WVAU’s 2018 Songs of the Year


WVAU Staff

Every year, WVAU asks its community about the music that moved them, the songs they listened to on repeat, and the albums they’ll never forget. This year, in a new form, we’re highlighting what our community says is this year’s best. These are WVAU’s songs of the year.

10. Childish Gambino – “This is America”

I think we can all remember when we first saw the visuals for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.” The message and attention to detail far surpassed a lot the so-called “woke” artists we have at our disposal today. Given the political hostility and general divide of this nation, this song is just what we needed this year. As an artist, Childish Gambino did a brilliant job of giving us thought-provoking, informational entertainment that will serve us historically. 2018 felt like the longest year ever, and it is crazy to think that this song was released in May! Please do yourself a favor and listen to it again.

9. Spirit of the Beehive – “Nail I Couldn’t Bite”

When I first listened to the Philadelphia rock band in 2017 on the critically acclaimed Pleasure Suck, it was out of love for their distorted basement-rock stylings mixed with experimental cuts and jumps. When I heard that the same band that had defaced every potential moment of listener gratification through pitch-warping, reverb, and distortion had embodied a new psych-pop sound I had my doubts. But, as the first distorted vocal of opening number “nail I couldn’t bite” rang out, I was hooked. Even though the record reverts to pop-nuances at time, it still manages to seamlessly interweave a trademark grittiness, dare I say ugliness, that the Spirit of the Beehive have made all their own. Read Shannon’s full column on the Spirit of the Beehive’s album, Hypnic Jerks.

8. MGMT – “Me and Michael”

“Me and Michael” is the sparkly, disco slow-dancing, vibing, fourth single off of MGMT’s Little Dark Age. Though we’ve come to expect trippy psychedelic sounds from MGMT, “Me and Michael” is some magical 80’s new wave vibes. It’s the kind of song you would swing your arms around to at 1 a.m. in your room. While Andrew Van Wyngarden’s pensive vocals drift away among the synths and beats, the lyrics are intentionally vague yet soothing. When the drum loop builds up to its chorus, the result is a therapeutic outburst of contentment. It’s not a question why this song is one of the best tracks of 2018.

7. Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel”

Janelle Monáe‘s sexy hit single “Make Me Feel” is one of the best songs that came out this year. Beyond Monáe’s incredible range and excellent artistry, she proves that she isn’t just a musician. She is a performer. Just take a look at that music video. “Make Me Feel” is more than just a song, it’s a vision and a feeling.

6. The 1975 – “Love It If We Made It”

This song is guaranteed to bring the rock star out of anyone. Frustration, exhaustion, and hope are just a few of the feelings showcased in “Love If If We Made It.” Being young during such a tumultuous time in history has forced many of us to grow up faster than we want to. This song lets us be young and rebellious, even if just for a few minutes. Screaming “MODERNITY HAS FAILED US” is probably the best way to deal with the state of the world. Reality is overwhelming but The 1975 brings us a little solace by facing these truths.

5. The Internet – “Come Over”

The Internet did it again. “Come Over” is the best love song of the year. It’s innocent, yet so passionate. Letting your crush know your feelings isn’t easy, but The Internet makes it sound so sweet. Love can be so cute and so kind. Smiling while listening to this isn’t an option. It’s a must. “Come Over” feels like summertime and a really good green smoothie. The music video is the cherry on top of it all. I’m so thankful for The Internet.

4. Kali Uchis – “After the Storm”

“’Cause after the storm’s, When the flowers bloom” is an accurate depiction of 2018. It was rough and messy, but the sun kept comin’ up and we had great music like “After the Storm” to keep us at ease. Kali Uchis and Tyler, The Creator are no strangers to making great music and they have come together in the past to make bops like “See You Again” and “Perfect.” This year, along with the help of Bootsy Collins, they were able to collaborate and make one of the standout tracks of the years. It also helps that they had an amazing music video to accompany it!

3. Ariana Grande – “thank u, next”

Ariana Grande has had an eventful year. “thank u, next” seems to depict her year the most. For someone who has had lots of backlash on how she confronts or even does anything, she takes it in stride much like how this song does. Instead of bashing her exes, she wrote a song about being grateful yet also putting herself first, as she should. The song is a nice shout-out to her exes without making the song just about them and more about herself as she grows.

2. Snail Mail – “Pristine”

Snail Mail has had a great year. Her single “Pristine” is a song that brings back to life the thrill of indie rock that some might have forgotten. This song even earned Best New Music from Pitchfork. Within the song, Lindsey Jordan sings about the idea of not being able to let go of someone or the thought of someone. Much like how the music industry shouldn’t forget the power of indie rock music.

1. Mitski – “Nobody”

Mitski‘s “Nobody” is a song I sang in my room alone throughout 2018. It’s a song about realizing how lonely you are and how that sucks – and even more importantly, no matter how much you change, still nobody wants you. This song sounds very melodramatic and it’s meant to be that way. It’s not serious – just watch the Genius video she did for the song. “Nobody” is musically a happy, upbeat, French-pop-inspired song about being frustrated with yourself. It’s about wanting human contact. And honestly, that was the mood for 2018.