70 – Electricity by Silk City and Dua Lipa
Is Dua Lipa the new queen of EDM? “Electricity” marks her 3rd consecutive collaboration that I dig after “Scared to Be Lonely” with Martin Garrix and “One Kiss” with Calvin Harris. Mark Ronson and Diplo’s disco beat screams of retro 90s. The instrumentation do not overpower the vocals in the track and the mood feels lighter and less in your face.
69 – Fall in Line by Christina Aguilera featuring Demi Lovato
Even though Christina Aguilera failed to make any significant dent in the charts, I feel “Fall in Line” is a step in the right direction. For her past few albums, she has been chasing trends instead of creating them. While it’s hard to stay ahead of the curve, she should at the very least refuse to be defined by them. With this track, she went with the latter approach and deserves props for it. For any fan of the two divas, the vocal gymnastics between the two are a gift that will forever be the subject of imitation. And hopefully, the song served its purpose and empowered women in some way, big or small.
68 – I Like That by Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae should be proud of Dirty Computer. It’s certainly one of 2018’s best albums. Many artists speak of liberation, emancipation and freedom in the music they create. But she is able to translate that vision into a piece of art and have those elements permeate all aspects of its production. “I Like That” is sensual but feels natural. It’s dirty but sounds heavenly.
67 – Say Something by Justin Timberlake featuring Chris Stapleton
2018 was a bad year for Justin Timberlake. Backlash from the 2004 Super Bowl nip slip incident with Janet Jackson caught up with him and his entire album got dismissed by the general public and trashed by critics. That’s not to say the output was horrible. “Say Something” would have done well any other year. The infusion of country music to his pop sound was refreshing to say the least. And his reflection on the pressure to speak out given his public persona was as honest and genuine as the artist has ever been.
66 – Nevermind by Dennis Lloyd
Every now and then, I get to discover a great song from an artist I’ve never heard of. This year, that recognition belongs to Dennis Lloyd. The single gives me the same vibes I get listening to Milky Chance’s “Stolen Dance”. Nothing about Dennis’ words caught my attention. It’s the minimalist dance beat with the finger snaps and occasional guitar riffs that got me hooked.
65 – God is a Woman by Ariana Grande
What I respect about Ariana Grande in “God is a Woman” is her exploration of different sounds. Even though she’s had success with the pop-dance formula, she widened her horizons and went sultry and steady. Her videos have also become more adventurous through the years. I’m a Madonna fanatic but I find the Queen of Pop’s role in the video unnecessary.
64 – Pink Lemonade by James Bay
If I want to experience some rock in my life, but do not prefer to have my ear drums broken, I listen to some James Bay. “Pink Lemonade” is a departure from the acoustic and stripped down sound of three years back. He gives us some memorable guitar riffs that make the escape he writes about seem exciting.
63 – Chun-Li by Nicki Minaj
Even though Cardi B has taken the hip-hop community by storm, Nicki Minaj has managed to represent women in the field for over a decade now. In “Chun-Li”, she reminds everyone that she’s one of the first to dominate and continues to do so. All the video game references from Street Fighter to Tomb Raider to Marvel make her verses exciting for the nerd in me to sing and rap to.
62 – OTW by Khalid featuring 6LACK and Ty Dolla $ign
Since Khalid released American Teen, the singer seems to have gotten out of puberty. “OTW” is Khalid’s version of adulting and sounds nothing like his previous records. If I were to compare it to an older single, this gives me “Always on Time” vibes. I personally dig the 90s R&B throwback sound and can’t wait for his next album.
61 – Dance to This by Troye Sivan featuring Ariana Grande
When I picture a collaboration between Troye Sivan and Ariana Grande, I imagine eccentricity and high notes at its finest. There’d also be an explosion of colours that will get their fanbases ecstatic. The output was far from what I just described. They exhibited restraint and tenderness. They made chilling and relaxation sexy and fresh. I’m sure the stans don’t mind.