Music. My daily lifeblood. Since we started listening to a lot more music at work and I began contributing as the occasional Office DJ, it’s become even more important. None of us can do without it, honestly.
So let’s see how that pans out in terms of new music in 2018, shall we? Like last year, I’m doing a Kevin’s 7 of both singles and albums.
Here are seven songs I found myself enjoying this past year that either do not have a corresponding album or I didn't really dig on the whole album as much as this one song.
7. Bebe Rexha and Florida-Georgia Line - "Meant to Be"
This song should be almost too twangy and country for me to like, but I dug it immediately. I had initially gone in and listened to Rexha's 2018 album Expectations and, when that just didn't hold with me for long, I found this single from it did.
6. Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson - "Nothing Breaks Like the Heart"
Like many, I was introduced to this track by their appearance on Saturday Night Live but the song resounded with me very quickly. I really do love Miley's voice. It's not for everyone, though.
5. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper - "Shallow"
Yes, this is the single from A Star is Born. I have not yet seen the movie or listened to anything else off the soundtrack, but this song is really good. I'm not so much shocked by Gaga crossing genres as I am to learn that Cooper has pipes.
4. The Smashing Pumpkins - "Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)"
I really dig on this pre-release single although the rest of the album -- Shiny and Oh So Bright, Vol. 1 -- did not resonate with me nearly as much as I was hoping it would.
3. Claypool Lennon Delirium - "Easily Charmed By Fools"
Les Claypool and Sean Ono Lennon collaborating? Yes, it's as good as you'd hope.
2. Janelle Monae - "Crazy, Classic, Life"
Janelle Monae has been a musical obsession of mine since The ArchAndroid came out in 2010. This year, after taking some time off for acting, she's back with a new album. And it's pretty good, just not good enough to make the 7 cut. But this is one of my favorite singles from it.
1. Judas Priest - "Never the Heroes"
Another album that was tough to not include on my list, so I'll tell you all now that "Never the Heroes" is one of my favorite tracks from Firepower. Lord knows I'll probably find myself listening to it more than albums that did make the list but... Priest!
Time for some full LP love, okay?
7. Turnspit - Desire Paths
Punk music? Chicago band? Yeah, I'm sold. What makes it even more fun is hearing the track-by-track alternation between vocalists Gillian McGhee and Jason Swearingen only to have it all brought together with the two of them and background vocalist Brad Davis sharing duties on the track "Home is Run No More." Give it a listen. You won't regret it.
Don't Forget to Listen To: "Home is Run No More"
6. Alice Merton - No Roots EP
It has been an interesting ride for Alice Merton and me this year. When I first heard the single "No Roots" I was blown away. I listened to it over and over and then burned out for several months. Sometime in late November, I heard both "No Roots" and "Lash Out" again on the radio and fell head over heels again. So, yeah, we's on good terms right now.
Don't Forget to Listen To: "Lash Out"
5. Robyn - Honey
It has been eight years since Robyn's three-album Body Talk set dropped. I'm sure that kind of endeavor requires some recovery time, but we were getting thirsty for more. So Honey dropped in October and filled a very large void in my musical soul. It's fantastic although not 100% as energetic as Body Talk. A much wider range overall.
Don't Forget to Listen To: "Because It's In the Music"
4. Alkaline Trio - Is This Thing Cursed?
I have been a fan of AT for 18 years now dating back to their original Chicago-based record label before they relocated to Los Angeles and signed a much bigger contract. But, whatevs, I love them and Is This Thing Cursed? is full of great music. I even detect some greater emotional maturity from them. Could it be?
Don't Forget to Listen To: "Goodbye Fire Island"
3. Kimbra - Primal Heart
28-year-old Kiwi Kimbra came into the spotlight in 2012 as the female half of Gotye's multi-platinum single "Somebody That I Used to Know." That performance had me wanting so much more from her. She released The Golden Echo in 2014 but, to be honest, I completely missed it. For some reason, I looked her up again this year and saw the lead-in single "Top of the World" and loved it. So I followed her in Spotify and got notification when the full LP Primal Heart dropped. As good as "Top of the World" may be, the whole album is magnificent.
Don't Forget to Listen To: "Everybody Knows"
2. Nicki Minaj - Queen
Nicki Minaj is many things to many people. She’s controversial, outspoken, more than a little bit odd, and exceptionally talented. Thankfully all these personas play their part when she heads into the studio. Because, when they all share time, we get perfection like Queen. It’s raunchy, in-your-face, explicit, and... amazing.
Don't Forget to Listen To: "Hard White"
1. Twin Shadow - Caer
I really need to find some system out there that can do a really good job of letting me know what new albums drop on a given Friday. I almost missed the latest LP from George Lewis Jr., p.n.a. Twin Shadow. If I didn’t find it by accident, it would’ve been a travesty because this album is too good for mere words. Musically and lyrically, it is a tour de force. Katie even enjoyed it and we don’t always see eye to eye musically. That’s when I know I have found something truly special.
Don't Forget to Listen To: "Saturdays (feat. HAIM)"
What have you been playing on repeat this year?