We’ve given you our top 20 albums of the year so far, well now it’s time for our top 20 songs. To stop the list being engulfed by Kanye and Cudi we’ve limited the list to one song per album, without further ado.
20. Father John Misty – Just Dumb Enough To Try
Expertly written and performed, Just Dumb Enough To Try is a twisted love song taken from Misty’s latest success God’s Favorite Customer. It’s a vocally pleasing song with a killer instrumental late in the song. It’s a reflective piece from Misty’s part as well as being relateable for the listener. A soothing, mellow, brilliant piece.
19. Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – One Kiss
The commercial dance anthem to end all commercial dance anthems, Calvin Harris continued his incredible roll of creating beach vibe funky bops with One Kiss, and even drafted in the help of recently formed megastar Dua Lipa for good measure. The song feels like it’s been at the top of the charts forever and for good reason, the two bring their absolute A-game to the song and I cease to believe there will be a chart topper quite as good as this at any point this year. Expect this to be the soundtrack to everyone’s summer, from family barbecues to British festivals, it will be everywhere.
18. MGMT – One Thing Left To Try
Synth-pop icons MGMT returned with their excellent fourth album Little Dark Age at the beginning of the year, and it was packed to the brim with smooth, tightly-produced bangers; none more so than One Thing Left To Try. The song takes a look at the idea of fear and has pretty dark content lyrically, being terrified of death being a poignant theme throughout, but the instrumental is so joyous and jolly it juxtaposes the lyrics in a way that David Bowie used to in the 70s and 80s. MGMT are back and better than ever.
17. Frank Ocean – Moon River
Performing a cover of Audrey Hepburn’s 1961 Breakfast At Tiffany’s ballad, Frank Ocean displays to us all once again why he is one of the biggest treasures in the music industry today. The song is gorgeously romantic on its own and Frank adds his own personality onto it, layering his voice with many vocal harmonies and even adding vocal effect at the start much like on his 2016 hit Nikes. Releasing this song on Valentine’s Day was just a beautiful gift from our cherished soul himself, take care Frank, we love you dearly.
16. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future & James Blake – King’s Dead
Jay Rock’s biggest song to date. Featured both on the Black Panther Album and Redemption, the song features killer flow from both Rock and Kendrick, but perhaps the best piece of this song is the madness from Future. High pitch vocals and some insane lyrics made for a fun track on Future’s part. It’s undoubtedly the most played song from Jay Rock’s album and maybe even the most played song from collaborative effort on The Black Panther Album.
15. Tyler The Creator – OKRA
Tyler’s had a busy year or so hasn’t he. When he’s not dropping Grammy nominated albums or releasing shoes, he’s giving away “throwaway” tracks like OKRA. The fact Tyler tweeted this track out of nowhere describing it as a throwaway blows my mind because it’s beyond worthy of a place on an album. Tyler has been veering from the rap box he was once in, so it’s fun to see him drop a pure rap song like this for no other reason than he wanted to.
14. The Voidz – Leave It In My Dreams
Our loveable rogue Julian Casablancas is back doing what he does best, making impossibly catchy music, this time with The Voidz rather than The Strokes. Leave It In My Dreams was a popular single for the American band thanks to its psychedelic indie-pop sound, being labelled as far more chilled out than most of the songs on their latest album Virtue. It isn’t the approachable nature that makes this song so good for me, it is the reminder that JC still has it in him to make tunes this catchy almost 20 years after he first arrived on the scene.
13. Kali Uchis Featuring Bootsy Collins & Tyler, The Creator – After The Storm
Kali Uchis joined the elite this year and this song was a large reason of that. Produced by BADBADNOTGOOD, it was the lead single from Uchis’ debut album Isolation. Kali Uchis has an incredible ability to make a soothing track time and time again and this falls into that category. Having long time collaborator Tyler on the track gave it a fresh spin and Flower Boy vibe. The pair will always make amazing songs together, it’s almost fact at this point.
12. Travis Scott Featuring Lil Uzi Vert & Kanye West – Watch
Travis Scott has kept us waiting what feels like forever, but it appears as though Astroworld season is fast approaching with the release of this certified banger titled Watch. Lil Uzi Vert and Kanye West join La Flame to craft an archetypal trap anthem with a futuristic twist, and all three rhyme with authority over an unbelievably fast paced, snare-heavy beat. The hook is infectious and the cohesion between all three rappers is a joy to behold, but it has to be said that Kanye takes the crown for his utterly hilarious but excellent feature verse. Remember guys, “never trust a bartender that don’t drink, bitch.”
11. Pusha T – The Story Of Adidon
Following on from his amazing album DAYTONA, King Push would release a Drake diss that would send shockwaves through the rap world. Pusha took aim at Drake’s issues with his father and issues with his own child, as well as deep shots at 40. It might not have been Pusha’s best overall song, but it was without a doubt his most known and the one that will go down in history as one of raps coldest diss tracks ever.
