This is officially the end of 2018! And it’s only the 5th January [EDIT: Still only the 6th!]! Although there’s freaking one hundred and thirty six tracks to get through, so this may well take until mid May! Happy Cinco de Mayo! No time to talk! A shit load of songs to get through!!
136 Candace: Rewind
135 Epic Reflexes: Cha Cha
While Z-Tape’s ‘Spring’ collection was veritably busting at the seems with Legit Bosses, as you’ll soon see, this is the only similarly legitimate position of authority from their ‘Summer’ collection. They’re all still great though, as is the Epic Reflexes’s album ‘ChaChaChinatown‘.
134 The Carters: Apeshit
I had a lot of problems with ‘Everything is Love’, the surprising debut release from Beyonce and Jay-Z. Part of the reason I struggled with it was that I wasn’t sure how canonical it is. Like, is this it, Bee? Is this underwhelming collection of occasionally very entertaining rap boasts officially your actual follow-up to one of the most acclaimed albums of the 21st century? It’s an album about how two very rich people love each other but probably love their money more, that includes the line “My grandchildren’s grandchildren already rich” which, despite Kanye’s crisis of publicity, is by far the line from 2018 that Donald Trump is most likely to high five in a men’s locker room. Also, there’s a moment on the opening track where Mr Carter drawls out “Let it breaaaathe, let it breaaaathe” like JB Rockefeller basking in the glory of a fart he’d just released under the bedsheets, which marks the first time in more than two decades that I’ve thought to myself that I don’t think I really like Jay-Z. However, he often wins me back with the later claim that he’s “Good on any MLK boulevard”. This song’s pretty great though
Fucking hell, Jay, that haircut though… One hundred and thirty three more after the jump!
133 John Grant: Diet Gum
Very little of John Grant’s disappointing album has music as good as we all know he’s capable of. One moment, really. Not Diet Gum, which has a rather uninspired backing but is in here because it’s the one moment on ‘Love Is Magic’ where Grant is funny enough to have you forgive him for the record being so often a bit of of a dud.
132 Tierra Whack: Hookers
Get ready for a few more Whack entries. Even though ‘Whack World‘s 15 tracks in 15 minute hook sounds like an intriguing but mostly just impressive gimmick, it’s astonishing how many of the minute long tracks completely work as mini rap masterpieces, that fit absolutely everything they need to into their 60 seconds.
131 Santigold: I Don’t Want
Part of the reason the Legit Bosses list is so long this year, after surviving only having 65 entries in 2017, 104 in 2016 and freaking ten back in 2016, is because I am always discovering amazing songs inside and outside the albums of the year that absolutely deserve to be considered as next level shit. I Don’t Want may well be underrated on the list because I only decided it deserved its place after listening to the album again when I was about to write up my post on it. It’s awesome though. There were at least one hundred and thirty six awesome songs released in 2018.
130 The Low Anthem: Give My Body Back
Weren’t people losing their shit over this album when it was first released? I can’t have been the only person who politely put it to one side when it came to writing end of year lists. It’s lovely though, and this is the standout that- pay attention fact fans!- would be the shortest song on this countdown were it not mercilessly Tierra Whacked.
129 Daphne & Celeste: You and I Alone
Fucking hell! I listened to so many albums this year! I didn’t just listen to Daphne and Celeste’s triumphant second (!!) album, I bought a signed copy!!
128 Goat: Let it Burn
Hey, Goat, this fabulous single release is mainly here just so you all know that, after falling in love with your last album, I’m keeping my eyes on you!
127 Justin Timberlake: Say Something
I liked this song, I quite liked Filthy or Grimey or Sluttony or whatever the comeback single was called, but ‘Man of the Woods’ was a pretty horrendous album. As for the title track?? GrrrrrrrI’ll come back to that…
126 Camp Cope: The Face of God
An amazingly powerful story of how singer Maq was once sexually assaulted by an unnamed rock star, and how nobody else can accept what a monster this rock God is as “His music is too good” and “He’s got that one song that I like”. It’s not important who the person is, what’s really affecting is how people are always unwilling to accept how their heroes can also be private monsters. But, no, don’t worry, it can’t be Nick Cave. “He’s got that one song that I like”? Who likes one Nick Cave song? We’re safe, don’t worry. His music is too good…
125 The Men: Rose on Top of the World
It’s a shame that my piece on The Men’s incredible latest was overshadowed by the sacking of Jose Mourinho. I never got to drone on about what a fantastic surprise by far the greatest album of their career was, never got to write about the shock of a band that were once mainly a fun loud shouty thing writing songs as beautiful as Rose on Top of the World. I could do it now, I suppose, but I’ve got one hundred and twenty four more songs to write about, come on!
124 Manic Street Preachers: People Give In
Hey, ‘Resistance is Futile’ was little more than a uninspired rock album that was obviously written with the belief of how fun it’d be to record, but there are still some certified bangers on it. The opening track is pretty amazing, even if the lyrics seem to be Nicky Wire just listing films and albums he’s read about recently (“There is no theory of everything/No immaculate conception no crime to forgive”).
