Same as last year, I am aiming to do a top ten list for hit songs (in America) coming out this year. That is proving to involve plenty of cataloging the songs I like which could make a showing on the list proper. As it’s halfway through the year right now, how about sharing what’s been picked up thus far?
It has to be said right off the bat, though: The way in which I’m engaging with popular music this year—an extension of how I’m engaging with music as a whole, perhaps—is a world apart from how I did it last year. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve now gotten wholly used to Spotify as my full-time music provider, whether in the car, on walks, or during workouts, but it feels like I’m interacting with the hits in a significantly more disconnected manner. No exaggeration, I don’t think I’ve turned on FM radio even once!
And even if I did, apparently there is an ongoing disconnect between what pop radio is willing to play versus what is actually popular on the Billboard charts anyway? Something about Top 40 trying for the longest time to cut all ties to anything rap and instead prop up a very particular Katy Perry/Taylor Swift-ized strain of pop as the hit music ideal, but that music just simply isn’t making a big splash on the charts like it did in 2010, so they’ve painted themselves into a corner? I dunno, this is all coming from half recollections of Todd in the Shadows tweets on the matter, don’t take my word as gospel.
Ultimately, whereas in most other years I’d find myself getting into the hits through cultural osmosis, other than through Childish Gambino, a Bruno Mars remix, or Black Panther, that just simply isn’t happening at all with me this year. Maybe my Spotify bubble is to blame for that.
Instead, anything that I’ve gleaned at all about popular music has come from researching it, more or less. Whether by watching the occasional Billboard Breakdown episode from Spectrum Pulse, or checking out Spotify’s playlists of biggest hits or potential up-and-comers, I’ve been actively seeking it out, checking in on the scene whenever the thought comes up.
It’s a weird experience. It feels like missing half of the entire point of these hit songs, which is witnessing all of the cultural action that is as much as part of the hits as it is the music. This whole enterprise is more than just a musical genre, yet that’s how I’m seemingly treating it.
But you know what? All hand-wringing aside, I’m finding some pretty good songs thus far! There’s a playlist that I set up to track all of the songs that catch my attention, which will eventually be used to help sort out and build the list of top songs—the hits, the honorable mentions, the songs that should have been hits that weren’t, and so on and so forth.
It’s currently got 39 songs. That’s already plenty to consider, seven months into the year. So, without explanation, here is that list, sorted in chronological order from added first to added most recently.
- Alice Merton - “No Roots”
- Shawn Mendes - “Lost In Japan”
- Drake - “God’s Plan”
- Kendrick Lamar feat. SZA - “All The Stars”
- The Weeknd feat. Kendrick Lamar - “Pray For Me”
- Childish Gambino - “This Is America”
- Rae Sremmurd feat. The Weeknd - “Bedtime Stories”
- Ariana Grande - “no tears left to cry”
- Khalid feat. 6LACK and Ty Dolla $ign - “OTW”
- KYLE feat. Kehlani - “Playinwitme”
- Clean Bandit feat. Demi Lovato - “Solo”
- Billie Eilish feat. Khalid - “lovely”
- Cardi B feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin - “I Like It”
- Bebe Rexha - “I’m a Mess”
- The Chainsmokers feat. Drew Love - “Somebody”
- Zedd feat. Maren Morris and Grey - “The Middle”
- Loud Luxury feat. brando - “Body”
- Nicki Minaj feat. Ariana Grande - “Bed”
- The Carters - “APESHIT”
- Loote - “Wish I Never Met You”
- James Arthur - “You Deserve Better”
- Alessia Cara - “Growing Pains”
- Nicky Jam feat. Will Smith and Era Istrefi - “Live It Up”
- BLACKPINK - “DDU-DU DDU-DU”
- Maggie Rogers - “Fallingwater”
- Becky G feat. Natti Natasha - “Sin Pijama”
- Why Don’t We - “Hooked”
- Foster The People - “Sit Next To Me”
- Calvin Harris feat. Dua Lipa - “One Kiss”
- Tiësto & Dzeko feat. Preme and Post Malone - “Jackie Chan”
- A$AP Rocky feat. Skepta - “Praise The Lord (Da Shine)”
- Jocelyn Alice - “Still Wondering”
- Childish Gambino - “Summertime Magic”
- DJ Snake feat. Niniola - “Maradona Riddim”
- Twenty One Pilots - “Jumpsuit”
- Galantis feat. MAX - “Satisfied”
- BROCKHAMPTON - “1999 WILDFIRE”
- Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B - “Finesse (Remix)”
- The Weeknd feat. Gesaffelstein - “Hurt You”
The fact that a song has shown up here does not mean that it is guaranteed to make the standout hits of 2018 article. Some of the ones listed here, I know for certain ultimately won’t end up with a spot I might even end up not liking some of these songs as time goes on. I could even be mistaken and realize that some of them might not even actually be hits!
What this list does signify is that all of these songs caught my attention, and I liked them enough at this particular moment in time to want to remember them as contenders for later on, and as should be self-evident, that group is pretty wide open. Only time will tell where this all finally ends up, when the start of next year rolls around.
In the meantime, feel free to roast my tastes. :P