90 – 1999 by Charli XCX and Troye Sivan
As a 90s kid, I have a bias for the 90s decade. Life as a kid was much easier. The music was less complicated – no EDM and very few collaborations. Anne Marie chose to honour the time period with sentiment while Charli XCX and Troye Sivan went for upbeat and fun. Both tracks make my list as I’m generally down for any effort paying homage to such an amazing era.
89 – Stir Fry by Migos
No other song in 2018 made me hungry the way “Stir Fry” did. Interestingly, the trio was involved in another song referencing food, Katy Perry’s disastrous “Bon Appetit”. Honestly, the track is brainless fun and I need that from time to time.
88 – Venice Bitch by Lana del Rey
Both in movies and music, I hate pieces of work that drag on for too long. For me, a sign of great art is when I don’t notice how much time has passed consuming it or when I don’t mind. “Venice Bitch” clocks in more than 9 minutes but feels just right. The track continues the nostalgic and melancholic mood of Lana del Rey’s sound. Definitely, it’s not for everyday consumption. But there are days it’s the perfect companion.
87 – Don’t Matter to Me by Drake featuring Michael Jackson
A few years ago, I remember enjoying “Love Never Felt So Good”. After all, Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake are like father and son of pop music. I never knew a mash up between Drake and the King of Pop would work as well. Drake has an ear for trends and know which masterpieces to dig up from the past to elevate the quality of his music. One of the great examples from Scorpion is “Don’t Matter to Me”.
86 – Solo by Clean Bandit featuring Demi Lovato
I have no clue when Clean Bandit’s string of hits will stop. But at this point, they are unstoppable. If I’m trying to rationalise why being single and independent is worth celebrating, EDM music certainly helps build that narrative.
85 – Space Cowboy by Kacey Musgraves
When I first heard of the title “Space Cowboy”, I imagined an upbeat song that can serve as the soundtrack for the anime Cowboy Bebop. That cannot be farther from reality. Kacey Musgraves was playing with words and gave us the answer to the worst reason ever given for a break up – the need for space. Though the track belongs to country radio, her songwriting deserves to be recognised by all genres.
84 – Changes by XXXTentacion
I only paid attention to XXXTentacion’s music when he passed away. I gave some of his tracks a listen and I was surprised by how dark and depressing the sound was. “Changes” speaks of heartbreak in the context of romance. But to me, the song’s significance evolved. I ignore the words and I listen to his voice. “Changes” is a tribute to the talent the industry lost and a reminder of how instant life can end.
83 – Be Careful by Cardi B
Even though hip-hop has some of the best songwriters, not a lot of their creations end up as hits. I attribute the performance to the melodies that are generally bland or dry. That is one of Cardi B’s strengths – turning the genre into an accessible form for the mainstream audience to digest. “Be Careful” is refreshing for two reasons. One is that it’s a woman’s perspective on relationships and infidelity, a subject matter that is often heard from a man’s perspective in the male dominated sphere. Second, the words are strong but the hook is understated and leaves me wanting more.
82 – Sit Next to Me by Foster the People
Years have passed since Foster the People managed to generate a hit outside of the Alternative genre. That’s an injustice considering how rich the band’s catalog has been since 2010’s “Pumped Up Kicks”. Just the same, their resurgence in popular music is welcome. “Sit Next to Me” is a laidback anthem to the world’s rushed and often dramatic take on romance. As I age, that perspective becomes more relevant and needed.
81 – Mine by Bazzi
I personally do not use Snapchat or any of its legacies like stories and filters. But I am thankful to the platform (and social media in general) for democratising music and introducing the world to up and coming musicians. Bazzi’s popularity is a result of a viral meme in Snapchat at the start of 2018. While I haven’t seen the much talked about video, I’ve heard the short and sweet creation from the singer-songwriter in “Mine”