123 Sudan Archives: Nont for Sale
This. Is. Fucking. Awesome. Probably subjectively the coolest song of 2018, and one that will make you feel 46% cooler instantly just by listening to it (49% if you watch the video). Why is it ‘nont’ for sale, rather than ‘not’? I don’t know! Because I’m not cool enough! And I fucking love that!
122 The Joy Formidable: The Better Me
The Joy’s transformation into possibly the greatest rock band in the world this year has been absolutely thrilling to watch. The Better Me won’t be their last song on this list, and contains perhaps my favourite guitar line of 2018.
121 Wednesday: Mirror Pep Talk
Damn you, Wednesday! How can someone who makes such good music have no Twitter page!? Where are my likes and retweets supposed to come from??
120 Laura Jean: Touchstone
119 Anna Calvi: Hunter
I was in a pretty bad place when I wrote the Anna Calvi piece, so I just decided to air some interesting ideas I had about how war is rubbish these days. It was the fucking ninth best album of the year, so you knew it was good though, right?? Anyway, the gorgeous Hunter is only the first of many Calvi tracks on this list, so I’ve many chances to right that wrong by writing a bit more about how amazing Ms. Calvi is.
118 Ezra Furman: Love You So Bad
I had wanted to write about the evolution of Hejjy and my relationship this year, how we’d gone from estranged former lovers to actually planning for her to come to the UK as my fiance. I was planning to write it in my Ariana Grande review for the longest time, but as it became more and more obvious that Grande was having such an amazing 2018 that I might actually have to write about the artist. Imagine! My back up plan was to insert it into my Ezra Furman review, based on the lyrics to this lovely little ditty. I ended up going with Grande. Who would have thought that, by the time we reached the Legit Bosses, Hejjy and I would be back to being estranged lovers? Since I’ve long decided that, due to circumstances, Love You So Bad has to be about Hejjy, it’s now one of the saddest songs of the year, about the longing for a love that can never be yours. Life’s funny, innit?
117 sea grapes: Eat Something
116 Madison Beer: Dead
Pop music is, when we really get down to it, all down to having a killer chorus. Nobody will remember the rest of your song, just make sure you land the chorus properly. Madison Beer’s “You say you can’t live without me/So why aren’t you dead yet?” is maybe 2018’s greatest example of a fair to middling song raised to legendary levels because o the killer chorus it’s centred around. I find the video a bit uncomfortable, because I think Madison Beer is about 14 years old.
115 Andy Burns: Excited
Lovely fucking stuff
114 Prince: I’m Yours
Some people might point to the explicit playfulness of Soft and Wet as the song off Prince’s debut that points most at the heights the artist would later scale. Sure, if you think Prince was all about the sex. I think the way that the incredible I’m Yours manages to blend funk, rock and pop is a far bigger signal of where He is going. Word of warning, as I continue my journey through Prince’s back catalogue, expect this list to have a lot of his songs in the future.
113 Car Seat Headrest: Cute Thing
“Give me Frank Ocean’s voice/And James Brown’s stage presence”. I can’t stress how amazing ‘Twin Fantasy‘ is, and how Will Toledo shows how you can be perfectly successful with pretty much the opposite of those two things.
112 Soccer Mommy: Cool
I know! I’m surprised it’s this low as well! I feel that I kinda ignored how brilliant the Soccer Mommy album is by instead focusing on myself once again. Is it my fault though? Don’t call your album ‘Clean’ then, Ms. Mommy! Cool is a brilliant story of how we can’t help but admire the biggest pricks imaginable. Fun fact: the “She treats you like a fucking toy” line was perhaps the only one that got a singalong when I saw her live. Some deep feelings being uncovered there.
111 青丘(Blue Hills): lower Nowhere
More amazingness from ‘Spring’. See how the word ‘lower’ is in lower case? That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
110 J.Cole: KOD
This is what you call a flip. Ten keys from a quarter brick. Bentley from.. him mamma… whip? Don’t have to understand it, just have to love it. Some of the most exciting rapping of 2018.
109 Sufjan Stevens: Make Out in My Car
A cover of a Moses Sumney song that completely hijacks the song and proves that it was actually a Sufjan Stevens song. The best cover of the year? Not quite, but an impressive conquering.
108 Death and The Maiden: Wisteria
“Because she looked at you/You think it means something/Because she smiled at you/It had to mean something”. This, unfortunately, is the sound that plays inside a lonely man’s head pretty much every time he leaves the house. Ouch, Death and The Maiden, very ouch.
107 Denzel Curry: TA1300
Me forgetting to write an entry for Denzel Curry’s fabulous debut wasn’t me doing ‘a bit’ or just looking for an excuse to finish writing that fucking list a bit quicker. I honestly forgot. That’s a shame, it’s an amazing album, and there will be more songs from it on this list. “I knew you wasn’t normal ever since the age of nine/I heard you were molested when you hit the age of five”. Yeah That’s the kind of stuff we’re dealing with.
