Livewire's Best Singles of 2018
Even with the rise of streaming services, singles are still just as important as albums. They're the tracks artists choose to define themselves with, and they're the tracks you've heard on Livewire over the past year. We've whittled down our favourite songs of the year for you, though, so you won't have to trawl back through our playlists.
Livewire's #1: Ariana Grande - 'thank u, next': We could have chosen any of the singles from Sweetener to make our favourite song of the year. 'no tears left to cry', 'god is a woman', 'breathin', 'the light is coming'... any of them. Instead we went for the most recent offering from pop princess Ariana Grande, in the form of 'thank u, next'. Released at the perfect time and in the perfect way, Ariana Grande ensured she would keep her pop domination going with the surprise release of 'thank u, next'. It's difficult to imagine, but this was actually Ariana's first US Number 1 single. The song fits flawlessly into her online presence and her persona, and the video, with its instantly recognisable pop culture references, makes it one of the most important tracks around today. Not to mention its sweet, gentle R&B instrumental and sing-song vocal performance from Ari--this, and its unavoidably catchy chorus--means it's landed top spot on our Singles of the Year list. Ariana is the pop star to beat--she's got the world in the palm of her hands.
Brockhampton - '1999 Wildfire': After a rocky start to 2018, Brockhampton needed to come out fighting, and on their first song of the year ‘1999 Wildfire’ they showed us what they were capable of with one of the most fun and bouncy tracks of the year. Think of what an OutKast song would sound like if it had a child with One Direction and you’ve pretty much nailed it, with it’s bubbly and disjointed beat that works beautifully in combination with its catchy and off-the-wall chorus. When it comes to the rapping you’ve got Matt Champion spitting about Charlie’s Angels in one verse and JOBA rapping from the perspective of a medieval villager in another so really what’s not to love here? As sad as we are that this doesn’t find itself on the group’s 2018 album Iridescence, it doesn’t matter, because this track stands on its own as one of their most fun and addicting songs to date, as just reading the words ‘La, La, La La La La La La’ will no doubt play the chorus in some of your heads.
The 1975 - 'Love It If We Made It': There is no doubt that the 1975 have had quite the year, with the release of their newest album A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships to critical acclaim and fan adoration. The album stands out amongst their own music, proving to be emotionally mature and musically experimental. However, one cut from the album stands out among the rest: 'Love It If We Made It'. This song examines the ridiculousness of the current state of the world, and asks more questions than it provides answers. In this case, the combination of curiosity and dejectedness makes for a song that wraps up the feelings of many into a neat package. Band frontman and vocalist Matty Healy laments that “modernity has failed us” in the chorus and alludes to Donald Trump and Kanye West’s narcissism, all in less than four minutes. The song is catchy and fun, but when you look beyond the riffs and heavy beats, you uncover a story of modern society, and all the ways it’s gone wrong. It is absolutely one of the most powerful pop songs of the year.
Janelle Monae - 'Make Me Feel': The lead single from Janelle Monae's third LP Dirty Computer, 'Make Me Feel' is hands down one of the best tracks of the year. Produced with sounds made by Prince, this single is groovy, soulful, and infectiously catchy. Its click-and-snap percussion and modulated bassline carries the track through its themes of bisexuality, and gives the song a sense of unrivalled energy that makes it so damn good. The '80s synths and grated reverb instrumental only add to the funky personality of the song. The music video, also, makes the song so much better--if that's possible--, with colours of the bisexual pride flag tinting the atmosphere, and electric dancing from the electric lady herself.
Drake - 'Nice For What': Another year, another no.1 Drake song, and no matter how disappointing his albums are, there’s no denying the man has a knack for the single as he consistently puts out some of the catchiest and most energetic tracks of the year with ‘Nice For What’ being no different. With Lauryn Hill’s R&B classic ‘Ex-factor’ making up the basis of the Murda-produced beat, Drake offers some words of encouragement to all the women in his life that might feel they’re not good enough. The song’s message is motivational and easy to get behind but the real star of the show is the song’s infectious beat that has an almost hypnotic quality. With the looping sample that acts as a pseudo-chorus for the track alongside a classically catchy drum pattern and some meaty bass, Murda has really outdone himself on the production, and we're glad, because there’s no doubt we’ll be hearing this song on the radio well into the new year.
