It is already the end of 2018 but only the beginning of the dark winter days ahead. I find myself putting off my 2018 list in almost the same way I put off the last episode of a show that I am really enjoying. Even though the show has been terrific, I can’t seem just finish it because of how great it has been. Same feelings go toward my musical journey through 2018. Maybe because I was hoping for more, or perhaps because I am not ready to let go of all the fantastic things this year brought me. Since we are already one week into 2019, I think it is finally time for me to announce my top 2018 albums and songs of the year.
Personally, this year has been a whirlwind filled with music that I already know and love, and new genres that I have become deeply passionate about. Making this list was really hard because I began diving deep into the full range of electronic music that Europe offers while continuing to fall head over heels for some of my favorite indie and rock artists. To narrow down which top tracks to choose, I thought about which songs I have had the most fun with; which songs really get me out of my chair and dancing around my apartment or a track that sounded ridiculously amazing live.
MY TOP 5 TRACKS OF 2018
5. Mitski – Nobody
It is 10 AM on a Monday morning, and home office is the last thing I want to do today. So instead, I blare ‟Nobody” out of my speakers and dance around my room to pass the time. ‟Sav, don’t press repeat,” I say to myself after already replaying it for the fourth time. Mitski’s disco-pop banger is an ode to loneliness that allows you to dance the lonesome away. Shining as the first single off of her latest album, Be the Cowboy, this is just a taste of the different sounds you will hear in each track. ‟Nobody” is a perfect example that the album is not full of straightforward pop songs and her iconic distorted guitar. The songs are soft and brash, smooth and corrosive and complemented by bright, bold synths, electric organs or show-tune piano motifs. Her ability to be everything at once, again and again, is genuinely admirable.
4. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake
Goodness, I am a sucker for quirky percussions. There is a familiarity with the different sounds that always has me hooked the moment I hear them, and Parquet Courts‘ latest album, Wide Awake!, is full of funky percussions. ‟Wide Awake” is a danceable rock song representing Parquet Courts‘ classic verbose rock’n’roll with an unexpected twist of lively funk that is amongst the fiercest they have ever sounded. If you are listening to this track for the first time, allow the powerful guitar riffs and protesting lyrics to really soak in as you dance around your living room with friends.
3. Ross from Friends – John Cage
Ross from Friends showed a more profound and more intriguing side of himself when he dropped his EP, Aphelion, back in April. Listening to ‟John Cage” transports me back in time to a moment during mid-Spring when I was blasting the song through my headphones on a stuffy bus to Leuven, Belgium. I closed my eyes, floated between every shimmering sound, and toward the endless tunnel of nostalgia that Ross from Friends creates. The adventure continues to the dead of summer, where the rhythmic patterns and dreamy saxophone send tingles throughout my body as I open my eyes to the Croatian Adriatic Sea.
2. Shakedown – At Night (Peggy Gou’s Acid Journey Remix)
When my friend DJ Pattex played this banger at Zugvøgel Festival back in July, I knew that it was easily my favorite track of the summer. And here we are, at the end of 2018 and it is still one of my favorite tracks of the year. The iconic house track is revamped by Miss Peggy Gou with a recognizable synth motif to lift the production and keep it rolling. The sing-along classic is a pleasant acid trip that sounds just as delightful in the daytime as it does at night.
1. Nelly Furtado – Afraid (Four Tet Edit)
BANGER OF THE SUMMER without a doubt. The natty Four Tet edit hit the festival circuit and had people going insane every time a DJ dropped it during their set (for example, Four Tet, Joy Orbison, Moxie, Ben UFO, Peggy Gou). Everyone was trying to ID the track but could not find it anywhere on the interwebs; the closest access anyone had to it was through a Ben UFO online mix. For me, the song was so desirable because it was an earworm for three days after I heard it for the first time during Peggy Gou’s remarkable set at Dimensions Festival. Its familiarity ran in circles in my head, almost in a mesmerizing way that had me imagining every DJ was mixing it into their set for the rest of the festival weekend.