As usual, the final reflection on a calendar year’s worth of music comes in the form of a quintet of songs. I’m not offering these as my personal choice for the best five tracks of 2018. Instead, these are just songs that, one way or another, stood out to me and stuck in the memory, with some consideration for featuring artists who didn’t make it onto the album list I launched into the digital void yesterday.
I’ve been engaging in this exercise under these terms for several years now. Previous posts are easily accessible below, or there’s a freshly updated YouTube playlist for your viewing and listening pleasure.
An upstart from Australia, Hatchie makes pop music that glimmers. “Sleep” sounds like Cocteau Twins with a jolt of some sugary espresso drink. It’s romantic, wistful, and tempered by melancholy doubt (Tell me what’s on your mind/ Are you leavin’ me behind?”). The track is downright rapturous in its casual accomplishment.
Robyn, “Missing U”
As I noted when reviewing her newest album, Robyn is practically a musical genre unto herself. “Missing U” is entirely reminiscent of previous triumphs, and yet feels boldly new and freeing in its plush yearning set to a pulsing beat. It’s a song to get lost in.
Cat Power, “Woman”
Recruiting fellow fervently misunderstood chanteuse Lana Del Rey to share the vocals, Chan Marshall delivers a fight song that projects power by steadfastly refusing to rise to anger even as she states her satisfied defiance. The hypnotic chorus feels as assuredly expansive as the night sky.
Expert punk counter-punching from surprising stalwarts. It’s possible Superchunk have never sounded as purposeful as they do on their latest album, an agitated protest against the miscreants enabling the lifelong criminal who bloviated his way to the highest office in the land. “Erasure” emphasizes the importance of persistence in opposing the nonstop nonsense.
Pistol Annies, “Got My Name Changed Back”
Tammy Wynette may now have to settle for runner-up status in any vote on the greatest country song about divorce.