Staying nicely on-brand with the station, for me, the best single of this year was, hands down, ‘no tears left to cry’. Choosing between this, ‘god is a woman’, and ‘thank u, next’ was like how I imagine choosing between my children/cats will be, and ‘no tears left to cry’ made it onto this list purely because it was the single that made me realise “wow, I think I’m an Ariana Grande stan now?” This single was on repeat when it first came out, and I vividly remember receiving odd looks from the poor lady sat next to me when I listened to it about seven times in a row on a Virgin West Coast Mainline train in April. Proudly, though, will I stand by that memory, because this song deserves it. It’s got groove, it’s got feelings, it’s got oomph, and it’s got danceability. Everything we like in a number 1 single. Christine & the Queens take my second slot, with Chris’ lead single ‘Girlfriend’ (or 'Damn, dis-moi' in the French), featuring Dam-Funk. This song is so groovy, with a deliciously smooth chorus. There’s something about retro-inspired songs that just gets to me, and this track’s noughties-esque keyboard and ‘80s-coloured percussion that worms itself into my head--not to mention the way all the contrasting elements coalesce here to be one of the most succinctly and tightly written tracks in my memory. From one groovy retro track to another, ‘Make Me Feel’ by Janelle Monae rightfully sits on my top singles list. With the immediately gripping clicks and snaps acting as percussion and the wobbly, modulated bassline, this is catchy from the get-go. I’m a sucker for a brilliant melody, and this track has it, and more. It’s even more affecting when you listen to the lyrics: Janelle has shaken her high-concept-album past and is more personal, writing about her own experiences rather than stories from a cyborg-populated future. We can taste her struggles with sexuality and race, and whilst being one of the most infectious tunes perhaps ever, this song is deeply emotional. Themes of race characterise the next single: we turn to Noname’s ‘Blaxsploitation’. With samples from domestic life and speeches from the civil rights movement and clever word games, this single is just ingeniously thought-provoking. Noname strikes me as the kind of artist who smiles as she performs, despite the disarming song topic, because she knows she’s undoubtedly talented. The combination of hip hop and jazz is something I can’t get enough of at the moment, and Noname does it very, very well. Last song on my top singles of 2018 list is Vince Staples’ recently released ‘FUN!’ from FM!. This single seems to fit a crazy amount of hooks into its 2.51 duration, and it’s a song that has been stuck in my head so many times since its release. It’s careless and careful at the same time, and I think it’s brilliant.
My fifth single of the year comes from Australia’s Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever with ‘Talking Straight’. Coming out early in the year, this track really shone the impressive harmonies and charm of this band. They really know how to string together a perfect rock track. Up next its ‘Mace Windu Riddim’ by London jazz quintet Ezra Collective. There’s little to be said about the jazz group that hasn’t been said already however it would be a sin to not include their music in my selection. As part of the big push in new Jazz that is happening in London at the moment, the group have put out some incredible tracks. With driving percussion and high energy horns ‘Mace Windu Riddim’ showcases the impressive heights these talent musicians can reach. Coming in at number three it's Tyler, The Creator featuring A$AP Rocky with ‘Potato Salad’. Would write about this track but Danny’s already done a better job writing about that so go read that. My second single of the year is going to none other than York’s finest Bull with ‘Perfect Teeth’. Having quite possibly been the band I’ve seen the most in my life I’ve always held a special spot for Bull. However, special spot or not their single ‘Perfect Teeth’ is a certified hit. Mixing Pavement sounding slacker rock with Beach Boys-esque harmonies and then throwing in one hot Dinosaur Jr inspired solo it’s no surprise there’s ‘perfect’ in the title of the track. Taking the top spot however is Swedish export Viagra Boys with their track ‘Sports’. It’s a truly absurd track from the post-punk group as lyrics revolve mostly around listing different sports and getting high. This is placed on top of a driving garage punk bass line and steady drum beat which breaks down half way through. During this break down the shouting of the word ‘sports’ divulges into exhausted screams which sound more like ‘spworghggts’ as the lead singer desperately attempts (mockingly) to justify his masculinity. The clever humour and statement of this track along with the strong post-punk instrumentation make it just one wholly incredible track.
