Best of 2018
by Chad Whitehead, About What You’d Expect – Radio Show Airs Sats. at 9 p.m. on The Spy FM
2018 was a great year for music. Here are some of my favorite songs that I tried to rank against each other (something I’m not very good at). I hope you find something on this list that you like! My bias is toward upbeat songs and I’ll admit, I don’t listen to lyrics that much.
10. “Silver Lining” – Mt. Joy
Buzz band alert! Mt. Joy spent 2018 climbing the Americana music ladder and are poised for a big 2019. Silver Lining builds on itself and gives me the impression that the band can really blow this song up when performing it live. I plan on finding out for myself on March 9 when they play the main room at Tower Theatre. Get tickets here!
9. “MJ” – Now, Now
Dance-y and upbeat, put this on and the floors practically sweep themselves.
8. “Tough Folks” – American Aquarium
American Aquarium frontman, B.J. Barham, the “Springsteen of the South,” showed up big with Things Change, his eighth studio album. What East of Eden is to Steinbeck, Tough Folks is to American Aquarium. Coming to Tower on Dec. 30!
7. “Always Enough” – John Calvin Abney
This is the sweetest song of 2018. It’s the coda to a long, hard day and a reminder that there is still care in a harsh world.
6. “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)” – Leon Bridges
Leon’s 2018 album, Good Thing, was a departure for him, but it felt natural and was a hit with audiences. “If It Feels Good” proves that a good groove can get anyone dancing.
5. “Dear Megan” – Boniface
This tiny band from Winnipeg worked their way into my ears early in 2018. They asked to play Tower on their way to SXSW and I said no. They asked again, reminding me that the Canadian government was paying their way to Austin and back (imagine that, local artists!). I took a chance and was blown away. They’ll likely tour Europe more than here, but their bubble gum, modern emo style is just fine by me.
4. “Lemon to a Knife Fight” – The Wombats
If you’re listening to any of these songs, you can quickly tell that I’m a big fan of upbeat and catchy. Lemon to a Knife Fight isn’t the most serious lyrics of the year, but who cares when your hooks are this good.
3. “Nobody” – Mitski
Mitski Miyawaki is the heir-apparent to St. Vincent and her 2018 album, Be The Cowboy, takes the listener on the same type of sonic journey you’re expecting from a St. Vincent or Phantogram album. If you’re into vinyl, this one is a must.
2. “New Birth in New England” – Phosphorescent
I’ve never been a massive Matthew Houck fan, but his newest album, C’est La Vie, is incredible. New Birth in New England is a rambling and ultimately meaningless song that feels
like it’s about more than just another beer.
1. “Taste of You” – Allen Stone
Give it one listen and you’ll be hooked. Allen’s light-hearted songwriting feels natural and is in the pocket, just like his band.
Other great songs that I loved in 2018:
“Cassanova” – Rayland Baxter
“Yeah Bones” – Kurt Vile
“Born in the Right Country” – River Whyless
“Just a Fool” – Jim James
“Mansion Door” – Shakey Graves
“Cinders” – The Moondoggies
“Talking Straight” – Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever
“Uh Huh” – Jade Bird
“Fake You” – Yoke Lore
“In A River” – Rotsam
“Cadillac” – Sports
“Sandman” – BRONCHO
“Here It Comes (The Road, Let’s Go)” – Spiritualized
“Lemonade” – Rubblebucket
“Beverly” – Low Cut Connie
“Double Down” – Slothrust
“Charity” – Courtney Barnett
“True Dark” – Murder by Death
“No Other Woman” – Greyhounds
“Lil’ Girls Name” – Charley Crockett
“It Might Get Dark” – White Denim
If you want to give the whole list a listen, here’s the Spotify link.
Tune in to About What You’d Expect on Saturdays at 9 p.m.