106 Soccer Mommy: Blossom (Wasting All My Time)
Oh yeah, you might have heard me mention artists having other tracks on this list. Well, there are no limits, which is why my 2016 list became a bit silly with all the Beyonce songs. Soccer Mommy is the first to have a second track, will she have more?!?! No. This is it. Blossom is an achingly gorgeous song, and I’m not sure there’s a more relatable line this year than “I can feel you blossom in the future that I’m dreaming”.
105 Lupe Fiasco: XO
Blah blah blah, Lupe Fiasco best rapper in the world, blah blah blah. Boy am I sick of keep having to say this…
104 tUnE-yArDs: Coast to Coast
Not on YouTube. Does it really exist?
103 Tierra Whack: 4 Wings
“Salt, pepper, ketchup and hot sauce/Fry hard cos I do not like soft/My [N WORD] shine with the lights off”. I sing this song a lot. One day I’m going to say the N word by accident. Scandal pending.
102 Royce da 5’9″: Caterpillar
It shows how many great songs there were in 2018 that such a bracing and exhilarating blast of pure hip-hop ballast can’t even make it into the top 100.
101 J.Cole: ATM
“Can’t take it when you die”. Yes, J.Cole, yes! This is so obviously a call for greater inheritance tax, which might stop right wingers like Beyonce boasting about how rich her fucking great great grandchildren already are. Eugh. Bee, your next album better be amazing.
I’m only just into the top hundred! 2283 words. 2284 now. 85. Shall I stop? I am pretty hungry. No! A few more, then food, then I’m finishing this fucking list!!
100 Jenny Hval: Spells
I freaking love Jenny Hval, because I have two ears and a heart. Her last album was joint sixth in 2016, and this amazing song bodes extremely well for the places her genius is going to take us next.
99 Virginia Wing: Be Released
Virginia Wing do amazing opening tracks. The opening track from ‘Forward Constant Motion‘ was listed almost exactly as high in the 2016 Legit Bosses. However, I am still waiting to be completely won over by an entire album.
98 Santigold: Run the Road
Bollocks. I’ve actually written this list up until the 70s now, but just realised I forgot to mention the next few songs.
97 Anna Calvi: Swimming Pool
Fuck. the YouTube playlist is going to be so out of order now.
96 Ash Koosha: Yona 1.1
An astonishing piece of music. Mr Koosha hands over ‘singing’ to a computer program he wrote, and it’s actually a far more affecting and emotional performance that Koosh himself ever manages. Stunning. As his other album ‘Return 0‘ proved, this is perhaps the best way to incorporate computers and faux artificial intelligence into music.
95 Camp Cope: Anna
Camp Cope’s album contained absolutely the best lighters in the air festival moments, of which Anna is the best example.
94 Dreamgirl: Forever Between Us (Pt.1)
93 The Decemberists: Once In My Life
I may not be your stereotypical Decemberists fan, but… Wait, what is the stereotypical Decemberists fan? I’m not sure, but there definitely is one, isn’t there? Well, I’m not that, but I frequently love their music. They were number 5 once, you know? ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ wasn’t quite consistently brilliant enough to win a place on this year’s list, but the opening track is an absolute pearl.
92 Louis Holding: Party Dysphoria
Dipping into ‘Spring‘s wells once again, and the brilliant Louis Holding’s take on going to a party alone, leaving alone, then going home to cry and want to die. Only Louis Holding is actually much better than The Smiths, obviously, because The Smiths are shit. Fight me.
91 Stef Chura: Slow Motion
90 Kids See Ghosts: Feel The Love
You know that YouTube music review guy? You know the one. He’s kind of stolen his entire ‘bald guy with glasses’ look from me, quite embarrassingly. Only he’s growing his hair out a bit recently.
Well anyway, that guy grew massively in my appreciation when he correctly named ‘Kids See Ghosts‘ as one of the best albums of 2018. Oh, I usually wear glasses, by the way. I generally take them off for selfies because of the glare Also, I look super hot without glasses. Yeah? Yeah.
89 Janelle Monae: I Like That
Eighty ninth?! Come one, Alex, that’s ridiculously low. I think I might have intentionally underrated a lot of the gems from ‘Dirty Computer’ to give the other artists a chance, otherwise the top ten would just end up being Janelle Monae City. A city that, if we’re being honest, we all want to live in.
88 Car Seat Headrest: Beach Life-In-Death
Thirteen minutes and eighteen seconds, Not the longest song on 2018’s Legit Bosses, because there’s another Car Seat Headrest song coming up that’s even longer!!
87 John Grant: Love Is Magic
My house got burgled this year. I can’t believe I didn’t use one of the more unremarkable album posts to moan about it. Ah well, there’s always NE2019. I remember being absolutely broken by the experience. They took my TV, my PS4, my Viagras, my passport, my Shawn Michaels action figure. All while I slept in the same room. The day after though, this song came on my headphones. I know it’s sarcastic, I know it’s drolly disregarding the idea, but I thought of Hejjy and suddenly love was magic. Now? I don’t know what I’m going to do…
86 Denzel Curry: Z1RENZ
“Eyesight is a gateway to a new day and the same hate/With a new height and the same feet on a airplane yellin’ “Mayday”/With a good girl gone bad girl who ain’t gay ’cause her date rape/That’s a metaphor for the US ’cause they got us all in the same state” Erm… I… But… I don’t… OK.