Let’s start with one of the most entertaining and enveloping pop tracks of the year – 'One Kiss'. Dua Lipa sings hypnotically over a bouncy club beat from Calvin Harris, and there’s not much more you can ask for in a pop song. Drake pops in next with possibly the biggest tracks of the year. 'Nice For What' transforms a Lauryn Hill sample into a pulsating and addictive beat, with Drake delivering his trademark smooth rap-singing over the top. The opening track of DAYTONA, 'If You Know You Know', begins the album with his drug-laden metaphors over a Kanye beat that explodes into life and reverberates through you. The hook is fiendish, the verses are incredible – this is Pusha T at the top of his game. Denzel Curry just misses out on my SOTY, but 'SUMO' is the truest definition of a banger. Earth-shattering bass, aggressive and chaotic vocals, and lyrics that fill you with energy to get you pumped and want to go absolutely nuts. But my top spot has to go to a track that I implore every single reader to listen to – Maxo Kream’s 'Roaches'. To be honest, I’d barely heard of Maxo before this year, but after releasing his album Punken right at the top of the year I was hooked. This song acts as the close of the album, and is conscious trap done to perfection. Some may say that conscious trap is an oxymoron, but this track slaps those people on the face. Maxo tells his story – parental problems, running with gangs, illegal activities, his regrets and dreams, and a plethora of misfortunes that impacted him and his family. It is incredible how he condenses such detail and personal anguish into a track that could easily be played and bobbed to in a club. The beat is infectious – tittering hi-hats, bumping bass, dreamy piano, and just everything you’d want for this kind of song. The end of the song has two samples of his mum and dad, reciting memories of Maxo as a child, and offering words of support and encouragement. It is clear that he has a strong family connection, and this song is an incredible display of vulnerability from a rapper known for his intimidating nature. Ultimately, 'Roaches' is a track that I have not stopped listening to since January, and if you need an example of how hip-hop can offer juxtaposing styles working so well in tandem look no further.
When compiling my list for my top 5 singles of the year I noticed that I gravitate more towards the bangers of this year, and it’s no surprise, when 2018 saw the release of some absolute slappers. First up is Baltimore underground sensation JPEGMAFIA with his brilliantly weird ‘Baby I’m Bleeding’. With a sinister and hypnotic sample swirling in the background, Peggy overlays a pounding drum beat and starts rapping his heart out with the usual wit and aggression he is known for. If experimental hip-hop is your bag then check this one out, as his recent album Veteran may be right up your street. The only non-banger on my list comes from hip-hop giants Tyler, The Creator & A$AP Rocky on their surprise collaboration, ‘Potato Salad’ which is undoubtedly one of the most fun songs of the year. Repurposing an old Kanye beat, the duo go head to head in some of the cleanest bars I’ve heard all year, featuring some hilarious lines and some surprisingly in depth flows from Rocky, as he shows of his rapping prowess in the insane rhyme scheme that closes out his verse. If you don’t crack a smile whilst listening to this song then you might want to go check for a pulse because this is just one of the most charming songs of the year by a country mile. New York trio Flatbush Zombies dropped one of my favourite albums of the year with Vacation In Hell and the lead single from it, ‘Headstone’, is without a doubt one of the most clever and well-crafted concept songs in recent hip-hop. Upon first listen, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a classic braggadocious rap banger but spend anytime looking at the lyrics and it becomes clear that it is one of the most well written songs of the year as every single line is a reference to a classic hip-hop album or artist, and yes I mean every SINGLE lyric. When listening to this song I urge you to read the lyrics along with it as the amount of references is just staggering. And from one banger to another we have ‘Colossus’ by the UK’s most electrifying group of 2018, Idles, a song that sees the group breaking the classic ‘punk’ mould to fantastic effect. Taking a more prog-rock angle, the track ominously builds and builds before exploding into noise and carnage, with singer Joe Talbot delivering some comedy gold overtop in one of the most exciting songs of the year. And onto my favourite single of the year which couldn’t have really been anyone else but Janelle Monáe and the absolute uppercut that is ‘Django Jane’. Seeing Janelle going into a harder, more hip-hop focused direction is what makes this track so compelling and to be honest there’s nothing I can really say that she doesn’t say herself on this fiery banger, just go listen to it and it’s brilliant music video, you won’t regret it.
