In a year that defined itself, it’s no mystery that the course of culture in 2018 was heavily tied to music. Artists stood up and made political stands, from Childish Gambino‘s iconic ‘This Is America‘ video to Hozier‘s dramatic Nina Cried Power EP, while others found the strength to take themselves back: Jenn Champion‘s ‘Coming For You‘ and CHVRCHES‘ ‘Never Say Die‘ are testaments to that. Whenever times got tough, we always turn to music to reignite our hope in the world (or confirm them), and this year was no different. This is our Top 50 Songs of 2018 list, for all the songs that defined our year.
Alternative rock legends Death Cab For Cutie returned this year with a new album, but with a new sense of humanity to them. Instead of dismissing worry and living without fear, Death Cab For Cutie reminisce in their new album: no track sets the tone better than opening song ‘I Dreamt We Spoke Again.’ Don’t let the track’s upbeat instrumental and melodies distract you from the pain hidden behind the words: the second verse sadly cries, “I dreamt we spoke, I dreamt we spoke again / But when I awoke, when I awoke I could not remember anything you said.“ There’s a lifetime of pain in this song alone, and it feels like only Death Cab For Cutie could deliver such reflection.
2018 was a big year for K-Pop and BTS, and they didn’t take that lightly. Releasing several records this year, BTS delivered dozens of awesome songs to show the diversity of the genre, but the song that perhaps does it best is ‘Don’t Leave Me.’ The dramatic track starts atmospherically, a hip-hop verse adding some grit to the drama before the sweeter chorus follows, a massive drop following out of nowhere. The song builds urgently, almost cinematically as the members of the group trade off between verses and choruses. ‘Don’t Leave Me’ is a clean display of the catchy and genre-bending nature of K-Pop, and certainly deserves a listen.
The Neighbourhood were all about intimacy and sensuality this year, and no song sums that up better than ‘Heaven.‘ Originally released on the To Imagine EP, ‘Heaven’ is tantalizingly moody. The slightly vocoded vocals sing tauntingly as the deeply electronic instrumental provides the perfect backdrop to this digital romance. There’s a distinct sexiness to this track that’s hard to quantify unless you’re in the moment with the track - and when you are, you’ll find that perfect moment of dark euphoria.
2018 was full of electronic anthems, but none were quite as inspiring as Martin Garrix‘s and Pierce Fulton‘s ‘Waiting For Tomorrow‘ featuring Mike Shinoda. The song starts gently and atmospherically as Shinoda’s vocals slide smoothly over them, the drop coming in full force with loads of punch and energy. The song’s hopeful desperation comes out beautifully in the chorus, Shinoda chanting: “Counting down to the light, through the night / Just waiting for tomorrow / Almost there, almost time / All my life, just waiting / It's only one more day.“ The emotion and drive of the song serve as the perfect soundtrack to finally overcoming what holds you back.
Written to feature in this year’s Suspiria remake, Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke crafted the perfect ballad for the horror film. The piano notes move in unison in a ballet-like movement (to tie in with the movie) as Yorke’s ghastly falsetto reverberates out atop the dramatic track. Orchestral accents help add various color to the songs as the image of a vintage ballet dancer prances along to the movement of the song in your head. A haunting track both in context and without, and a landmark soundtrack overall.
A Perfect Circle set out to make a statement on the direction of society in Eat The Elephant, but not every track was hopeless. In fact, ‘So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish‘ is one of the year’s most heartwarming anthems. There’s been many sad losses in the entertainment world over the last few years, and A Perfect Circle wrote this song in dedication to all of them. From music greats such as David Bowie to big-screen stars like Carrie Fisher, A Perfect Circle immortalize some our hero’s legacies in this wonderfully thankful and warm track.