85 Ezra Furman: Suck The Blood From My Wound
This is amazing It wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t, would it? Use your brain, Jesus.
84 Ariana Grande: Blazed
83 awakebutstillinbed: safe
Absolutely amazing. Does not justify the love of lower case letters. Or spaces, for that matter
82 Blu & Nottz: The Truth
‘Gods in the Spirit, Titans in the Flesh’ is another great album I couldn’t find a place on the list for. Fuck, I listened to a lot of albums this year. In 2019 I’m going to listen to, like, eight maybe. Because, seriously, fuck this list. Brilliant song though.
81 Daphne & Celeste: Alarms
More D&C! ‘Daphne & Celeste Save the World’ is a pretty astonishing record in places. I. Just. Don’t. Have time. To write. About every album I like.
80 Jack White: Over and Over and Over
“I definitely believe the next decade is going to be streaming plus vinyl- streaming in the car and kitchen, vinyl in the living room and the den”. Jack White assumes his listeners have a ‘den’. I think we might be over. Some people actually stated that his latest record was an astonishingly ambitious experimental masterwork. It’s not. It’s just Jack White shamelessly ripping off 1970s records rather than 1950s ones. Like his last album, however, the initial single released was pretty amazing.
79 serpentwithfeet: cherubim
Hey, serpentwithfeet, you should really get to know awakebutstillinbed. You’re both practically the same person. Both hate spaces and caps locks. Awwwwwww, wouldn’t it be amazing if they got together?? It’d be the first Necessary Evil love story since I managed to get Donnie Trumpet and Marina Diamandis together in 2014.
78 Illuminati Hotties: Patience
This is the most recent addition to the Legit Bosses is and, if I’m being honest, maybe my Favourite Thing in the World right now. I love it I love it I love it I love it. If Illuminati Hotties manage a whole album as good as this…
77 Shamir: I Can’t Breathe
A wonderful, powerful rock song. Songs this good are just one of the reasons I’m looking forward to Shamir’s next release maybe more than any other artist. Apart from The Hotelier, obvs…
76 The Joy Formidable: The Wrong Side
Ladies and gentlemen, this is obviously the rock section of the list. I kind of surprised even myself when I just called The Joy F ‘the greatest rock band in the world’, but… I might have been speaking factually. On current form, can you think of any rock band that have released an album as good as ‘Aaarth‘ recently? I think, on current form, they might just be.
75 Manic Street Preachers: Hold Me Like A Heaven
The rock section continues, with a band that have in the past and possess the ability to be the greatest rock band in the world. Right now? They’re absolutely fine. I actually thought this was the best song on the album, but apparently it’s the second best.
74 Princess Nokia: Look Up Kid
Still in the rock section. Princess Nokia’s fresh take on tired (and fucking shit) old genres like ska punk and adds such a new spin on them that she actually creates something magical. She is my New Favourite Thing and I’m looking forward to hearing the newly released remaster of her ‘Metallic Butterfly’ album.
73 Tripika: Love
OK, this one’s a little crazy. It’s another stunning track off Z Tapes’ ‘Spring’ compilation, and one of the record’s highlights. Only, Tripika don’t exist. Or, at least, they have no online presence and have released no other material other than the incredible Love. Louis Holding (see number 92) told me on Twitter that they’re probably just some people who sent their music to Z Tapes in the hope of getting it published. I need to know more about this band. Who… are they…??
72 Anna Calvi: Chain
My best mate Christine got all the plaudits this year for how she played with gender identity on ‘Chris’. And, yeah, fair enough, her record’s extremely good. But Anna Calvi makes playing with gender and sexual identity sound so much more fun!! “I’ll be the boy you be the girl I’ll be the girl you be the boy I’ll be the girl/I’ll be the boy you be the girl I’ll be the girl you be the boy I’ll be the boy/Ch-ch chain me ch-ch chain me ch-ch chain me chain me”. Sounds like something Bret Kavanaugh would write about doing at college.
71 Hinds: Linda
I’m actually very excited about Hinds. I’ve followed them as they debuted as an amazing idea for a band, without much in the way of songs or content. Now though, I’m able to watch them slowly turn into a band of real substance. There will be many songs as good as Linda in the future.
70 Jon Hopkins: Emerald Rush
Bit of a banger, remember?
69 Wye Oak: It Was Not Natural
Fuck me, how many albums did I listen to this year? I thought this was placed way too high, until I started listening to it now and… the drums that kick in with the words… the plinking backing… Yeah, this is deservedly placed.
68 Ash Koosha: Aktual
Mr Koosha released about 754 albums this year. Hey, Ash, why not concentrate on one album and make it all as good as this!