At number five on my list is the late Mac Miller’s track, '2009'. The track demonstrates Mac’s ear for music, as the reflective track opens with an orchestral introduction. In the actual track, Mac reflects on his journey from the release of his debut mixtape up to present day. The track itself was an emotional and passionate song even before Miller passed away in September, but now the track serves as a fitting tribute to the career and life of the Pittsburgh rapper. For number four, it has to be another Drake track, in ’Nice for What’. Whilst ‘Scorpion’ fell short critically, his single ‘Nice for What’ was near perfect. The sampling of Lauryn Hill makes for a catchy and contagious beat as he raps about female empowerment. Number three goes to Kanye West’s single ‘Ghost Town’. Released amongst a series of controversial incidents, Kanye’s album Ye was largely ignored, but the track ‘Ghost Town’ was a particular standout, featuring Kid Cudi, PARTYNEXTDOOR and newcomer 070 Shake on the iconic outro. There’s an overwhelming sense of freedom in the track as 070 Shake sings ”I put my hand on a stove, to see if I still bleed, yeah, and nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free.” Number two on my list has to go to Saba with his track, ‘PROM / KING’. Saba is still an upcoming rap artist, but the penultimate track from his sophomore studio album demonstrates Saba’s talent for storytelling in his raps. The seven minute track is in two parts, with the first part, ‘PROM’ detailing his troubling experience going to prom for the first time and bonding with his cousin Walter. The second half of the track takes a darker turn as Saba raps about the lead up to his cousin Walter’s fatal death. The emotion in Saba’s voice captivates you as he discusses how he heard the tragic news, before a heartbreaking outro plays, recorded by his late cousin. The track demonstrates that Saba definitely has a promising future in the rap genre. There’s no question in my eyes that Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ deserves the number one slot. The single and music video went viral hours after it’s release, as Gambino returns to his rap origins, addressing the current state of America – talking about gun violence and racism in a catchy track. One of my favourite elements is the adlibs from other rappers such as Young Thug, 21 Savage and Quavo, which demonstrate Gambino’s knowledge of the current rap genre.
If owned a house, let alone many houses, I’d absolutely love to fill them with some Leo DiCaps and some Cole Sprouses. 'Potato Salad' by Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky helped me to realise this over the warm 90s reminiscent beat with a video to match, showing both young rappers having fun with it at the top of their game. It’s hard to write about young rappers bringing the goods in 2018 without bringing up BROCKHAMPTON. The internet’s first boyband brought out three stellar singles in the run up to their Billboard Number 1 album Iridescence and I don’t think a week has passed without me listening to ‘1999 Wildfire’ at least once, Kevin Abstract with a saucy hook sounding like it could come straight from OutKast's Aquemini, and there’s no higher praise than that. An appeal to everyone reading this: just listen to the drums in ‘Mate Um Bonito Hoje Mesmo!’ by Marcioz and you’ll understand exactly why i had to include it my top five. The 20-year-old Brazilian producer gifted us all with more of his signature high-energy yet distant releases this year, every track as chaotic and colourful as the last. the future of the indie electronic scene looks bright with explosive producers like Marcioz gaining more and more attention. I can’t remember the last time a single got me more excited for an upcoming album than ‘Freelance’ by Toro Y Moi has. His Outer Peace comes out in January 2019, and if this single is anything to go by it’s going to be something special. I just don’t understand how that man can make such a bop with his broken guttural vocals throughout, over his career Chaz Bear has never been one to submit to just one sound, every release seems to be better than the last, and this is no different. The only thing that kept 'Freelance' from my number 1 spot was Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. I’ve been a big fan of him for so many years now and I still haven’t decided if that’s the best or worst name I’ve ever heard, but without a doubt ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ is far and away the most beautiful track I’ve heard from him. From the hypotonic melodies at the start, into Dave Okumu’s 11/10 guitar solo and THOSE SYNTHS! It all comes together in such a perfect and harmonious way there was no question that this was my number one single of the year.
'Ghost Town’ by Kanye West is one of my singles of the year. Arguably the strongest of the tracks on Ye, it’s an intoxicating, messy track about struggling with alcohol addiction, forgotten youth and liberation. Kid Cudi’s drawl, combined with Kanye’s rap-singing, alongside 070 Shake’s jubilant singing of the line "I feel kinda free" over a heavy, guitar-laden backing makes ‘Ghost Town’ anthemic, the kind of song you want to shout out at the top of your lungs. The Carters’ ‘Apeshit’ is my second single of the year. Produced by Pharrell Williams, featuring ad-libs from Quavo, and flawless Beyoncé rapping, the song is a majestic, in-your-face knock out. It’s simultaneously a hype song for the fans, and a celebration of love and black excellence. Pair this with a stunning video, filmed in the Louvre, which sees them overshadowing some of the world’s most highly-regarded art, and you’ve undeniably got one of the tracks of the year. If 2018 was anyone’s year, it was Ariana Grande’s year. Having released a slew of excellent singles, ‘Thank U, Next’ stood out as particularly iconic, as it introduced the genre of the wholesome break-up song (it doesn’t hurt that it’s insanely catchy either). It’s an empowering track which encourages people to celebrate their exes, and themselves. Plus the video, which emulates several classic teen films, including ‘Legally Blonde’, is just as great as the song. ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ by Ariana Grande is fourth on my singles of the year list. The backing is sparse, allowing Ariana to take centre stage, which she does easily, showing the extent of her vocal range. It’s a defiant, soaring, and optimistic track, which encourages users to pick themselves up, and dance through the pain, towards a happier future. My fifth single of the year is ‘Sweet but Psycho’ by Ava Max. It’s an infectiously catchy pop song from a relatively new artist and is the definition of an ear worm - you will literally not be able to get this out of your head. ‘Sweet But Psycho’ is a fun pop song, which gives you a healthy dose of girl power, and is reminiscent of Carly Rae Jepson, a verifiable pop goddess.
