Lil Uzi Vert, "New Patek"


Lil Uzi Vert "New Patek" Digital Single Easily one of most joyful songs of the year, the hyperactive, hypertalented Philadelphian returns with six (6!) electric minutes of swirling, tuneful hip-hop. Over Dolan Beats' glorious crystallized piano keys and tiptoeing hi-hats, Uzi goes the fuck in as only he can, slaloming through the beat Read more

Images & Words: How To Dress Well, "Nonkilling 6 | Hunger"


How to Dress Well "Nonkilling 6 | Hunger" The Anteroom (out 10.19 on Domino) Though it was a little bit buried on my "Favorite Songs of 2018, So Far.." list, I'm extremely excited about the experimental direction Tom Krell seems to be going in on his fifth LP. This stunning two-parter pairs Read more

Wild Pink, "Mount Erie"


Wild Pink “Lake Erie” Yolk in the Fur (out now on Tiny Engines) Though I’m about six months late to the NYC trio’s outstanding second LP, I’m extremely glad that I finally found it. While their AM Radio sound has been relentlessly compared to War on Drugs, frontman John Ross is such Read more

Mitski, "Two Slow Dancers"


Mitski "Two Slow Dancers" Be The Cowboy (out 08.17 on Matador) Every slow dance with someone you care about feels like a moment suspended in time. I mean, that's the point, right? Your hands are tied, your bodies are connected, and even your gaze is limited. Mitski, the fantastic New York songwriter, Read more

Future, "Hate the Real Me"


Future "Hate the Real Me" Beastmode 2 (out now on Epic) The peak of a quietly excellent year, Future goes super deep on his worthy follow-up to 2015's legendary "Beast Mode" tape. Of all its stirring moments, nothing emotionally hits harder than its last track, as Future pours his heart out over Read more

Best of ’18

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far…)

Posted on by TP1.COM in Best of '18, Featured | Comments Off on The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far…)

Somehow, some fucking way, 2018 is more than half over. And though it might feel like I always say this, I think this was the toughest list I’ve had to make yet. There’s been an overwhelming number of exciting, vital new voices popping up and plenty of fantastic follow-ups from people I already loved.

Here’s my best effort at whittling the list down to about 30. I split it into two tiers.

TIER 1: The Best of the Best: Early contenders for Song of the Year (alphabetical order)

03 Greedo
“Never Bend”
The Wolf of Grape Street (out now on Alamo)
Lemme spell it out for you clearly; 03 Greedo is the most exciting, original, and talented rapper to come up Future and Young Thug, bar none. Though it technically came out last year, “Never Bend” is, for me, the clearest distillation of what makes the LA native such an innovator. Greedo’s music is elated sorrow, triumphant misery. The sound of a weary soul who has been taking punches his entire life, but remains confident — no, certain — that his resilience and commitment will be rewarded with total victory.

That’s one of the biggest reasons why his recent 20-year jail sentence (for a non-violent drug crime) feels so unfair, because he was basically there, against all odds. However, it’s also what gives me hope that this isn’t the end of his story, that somehow Greedo will realize his vast potential and get the validation and financial security that his singular talent so richly deserves.

André 3000
“Me&My (To Bury Your Parents)”
Digital Single
The inimitable ATLien surprise dropped this beautiful jazzy ballad on Mother’s Day. An evocative ode to his late parents, André sketches a few dreamy, yet vivid childhood memories of the kind of simple moments that we tend to miss most when someone we love passes. The rolling pianos and the graceful woodwinds give the track a real “Court and Spark” feel, so much so that I thought it was a Joni sample on the first few listens.

Obviously, nobody knows whether this will usher in a new body of work that will expand on the sound (I hope). But if there’s anything the lyrics teach us, we should enjoy things for what they are because we never know how long they’ll stick around for.

Camp Cope
“The Face Of God”
How To Socialise & Make Friends (out now on Run For Cover)
Few singer-songwriters can tackle difficult topics as gracefully as Georgia McDonald, and she does it again on this heartbreaking track. A harrowing firsthand account of being abused by “a boy in a band,” the Melbourne native’s booming voice offers insight, honesty, and grace, as she takes on an epidemic that is sadly shared by so many others. It’s extra powerful as the trio has just signed for Run For Cover — a label that has poorly dealt with similar situations among some of its biggest bands (Turnover, Pinegrove, Whirr).

Chromatics
“Black Walls”
Dear Tommy (out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ on Italians Do It Better)
Whether or not “Dear Tommy” ever comes out, tracks like this illustrate exactly why the thirst remains so strong, more than two beyond its original release date. Its chunky rhythm guitars snake together masterfully between washes of keyboard and Ruth Radelet’s angelic croon. In short, “Black Walls” is just a perfectly crafted song, with not a single sonic hair of its perfectly coiffed pompadour out of place.

City Girls
“Where the Bag At?
Period (out now on Quality Control)
Life isn’t fair, but this one is especially galling. Just as her music career was taking off and life-changing money was coming in, JT (né Jatavia Johnson) — one half of the super talented, rising Miami bass duo, City Girls — had to turn herself in to do a two-year prison bid on an old credit card fraud charge.

Still only in her mid 20’s, hopefully their excellent debut “Period” and bandmate Yung Miami will be able to keep their momentum going long enough for this not to be career wrecking. It only takes one spin of this electric, strip-club anthem to realize why their rare combination of charisma, razor-sharp bars, and joie de vivre has so many people talking about them. 

