Feature: The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The team has come together to share all our favourite tunes of the year. Scroll through and have a glimpse into all the goods 2018 has delivered, so far.

Amy Smolcic – Content Manager
‘After Midnight’ by Superheart
As soon as I hit play on ‘After Midnight’ the first time, I felt chills. I proceeded to listen to it straight for almost a week, and it continuously gave me the same feeling. The track is romantic-pop perfection injected with tropical undertones. Even months later, the sentimentality of ‘After Midnight’ reigns supreme. Superheart is one to watch.

‘Annie Blue’ by Launder
I randomly stumbled across this track whilst sifting through Hype Machine, and I’m so glad it made its way into my ears. ‘Annie Blue’ mixes elements of nostalgia with alt-rock, and the final product is utterly beautiful and enchanting. If you catch me at a beach on a downcast grey day, I guarantee that I will be listening to this track on repeat.

'Tieduprightnow’ by Parcels
'Tieduprightnow’ is an infectious gem that's hard not to love. Parcels send me into a good mood everytime I jam this one and I'm ever so thankful for that.

Kristy Smolcic – Creative Director/Production Manager 
‘This Is America’ by Childish Gambino
Do I even have to say why? Easily song of the year, thus far. Pure genius and absolutely iconic.

‘Make Me Feel’ by Janelle Monae
I’m a sucker for a groovy track and a solid bass. It might have something to do with my obsession with soul and disco music, but I love how she's combined this with a modern and electronic edge — it oozes confidence.

‘Happy Sad’ by Ocean Alley 
There's something new to discover on this track with every listen. This song's beauty still gets me emotional and I’m pretty sure I've played it 100+ times in my car and I still get shivers. It has a 'Bohemian Rhapsody' vibe to it, with the lyrics matching the massive build-ups and blissful keys.

Iryna Byelyayeva – Contributing Writer
‘Through the Storm’ by Stonefield
I absolutely love Stonefield – women are so underrepresented in rock, and it’s so good to see four sisters from rural Victoria rewriting the rules of who gets to perform these kinds of tracks. ‘Through the Storm’ is some good, old-fashioned, Black Sabbath-esque rock, but with an undoubtedly contemporary feel. The ethereal calm before the storm towards the end of the track makes it uniquely Stonefield.

‘Be Careful’ by Cardi B
When I first heard this track I was very confused, it felt like a mish-mash. But there is something to charismatic about Cardi B, and about this song. Her quips, the weirdly pleasant tone in her voice, and the boppy beat just infect you. This song will get stuck in your head, and make you want to get married in a desert.

‘She Looks Like Fun’ by Arctic Monkeys 
This song is great, if not for the sheer theatricality of Alex Turner’s vocals, then for lyrics like ‘finally, I can share with you … every whimsical thought that enters my mind / there’s no length of the dickheads we can be’. Honestly, it took me a while to decide exactly which lyric to write up as an example. While the song is hard to understand over the threatening grunginess of the sound, looking up the lyrics is a joy – this song is poetry to my little, male-ego-disapproving ears.

Daniel Hanssen – Contributing Writer
‘Velcro’ by Approachable Members of Your Local Community 
I’ve had a great time floating around Melbourne over the months seeing live performances and building up a collection of artists I really admire and enjoy. One band, in particular, is the up and comers Approachable Members of Your Local Community. Their single 'Velcro' leading up to their EP, ‘If there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to contact us’, is a catchy melodic hook driven jive capturing the fun-loving nature of the band’s members. With funky bass lines and Josh’s bobbing vocals, the track is definitely something that can be danced too, something to be added to every party playlist.

‘Alchemy’ by Slowly Slowly
Slowly Slowly have come out of the woodwork with this single, announcing their brilliance as a rock band. 'Alchemy' is a brilliant track with a catchy hook I can’t help but sing along with. Through 'Alchemy', Slowly Slowly have created a real mover of a track, with some potent lyrical imagery, a fiery guitar line and some rocking drum fills. The song seems a little melancholic in tone, but every time I hear the “We’re making gold” hook, I can’t help a little smile as I sing.

