Immortal Reviews' Favorite Songs Of 2018
Grief is not a linear process. Some days it may feel like you've moved on, and other days it will hit you in the chest again like it was yesterday. The world mourned Chester Bennington after he died by suicide in July of last year, and many - including us - are still healing. No one had been quite as pained as his family and his bandmates (though there is not really a need for distinction there), especially Mike Shinoda. His Post Traumatic EP follows his path of dealing with grief in the months following Bennington's passing, and at heart of it lies 'Over Again,' a heartbreaking song about having to "say goodbye over and over and over again" as the constant reminders of the past continue to haunt you every day. The song discusses the pressures, the pain, and the reality of what Shinoda faced in those months following, making it a beautiful, cathartic track not only for fans, but for Shinoda himself.
Fall Out Boy has always known how to deliver an anthem, but none before them have quite hit the mark like 'The Last Of The Real Ones.' The driven piano intro leads into some of Patrick Stump's finest vocal work and a brilliant build throughout the song. Fall Out Boy gets back in touch with what made their pop punk-turned-alternative rock sound so loved in the first place, and with a giant chorus with unforgettable melodies and unwavering desire, 'The Last Of The Real Ones' is undoubtedly one of the band's, and 2018's, biggest anthems.
Post Traumatic isn't Linkin Park, nor is it Fort Minor. As Mike Shinoda has said, it's an EP about grief, and grief is personal. Thus, it's only Mike's heart here. 'Place To Start' brings the record to a sobering start, the gentle synths underlying Shinoda's admittance to not understanding where his mind is currently at. The chorus cries, "I'm tired of the fear that I can't control this / I'm tired of feeling like every next step's hopeless," heartbreaking yet a fear we've all been through at some point. Post Traumatic, as emotionally powerful and intimate as it is, channels the stages of grief in ways that any listener can relate to, and shows Shinoda at his most fragile as he searches for strength.
Rock music wasn't the only genre that lost its defining figures in 2017. Just as the year came to close and we thought that the world was done taking our heroes from us, Jonghyun of K-Pop band SHINee committed suicide. Before his death, he was recording an album, which became this year's posthumous Poet | Artist. Mostly consisting of jazzy, R&B influenced pop tracks, Jonghyun sounds free from any pressures of the world and genuinely sounds happy. At the end of the album is the heartbreaking 'Before Our Spring,' a track where Jonghyun's voice speaks louder than his words. A longing tale of love sung by a fragile, pained voice where you can truly hear his vulnerability peak through the cracks. It's a hard listen to swallow, and a fitting goodbye for someone who's demons got the best of him. In these final moments, however, you can tell he found a bit of happiness, and that's where the beauty of the music shines through.
While MANIA is largely anthemic and alternative, Fall Out Boy made sure to make a big punch. 'Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea' opens the physical copies of the record, and may just be one of the biggest album openers ever. Giant, pounding synths give the song an industrial touch, Patrick Stump's vocals full of swagger while he stays in top form. The choruses are threatening and badass, maintaining power and the anthemic presence all at once. It's so big that it's going to be impossible for you to forget it.
That tragic moment where you realize that love is gone and all that's left is loneliness is one of the darkest times any of us can go through. The volta of Milk & Bone's Deception Bay hits right as 'Tmrw.' starts, the empty ambiance of a dusty room making the piano chords reverberate tragically as the somber vocals search for optimism in a dark moment: "Let's see what tomorrow brings." The song captures a specific moment where loneliness takes over love, as if there's nothing left, and takes you back to those fragile times where you may have felt the same way.
Marmozets were the revitalizing force of punk-infused alternative rock when they dropped their debut, and with Knowing What You Know Now, their sound only got bigger. 'Habits' is a defining moment on the record, the urgent, evil riffs roaring powerful as the drums pound anthemically. Becca McIntyre's voice shows a vulnerable side in the stripped down pre-choruses before she lets loose in the characteristically giant choruses. 'Habits' is epic from start to finish, a dark and brooding jam with a powerful statement.
Heartbreak is one of the hardest things to get through, especially when you've given someone your all. Rae Morris tackles this in the heartwrenching 'Wait For The Rain' off her sophomore LP Someone Out There. Morris delivers painful lyrics throughout the song, chanting "It was 4 in the morning, tears down my face... I tried hard for you baby, no one else mattered" in the first verse before crying out in the chorus: "I cannot wait for the rain to remove this lover's pain / I cannot wait for the rain to come and fill me up again." The second verse comes in with more power, the instrumental building as Morris' pain does. It brings those emotions back out of you if you've ever felt them, and perhaps will help you understand them if you haven't felt them. Regardless, Morris put truly raw emotions down into this track, and it truly made a powerful mark.
Son Lux's Brighter Wounds emphasized the vulnerability of their music, and it perhaps became clearest in the frantic nature of 'Dream State.' From the anthemic gang vocals to the pop drive, 'Dream State' seems like one of Son Lux's poppiest tracks yet, which is not entirely untrue. But at the same time, it's one of the most sonically powerful, the dark atmosphere acting as the insecurities and pain the beholder must struggle through to achieve what you strive for. With incredible production, a narrative, and beautiful atmosphere all to boot, 'Dream State' stands at the center of Son Lux's battle with vulnerability on Bright Wounds.
Of Mice & Men have been faced with a lot of problems over the last few years. Cold World felt disconnected and uncertain, and when Austin Carlile left due to health issues, Aaron Pauley was left to take all vocal duty on himself. Defy was the big step for them, and was the defining line as to whether the band would make it or not. The answer was an astounding yes, as Of Mice & Men brought one of the best albums of their career, and at the core of it sits 'Sunflower,' a powerful song that shows all the best of what the band has to offer now. Transitioning strongly between clean and screamed vocals, Aaron Pauley shows he is more than capable of leading the band, while the rest of the band shows their mastery of their instruments. A new era is upon them, and a good one it shall be.
The following is a comprehensive list of our favorite songs from the records we listened to this year.
Click the links to check out the full reviews!
Songs noted with an asterisk (*) are track reviews.
Last Updated: February 10, 2018
- Mike Shinoda - 'Over Again'
- Fall Out Boy - 'The Last Of The Real Ones'
- Mike Shinoda - 'Place To Start'
- Jonghyun - 'Before Our Spring'
- Fall Out Boy - 'Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea'
- Milk & Bone - 'Tmrw.'
- Marmozets - 'Habits'
- Rae Morris - 'Wait For The Rain'
- Son Lux - 'Dream State'
- Of Mice & Men - 'Sunflower'
- The Chainsmokers - 'Sick Boy' *
- The Neighbourhood - 'Heaven'
- cupcakKe - 'Cinammon Toast Crunch'
- Camila Cabello - 'Consequences'
- The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar - 'Pray For Me'
- Dream Wife - 'F.U.U.'
- Rhye - 'Sinful'
- Jaguwar - 'Slow and Tiny'
- First Aid Kit - 'Fireworks'
- Joe Satriani - 'Thunder High On The Mountain'
- Justin Timberlake - 'Say Something'
- Porches - 'W Longing'
- Franz Ferdinand - 'Lazy Boy'
- BØRNS - 'God Save Our Young Blood'
- Anna Burch - 'Belle Isle'
- Francesca Michielin - 'Scusa Se Non Ho Gli Occhi Azzurri'
- Migos - 'Notice Me'
- Hookworms - 'The Soft Season'
- Belle & Sebastian - 'The Same Star'
- Drake - 'Diplomatic Immunity'
- Rich Brian - 'Occupied'
- Justine Skye - 'Wasteland'
- Black Veil Brides - 'Vale'