he comes back to the Circle City soon.
39. Hinds – Linda
When you think of where really good rock originates, you typically do not think of Madrid, Spain. Hinds, an all-female lo-fi band, is looking to change that and they’ve gotten off to a great start so far.
38. Cullen Omori – Happiness Reigns
Cullen Omori did not have the typically experience of a teen after high school. His band, Smith Westerns, rose from house parties on the north side of Chicago to playing venues all over the world.
They split in 2014 and other members went on to form the extremely successful band Whitney without Omori. Instead of curling into a ball or going back to school like his brother, he went solo and it’s paid off.
37. Shame – Lampoon
Shame is a prime example of how word of mouth is still a massive part on how bands gain a following.
According to setlist.fm, they played 152 shows in 2018…ranking for seventh-best in all of music. The effort has put their new age-punk vibe in the ears of listeners all over the world.
36. A$AP Rocky Ft. Moby – A$AP Forever
There’s not a better pairing on here than A$AP Rocky and Moby. Known for great samples, A$AP called up Moby for permission to use one of the best electronic songs of all-time “Porcelain” and thankfully the rest was history.
35. Parcels – Tieduprightnow
It’s disco-soul from Berlin via Australia! You know you have a future in music if Daft Punk produced one of your singles before your debut album was even out.
“Tieduprightnow” is a classic love song and it will bring you back to 1981.
34. DILLY DALLY – I Feel Free
Toronto is quietly becoming a major music hub. DILLY DALLY is the second Toronto artist featured here and are nipping at the heels of Alvvays, a band on the cusp of breaking through into the mainstream.
33. Khruangbin – Maria También
The only instrumental to make it on here comes from Texas-based Khuangbin and their Middle Eastern inspired jams. Such a jam.
32. Pinegrove – Angelina
This is a weird one because technically this song came out three years ago, but was remastered for their sophomore album “Skylight.”
It’s a quick one, but the added scream in the middle of the tune makes it gold.
31. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Hunnybee
This song from Portland-based Unknown Mortal Orchestra wins the award for sexiest melody of the year.
30. Father John Misty – Hangout at the Gallows
After releasing “Pure Comedy” last year, FJH didn’t waste anytime following it up with “God’s Favorite Customer.”
He was no stranger to the area either, playing shows at Garfield Park, down in Bloomington and at a music festival in Cincy.
29. Leon Bridges – Shy
Leon Bridges style has slightly changed since his breakout debut “Coming Home” in 2015. Musically, it’s moved up about a decade as he’s capturing the essence of Otis Redding after bringing back 50’s-style tunes.
He waited three years to release his second album, but it was well worth it.
28. St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Apollo
I once wrote that St. Paul and the Broken Bones was coming for Alabama Shakes title as best band out of the state of Alabama, and then the ‘Shakes promptly shut me up with their second album “Sound & Color.”
With “Apollo,” you can start to make that argument again because this song is so fantastic.
27. Jeff Tweedy – I Know What It’s Like
This one hits “right in the feels” as the kids say.
In addition to Jeff’s first solo album, he recently teased a new Wilco album in 2019.
26. Melody’s Echo Chamber – Shirim
France has always been a worldwide leader in creating fun, dancey music…and Melody’s Echo Chamber is the latest French band attempting to lead the charge.
Not a chance you don’t move your head up and down while listening to this.