20 – No Tears Left to Cry by Ariana Grande
After the Manchester incident, I had zero clue about the direction Ariana Grande’s music would take. And upon hearing “No Tears Left to Cry”, I believe she used the right song to reintroduce herself back to the pop world. This track embodies the qualities that make the public love Ariana Grande – strong, loving and resilient. She converted a personal tragedy to a powerful tune that owned 2018 mainstream music.
19 – In My Feelings by Drake
I still wonder how long Drake can sustain his hit-generating capacity. Once again, he stayed on top of the trends and made “In My Feelings” his most viral hit yet. The dance craze raised the hype. But what sustained my interest is his choice in the right artist to collaborate with, the sample to incorporate in his record, and the musical influence to hijack.
18 – IDGAF by Dua Lipa
After breaking her own rules which were quite new, Dua Lipa lost her credibility in the “I’m strong and I’m over it” department. But she did release one of the best f*** you and at the very least gave people an anthem to work with. I’m not good with words as I tend to say more than necessary. But Dua Lipa is and her writing skills in “IDGAF” is as concise and as precise as you can get in conveying the amount of s*** you give.
17 – Girls Like You by Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B
I admit I found nothing special with “Girls Like You” when I first heard it. Even Cardi B’s role in the song is inconsequential (except the line “I’ll play with this kitty like you play wit’ your guitar”). However, I believe her feature led people to give Maroon 5 another listen. The tune is difficult to take out of your head once you’ve heard it multiple times. It’s not surprising then that it’s the second longest number one airplay hit behind “Iris”.
16 – Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line
If any critic puts Florida Georgia Line on their year-end list, I’m sure he/she will become the laughing stock of their community and his/her followers. After all, the band has been dubbed as the Nickelback of country. But I guess the group is laughing now. For the second time, they managed to break country records on account of their collaborations with popstars – Nelly then and now Bebe Rexha. “Meant to Be” is basic but it’s addicting.
15 – Pray for Me by Kendrick Lamar and the Weeknd
I loved the film Black Panther. But I’m even more invested in the soundtrack. The album’s quality, cohesiveness and contextualisation are better than most releases today. One song that could’ve easily disappointed is the collaboration of Kendrick and the Weeknd. But the combination was good in paper and in audio. If you need a song for the daily battles you get into, the unsung hero’s anthem of “Pray for Me” is a great choice.
14 – Honey by Robyn
After you reach a certain age, I guess it’s embarrassing to listen to pop music. To me, that thought is irrational but I digress. One safe bet for adults is Robyn. Her sound is soft and sensual. She speaks of brokenness but she’s still put together. She’s past the age of tantrums but not of heartaches. “Honey” is the best example of why she continues to thrive in this day and age and why our generation is in love with her.
13 – In My Blood by Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes looks fantastic. He operates in the pop realm where the personality sometimes overshadows the music. I understand why taking Shawn Mendes or his music seriously is difficult. But I urge you to give “In My Blood” a chance. You will admire the vulnerability he displayed and the resilience he speaks about. I thought I was alone in seeing his gift. But even the Grammys decided to nominate this one for Song of the Year.
12 – Paradise by George Ezra
Am I the only one in love with George Ezra’s deep voice? He is 25 years old but his tone sounds like an old soul who has seen the world and is ready to impart his knowledge to the rest of us. He conveys all of this wisdom in an excited, euphoric and eager manner. In “Paradise”, he articulates the emotion of going crazy in love with that special someone. And the music’s energy, as well as mine, accelerates as the song progresses.
11 – Better Now by Post Malone
I am certain I’m not the only one obsessed with winning. What’s worse is the need extends to perception – being seen as the victor even if I’m not. Post Malone captures the “winning the break-up” stage perfectly. As someone who actually lost all his battles but pretended otherwise, “Better Now” is the song I’ve been waiting for. I can speak about the losses now. But I’m certain I will go back to “Better Now” mode if I lost again.