No one came harder into 2018 than Eminem did. Kamikaze came out of nowhere (fittingly, I suppose) at the end of the summer, and Slim Shady was back with a vengeance. After being ridiculed for the direction he took in Revival, Eminem hit back at everyone who told him down, and there was blood. ‘Greatest‘ is the most direct track on the record, Eminem’s angry and unstoppable flow back in a big way. Eminem is constantly flaunting himself through the track while showing that he’s just as present in hip-hop as anyone else (“Revival didn’t go viral!” mocking Kendrick Lamar will never not be iconic). Eminem made one important statement this year: don’t mess with him.
Bebe Rexha finally released her debut record this year, and pop’s newest queen made sure to deliver. Though released last year, Rexha’s ‘I Got You‘ is as infectious as ever. The deserted atmosphere of the verses make the choruses feel even bigger than they are, Rexha’s vocals running and grooving effortlessly above the track, bringing melodies that you can’t help but hum back to her. ‘I Got You’ is as close to a perfect pop song as you can get.
grandson is one of music’s most unique new personalities, and his haunting sound is perfectly captured in ‘Overdose.’ The creepy melodies pair beautifully with the unsettling guitar riff, the song growing with an electronic growl before the chorus comes in with plenty of distortion and fuzz. grandson never loses sight of the vibe he’s going for: every moment of ‘Overdose’ feels like something horrible is just on the horizon. The song even reaches that wild climax you’re waiting for at the end, an electrifying and dirty guitar solo bringing the track out. Creating atmosphere so tangible and interactive is no easy feat, but grandson has no problem doing so.
Fall Out Boy delivered loads of anthems this year between MANIA and Lake Effect Kid, and the centerpiece of the latter was ‘Super Fade.’ Continuing to sing for Chicago while further exploring electronica, ‘Super Fade’ definitely has a vengeance with it. Punchy, confident brass accent the track as Patrick Stump‘s vocals roar over the exploding drop. ‘Super Fade’ is like ‘Young and Menace‘ done correctly, and Fall Out Boy nail this sound with drama, swagger, and precision.
While Origins as a whole was fairly disappointing, it’s hard to dismiss the impact of Imagine Dragons‘ ‘Natural.’ The track is a true-to-form Imagine Dragons lead single, a minimalistic but demanding drum beat and a tantalizing guitar line build the atmosphere behind Dan Reynolds‘ damning lyrics. The chorus angrily screams, “You're a natural / A beating heart of stone / You gotta be so cold to make it in this world / Yeah, you're a natural / Living your life cutthroat / You gotta be so cold.“ The pain of the song serves as the perfect context to stand up and fight - a feeling Imagine Dragons knows how to deliver.
2018 was the year of acceptance, and no one in pop music made more of a statement on that than Hayley Kiyoko did. Her debut Expectations made her an overnight sensation, primarily through the LGBTQ+ messages throughout the record. Expectations is more than a record about pride, though: it’s about chasing that love, regardless of who it may be. ‘Wanna Be Missed‘ is one of the most intimate and sensual songs on the record, Kiyoko’s vocals shouting out wantingly as she begs during the choruses: “I wanna be missed like every night / I wanna be kissed like it's the last time / Say you can't eat, can't sleep, can't breathe without me.“ If there’s one thing we learned about love this year, it’s that it’s not just about gender or sex. As Kiyoko puts it, it’s all about the feeling.
While the departure of former frontman Austin Carlile created an air of uncertainty around the future of metalcore outfit Of Mice & Men, the band kicked back with this year’s Instincts, proving that they were more than fine. Aaron Pauley assumes lead vocal duty, flawlessly showcasing his abilities on ‘Sunflower;’ the same is true for the rest of the band, as well. The song flips effortlessly between clean and brutally screamed vocals as huge drums and thick guitars carry the song forward. Melodies help keep the track captivating even as the song hits more intense points - Of Mice & Men made it very clear that they’re here to stay.