‘It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)’ by The 1975 was was my absolute favourite single of 2018! I love upbeat and catchy melodies and this song fully delivers on the sing-along factor. The bridge is nicely done and adds a deeper tone to the track; the lyrics are meaningful and adequately confusing, as per usual for The 1975, and all in all it’s a good party tune. As a big fan of Tom Odell, I was expecting great things from this single and I wasn’t disappointed. The duet is absolutely gorgeous; Odell and Merton’s voices merge together beautifully to create a heartfelt and heart-wrenching piece about lost love that is still, somehow, catchy and addictive. The quality piano playing is a welcomed bonus! If you’re a fan of country-based music in any way, 'Fireworks' by Fist Aid Kit is a treat. The build up to the bridge and final chorus throughout the song is beautiful and heartwarming, and although the lyrics are wistful and sad the song is empowering as the duet creates a gorgeous crescendo of feelings. The themes of anxiety and longing in this one are perhaps for more of a rainy day listen, but the song is beautiful. Catchy and upbeat pop music is one of my favourite things ever and this single really nails easy-to-learn lyrics and addictive melody. Tessa Violet manages to merge old-fashioned sounding instruments with a modern pop sound and the result is a lot of fun and pressing the replay button. The lyrics are perhaps on the more basic side but are still pretty and add to the welcome simplicity of the song, which makes it so charming. '20' is a song about “post-teen crisis” that blends indie guitar with meaningful lyrics about the struggles of being an adult and still not knowing who you are or what to do with your life. Powerful lyrics, bass guitar and a catchy chorus make for a mood-setting record (great for when you feel like brooding over your deadlines).
Tyler, the Creator will forever be an outlier which pushes every boundary and limit to its full extent in pursuit of something beautiful. 'OKRA' is a jagged departure from his beautiful 2017 album Flower Boy. Booming bass lines and hard-edged cadences radiate from this track and make it the perfect motivation boost when needed. Prior to the release of Iridescence, Brockhampton released three songs which followed suit sonically of the Saturation point they left us at last year. '1999 Wildfire' was my favourite of the singles released, its RnB smeared throwback soaked in quirky one-liners and a contagious hook was an instant hit to many. Half of the award-winning duo Rae Sremmurd, Swae Lee releases yet another song which will be remain on rotation in your head for weeks upon weeks. His child-like voice is incredibly infectious and Swae certainly knows how to write a hit. The song radiates summer vibes with smooth, tropical synth lines smothered with interwinding melodies floating over the top. Every song Swae touches oozes commercial success and goes on to dominate the charts. 2018 has most definitely been The 1975’s year. The second single from their new album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, 'Love It If We Made It' embarks on a side of the band we previously had never seen. In a stylishly rant structure, Matt Healy reels off a cultural and political commentary of modern society, including: the ongoing race war, the volatile nature of the prison system, and the prevalence artists like Lil Peep had on youth culture. Amongst all this tragedy and suffering, Matt conjures a beacon of optimism in the chorus, repeating the title of the track encapsulates the hopes that human resilience is enough to pull us out of this mess. The track by The 1975 cemented my love and adoration for them and in my opinion is their best work to date. ASAP Rocky and Skepta linked up for one of the strongest hip hop songs of the year. The bouncy production dabbled with slick melodies is an instant hit with any listener. The chemistry between the two superstars is infectious and comes through perfectly on this track. The energy cast by purely the beat is one of the most magnificent things about this track, 'Praise The Lord' can’t help but get you moving as soon as you hear it.