‘Still So Young’ by Woodes
This song is a special one for me, Woodes’ works were introduced to me through a friend and ever since I have been hooked to her sound. I’ve always connected with this song, 'Still So Young', the closing track from her latest EP, Golden Hour — including its nostalgic look at life and aspirations of the future, pushing yourself and looking forward. The track is playful and the lazy acoustic guitar helps bring together this whole image of just sitting and thinking about the world. When I feel a little down, this is the track that helps me pick myself back up.

Sally Hui – Contributing Writer
‘Praise The Lord (Da Shine)’ by A$AP Rocky ft. Skepta 
RRRakim Mayers *rolls tongue*, has duo-ed with skeptical Skepta to art easel the most #trending track from his fresh salad album, ‘Testing’ 1-2-3. A faint-worthy 32-mill Spotify streams of consciousness, is water clear evidence of a big fat tick of approval by ‘The People’. Only a matter of diagnosed seconds does it take for the MSG addicting panpipes/Squidward’s clarinet, to reel you, a pec popping mercury-free salmon out of the nip freezing sea. This London plus New York flava flav tune ‘Da Shine(s)’ brighter than a bald keynote speaker’s head *A$AP gold tooth ‘ting’*.

‘Iceberg’ by BØRNS
Blue lips. Somewhere in the terrains of Antarctica, an Eskimo’s igloo lo and beholds an unopenable bejeweled treasure chest. Full of ripe passion(fruit) like its siblings in ‘Blue Madonna’, this herbal tea infusion is an ‘A Milli’-thread count *Lil Wayne cough syrup snigger* silk sheet of undying cemetery allure. 1:52’s “iceberg”, melts you into cioccolato gelato, and the Viva La Vida violin shell-closure is a picturesque view from Everest. With this glacial “surface tension” tune, Borns hypothermingly has, “turn(ed) the ripples that surround us into waves” #Frostbite #Santa.

'Ghost Town' by Kanye West 
“Woah, once again I am a child". Yes, publicity overload but GT ‘tis irresist...A gymnast prodigy. Flexible for extrovert-life of the party-anthem mode, and equally times of real tear-jerking mirror reflection about self and life. Your chameleon alter egos are satisfied 360. Kanye’s verse is perfection. Plaguing only 45 secks of its 4:31 duration, claps to his a$$ in giving plenty of room on the bus seat for others to generously shine their ‘Flashing Lights’. ‘Casper’ Town sets the bar back-bendingly high for an Olympian pole-vaulter, thus we must thank 2018 for this early Xmas gift.

Jaspar Robinson – Contributing Writer
‘Four Out Of Five’ by Arctic Monkeys
The grandeur of Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino reaches it’s peak on 'Four Out Of Five' and leaves a large, luxury space hotel shaped hole in my chest as I long for the day I become relevant enough to live at this hotel.

‘Charmless Wonder’ by MYTHS
The psychedelic stylings of MYTHS shine through on 'Charmless Wonder' like the sun through a thin veil. I feel nothing but childish glee when I listen to this song and am reminded of a simpler time where there were only two Toy Storys, and the weekend wasn't over in 2 minutes.

‘Heartbreak Club’ by Jade Alice
A very very very recent release but a killer no doubt. 'Heartbreak Club' is the epitome of lush pop with its layer upon layer of vocal lines, super long reverb tails, and ginormous drum sound. Feelings of innocence and nostalgia bleed through, coating my glasses with a rose tint, making my high school years resemble a cheesy teen soap opera.

Roy Gordon – Contributing Writer 
‘Hunger’ By Florence+Machine 
The classic Florence+Machine sound does not falter with this one. Though it isn’t a massive departure, the familiarity feels like we are listening to a single soul navigate and grow through time. Florence singing the themes of honesty and human insecurity instantly captivated me from the first play.