Heartbreak was the recurring theme throughout Jenn Champion‘s Single Rider, but the most stark example of that pain came in ‘Coming For You.’ The indie pop track kicks off with an attitude, the synth intro punchily bringing the song in. The chorus dives into the harsher reality of things, the beautiful melodies complementing Champion’s pained lyrics: “Got somethin' to prove, and nothin' to lose / I'm comin' for you.“ Champion’s pain evolves into something more than just simple heartbreak: it creates a vendetta, and that’s how the rest of the record plays out. ‘Coming For You’ is the anthemic and emotional introduction into that complex story.
Elder Brother has a lot to say throughout Stay Inside, but their starkest message comes in the record’s closing track, ‘I Don’t Think It Stops.’ The weary ballad discusses the pain of the past, and how it’s nearly impossible to ever truly escape it. The song grows more and more passionate as it continues, building into an electrifying guitar solo that brings the track to an emotional climax before one final chorus takes the record out, as if to have one final hurrah against the pain that haunts them.
35. Doja Cat - ‘Roll With Us’
While Doja Cat made headlines with ‘Moooo!‘ this year, her finest piece of work from 2018 has to be ‘Roll With Us.’ Offering the perfect Doja Cat-chill vibe, the slow and somewhat minimalistic track is carried by her driving vocals and countless harmonies. The beat feels like secondary percussion compared to Doja Cat’s dominating presence on the track, even while the song itself perfectly captures a heavenly atmosphere. There’s no one who’s quite like Doja Cat, yet her unique sound ensures that she’ll be here to stay.
Architects know the pain of loss, and their new record Holy Hell reflects that. It’s their first since the passing of guitarist Tom Searle, and no better song captures their true suffering like lead single ‘Hereafter.’ Atop frantic, jagged, distorted guitar riffs and commanding drums are tortured, confused lyrics that try at anything to find an escape. Beautifully blending clean vocals and screamed ones together, the choruses cry: “Now the oceans have drained out / Can I come up for air? / 'Cause I've been learning to live without.... Now the skies have been blacked out / I've got to find my way / 'Cause it's been raining but there's a drought / And I'm fighting with broken bones“ as if to say their battle against grief only finds itself bringing more pain. Grief is not a linear cycle, and as Architects make clear, it’s never easy, either.
There were a whole load of big singles from Panic! At The Disco‘s newest record Pray For The Wicked, including the anthemic ‘High Hopes‘ that undoubtedly electrified the year. Yet, its ‘Roaring 20s‘ that really captures the creativity of the album best. Brendon Urie doesn’t mess around when it comes to experimentation - ‘Roaring 20s’ sees old-school jazz, Latin extravagance, and alternative pop together in a dynamic and awesome way, bringing fun, energy, and even some drama to the table. You can’t go wrong with Panic!.
Let’s Eat Grandma has it all: spirit, talent, youth… Their debut I’m All Ears explores all of those, but ‘Falling Into Me‘ captures the album’s spirit best. Vocally, ‘Falling Into Me’ comes with a bit of an attitude and confidence, even when the lyrics reveal a more fragile and uncertain message. The song builds wildly from start to finish, morphing from a grand 80s synthpop track to a more modern indie-pop anthem with big, pumping synths to add to the atmosphere. There’s few songs that have the audacity this one has to simply do whatever it wants while sounding cohesive all the same - that can be said for almost all of Let’s Eat Grandma’s music, in fact.
31. TesseracT - ‘King’
Sonder is one of TesseracT‘s biggest records yet, with a diverse tracklist and loads of energy. At the heart of the record is the seven-minute epic ‘King,’ a spiraling and monstrous track that put TesseracT on another level. The song’s massive beginnings only come with more intensity as the song grows, changing structurally in major ways almost every minute. From the heavy trudge of the first part to the gentleness of the second, TesseracT show their more dynamic side through just one song - and rest assured, the song returns to its explosive nature by the end. It’s a grand track that while take you on an equally grand journey.
Everyone who knows Stone Temple Pilots know that they’ve had a rough couple of years, losing both of their previous vocalists within the last three years. That’s why the taste of their comeback is so sweet. Stone Temple Pilots returned this year with their second self-titled record Stone Temple Pilots, and with Jeff Gutt on vocals, the band are back in shape. ‘Roll Me Under' is the definitive proof that STP is back, with massive riffs, huge drive, and some good old fashioned rock n’ roll all to boot.
Tomberlin‘s At Weddings showed the world her broken-down existence as she sings of her struggles with depression and accepting the past. There’s a hopeless optimism throughout the record that only adds to its crushing reality, and that all culminates in ‘I’m Not Scared.’ In this piano-based track, Tomberlin sings quietly yet sweetly above reverberating keys, a sense of optimism in her tone. Even with this, however, she knows she can’t escape reality. Throughout the song, she’s trying her best to force herself to believe that she isn’t scared, when the truth is she’s terrified about what’s next. And haven’t we all been there.
Metal didn’t have as big a year as the last few, but Halestorm certainly made a big statement with their record Vicious. ‘Black Vultures‘ opens the album with an unstoppable flair, Lzzy Hale‘s powerful attitude introducing the record with growled screams. The rest of the track follows suit, driven verses leading into massive choruses. Absolutely everything explodes during the choruses, from the vocals to the pounding drums. Halestorm knows how to jam, and they sure love to do just that.
Tash Sultana was a surprising newcomer on the block this year, but anyone who listened to her record Flow State immediately knew that she was a force to be reckoned with. ‘Cigarettes‘ perfectly captures the album’s vibe, a trippy atmosphere built from soft keys, groovy vocals and harmonies, and absolutely phenomenal guitar work. This track flows without a single care in the world, bringing only good vibes and a chill mood with it. The track explodes at the end with an electrifying guitar solo, further showcasing Sultana’s musicianship. Sultana is ready to take over rock - these are only her first steps.
One of indie music’s most notable new faces is Haley Heynderickx, already a staple in the genre after her lowkey debut I Need To Start A Garden. At the heart of the record is her unique personality, which shines through beautifully on ‘The Bug Collector.’ Kicking off with a lively and innocent fingerpicked guitar, Heynderickx utilizes metaphors of insects and sparse instrumentation (with haunting harmonies) to create the perfect intimate atmosphere. Even while on the topic of insects, Heynderickx injects a certain romance and intimacy into this track that makes it feel simply magical. It’s one of those songs that is so indescribably good that you can’t really pinpoint the one thing that makes it so - and perhaps that’s all for the best.
A certain fragility in Gia Margaret‘s ‘Smoke‘ somehow perfectly captures the essence of her loneliness. ‘Smoke’ is an incredibly intimate number from her equally as private There’s Always Glimmer, and this track is about as haunting as they come. The lo-fi piano chords serve as the gentle, innocent backdrop to Margaret’s chilling vocals, the harmonies adding to the song’s delicate structure. It feels like one wrong move could send this song spiraling into a horrible silence, yet the song continues to push forward wearily, Margaret’s voice slowly gaining warmth and optimism as the song progresses, though still acknowledging the pain that brought this song to be. It’s almost like this song is the sonic representation of everything that’s left holding Margaret up, and all you can do is find yourself learning her familiar emptiness.
There’s no powercouple like Beyoncé and JAY-Z. And nothing says “powercouple” like renting out the entire Louvre for a music video. The duo released EVERYTHING IS LOVE this year as a way to end off the trilogy of records that discussed the bad times of their relationship. However, the couple are done talking about the wrongs: they’re here to say “we own the world,” and no track says that louder than ‘APESHIT.’ The massive beat sees the duo absolutely annihilate every opponent and naysayer they’ve ever had. Plus, nothing is more badass than hearing Beyoncé go ‘Rap God‘ on everyone who’s ever spoken ill of her. ‘APESHIT’ is about as big a powermove that you can make.