Ella Mai
“Boo’d Up”
READY (out now on 10 Summers)
Yes, it originally came out last year. But if a stunning R&B ballad falls in the Internet and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

A classic in any era, the 23 year-old Londoner’s ode to puppy love is guaranteed to take you back to the sweaty palms and sleepless nights of youthful infatuation — the time where a single glance can make your heart stop. And for those of us washed boys and girls who have been wifed up for a minute, it’ll take you back to those everyday, subtle moments when your partner does something random that reminds you just how dope they are and how stupid lucky you are to be Boo’d Up with them.

Father John Misty
“The Songwriter”
God’s Favorite Customer (out now on Sub Pop)
It feels like everyone is officially sick to death of the Father John Misty schtick. And evidently, so is he. On his bleak, exhausted fourth LP, Josh Tillman tears down the “self-referential raconteur” facade and exposes himself for what he actually is: a shitty husband, a frightened man-child, an addict, and crucially, an incredible songwriter. Crestfallen and alone in a hotel room, he turns the harsh glare back on himself on the album’s haunting, brutal centerpiece. For once, Tillman the man considers the damage Father John Misty the character has had on the person he loves most.

Isabella Lovestory
“me gustas”
Juguete (out now, self-released)
I can’t think of anything that’s been more therapeutic for me than the Honduran singer’s debut project. In a year that’s been defined by the boundless suffering of brown people, I’ve found myself reflexively turning to the disc’s simple and sweet Spanish-language love songs to combat the deluge of heartbreaking news that greets me every day.

At first, I listened to it mostly to help me hide from what is really going on (self-care?), but her optimistic spirit and soulful writing has reconnected me to the sounds I grew up on and reminded me how much joy and light there is in our part of the world. More than anything, it has helped drive me to get involved again and actively support other people with Central American roots who don’t have the privilege that I do. That’s what music should be for, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Kacey Musgraves
“High Horse”
Golden Hour (out now on UMG)
I could have gone with a handful of tracks from the 29 year-old’s bulletproof third album, but “High Horse” is a tasty example of the disc’s genre fluidity and her versatility as a songwriter and singer. A modern “You Don’t Impress Me Much,” Kacey glides over an effortless disco backbeat (#RandomAccessMusgraves), rolling her eyes at all those annoying dudes who have opinions about everything (i.e. what country is supposed to sound like).

Mitski
“Nobody”
Be The Cowboy (out 08.17 on Dead Oceans)
Can someone who was already a break-out star break out again? Judging by the pre-release singles from the follow-up to Mitski’s beloved 2016 LP “Puberty 2,” the 27 year-old has her sights set on world domination. “Nobody” is disco-tinged anthem that makes loneliness feel triumphant in a way that is reminiscent of Robyn’s seminal “Dancing on My Own.” Raw and honest, she details the hunger for human connection that is only found in the driest of dry spells. We’ve all been there, whether we want to admit it or not.

Playboy Carti
“Shoota” (f/ Lil Uzi Vert)
Die Lit
Sometimes what you take out is more important than what you put in, and influential Philadelphian Maaly Raw proves that with his ecstatic production on “Shoota.” For most of it, there’s a conspicuous absence of drums, which builds a palpable tension under Uzi’s characteristically tuneful opening verse. Then, when the drums come in for Carti’s second verse, the release is absolute magic, one of the most purely joyful musical moments of the year. Even though it’s only 2 and a half minutes, Maaly’s clever production makes it feel like an epic.

 

Rae Sremmurd
“Offshore” (f/ Young Thug)
SR3MM (out now on Ear Drummers)
Even though it’s on the Rae Sremmurd record, let’s be real “Offshore” is all about my guy Jeffery. For three magical minutes, time stops as Thugger goes all the way in, morphing into the R&B Jackson Pollock and smearing his kaleidoscopic vocals all over the space in completely unexpected ways. In a scene that too often celebrates derivatives, there’s nothing like listening to a true original do the thing that only they can. And it’s also nice to remember us that at least one of our faves would still “slap the shit outta Donald Trump any day.” Assemble all of the praying hands emojis.

Snail Mail
“Pristine”
Lush (out now on Matador)
One of the best indie rock songs I’ve heard in a long time, “Pristine” is a stunning slice of guitar music that brilliantly captures the specific feeling of trying and failing to make someone you’re into see you the way you see them. Anybody who has ever been young with a crush will be able relate to this track.

Each heartbreak just feels so formative at that age, and it’s so easy to see somebody as the answer to all your problems, even if you’d only known them for a short time. What’s even more impressive is that singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan is still an actual teenager, capturing these feelings with such insight and perspective while she’s theoretically still wrapped up in them.

The 1975
“Give Yourself A Try”
A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships (out in October on Dirty Hit)
With his signature combo of earnestness and self-deprecation, Matty Healy doles out advice to the mass of modern millennials gripped by their quarter life crises. The simplistic arrangement feels like a dud in any other hands, but Healy has that rare knack for tapping into the romantic, hyper-emotional, mostly dumb teenage feelings that we learn to suppress but never totally leave behind. The best band in the world right now.

Troye Sivan
“Bloom”
Bloom (08.31 on EMI)
There’s a lot in 2018 to be disappointed about, but it’s exciting that the best pure, major label pop song of the year is by an openly gay artist singing overtly and clearly about sex. Cheekily described by Sivan as “bop about bottoming,” “Bloom” captures the thrill and trepidation that comes just before doing something for the first time and revels in the trust and connection that is formed between both parties in the aftermath. Though the pronouns might surprise, the feeling is universal. We’ve all been there before and will likely (hopefully) be there again as we grow and develop throughout our lives.