67 Teyana Taylor: Rose In Harlem
Teyana Taylor’s record is so confusing. It contains some of the dumbest, cringeworthy and cloth eared nonsense of 2018. But, she’s also capable of genius like Rose In Harlem.
66 serpentwithfeet: wrong tree
Brilliant. Who’s next?
65 Mitski: Two Slow Dancers
This song. Fucking kills me. I’m not going to mention Hejjy again…
64 Car Seat Headrest: Nervous Young Inhumans
Oh my God I love this song. Have we reached that point in the list? The point where the music is so good and so solidified in my heart that all I can do is meekly squeal how much I love them? The point where music, and love itself, becomes indefinable? “Most of the time that I use the word “you”/Well you know that I’m mostly singing about you”. Maybe we’ve reached the point where every song is actually about me.
63 Janelle Monae: Screwed
I toyed with the idea of considering Screwed and Django Jane as a single entry, as the way the songs mix into each other and the outro of Screwed leads into the intro of Django is officially 2018’s Greatest Music Moment. Didn’t though. I wonder if Django Jane will appear later?
62 Teyana Taylor: Hurry
“Keep your eyes on this fanny/If you like what you see take your hands and grab it”. I had so much to write about that line. I know that in America your ‘fanny’ is your back bottom rather than your front bottom, but I was going to speculate whether Trump supporter Kanye was all to aware of the British terminology and had actually produced a song about grabbing a fanny.
Turns out she’s saying ‘fattie’. Not ‘fanny’. It’s just a song about how big her bum is. Great tune though.
61 tUnE-yArDs: ABC 123
Brilliant. She doesn’t mention her fanny though. I’m not sure a song exists that wouldn’t be improved by the odd mention of fannies.
60 Govier: Metal Target
“I’m afraid of getting cancer/And you probably should be too”. I tried to tell you how promising the wonderful Govier is. Metal Target, which is scandalously low on this list, is just a 4:48 example of the kind of magic he’s capable of.
59 Lykke Li: Last Piece
‘So sad So Sexy‘ is just a perfect and succinct collection of ten absolutely pristine pop songs. This is one of them. Seriously, I want to video myself singing every song on this album I’m quite weird, aren’t I?
58 JPEGMAFIA: Baby I’m Bleeding
A brilliant sub three minute example of JPEGMAFIA’s raison d’etre. There’s just so much going on here. Love it.
57 Manic Street Preachers: International Blue
I remember when I first heard International Blue almost a year ago to this day. As fun as the song is, I was ever so slightly disheartened. I see, I thought, they’re doing one of those albums. From the first bars of Blue I knew that the band were steadfastly not going to reinvent any wheels on the forthcoming album. It would be a straight rock album. It was probably going to be a lot of fun to record after the creative juice squeeze that was ‘Futurology‘. It would probably be about my 51st best album of the year. A great tune though, and one that’s unafraid of sounding as resolutely like the Manics as possible.
56 Tierra Whack: Fruit Salad
I have to write this really quickly, because the song’s playing in the background and it’s about to fini… Bollocks. It’s amazing how much Ms Whack manages to fit into a 60 second song.
55 Tove Styrke: On the Low
Wow, we’re almost into the top 50 before we even see the first Styrke entry. There will be more. Watch that video. How is Tove Styrke not the biggest star in the world?
54 Mitski: Geyser
An absolutely astonishing introduction to an absolutely astonishing album. The way the music distorts and screeches when Mitski first claims that “You’re the one I love” is an amazing way to suggest at deeper discord in the singer’s mind. Amazing.
53 The Age: I’d Do
Fun fact: I used this song as the backing of the video I first sent to the Carnegie Trust to apply for their grant. Nothing more to say. Lovely song.
52 Tierra Whack: Pretty Ugly
Probably my favourite song to sing. “Can’t noone ever come between, YEAH“. That ‘yeah’, it… does things to me… nice things, don’t worry.
51 Future: Doh Doh
“Take no days off/I get doh, doh, doh”. Tell me about it, Future.
50 Low: Dancing and Fire
Picking the best songs from ‘Double Negative‘ is like taking a shear to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to cut off your favourite flowers. It’s a complete work of art, and every song is as important as the next in constructing the beautiful edifice. Dancing and Fire is a bit of a banger though, yeah?
49 Poppy Ackroyd: Paper
Like, the same applies, yeah? This is the first track off Poppy’s wonderful album, but all the tracks are great, y’know? I just picked the opener because I thought the album deserves to be represented. This list is really dumb sometimes. Only sometimes. Mostly it’s fuckin’ biblical, yeah?
48 Denzel Curry: 13LACK 13AL00NZ
Denzel, I fucking love how you stylise your song titles. And you use a lot of caps locks, which seems to be a lost art.
47 Car Seat Headrest: Famous Prophets (Stars)
Car Seat do not fuck about. Famous Prophets is sixteen fucking minutes of absolute glory. More. Of. This. Please.
