The 30 Best Songs of 2018
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
There were hundreds of great songs released in 2018, and many of them were released independently. Here are the very best of them.
1) Charlotte Day Wilson - Funeral
Charlotte Day Wilson followed up her promising 2016 EP "CDW" with the excellent "Stone Woman" EP this year. Among the highlights is "Funeral", a beautiful, ethereal piece of music that floats around in your head long after the song ends. I think this one will stand the test of time and sound just as perfect in ten years as it does today.
2) Sango featuring Dave B. - Mateo 2.19
The combination of Sango and Dave B. proved potent with this highlight on Sango's "In The Comfort Of". The laid back production melds perfectly with what may be the verse of the year from Dave B. More of this combination, please!
3) Smino - L.M.F.
One of the years catchiest tracks would be high on any years list. Smino came back strong with this lead single from Noir, and this song captures his vibe perfectly.
4) SiR - D'Evils
This song beautifully illustrates everything that is exciting about SiR - his soothing voice, laid back demeanor, sultry production, and memorable lyrics combine to gift us the slow jam of the year.
5) Ric Wilson - Sinner
No way was a track this strong staying out of the top five songs of the year. Somehow evoking both Outkast and D'Angelo, Ric Wilson raps over a funky groove that doubles as one of the most memorable and irresistible songs of the year.
6) Mac Miller - Self Care
Sadly, Mac Miller's last single was eerily foretelling. At least it was a fitting and beautiful coda to a fascinating career, one that should prove quite influential over the years to come. Self Care sounds like nothing previous in his catalog, and somehow works as a single despite its weighty subject matter.
7) Dave B. - Pretty
After closing out 2017 with an incredible EP, Dave B. solidified himself as one to watch with just a few singles and verses in 2018.
8) Raveena - Honey
Another artist that is coming off an impressive year with just a few new singles is Raveena. After a promising EP in 2017, Raveena kept up her hot streak with Honey, a sultry, soulful slow jam that should be far more popular than it is.
9) The Underachievers - Seven Letters
The Underachievers came back in a big way with their studio album After The Rain. Among the highlights is Seven Letters, an ode to dusting yourself off and continuing to fight the good fight.
10) Noname - Self
If there was one song that best introduced the magic of Noname, it may be Self. The short and sweet opening track to her new album is one of the best songs under two minutes that I've ever heard.
11) Ric Wilson - No Hands
This single dropped out of nowhere a few weeks ago, and it is easily one of the funnest songs of the year.
12) EarthGang - Up
The actual studio version of this track may actually rank higher on next years list, but this live performance version raises the expectations quite high for EarthGang's next album. Evoking prime Outkast and a sound all their own, this one requires high volume.
13) J.I.D - Off Da Zoinkys
One of the finest lyrical tracks of the year, J.I.D absolutely puts the music industry on blast with Off Da Zoinkys. I can't imagine anyone short of Kendrick and maybe Chance releasing something this sharp and focused.
14) Cam O'bi featuring Smino - TenderHeaded
Cam O'bi's TenderHeaded was released in January and is still one of the best songs of the year. Featuring a verse to remember from Smino and superb production, this one started the year off right.
15) Saba - SMILE
Saba came back strong in 2018 with a new album and a string of singles. SMILE is a standout because of its vivid imagery and gorgeous production.
16) The Underachievers featuring Ivan Jackson - Light Speed
With a little radio push, this catchy song could have been a hit. The Underachievers pushed themselves on their new album, and they should gain some new fans in the process.
17) Saba - PROM/KING
Another highlight from Saba's CARE FOR ME album is PROM/KING. The best storytelling track of the year, its difficult not to feel Saba's pain as he explores his memories of fallen friend, cousin, and fellow Chicago artist John Walt.
18) D'Angelo - Unshaken
The first new D'Angelo song since 2014 emerged out of nowhere on a video game soundtrack in what is likely the most surprising and random gem of the year. Unshaken sounds nothing like D'Angelo's previous work, but it works well. Lets hope there is an album around the corner....
19) Flatbush Zombies featuring Denzel Curry - The Glory
Flatbush Zombies delivered with their Vacation In Hell album, highlighted by this introspective gem.
20) Noname featuring Smino and Saba - Ace
One of the highlights on Noname's Room 25 project is the serene Ace. Featuring excellent verses from Noname, Smino, and Saba, Ace is a lyrical onslaught from start to finish.
21) The Internet - It Gets Better (With Time)
It is difficult to isolate the best song on an album full of highlights, but It Gets Better (With Time) is certainly the emotional centerpiece.
22) Smino - Kovert
The opening track on Noir is a slithery, psychedelic earworm that doesn't even get going until two minutes or so when the bass announces itself.
23) The Internet - Come Together
Another highlight off of The Internet's sublime Hive Mind album is the optimistic opener Come Together.
24) Lupe Fiasco - Manilla
Lupe went indie after years of an obviously contentious relationship with Atlantic and came out with an intricate album loaded with great tunes. Manilla is the banger on the album, but its content is still deep because this is Lupe Fiasco we are talking about.
25) Hollie Cook - Stay Alive
Reggae is alive and well, and Hollie Cook released one of the most consistent albums of the year with Vessel of Love. Among of the many highlights is Stay Alive, the sleepy and relaxing lead single.
26) Mac Miller - Small Worlds
Another highlight from Swimming is Small Worlds. The seemingly simple lyrics and chill production combine to form a song that is easy to go back to often. That being said, the song has hidden depth with repeated listens and takes on more meaning in light of Mac's untimely passing.
27) The Internet - Next Time/Humble Pie
Yet another highlight from Hive Mind, the ethereal Next Time/Humble Pie floats by despite its length.
28) A$AP Rocky & Tyler, The Creator - Potato Salad
One of the funnest tracks of the year is the seemingly tossed off Potato Salad. Both artists lift each other and compliment the other with ease. The video elevates the track and is one of the finest music videos of the year.
29) Mac Miller - Dunno
Its hard to rank a song like Dunno as you can make a case for it being one of the best of the year. It is probably the most difficult to listen to on Swimming, and it can elicit emotion just several seconds in.
30) REASON - The Soul
TDE's newest roster addition REASON is one of the years most welcome newcomers. The Soul, his introspective lead single, is a fine introduction to the artist.