2018 was a year of hip-hop and rap dominance. From the likes of Cardi B and Drake, the music scene was totally influenced by these genres during the first half. Later during the last four month, pop had a triumphant return.
The artists not only were defiant with their music style but there was a lot of experimentation. Some were loved by audience while others just fall flat. The music this year celebrated liberation, freedom and self-love.
Here is a list of songs that were on repeat for me. I am a fan of pop and country music. Don’t hate me as the list is full of songs from these genres. Enjoy!
“Slow Down” by Normani & Calvin Harris
Normani has emerged as a promising solo artist this year. With blessing us with bangers after bangers, she is having her moment. She has a clear-cut style and tendency to go big. “Slow Down” has a bouncy pop vibe. It is a slow jam, particularly in the chorus, and it builds up to be a dancefloor banger. Calvin Harris like always does not disappoint us with his dope tunes. Normani sings the song. Lyrics define an unrequited lover who does not give attention.
“APES**T” by The Carters
No one was hoping for a Jay-Z and Beyonce collab (or a whole album) this year when they surprise released their joint album titled “Everything is Love”. But, it hit like a bang. Most of all, Beyonce’s rapping skills had me swooning. They not only take a dig at Grammys but also flex about being on the top of their game and living a luxury life. It is one of the catchiest songs released this year. And it hits hard.
“Never Be the Same” by Camila Cabello
Camila didn’t come to play with her debut album Camila. “Never Be the Same” was released as promo single and was one of the highlights of the album. It is an upbeat song that has been mastered with bombastic electro-pop vibes, booming drums and a powerful vocal performance by Camila. It is intoxicating. Camila’s addictive voice is like icing on the cake. The song discusses what falling in love feels like.
“Chun-Li” by Nicki Minaj
Nicki came to reclaim her throne with hip-hop jam “Chun-Li” indicating that she is still the “Queen of rap” no matter what tactics her rivals use against her. She fires back at the internet trolls, “They need rappers like me/They need rappers like me/ So they can get on their f*cking keyboards/ And make me the bad guy, Chun-Li”. The song has bombastic beats and a vibe that makes you go bonkers.
“Party for One” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly returned with her infectious sounds and didn’t disappoint. The upbeat song has pop-synth, electro-pop vibes and is a self-love anthem that we didn’t know we needed. Carly said, “To me ‘Party For One’ is an anthem of what it is to celebrate time with yourself, which is a hard thing for people to really enjoy sometimes, and it’s something I’m learning to do more and more.”
“Head Above Water” by Avril Lavigne
This ballad marks Avril’s comeback after almost four years. It is a piano-driven pop-rock anthem that discusses her life or death fight with Lyme disease. It is about her relationship with God during the worst time of her life. The production is powerful and Avril’s strong yet mellow vocal give all the emotions and life to the song.
“God is a Woman” by Ariana Grande
Ariana delivers what can rightly be said as her career’s best and powerful performance in this upbeat pop anthem that celebrates female emancipation and domination. It has a clever production and lyrics describe the pleasures of sex and female liberation. This is my favourite from her latest album “Sweetener” and probably the best song on the record.
“In My Feeling” by Drake
To be honest, I’ve never been a Drake fan. But the vibes of the song and the social media challenge (it was fun but exclude me for trying to attempt it) somehow caught my attention. And God, it is catchy and bopping to it is my guilty pleasure. Drake really won here.
“Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko
Hayley Kiyoko has been an innovative and creative artist and I’m glad that she received the much-deserved attention this year. She is out and proud member of LGBTQ+ community. The hooks on the song are effective and infectious. The chorus is so smothering that it just feels so good. It is a puffed up revenge tale.
“Baby” by Clean Bandit feat. Marina and Luis Fronsi
Issa bop! That’s all I can say and that’s what it is. The song is about the difficulties and complexities of marriage. It is weirdly good and heartbreaking at the same time. The intriguing feelings involving such an odd situation are all captured perfectly. Marina is the highlight of the song. She creates an infatuating and intoxicating atmosphere. The rhythm and drops are great. Thumbs up to Clean Bandit here.
“PYNK” by Janelle Monáe feat. Grimes
I never had a chance to discover Janelle’s discography and man, I’ve been missing some great art. Her latest record “Dirty Computer” did that for me. It is a work of art and literal perfection. “PYNK” is one of my favourite song on the album. Janelle’s soft yet higher vocals accompany the song. There is a vibe of sunshine and freedom. The melodies are perfectly complementing with the vocals. The lyrics of the song utilize the color pink to describe everything from bodies to more metaphorical instances.
“Shallow” by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
Gaga came for our wigs this year. She yet again proved her artistic mettle and ability to slay our existence. The song is a stunning and powerful ballad. Gaga is at the top of her game with a strong vocal performance. Not to forget Bradley who took two years of vocal lessons for being able to perform for the role. The song is not only a pivotal part of A Star Is Born but also my life now. The bridge is about to give you goosebumps. The song is surely going to snatch some pretty big awards this season.
“Happy & Sad” by Kacey Musgraves
This song just topped my Spotify list for all the good reasons. The critical acclaim for “Golden Hour” proves that Kacey indeed is country music’s darling. It is pure, warm and enveloping. It is pitched between the highs and lows of healing and heartbreak. She said describing the song, “Sometimes I find myself not being able to enjoy the height of a good moment because I start thinking about the fact that it’s about to be over.”
“Expectations” by Lauren Jauregui
Lauren exceeded all of our expectations with this powerful debut. The song is about trying to change a situation but being unable to do so. It is decorated with guitar, a warm beat and a vocal performance that hits like a punch.