‘Call Out My Name’ by The Weeknd    
I’m a huge The Weeknd Fan, he just has such a precise ability conjure mood his voice. The track is so reminiscent of his Trilogy album but dynamically it’s definitely related to Beauty Behind The Madness. Opening with the mellow lo-fi piano it gives the chorus so much space and oh man does the chorus hit hard on this one.

‘My My My’ by Troye Sivan
Troye Sivan’s "My My My" gives me feels for days. The dance between the minimalist production and Troye’s smooth tone give birth to some stellar pop. It’s just so lush, spacious and layered all at the same time.

Sam Gillespie – Contributing Writer 
‘In My View’ by Young Fathers
It’s near impossible to pick a singular highlight from Young Fathers’ early Album of the Year contender, Cocoa Sugar. The first single released, ‘Lord’, has come to be a personal favourite. However, on the technicality that it was released in 2017, I’ve had to scour the record, searching for anything that stood out from extremely unique, infectious collection of songs. I landed on the album’s lead single, ‘In My View’. It was the first song I’d heard off Cocoa Sugar, and I now realise that it’s the perfect introduction to Young Fathers. It exemplifies their fusion of sounds and genres so much so that they make it difficult to categorise – they may be a rap group, but this is not a rap album. 'In My View'’s uneasy synths, Africana-type beats and a perfectly subtle vocal sample leave it looping in my head for hours, even days, after listening.

‘Pain Killer’ by Iceage (ft. Sky Ferreira)
I’ve been listening to this song for a while, but it wasn’t until I put it on one morning while making breakfast that its brilliance struck me. It’s a brazen song exploding with in-your-face brass, ferocious guitars and runs at a pace that makes it impossible to ignore. I’ve never felt so bloody motivated while cooking eggs.

‘Spare Gold’ by Paul White (ft. Shungudzo)
Paul White’s latest solo effort is quite a departure from his previous sample-heavy hip-hop production. He has written and performed every note on this LP himself (apart from features, obviously) and has made a record that sounds like the best parts of Lorde, SZA, Air and Junk-era M83. ‘Spare Gold’ is a playful mix of jazz, soul and psychedelic pop with Shungudzo’s luscious vocals flowing gracefully over the top.

Rita Kidd – Contributing Writer 
‘Second Hand Car (Acoustic)’ by Kim Churchill
Churchill is known for his raw acoustic style. His 2017 album Weight Falls took a step away from his usual style and moved into a more heavy pop sound, still laden with beats and rhythm, still Churchill but a new Churchill. This year he released an acoustic version of the song which reminded me of the musician I first saw playing at a uni bar in 2013. Rhythmic, intelligent and moving, this song represents wanting to stick around but not being able to and feeling disappointed because of that. The 2017 version hooks you in with its power, the 2018 acoustic style brings you back to earth to reflect and feel the lyrics in a stripped back version.

‘Flames’ by David Guetta & Sia
I started a new job this year. It has been a steep learning curve and extremely difficult to find my feet. Thankfully, I have managed to get this far with encouragement from my loved ones and Sia. The song is uplifting, encouraging and fun to listen to. It has a heartful and sincere message but does not take itself too seriously. Of course, the chorus is the heart of the song, “Oh my love, don’t stop running, gotta keep those tears at bay” but I love the opening lyrics for their simplicity and honesty. This song is not full of metaphor or allegory, it sends its message clearly, that all you have to do, is put one foot in front of the other and just keeping moving through it.

‘The Fire’ by Bishop Briggs
This song is powerful from the opening; Broad chords, heavy beats and a melodic voice laid on top. Briggs classifies her music as dark poetry and treats it as an escape. This song is not messing around, it doesn’t apologise and its intensity is impressive. The lyrics on 'The Fire' portray self-reflection and of course, sadness about the relationship that ended just before this song was written. I fell in love with it because of its power, beauty and rawness that Briggs carries through all her tracks. It also reminds me that it is important to self-reflect your own flaws and misgivings to perhaps prevent the same mistakes in the future.