46 Let’s Eat Grandma: It’s Not Just Me
This song… “It’s not just me… I know you feel the same way…”. Hypothetically, the perfect song to record yourself singing to and then send to a woman. That’s not proof of insanity is it? This hypothetical person isn’t going insane, is he? Mind you, if this hypothetical person went off the cliff into complete insanity, it’ll all be portrayed through this blog, which might be interesting and get a few more visitors. Hypothetically, I’m all for that. “Because the point is that I see it’s not just me/The point is that you feel my company/You know I’ll never be too far if you’re looking for somebody I’m here”
45 Princess Nokia: At the Top
A glorious internalising of Princess Nokia’s locus of control.
44 Royce da 5’9″: Amazing
“Never ask for much when I sit down to say my prayers/All I ever, ever wanted was to be amazing”.
43 Tove Styrke: On a Level
Tove again. There’s a moment in the chorus where Ms Styrke changes the key ever so slightly which always rips my heart to shreds for reasons that can’t be defined.
42 Anna Calvi: Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy
Gender is a wide spectrum, and if you consider yourself to be 100% ‘male’ or 100% female then you’re likely to be an extremely boring person. One of the greatest struggles of recent times is basically some people’s struggle over some cultural Bolsheviks wanting to politely suggest what pronoun to be referred to with. If I introduced myself as ‘Darren’, and said I’d much prefer to be called the name that isn’t on my birth certificate for personal reasons (my admiration for the footballer Darren Bent) then everyone would respect my decision and accept I had the right to call myself whatever I want. If I decided to dye my hair because I justifiably believe that red hair looks gross and I want to throw up every time I look in the mirror, nobody would bat an eyelid and accept that genes are sometimes cruel like that. However, if I decided that the gender assigned to me at birth doesn’t match my personal identification, and asked if perhaps people would refer to me as ‘she’ rather than ‘he’, people would lose their shit and start an argument about scientific categorisation. Calm down people. We need to take a long look at our priorities and the things worth getting upset over. This is a great song, but you know that already because you’ve listened to the YouTube clip.
41 Jherek Bischoff: Gobo
Diddle-da- diddle-da-diddle-da-didle… It might be from a made up album, but that fake record still has two entrants on this list.
It’s the opener-off! Opening set! The… the open open! Y’know, like in tennis? Both Camp Cope and awakebutstill in bed choose to open their albums with a song called ‘opener’, and this opening ‘opener’ is the greatest song on the respective albums, and equal enough in outstanding quality for us to have this little gimmick battle. This will very much be looked back on as the ‘Blur vs Oasis’ of our time. Two amazing songs, both amongst the greatest rock tracks of 2018. Difficult to pick between them, but the way opener furiously kicks in at 3:24 means I’m going to have to hand this to awakebutstillinbed.
40 Camp Cope: The Opener
39 awakebutstillinbed: opener
38 Lupe Fiasco: WAV Files
The one issue with Lupe’s amazing latest that stopped it from being seriously considered the year’s best albums is that it doesn’t really contain any bangers that Fiasco has always been capable of dropping in the past. WAV Files is perhaps the exceptions. Absolutely one of Lupe’s greatest ever songs, and a respectfully powerful account of the slave trade.
37 Royce da 5’9″: Power
A ‘Book of Ryan‘ highlight that documents Royce’s childhood dominated by a family swamped with substance addiction and violence. “My big bro got a lot of emotional problems/He feel that we was all abused as kids/He saw Momma get dragged down all kinds of stairs like a ragdoll when he was two/And this is back when Daddy used to sniff cocaine, poor thang”. Royce amazingly flips the tale toward the end by stating how much he still respects his father to this day and believes he was a great Dad, despite the cocaine addiction and violence, because he never left. Royce says he’s always been surrounded by friends whose father walked out on them, and despite his father’s problems he was still there. This raises all sorts of philosophical questions, and you wonder how low the bar is for decent parenting in some communities.
36 Lykke Li: Jaguars in the Air
As I proved in my ‘review’ of the album, I can never help singing along to this pop monster. It’s honestly only just occurred to me that I have no fucking clue what ‘jaguars in the air’ means. And I’m never going to find out. Ignorance is bliss.
35 Anna Calvi: As a Man
Sexy. Dangerous. Cheeky. Pointed. Provocative. Amazing.
34 Janelle Monae: Pynk
Much like Anna Calvi manages to make fluid gender and sexuality sound like the most fun in the world, Monae’s Pynk reclaims female empowerment and feminine sexuality as something actually extremely beautiful and jovial. These things are too often framed as aggressive and combative positions, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that the reason people find these things so important isn’t just to annoy Daily Mail readers, but because of how good they can make you feel. Monae also wears the vagina trousers in the video, which my God where can I buy those shut up and take my money!
33 Robyn: Human Being
An astonishingly great pop song. My issue is- controversial opinion alert!!- I just don’t think Robyn is this good often enough!