No track was as heartfelt and desperately in love as Joji‘s ‘SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK‘ was. The track oozes sweetness, the floaty instrumental wonderfully supporting Joji’s dejected-yet-sensual vocals during the verses. The choruses see Joji’s emotions come out more powerfully and succinctly, the instrumental becoming fuller as Joji’s vocals become fuller and more desperate. Love songs rarely reach such a personal level of intimacy like this track yet still manage to capture such a widely felt feeling before, yet Joji seems to be able to do it like its nothing.
Logic burst into 2018 ready to take it over, and he certainly did. With two very different yet still expertly executed releases, Logic showed this year that he’s a force to be reckoned with. One of the more damning numbers between his releases was ‘44 More‘ from Bobby Tarantino II. In this track, Logic does not kid around. He brings out his best flow as he raps about how he will never let his children down in the future for letting fame getting the best of him. Then the beat changes and Logic brutally dives into how much of a driving force in hip-hop he is. Say what you will with Logic, but after 2018, you can’t dismiss him anymore.
Few songs took the world by storm like ‘This Is America‘ did. Childish Gambino dropped the song and video out of nowhere, and both individually painted a pretty alarming picture of society. The chaos of the video feels right in line with the waving, distorted bass synth that controls the song, meanwhile Gambino’s flashy and trendy dancing distracts from it all. Bringing together pop, hip-hop, and gospel, ‘This Is America’ showed us a picture of America that many of us were too afraid to admit, and all the while making a catchy song and powerful video.
AURORA is the closest thing the world has to an actual Disney princess, and her music is just as magical. Her long-awaited follow up Infections Of A Different Kind (Step I) offered up characteristically enchanting tracks that take you to a fantasy realm, but none quite as effectively so as ‘It Happened Quiet.’ It feels like this song is a living, breathing thing itself, full of character and personality as AURORA’s beautiful harmonies and falsetto soar above the plucked harps. There’s an ethereal quality to AURORA’s earthly music, and it will never get old.
Chaos is the secret ingredient to Son Lux‘s crazy formula, but even with all the dynamic numbers on Brighter Wounds, no song saw chaos breed order better than ‘Dream State.’ The distorted, jagged track is built out of wonder and an anthemic atmosphere, huge gang vocals bringing the song to life even as the rest of the song distorts and changes seemingly nonsensically. There’s not a lot of order in the structure of ‘Dream State,’ but somehow that fact brings it together even further. There’s no time for reprieve on this track, but that’s part of its message. ‘Dream State’ encourages you to find yourself amidst the chaos of the world and overcome it. There’s beauty to be found from chaos: you just have to be willing to dig for it.
Rae Morris‘s sophomore record blissfully and easily escaped the classic “sophomore slump” by being packed full of character, passion, and vulnerability. ‘Wait For The Rain‘ is where those three meet, and it’s a heartbreaking gathering, to say the least. Morris sings sweetly above an equally soft instrumental, her vocals hopeful and full of optimism, even while her lyrics tell a sadder story. As anthemic as the chorus may be, the lyrics cry: “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.” ‘Wait For The Rain’ is like an empowering anthem for the empty, Morris gathering her deepest memories of love and pain to deliver this powerful ballad.
When he wasn’t on Twitter, Kanye West was busy producing some of the year’s biggest releases; yet, none made quite an impact as his collaborative project with Kid Cudi, KIDS SEE GHOSTS. Kanye really brought out all the stops on this record, and it definitely shines on ‘4th Dimension.’ The song is based on a sample of a decades-old Christmas track by Louis Prima, a demanding beat providing the perfect backdrop for West and Cudi to really go off during their respective verses. Only Kanye could turn a Christmas song into a hip-hop classic like that.
Marmozets‘ Knowing What You Know Now was one of the year’s first heavy-hitters, and its riffs and energy stood the test of the time. Listening to ‘Habits‘ is all you need to feel energized for the day: the wild first verse explodes to life, before the stripped-down pre-chorus takes things down just to build things back up again in a big way. There’s an almost evil nature to the track that gives it such a brooding atmosphere, yet there’s something about it that you just can’t let go of that keeps the song alive and kicking. It’s the perfect pump up song to get something done to, an shows that Marmozets know how to pack a real punch.