10. Janelle Monáe – PYNK
Two of the most abstract and diverse female artists in the music industry today combined on this song from Janelle Monae’s album Dirty Computer; and the Grimes influence is felt heavily. The production has such a glitzy art-pop tint to it and the vocal harmonies, coming from Grimes herself, sound angelic alongside Janelle’s typically stellar performance. The song is also a tribute to the Aersomith song Pink and shares structural and thematic similarities, with frontman Steven Tyler earning a writing credit.
9. Death Grips – Streaky
The lead single from the deranged hip-hop outfit’s sixth album Year of the Snitch, Death Grips blessed fans with Streaky, a song which shares direct correlation with their 2016 experimental reach Eh for their similarities in synthesised beats and laboured vocal deliveries from MC Ride. Streaky appears to be telling the tale of a drug dealer profiting success and fortune from such a sleazy industry as drug dealing, stating that a job like that may pay dividends in the short term, but it’ll eventually catch up with you. It’s one of their most accessible songs as of now and rightfully deserves its place on this list.
8. Kids See Ghosts – Reborn
The Kanye West and Kid Cudi supergroup was a roaring success as the self titled album of Kids See Ghosts was a joyous success. Reborn is a track that discusses the pasts of Cudi and Ye and how they’re, well, reborn. It’s an emotional track that reminds me of Cudi’s Man On The Moon days. The production is sublime and the ultimate message of the song is one of change, hope and inspiration. A marvelous success from two of the most influential rappers to ever grace the game.
7. Kanye West – Ghost Town
Originally slated to be on the Kids See Ghosts album, Ghost Town ended up on Ye but still heavily featured Kid Cudi. It’s upbeat, positive and full of soul. Kanye West has created the best gospel rap ever. Another heavily featured artist was 070 Shake, who might very well have stole the show on this killer track. Her outro on the track is uplifting and blended masterfully with some beautiful production.
6. James Blake – If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead
A throwback to Blake’s more experimental days here. To me this is the true definition of a love it or hate it song just because of how different it is. It feels eerie and unfinished, yet somehow I feel like that was how it was designed. It’s such a distorted track that it feels like your speakers have broken when in fact it’s just one of the most unique pieces of music I’ve heard. It’s yet another James Blake masterpiece to add to his ever growing collection.
5. Childish Gambino – This Is America
An unexpected music release this year came in the form of Gambino’s This Is America. I think the most surprising part of it all was the complete switch in genres from his 2016 R&B success of Awaken! My Love to this rap anthem. The lyrical content and music video have been discussed from day dot and been praised and hailed as some of the best and most culturally important work of the year. All in all, Childish Gambino has the ability to be one of the biggest names in rap should he go back down that route.
4. Czarface & MF DOOM – Meddle With Metal
Two of the game’s most naturally gifted MC’s in Czarface and MF DOOM combined to make a collaborative album this year, and Meddle With Metal is without doubt the standout from that project for pretty obvious reasons. They both appear to be playing characters in their verses, with Czar being the cocky hero while DOOM plays his infamous supervillain alter-ego we have grown accustomed to; with that military styled beat supporting them it is hardly surprising that the hero vs villain combat narrative worked to perfection.
3. The 1975 – Give Yourself A Try
After a year long absence, The 1975 returned this summer with one of their best songs yet. Jam packed with deep self reflective lyrics you can feel a sense of change in the bands direction from the ILIWYS days. A further change in direction can be noted through the tracks astonishing production, in particular the guitar riffs. Repetitive, addictive, distorted and utterly brilliant all spring to mind. Constant evolution of this band can only lead to bigger and better things.
2. A$AP Rocky – A$AP Forever REMIX
A$AP Rocky returned with a new album this year and demonstrated just how forward thinking of an artist he can truly be. This song with T.I., Kid Cudi and none other than dance music icon Moby is the greatest example of this can could well be the best song we have ever heard from Flacko. Rapping over a modernised, remixed version of Moby’s classic hit Porcelain, Rocky flows like a beast and has one of the strongest, catchiest hooks of the year. Cudi’s verse is introspective and fire all at once and the combination of 90s dance with modern hip-hop is a dream matchup.
1. Anderson .Paak – Bubblin
Paak has finally reached peak form here with the song of 2018 so far. Bubblin is Paak’s latest track and if it’s any indication we could be looking at a Paak masterpiece later in the year. For a long time the former XXL freshman has masterfully blended multiple genres often verging on R&B and soul rather than rap, but this is all rap. Lyrically Paak flexes often over the drum heavy beat. Paak shows off his versatility yet again with the multiples switches in flow to create an all round summer anthem.