The closing moments of the year often brings the most exciting, stressful part of a music blogger’s life. That’s right, after ingesting twelve months’ worth of music into our ears it’s time to whittle them down into a cohesive list of our absolute faves. For some context, I had the first drafts of these lists back in September. It’s an arduous task, but one that comes with great reward and satisfaction and perfect justification to pick up a drinking problem. This, Ladies and Gentleman, is List Week!
It’s time to give you what I believe to be the Top Singles of 2018. I’m happy with how it’s turned out, and hope you’ll be too. Here are 30 singles that I believe brought the most joy and satisfaction to my ears. Comment below if you feel the Top Singles of 2018 list is good, bad, or any omissions that are missing from it. The Top EPs of 2018 will be featured on Wednesday and Friday will close out List Week with the Top Albums of 2018. Enjoy.
SOUNDS GOOD’S TOP SINGLES OF 2018
THIRTY: EXNATIONS – ‘CAN’T GET HURT’
EXNATIONS delivered some much needed light with their new EP Tiny Sounds in the Dark this year and ‘Can’t Get Hurt’ is the leader that stands defiant amongst all the terror. It’s Poppy, positive and filled with good vibes.
TWENTY-NINE: I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME – ‘CHOKE’
With all the hooks and Poppy sensibilities to draw you in, IDKHow’s debut single bursts onto the scene with all the right tools and lyricism that’d definitely make you feel a little unnerved. Probably the nicest way to wish someone to choke to death, I’d say.
TWENTY-EIGHT: JESSE JO STARK – ‘ROT AWAY’
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this song is dat riff. Jesse Jo Stark released a slew of releases this year and ‘Rot Away’ firmly remains the one that stands out the most, purely because of how much of my jaw remained on the floor.
TWENTY-SEVEN: FANCLUB – ‘LEAVES’
This trio emerged onto the scene with a debut full of distorted riffs and Smiths-esque melodies to turn this fuzzy little number into one of the sweetest tunes of the year. Fanclub have released two further singles and I’m excited to hear where they’ll go in the new year.
TWENTY-SIX: SPOOKY CIGARETTE – ‘IN DUE TIME’
“Spooky Cigarette, whose name is a facetious nudge at their frontman’s self-proclaimed identity as a black (spook) fag (cigarette)” firmly retains the top spot of best introductions to a press pack. ‘In Due Time’ is one of the funnest tunes I’ve heard in a long while, and filled with Halloween grooves that could you have shaking out of your skeleton.
TWENTY-FIVE: TWENTY ONE PILOTS – ‘JUMPSUIT’
Twenty One Pilots dropped a surprisingly belting album in Trench, and I cannot ignore the powerful riff that makes up ‘Jumpsuit’. It’s got the energy and fire needed to get you proper in the mood to punch something nicely, and yeah…I can’t believe it’s made it to the list.
TWENTY-FOUR: THE LUNAR YEAR – ‘PRIMAL SENTIMENT’
The Lunar Year are pretty much always guaranteed to deliver something beautiful and they did not disappoint with ‘Primal Sentiment’. The first taste of new music to come in anticipation of their upcoming album To Find A Heart and it’s certainly be a heartbreaker.
TWENTY-THREE: TWIN RITUAL – ‘IS IT PARANOIA’
One of the first songs I heard that made me go “holy moly” and stick it on repeat for a week straight. Twin Ritual bring Post-Punk grooves to the ears alongside some sketchy guitars and a bassline that absolutely does not quit.
TWENTY-TWO: CONFIDENCE MAN – ‘DON’T YOU KNOW I’M IN A BAND’
…and speaking of grooves, Confidence Man delivered easily one of the most entertaining records this year. ‘Don’t You Know I’m In A Band’ is just one of many Confidence Man tracks I could’ve stuck in this list, but I couldn’t ignore the beat that seems to wriggle it’s way into the hips and tell you to start dancing.
TWENTY-ONE: ARCTIC MONKEYS – ‘FOUR OUT OF FIVE’
The boys from Sheffield brought something a little more…out of this world this year with Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino and while I appreciated the effort, there were a couple stumbling meteors. However, I can’t deny that it’s lead single is a wondrous exploration into space and groove. It perfectly blends together the old and new AM sounds and provides all the Alex Turner one-liners you could ever need.
TWENTY: COLIN MAGS – ‘BLOSSOM’
Sounds Good became a bit of a fan club for Colin Magalong at the start of the year, and ‘Blossom’ was the leading reason why. This dude only went and changed his name to Colin Mags didn’t he? But ‘Blossom’ will always be a banger to me.
NINETEEN: LENN – ‘RIDING SHOTGUN’
One of my favourite new artists of the year, LENN delivered something a little more composed and matured with this new single. I love the soulful vibes, the tropical sounds and the chorus is one that seeps into the hips effortlessly.
EIGHTEEN: DISH PIT – ‘TRASH QUEEN’
Frantic, powerful and downright dirty. Trash Queen burst onto the scene with ‘Trash Queen’ and it remains one of the best introductions I’ve heard this year. If you ever need something to help you get amped up immediately, this is the track for you.
SEVENTEEN: MOON PANDA – ‘RABBIT’
Considering it’s main hook is Rabbits, the first single from Moon Panda is a rather saucy listen. Deep-rooted drums, subtle basslines and an ever so increasing urge to dance seem to creep through on this track and I can’t get enough.
SIXTEEN: SMOKY KNIGHTS – ‘FEELS RIGHT’
An absolute powerhouse in the groove department. Smoky Knights knocked it out the park with a tune that’s always on the pulse of the night, and sets the perfect atmosphere to lay down some moves on the dancefloor.