32 Laura Jean: Girls on the TV
Laura Jean captures something quite universal on this ‘Devotion‘ highlight. That feeling you get when you meet up with an old childhood friend and find out how much they’ve changed since school. “I remember when she told me/She was on cocaine/I felt like I didn’t know her/Or how she got that way”. I’m sure everyone reading this has had the same experience, of seeing a friend you still picture as the timid and bullied child from school and being shocked to find out that life has weighed so heavily on them that they’re now using cocaine. If you don’t, then you are that person! If so, can I take a couple of bumps? I actually really like cocaine, I just can never afford it.
31 Superorganism: Sprorgnsm
Not enough bands have a theme tune these days, do they?
30 The Joy Formidable: Cicada (Land On Your Back)
This is, pretty much, as good as rock music gets. Fight me.
29 CHVRCHES: My Enemy
Maybe CHVRCHES should consider enlisting The National singer Matt Berninger more often, as My Enemy is the only point on the strangely underwhelming latest album that’s anywhere near up to the kind of magic they’re usually capable of.
28 Pusha T: If You Know You Know
One of the year;s greatest and most effective opening tracks that, if I’m being honest, the remainder of ‘Daytona‘ struggles to replicate.
27 The Men: When I Held You In My Arms
The most obvious example of the leaps and bounds made by The Men on their latest album, and the greatest Nick Cave song of 2018. In fact, I wonder what Nick Cave would look like doing this song… Hmmm…
The fuck am I doing with my life?
26 Zeal & Ardor: Gravediggers Chant
When ‘Stranger Fruit’ is good, it’s extremely fucking good. So much so that there are two points on the album that I believe are absolutely as good as metal can sound. This is… the other song… but the leading single is an astonishing example of the type of exhilarating sonics the band are capable of.
25 Stella Donnelly: Boys Will Be Boys
A frank and unsubtle dissection (“Your father told you that you’re innocent/Told ya, ‘Women rape themselves'”) of the worst aspects of rape culture that is now surrounding us. The power of the song lies in Ms Donnelly’s unflinching starkness, although the line “He invaded your magnificence” is just, yuk, horrible.
24 Janelle Monae: Make Me Feel
The Prince allusions are so shameless on this song that I can’t love it quite as comprehensively as other writers have. Janelle, we know you’re the closest thing we have to Prince in 2018, you don’t have to beat us over the head with it! But… it’s such a fucking good song, that she just about gets away with it.
23 Tierra Whack: Fuck Off
The ‘Whack World‘ high point that combines breathtaking and provocative lyrics, a hilariously exaggerated Souhern USA accent, and absolutely gorgeous production.
22 Tove Styrke: Sway
Fuck, Tove is just dominating the ‘Magic Moments’, isn’t she?
21 Christine and the Queens: Doesn’t Matter
The one moment off ‘Chris’ where I feel whatever praise the album received from some quarters is absolutely justified. It also contains one of my favourite lines of the year: “If I barely feel God/And if God does exist/It Doesn’t matter”
20 Royce da 5’9″: Cocaine
An astonishing song that’s probably best seen as a three minute example of Royce’s talents as a rapper. I can’t think of anyone else in the world who could turn words seemingly written as prose or spoken word and make it still work in harmony with the beat of the song. “Papa came home from another day of hard work/And handed me his key, told me go look in the car/So I went out there to look for what he asked me to get/I was checking all the seats but the only thing I saw was a bag of cocaine”. How the fuck do you make that scan in a song??
19 Lalić: Deed Rider
The final leaves of ‘Spring‘, the compilations’s final song, and probably its highlight.
18 Jherek Bischoff & Amanda Palmer: Zombie
I was never much of a fan of The Cranberries. I thought Linger was a lovely song, but they were also responsible for many things that I scientifically consider to be pure tosh. One of the toshiest of their tosh was the ridiculous Zombie, which I always considered a near unlistenable slab of grunge pastiche which tips over the edge into laughable with Delores’s vowel exercise and complaints about “Their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns”. Quick aside, do you think she had four things to complain about originally, but forgot one of them so just said ‘bombs’ twice? Anyway, I’m obviously an idiot, as Zombie was one of the two Cranberries songs that Bischoff and Palmer covered to celebrate the band after the singer passed away in early 2018, and they manage to bring out the beauty that was obviously always there. 2018’s greatest cover, unless I’ve forgotten about one higher up.
17 Janelle Monae: Crazy, Classic, Life
16 Lykke Li: Utopia
Lykke herself describes the song as “All my mother ever wanted for me and all I ever want for (my son)”. Fucking sickening, right? Luckily, the song is good enough to make you forget how gross other people’s happiness is.
15 Superoganism: Everybody Wants To Be Famous
The band’s calling card. Understand why I love them so much now?
14 Young Fathers: Lord
An incredible choice of comeback single, that can sound like both the most radio friendly gospel inspired pop song one time you hear it, and the most entertainingly fucking weird thing you’ve ever heard the next time. I think it has to do with what you’ve eaten that day.
13 Kanye West: Ghost Town
The highlight from West’s solo album actually reminds me a lot of ‘Twin Fantasy‘ in how the song never stays still, and is forever building on itself and evolving into different places. Listen, you might not like his pea-brained politics or horrendous misunderstanding of history, but Ghost Town is proof that his genius still exists beneath all the nonsense.