While Twenty One Pilots spend much of Trench in an acute battle to escape the fictional city of Dema, the band can’t escape their demons forever. Amidst world-building tracks and more radio-friendly numbers is ‘Neon Gravestones,’ a powerful piano ballad that speaks out against suicide. Tyler Joseph‘s lost vocal delivery comes with lyrics that question society itself and its romanticization of suicide, getting intimate in a similar fashion to the band’s cult-classic ‘Car Radio.’ The drama and temptations society and his inner demons lead to the haunting chorus which worries, “Neon gravestones try to call for my bones.’ Joseph even shares what his final wishes are should his demons get the best of him, somberly asking “Promise me this: If I lose to myself, you won't mourn a day / And you'll move onto someone else.“ Even whil building their own world, Twenty One Pilots found the right moments to make observations about our own imperfect one, too.
Passenger can deliver indie-folk classics like nobody’s business, and ‘Hell Or High Water‘ is just his next classic. This song feels like the sonic representation of a somber wanderlust, the track beginning quietly with nothing but Passenger’s gentle folky timbre and an acoustic guitar, a banjo and light drum beat soon joining the mix as the story unfolds somberly. ‘Hell Or High Water’ tells the story of feeling lost when you thought you found your answers, told with the allegory of a lost love. It’s as heartbreaking as it is retrospective, and will always take you back to a specific time in your life when you felt the same.
Before dropping their massive new record Simulation Theory, Muse had been building up to the release with a multitude of singles: the second of which was this year’s ‘Thought Contagion.’ One of the heavier numbers on the record, ‘Thought Contagion’ is the perfect crossroads between Muse’s heavier roots (with a big guitar riff and pounding choruses to complete the vibe) and their newer pop experimentation. Thirty Seconds To Mars-like gang vocals take the song to even greater heights, bringing loads of energy and an anthemic presence with it that served as the sound of triumph this year.
Milk & Bone‘s Deception Bay showed both sides of love: the euphoria of it and the pain of it. ‘Tmrw.‘ captures the loneliness of it incredibly as it leads into the second thematic half of the album. A brooding piano quietly marches forward above the ghastly vocals and eerie strings that build the atmosphere. There’s such a powerful sense of loneliness and pain in this track that you can’t help but sympathize with the duo, the vocals so precisely capturing the emotions they feel. This track is like the sound of loneliness, and it’ll stay with you hauntingly for quite some time.
Fall Out Boy‘s MANIA undoubtedly made a huge impact on its release, and its opening track ‘Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea‘ introduced that revolution tenfold. Introduced by loud, industrial guitars and synths, Fall Out Boy roar into an intense and demanding song, pounding drums and a wild atmosphere underlie Patrick Stump‘s powerful vocal performance. ‘Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea’ is like the giant alternative middle-finger we all wanted to give the world at some point or another this year, and even as specific as that is, it absolutely nailed that vibe and made for one of the year’s biggest tracks.
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.
The unstoppable drive of CHVRCHES didn’t hit any walls this year if 2018’s Love Is Dead had anything to say about it. Packed to the brim with huge anthems and retrospective synthpop waves, CHVRCHES really pushed forward with a new - yet familiar - vibe. At the crux of their evolution is ‘Never Say Die,’ a huge track that begins deceivingly cheerfully as Lauren Mayberry‘s sweet vocals sadly cry, “Didn’t you say that?“ As Mayberry finds her anger and emotion, the instrumental builds energetically before the massive drop kicks in with unforgettable bass and huge hook vocals to keep the song tied together. CHVRCHES goes big and they go all the way.