FIFTEEN: THE PALE WHITE – ‘WISDOM TOOTH’
The Pale White delivered one of the best EPs of 2018 with Take Me to the Strange, and ‘Wisdom Tooth’ kicks it off in a way that introduces that statement right to your face. The riffs are bolstered with muscle, the drums crash like thunder and the hooks stick into you like a knife through hot butter. Consider me melted.
FOURTEEN: MOONTOWER – ‘LEAVING YOU BEHIND’
One of the more surprising discoveries to come from the Good Sounds Playlist, Moontower’s ‘Leaving You Behind’ is a track that skates between Bluesy goodness and dancefloor fodder as they deliver something that’s filled with emotion and hooks aplenty.
THIRTEEN: TOM MISCH – ‘LOST IN PARIS’
Tom Misch dropped something original with the seminal Geography and ‘Lost In Paris’ kicked it off in a way that brought all of Tom’s elements in Pop, RnB and Jazz to produce a sound that’s catchy, beautiful and absolutely infectious.
TWELVE: UNBLOOM – ‘LOST MYSELF’
“Ohhhhhh, I’m trying my best to stay the same.” UNBLOOM had a stonking 2018 and ‘Lost Myself’ is the definite highlight of it. Blending different genres together has produced a tune that dabbles in synthetic goodness, funky basslines and sombre lyricism to really cut a strong contrast throughout. It’s a banger.
ELEVEN: ICEAGE – ‘PAIN KILLER’
Iceage’s collaboration with Sky Ferreria shines as their transition from filthy post-punks into dazzlingly strange gentleman continues to flow beautifully. ‘Pain Killer’ showcases all of the drawling vocals and fuzzy guitars that have helped Iceage gain prominence in recent years, and this single continues to show just how much potential and success they have.
TEN: HOLLY REES – ‘MAGPIE’
Never have I felt such adoration for someone who routinely tears my heart apart as much as Holly Rees. ‘Magpie’ arguably features the most upbeat instrumentation from Holly’s output this year yet succeeds at making me an absolute mess, but it’s so lovely. Enjoy Canada, Holly.
NINE: TANNERS – ‘VENUS’
Tanners already blew me away with her debut EP but felt the need to release just one more track in ‘Venus’ and well, colour me surprised. This defiant sound is anthemic and brings all sorts of synths and guitars together to create something that’s ballsy, powerful and downright good.
EIGHT: PATAWAWA – ‘PATAGONIA’
Patawawa burst onto the scene and immediately fell into my good books with ‘Patagonia’. From the second that intro strikes, the ears are greeted with the invitation to let loose and goodness me do they let loose. I’ve cut shapes that no human should witness throughout the year to this tune.
SEVEN: ANNABEL LEE – ‘UP’
One of the biggest badasses to burst onto the music scene this year, Annabel Lee delivers an absolute scorching anthem with her second single ‘Up’. It’s got balls, an unbelievable vocal performance and and a chorus hook that’s simple but oh so effective.
SIX: IDLES – ‘DANNY NEDELKO’
IDLES are responsible for bringing one of the best albums of the year, and ‘Danny Nedelko’ is almost a fun listen into showcasing how all bullshit and opinions aside, we are all the same. Gruff vocals deliver quotable lyrics against a chugging bassline, pounding drums and scathing guitars to create one of the most exhilarating singles of the year.
FIVE: SERAMIC – ‘STRANGE MAGIC’
Off-kilter and sensual is not something I imagined working together but Seramic achieved exactly that with ‘Strange Magic’. It’s off-pace percussion and odd synths eased into one of the most satisfying drops of the year, and the chorus is a glorious descent into feeling a little hot and bothered.
FOUR: TEAM PICTURE – ‘(I WANT YOUR) LIFE HACK’
With booming drums, soaring horns and larger than life bassline, Team Picture delivered an absolute carnival to the ears with this banger. ‘(I Want Your) Life Hack’ is a wondrous exploration into losing your mind and one that might not fulfil it’s promise to bring you back to reality. I feel a little loopy with each listen, and I like that.
THREE: OH800 – ‘I WANT YOU AROUND’
Oh800’s ‘I Want You Around’ is EASILY the grooviest song of 2018. The trio’s blend of disco-punk and psychedelic goodness has created something that doesn’t skimp on the rhythms, and whether it’s the scatty guitar riffs, the forever-pummelling basslines or the journey into the strange, there’s something for everyone within these near-five minutes of pure bliss.
TWO: MINI MANSIONS – ‘WORKS EVERY TIME’
I’m not gonna stop flying the flag and campaigning for more people to listen to Mini Mansions but seriously, LISTEN TO MINI MANSIONS. They dropped a superb EP in Works Every Time and it’s lead single is a heartfelt tune filled with Poppy goodness and rhythms that transcend genres and focuses purely on delivering something good.
NUMBER ONE: PARQUET COURTS – ‘TOTAL FOOTBALL’
There was only gonna be one single that’d take the top spot, and Parquet Courts brought something with an intro that certainly warranted the accolade. The band’s productivity over the course of their existence cannot be scoffed at, but it seems they really hit their stride in 2018 with Wide Awake! And ‘Total Football’ is one that kicks it off in a big, big way.
The guitar riffs bring an air of familiarity to the mix, allowing the band to let loose ever so slightly with a chaotic rush of politically-incensed lyricism that knocks out of the park and onto the nose throughout. Every element of it is satisfying to hear, and I’m proud to list it as the Top Single of 2018.