80 – The Way I am by Charlie Puth
At one point in every artist’s career, he/she will make a bold declaration that the world’s opinion does not matter. Now is Charlie Puth’s turn. I often find this phase boring and repetitive. But the guitar riffs, coupled with Charlie’s surprisingly decent vocal range, make this stage of his career bearable and even enjoyable.
79 – Shotgun by George Ezra
Traveling around the world has been good for George Ezra’s music. I heard the magic and energy that radiate from “Budapest”. With “Shotgun”, he managed to get quite close. As someone who enjoys a good vacation, the song got me even more excited for my next adventure in January. I now have a new song to accompany me on my trip.
78 – Born to be Yours by Kygo and Imagine Dragons
I could hear half the world cringe when Kygo and Imagine Dragons collaborated. First, the rock band continues to infuse elements of pop, and now EDM, into their sound. Many consider that selling out. I personally disagree. Second, the title cannot get anymore cliche than “Born to Be Yours” and people are allergic to such displays of affection. In any case, I welcome the rockstar voice of Dan Reynolds singing about romance and blending with Kygo’s beats.
77 – I’ll Be There by Jess Glynne
I can never get enough assurance that I’m not alone and that everything will get better. So Jess Glynne continues to play a role in the inspiration and motivation department. Let’s remember she was also responsible for “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself”. Both that and “I’ll Be There” reached number one in the UK – telling me that the world is in some sad state needing a little boost from the arts.
76 – With You by Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is back to the form I fell in love with during The Emancipation of Mimi era. Her vocals are elegant and delicate. The songwriting is sensual and heartfelt. Most of all, the production is light and down to the essentials. If the year was 2005, I’m confident “With You” would’ve catapulted to the top of the charts.
75 – The Joke by Brandi Carlile
I discovered Brandi Carlile when she notched six Grammy nominations, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “The Joke”. Maybe I should take notes from Barack Obama as his 2017 year-end list included this track. Here I am happy to admit I’m late to recognising such an amazing talent and piece of art. “The Joke” is the soundtrack I need to get through the political and social environment that seem to be getting worse every year (both in my country and worldwide).
74 – All Mine by Kanye West
Kanye West is a musical genius. But he should just shut up and keep his political beliefs to himself. Otherwise, controversies will hound his public persona and masterpieces like “All Mine” will never see the light of day. Ant Clemons’ voice in the chorus is one of the darkest, most mysterious and addicting voices I’ve heard. Listening to Kanye is almost like a drug – it’s bad for you but you can’t get enough of it.
73 – Lullaby by Sigala featuring Paloma Faith
5 years ago, I used to attend beach parties. There was zero swimming involved. Instead, the music was blasting from the speakers and people were drinking and dancing like there was no tomorrow. “Lullaby” takes me to that place again, even though that experience is now just in my head.
72 – Nobody by Mitski
Much as I believe most critics are snobs and contrarians, they have a special place in my heart for introducing me to brilliant artists I would never have listened to otherwise. Mitski is one example I discovered two years ago through this medium. “Nobody” reeks of insecurity. And coming from a singer who has yet to be controlled by the industry, the sentiment comes across as genuine and relatable. If the movie “Begin Again” happened in real life, I feel Mitski would be one artist Mark Ruffalo would sign and produce (if she felt like it).
71 – Ball for Me by Post Malone featuring Nicki Minaj
Post Malone’s ascent to stardom was fast but so was the increase in his number of haters. Often, he is accused of cultural appropriation for his musical style and lyrics. But what I hear is an artist taking the best sounds from all genres and transforming them into art that is distinct from anything out there. Having Nicki Minaj onboard didn’t reduce the criticisms against the rapper but the feature elevated the song’s mood and perfectly complimented Post Malone’s gloomy and bleak voice.