This single from the newly minted trio, boygenius, composed of Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Phoebe Bridgers, is a perfect representation of these artists as a whole. Somehow creating a folk song that doesn’t resemble folk at all, the use of redundant guitar lets the vocals and lyrics shine, which tell a story all their own. RY X is known for his synth indie tracks, easy songs to play in the background but with surprising musical depth and emotional vocals. His newest single, 'Untold', isn’t a departure, but is perhaps down a slightly different route than his older cuts. With the addition of constant, electronic beats to his melodic instrumentals and raw voice make for one of his best songs yet. Ex:Re is the new project from Elena Tonra, the lead singer of indie trio Daughter, and while her distinct vocal Is hard to miss, her new single 'Romance' is a strong departure from her previous band work. Coming in at almost 7 minutes, the listener is taken on a journey with the artist, beginning with soft vocals and a muted beat into a revelation with drums near the end of the cut. 'Night Shift' by Lucy Dacus comes in at number 3 of the year mainly because once I started listening, I couldn’t seem to stop. This track is the standout on Lucy Dacus’ most recent album, Historian, and for good reason. This song is long, and Dacus is patient with adding each element so as not to mottle any one aspect. The cut is a break-up song, but written and sung with so much certainty and lack of apology that it’s almost hard to remember that she’s heartbroken. When the drums and distorted guitar do come in, the listener is rewarded with a chorus and bridge that have become my favourites of the year. Coming in at number one, 'Love it if We Made It' by The 1975 wraps 2018 up into a four-minute package, ready to unwrap. With its acerbic pop tone and rocky instrumentals, the listener is let in to the world as we know it in short, four-word lines, and thus into the mind of lead singer Matty Healy. Healy comments on the ridiculousness of the current political climate, and laments that “modernity has failed us” with the downward spiral of the news. Inventive, bold, and introspective, 'Love it if We Made It' is both a set of questions and answers that society needs to hear.
For the singles, I wanted to choose songs that weren’t from my favourite albums of the year, so as to allow more variety. My first single is ‘Charcoal Baby’ by Blood Orange, a song that is immediately groovy but plaintive, with beautiful guitar work from Dev Hynes himself. There are small additions that make it a pleasure to listen to, including the subtle piano in the background, and the saxophone in the outro. The melody was also stuck in my head for a good while after I first heard it, and I’m glad it was. Next up is the legendary electronic producer Aphex Twin’s ‘T69 Collapse’, the single for his new Collapse EP. This is a weird, glitchy, groovy, intense, and sprawling electronic piece that proves that Richard D. James still has some tricks up his sleeve. It just sounds so darn meticulous and multi-layered, it’s like being on a journey where you can see everything in perfect detail. There are too many textures to count and this creates a wonderful and engaging soundscape. Aphex Twin at his very best. Next is the first single from Julia Holter’s new album Aviary, and it is called ‘I Shall Love 2’. I should first mention that I absolutely love this musician, and I implore you to seek out her beautiful 2015 album, Have You In My Wilderness. This song is no less beautiful, with the same majestic instrumentation, but an extra strain of weirdness and experimentation. It begins with quiet, warm synths and Julia’s soft voice, only to be joined gradually by an increasingly loud and joyous orchestral cacophony. The transition is glorious. My second favourite single of the year is an unexpected one. It is ‘Pienso En Tu Mirá’ by the Spanish singer Rosalía. She is known for her modern interpretations of Spanish flamenco music, and where her previous album was more focused on the traditional side, this new album, El Mal Querer incorporates a mix of flamenco and pop. I love this song because of its minimal and very rhythmic nature. Rosalía’s voice has a very seductive tone to it, and, although I don’t understand what she’s saying, I can feel her emotion. She’s a fantastic singer and this is such a well-produced song – it puts a lot of our pop to shame. My favourite single of the year is ‘Rosebud’ by U.S. Girls, otherwise known as Meghan Remy. It’s a song I’ve returned to a lot this year, and it’s hard to put into words exactly why that is. This song has such a warm production quality to it, giving it a feeling of softness. And then there are these beautiful melodies creeping up all over the place, especially in that wonderful chorus. I think Meghan’s soft but diverse vocals lend a lot to it, but, ultimately, its laidback, lo-fi quality seems to keep me coming back, putting me in a place of comfort that not many other songs have done for me.
You can listen to Livewire's Best Singles of 2018 playlist here: