year end list: my top 30 songs of 2018

it’s the best time of year: roundup lists. i has to put the blog on pause for various reasons but i’ll be back at it in 2019 in a more condensed, consistent way. i definitely missed out on a lot of new music over the past couple of months so this list is skewed a little, so i there’s anything recent that you’d recommend then please do send me a link!

but for now, here’s my cursory end of year top 30. to be honest, all of the songs here are fantastic, and ranking them against each other feels rude to the artists behind them, and there’s very little longevity to the order i put them in on the friday night whim i compiled it. i’d say there are 2 tiers – 01-20 are songs i was obsessed with, 20+ i loved but didn’t give enough time to. all of them are great and worthy of your listening time.

rules for the list: must be released in 2018, one song per artist (not including feature spots), and that’s pretty much it! it’s mostly short and sweet because this is very much just the headlines for the year and i don’t think anyone needs a short novella of my harpings about songs that i love.

iain x

honourable mentions

35. tom grennan – barbed wire – feel good, raspy voiced fun.

34. zedd – the middle feat. maren morris – stupidly catchy.

33. tim chadwick – tell me that – didn’t spend enough time with this very charming song.

32. zara larsson – ruin my life – a late edition to the list but a sad pop banger for the ages.

31. the weeknd + kendrick lamar – pray for me – a relentlessly hard-hitting fight song.


top 30

Image result for going down tom aspaul

30. tom aspaul – going down

unavoidably, undeniably cute as hell.


High Horse

29. kacey musgraves – high horse

the lyrical choices in this anti-vanity bop makes kacey musgraves untouchable forever.


Lake Effect Kid

28. fall out boy – lake effect kid

new fall out boy throwback to their earlier sound with some of their finest instrumental moments in years.


Image result for nervous shawn mendes

27. shawn mendes – nervous



Come Back to Me

26. shake shake go – come back to me

this song makes me feel like i’m soaring.


Hurt Somebody

25. noah kahan – hurt somebody feat. julia michaels

sickeningly cute and can make you feel in love even if your heart has been barren for decades.



24. mallrat – groceries

if sharing earphones with someone and looking out a bus window when its raining was a perfect song.



23. mnek – tongue

and the glad-you-waited-for-the-chorus song of the year award goes to:


California Friends

22. the regrettes – california friends

as someone who has freckles on his face, i have never felt more in touch with a song so immediately.


Nina Cried Power [feat. Mavis Staples]

21. hozier – nina cried power feat. mavis staples

i can’t explain exactly what i felt when i saw this live in december, but this might be hozier’s best song ever and i’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with it.


Good Thing Gone

20. elle king – good thing gone

the year’s most vocally triumphant doo-wap song.


What is a Man

19. dan owen – what is a man

so simple, so good.



18. anais – nina

almost 12 months on and i’m still quivering at the vocal choices here.


Are You

17. julia michaels – are you

i cannot fathom how much of my year was spent with this damn good song stuck in my head.



16. 5 seconds of summer – youngblood

grabbed me from the first second and didn’t let me go for months. what a chorus. what a tune.

Image result for sigrid sucker punch

15. sigrid – sucker punch

i defy you to find a popstar more personable and delightful and talented than sigrid. best of a great bunch from our sound of 2018.


In My Head

14. james bay – in my head

the number one most played track on my car stereo.


Image result for 2002 anne marie

13. anne-marie – 2002

stupidly catchy. goddamn.



12. cher – waterloo

waterloo has always been a banger, but waterloo by cher is above and beyond.


Harvest Love

11. tash sultana – harvest love

i’ve had at least six epiphanies listening to this. a musical experience from an incredible talent.


Image result for no tears left to cry artwork

10. ariana grande – no tears left to cry

the perfect song from the perfect artist.


Born To Be Yours

09. kygo – born to be yours feat. imagine dragons

my favourite song to run to in 2018. i have a great dance move for the “when it rains oh it pours” line.


Give Yourself A Try [Explicit]

08. the 1975 – give yourself a try

ignore any prior opinion i had of the 1975, this song and this album are one of the biggest musical triumphs of the year and, indeed, the decade.


Why So Serious

07. alice merton – why so serious

this song cured me of any and all anger i have ever experienced.


Zero (From the Original Motion Picture "Ralph Breaks The Internet")

06. imagine dragons – zero

i played this and (pretty much) only this on repeat for one whole week. anyone who doesn’t experience joy from this is dead on the inside.


top 5

honestly, this could come in any order but for the sake of bestowing the highest honours to someone, here’s the final countdown…


Dancing's Not A Crime

05. panic! at the disco – dancing’s not a crime

dancing’s not a crime if you’re doing it to this song. perfect.


All For You

04. years & years – all for you

i am still in the middle of the out of body experience i started having during the transition from the bridge to the final chorus of this excellent song from this excellent band.


Seven Scenes from the Same Summer [Explicit]

03. emily burns – cheat

if there’s ever been a song that works so seamlessly played on loop, then it’s this. i don’t know how much of this year i’ve spent listening to, thinking about, and recommending this song this year but take this is my final push: please listen to it. it’s truly, simply, excellent.


Image result for paradise george ezra artwork

02. george ezra – paradise

this song has lodged its position in my boom boom heart from now until the end of time. i seriously love george ezra and if i wasn’t already certain that he’s one of my all time favourites, this song solidified that for me. who would have thought 2018 would produce something so pure and good?


Friday Fighting

01. sam fender – friday fighting

after 5 years of  impatiently waiting, sam fender delivered something beyond and tangential to my expectations of him. from start to finish, this song is absolutely perfect, and was one of my live highlights of the year. listen with headphones. critics choice award title earned and deserved.

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