2018 Favorites: Songs

I tracked every new song that was on endless repeat for me in 2018, writing about each in my year-long SHOOT IT STRAIGHT INTO MY FUCKING VEINS Series.

(You know, because I want to shoot them straight into my…you get the idea).

Since I’m not discerning in my drug-use, I decided to whittle down 2018’s Veins List into my top 20 absolute favorite songs of the year; I go into each below.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find hyperlinks to every 2018 Veins entry.

Three notes about my impending Top 20:

—No songs from movies nor musicals, of neither the filmed nor staged variety, were eligible; their added contexts within larger stories, in art forms I love more than music itself, would be an unfair advantage over their competitors.

—Some of my favorite albums of 2018 — for instance, Janelle Monáe’s and Eminem’s — are not represented; they’re phenomenal works of art when taken as a whole, but none of their individual songs separated themselves from the rest of their impressive packs.

—Some of these songs may have been originally released in 2017, but if I first heard them on a new album in 2018, that’s the year I count.

Let’s do it:

20. “This Old Heart of Mine” — Cynthia Erivo / “Gimme Gimme” — Cher

New covers teeeeechnically shouldn’t count as songs from THIS year either because they rely so heavily on songs from PREVIOUS years, but two honorable mentions must be…mentioned: Cynthia Erivo’s the voice of her generation (YEAH I SAID IT), and nobody gets this tush grooving like Cher doing ABBA.

18. “Plug Walk” — Rich The Kid / “Mo Bamba” — Sheck Wes

Unabashed amateurism rarely sounded so good.

16. “Sicko Mode” — Travis Scott

The beat (and Drake).

15. “GUNMO” / “BILLY” — 6ix9ine

The all-caps track-names say it all.

13. “The Middle” — Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey

The tick-tock of the clock before the drop!!!

12. “High Horse” — Kacey Musgraves

Glorious trash.

11. “Better Now” — Post Malone

2018’s ultimate ear worm of a hook, a Stoney specialty.

10. “Alone” — Russ

I could vibe to this flow all damn day.

9. “Fun!” — Vince Staples

Beat of the year.

8. “Hunger” — Florence + the Machine


7. “so sad so sexy” — Lykke Li

THE sex muzak of 2018. When my head hits the pillow at night, right after I close my eyes, I’m still haunted by this freaking lyric: “I was only lying when I looked in your eyes.” Grammatically, placing the “only” before “lying” implies either the only thing she’s doing when looking into “your” eyes is lying, OR, “only” could be a synonym for “mere” in that it’s not a big deal that she’s lying to your eyes! OR, OR, is she saying that the only time she’s lying is when she’s looking into your eyes, as if she’s totally honest in all other moments EXCEPT their most intimate? This confusion may be intentional, because it allows the next line — “now I’m lyin’ with you one last time” — to adopt multiple meanings; are they lying down together one last time, or are they lying to each other one last time? Or, in this relationship, is there no difference between the two??

6. “Honey” — Robyn

Soak in the producing.

5. “King’s Dead” — Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future, James Blake

The best group rap since, dare I say, “Monster”?

4. “One Kiss” — Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa

EDM track of the year.

3. “Barbie Dreams” — Nicki Minaj

I still haven’t recovered.

2. “In My Feelings” — Drake

Probably the year’s most iconic song (sorry, “Sicko Mode”).

1. “This is America” — Childish Gambino

This is 2018.


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