12 Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet: Nothing Left But Their Names
‘Landfall’ is, essentially, one 69 minute long exercise in making sure that the strings kicking in on Nothing Left But Their Names hits in just the right way. And, fuck me, it works.
11 Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Not in Love We’re Just High
Fucking hell, Unknown Mortal Orchestra! So you can still write amazing songs! The way the lines are sung with irregular timing (“So-hongs are… sta-ar-arted/Left me bro-ho-hoken… ha-ha-hearted”) to add a druggy effect to the song- this is genius! OK, so why was the album so shit?!
10 Car Seat Headrest: Bodys
Top fucking ten! 2018 is almost finished! Hey, imagine if The Strokes were still this good. I should probably add a (sic) to that track title as well…
9 Monomirror: Collider
I listen to a lot of records. Maybe too much. Maybe next year I should try and keep things as slight and small as possible. Maybe I’ll just listen to a dozen or so records next year. Maybe just the latest Arctic Monkeys release and a handful of of Strokes solo projects. But then I remember that it was only through attempting to listen to as much music as possible that lead me to a obscure album track off the Octahedron soundtrack, and maybe the greatest dance record of the year. No. I’m still going to listen to far more music than any ordinary person can handle. For I am no ordinary person. I am Zlatan. No, sorry, I meant ‘Alex’. I am Alex.
8 Zeal & Ardor: Built On Ashes
This is it. This. Is. It. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to make metal music that sounds any better than this. It’s exhilarating, it’s inspiring, it’s probing, it’s passionate. It might well be what Zeal & Ardor’s entire career up until this point has been leading up to. It honestly brings a tear to my eye.
7 Son Lux: All Directions
Listen, guys, there’s really no point in my explaining why these songs are so good anymore. We’ve long reached the point where artistic beauty transcends the writing of a dingus like me, of any dingus, so just listen to the songs, yeah? You’ll melt when you get to the “Weren’t we beautiful once?” line, I promise.
6 Kendrick Lamar, SZA: All the Stars
I had my issues with how Black Panther was marketed, but considering it was responsible for perhaps the best song either SZA or Kendrick Lamar has ever released, I think it’s all justified
5 Young Fathers: In My View
There’s a trick that I like to call the ‘OMT’ (One More Time) moment that I had planned to elaborate on this year, but instead was mostly concerned with finishing this fucking list and so didn’t mention it for reasons on brevity. It’s the name given to the moment when a song stops for a musical break or solo, and often makes out like it’s about to enter its outro, but then the chorus comes back for one more time! The reason the Manics are the greatest band in the world is because they’ve absolutely mastered this trick. In 2018 though, the greatest example of it comes about 2:29 into In My View. I mean, it’s a great song for other reasons as well. But mainly that.
4 Kids See Ghosts: Reborn
I dedicated my entire Kids See Ghosts ‘review‘ to explaining why this song is so fucking good. It just… gets me.. right there…
3 Let’s Eat Grandma: Falling Into Me
This band are just incredible, aren’t they? One of the reasons Eat Shiitake Mushrooms was scientifically proven as the best song of 2016 was the awesome drop that reveals the song’s real start. The gorgeous beat introduction in Falling Into Me may even better that moment.
2 Tove Styrke: Say My Name
This is as perfect as pop gets. This is as perfect as art gets. This is as perfectas life gets. It was actually really hard to choose between these top two, and Ms Styrke was number one for a long time. The next song ended up winning by the finest of margins. Oh, and I also found out that Say My Name was originally released in 2017, so…
Justin Timberlake: Man of the Woods
Aaaaaaaaaargh! This song makes me want to hurt things! I just played it now for a few seconds to check I had the right clip and – FUCK ME! – I had to run out the door and stab three people through the eye with a screwdriver just so I could get it out of my head. It’s catchy. Really catchy. You hear it once and your whole day is ruined. Being ‘catchy’ isn’t a good thing. It betrays that a song has been created to merely stick in listeners’ minds rather than for any artistic endeavour. This is you doing Bon Iver, Justin, really? I’ve actually been a big fan of Jutin in the past, and don’t hate the ‘Man of the Woods’ album as much as some people, but holy shit this song is wretched. “I brag about you/To everyone outside/But I’m a man of the woods/It’s my pride”. What does that even mean?? Fuck this song. Fuck Justin Timberlake, I hope he dies of a particularly painful case of root rot. Fuck, I need to listen to some good music now…
1 Janelle Monae: Django Jane
This is it. The best song of 2018. Proof that Janelle Monae might want to concentrate more on her rapping in the future, as Django Jane shows how she is absolutely one of the world’s most exciting MCs when she wants to be. The song is an incredible compilation of moments, quotes and slogans, like if the Richey-era Manic Street Preachers could rap. It;s barely three minutes long, yet even on the thousandth time you listen to it you’ll discover new parts of it you love and new lines that resonate. This is music. Boom. We done.
Nearly 800 words. Totally worth it.