Last week, we released our Top 50 Albums of 2018 list. That’s the biggie for most of our readers and others in the industry — our final, defining commentary as a publication on the year in music. By the time our top songs list rolls out a week later, some view it as an afterthought and have already turned to the new year. I understand that. I’ve always been an albums guy by nature — the type who got annoyed when a friend played Side-B first or skipped choice deep cuts to get to a hit single faster. Despite some of the bloating bullshit that goes on (and you know who you are), an album, to me, still ranks as a sacred thing — from the sequencing right down to the cover art and liner notes.
[See Also: Top 50 Albums of 2018]
But as I get older, the song has started to win me over more and more. While albums do, indeed, soundtrack our lives, songs capture and punctuate our most intimate moments. When reading through a list like this one, I try to think of songs as moments: a moment of celebration, of hope, of dread, of despair, of fun, of escape, of understanding, of empowerment, of self-acceptance, of love in its infinite forms… It goes on, and I’m forever amazed by the sheer generosity that goes into artists sharing these moments with others — whether that moment has blossomed into a protest song, a club banger, a song of personal devastation, or a song that helps us see ourselves and others for who we really are. It’s amazing what can be done with a couple minutes, an idea, and some air.
That being said, below are the songs — and moments — from 2018 that we find as compelling and rewarding as any album.