On his journey to best his tragedy and realize his identity after losing Chester, Mike Shinoda delivered a song that truly exemplifies the idea of someone's world falling apart. 'Nothing Makes Sense Anymore' is a unique and powerful song, featuring nothing but Mike's tortured vocals and gentle synths, all amounting to a world-crushing feeling as Mike sings some truly pained words: "My inside’s out / my left is right / My upside’s down / my black is white / I hold my breath / and close my eyes / And wait for dawn but there’s no light." The metaphors of the song just add to its torture, but a key part about it elicits some hope. Even in the face of impossibility, Mike sings 'Nothing Makes Sense Anymore' in order to come closer to that light that feels just out of reach. The angelic synths in the backgrounds of the chorus give it that heavenly vibe, letting that feeling of hope come across, even in the face of impossibility.
Travis Scott has been the highlight of hip-hop for ages, and upon dropping the long-awaited ASTROWORLD this year, he solidified his place amongst as this era of rap’s king. At the forefront of ASTROWORLD is the dynamic and unforgettable ‘SICKO MODE,’ a song that not only dominated airwaves, but managed to do so with experimental structure, constantly changing flows, and a mindboggling music video, too. Features from Drake and Swae Lee help add some starpower to the track, but it’s the three distinct beats that change on the dime that really make this song so good.
America is neither wholly global nor intimate, but there are some very personal moments throughout the album where Thirty Seconds To Mars remind us that a lot of the battle lies within ourselves. 'Rescue Me' is the most clear and alarming of those warnings, the electronic rock ballad seeing Jared Leto try to find answers for a tortured past. From the restrained first verse that advises "Whatever you do, don't ever play my game / Too many years being the king of pain," to the pleads of the epic, building pre-chorus where he cries "Rescue me from the demons in my mind / Rescue me from the lovers in my life," Leto's pain and inner turmoil is revealed in its truest colors. The electronic ballad certainly has a lot of pop flair that'll keep listeners coming back, but the lyrics are a solemn reminder that even in times of chaos, the true battles are still in our minds.
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.
There’s a distinct sadness in the closing track to Thrice‘s newest record Palms. ‘Beyond The Pines‘ is a subtle track, where the rasp and weathering of Dustin Kensrue‘s voice truly shines. The song tells the painful story of losing someone. The chorus roars with powerful emotion, Kensrue crying out, “I will meet you there, beyond the pines, templed in twilight or dawn. The light and easy air, tracing the lines on our palms.” Thrice has always had a way of telling stories, but ‘Beyond The Pines’ takes it to another level. It’s one of the most beautiful stories told through music this year.
No one delivers a funky rock anthem like Muse. From their new record Simulation Theory comes the stadium epic ‘Pressure,’ complete with endless riffs and a rocking drive. The song’s iconic guitar intro roars load and proud as a brass section empowers it, Matt Bellamy‘s vocals flowing energetically as Dom Howard‘s drums are tight and Chris Wolstenholme‘s bass runs rampant. The real charm of this song is its energy, which it skillfully unleashes with almost no effort. Muse keeps on proving that just when you think they’re losing steam, they’re still capable of delivering a punch.
'Great Wide Open' from Thirty Seconds To Mars' new album America could truly be the new national anthem. The album itself captures the essence of society as a whole, and more specifically the chaos of it, but 'Great Wide Open' looks at the moments of beauty we wish to preserve. The song is the sound of standing at the top of a mountain, looking down at the endless landscapes below and the elicits the feeling of wanting to keep that tranquility safe. From the gospel-backed chants of "let it out, let it go / lay down you arms" that sees the bridge explode with power and soul while calling for unity, the song's truly powerful sentiment comes from the more intimate line that ends the chorus, where Jared Leto pleads: "I will save your heart from breaking, won't you stop, please? Set me free."
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.
What songs defined YOUR 2018? Stay tuned for our Best New Artists of 2018 list, and be sure to check out our Top 50 Albums of 2018, too! Follow our social media to stay up-to-date on all the new music coming out next year!