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Every year around this time, the #PopHatesFlops community comes together to celebrate the year in pop music and to compile our annual list of our favourite songs of the year. While previous years lists have been microcosms of the genres that populated them - last year focused heavily on country-pop, while 2016 was big on slinky synthpop and 2015 was loving the tropical pop trend - this year's list is remarkable for it's lack of trendiness, showing that in 2018 there's no longer any such thing as an era in pop music. It's a testament to how fractured the industry is in the age of streaming apps and the dwindling importance of radio that our members have chosen such wide ranging songs as piano ballads, acoustic guitar work and 90s-styled R&B, and that all of them sound current and fresh. For the first time ever, we've included a Spotify playlist of this year's entries so you can listen along to the songs while you read our thoughts. Whether you're out partying it up at your local New Year's celebrations or spending a quiet day nursing your hangover at home, we hope that this list will bring you joy as you celebrate the coming of another year. And once again, we have to say a big thank you to the amazing members who make not only this list, but also this forum possible. We love you all and we wish you only the best in 2019! 18. Clean Bandit - Baby (Feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi) Submitted By: @Skinny Legend Little had been heard of the artist previously known as Marina and the Diamonds since 2015's experimental Froot album, which is why it was all the more surprising that she decided to make her long-awaited comeback with dance-pop sensations Clean Bandit and generic Hispanic stereotype Luis Fonsi. 'Baby' is just as generic as it's composers would imply, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best-produced and straight up fun songs of the year. Marina handles the change from squeaky sex kitten in the verse to acoustic guitar balladeer in the pre-chorus to triumphant Selena impersonator in the chorus with style, and even the typically irritating Fonsi manages to impress with his brand of Latin flair. Hopefully 'Baby' is a sign that Marina's ready to give up her pretentions of making alternative music in favour of a more laidback, carefree style. 17. Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water Submitted By: @kallumlavigne Avril Lavigne's powerful comeback after a long hiatus 'Head Above Water' - apart from the obvious green screen and body double in the video - is stunning. The song itself is quiet: a powerful, slow ballad that finds redemption towards it's last chorus, and it's a very different sound from the in your face guitar-based pop-punk tunes she's known for. But the piano delivers well, the instrumental is a euphoric experience and Avril's semi-soft vocals take the crown this year for me. Also, its low, but it's on Billboard's list of the best songs of 2018. 16. Kim Petras - Tell Me It's a Nightmare Submitted By: @Turn Ya Head Kim Petras, perhaps the most promising upcoming singer from the past three years, has released numerous buzz singles between 2017 and 2018; but in my opinion, her best work so far is one of the tracks from her Halloween-themed EP Turn Off The Light, Vol. 1. 'Tell Me It's a Nightmare' is a dark dance-oriented track which follows a remarkable instrumental song on the EP, creating an ethereal flow that some albums seem to lack these days. The ambiguous, yet intriguing lyrics, manage to convey a sense of horror and desperation that slightly contrasts with the rest of the EP. "Tell me it's a nightmare/And you ain't going nowhere/Try to save ya, warn ya, keep you alive/Try to stop ya, but you paid the price", sings Petras in a pleading manner. Who is she trying to save? What is she trying to save them from? Only her and the person who this song is dedicated to will ever know. Maybe she's trying to save them from herself. Maybe she's trying to save them from a potentially abusive relationship. The mystery allows the listener to apply the lyrics to their own personal life and therefore makes them relatable to almost anyone. The high-pitched vocals showcase Petras's singing ability and charisma. The production allows her crystal clear voice to shine and complement the haunting bass that's so prominent in the instrumental. The song ends with a haunting segment, in which she repeatedly sings non-lexical vocals in a catchy tune. What else could a pop fan ask from a song? Good lyrics, stellar production, a carefully engineered instrumental and outstanding vocals. 'Tell Me It's a Nightmare' might not be a mainstream hit or a chart topper, but it surely is a masterpiece. 15. Kacey Musgraves - Happy & Sad Submitted By: @nanapop99 I used to hate country music and I probably still do, but the good sis Kacey really did that with her latest album Golden Hour. In my opinion the album deserves to win Album of the Year at the Grammy's, but that's another subject. Anyways, country music is a genre I don't really listen to but these past few years we've seen pop divas like Gaga, Miley, Kesha and Kylie bringing their yeehaw out of nowhere, so you could say that I've gotten used to that type of music. I first heard of Kacey in a meme comparing Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION to Golden Hour and I was really wondering what was so special about that country girl. A few months after that, I heard a snippet of 'High Horse' and it was a bop at first listen so I decided to download the album while preparing for my trip to Vietnam and South Korea. I listened to the first half of the album on the plane and it really was so good! I was shook and my wig definitely flew to Texas or Tennessee or whatever yeehaw place you can think of. But the track that really stood out for me was 'Happy & Sad'. I don't think that there's anything special sonically about the track but the vibe, the lyrics, and the E•MO•TION of it that meant I couldn't stop my tears from falling while listening to the track for the first time. Unfortunately, my moment had to be cut short because the plane was about to land and I had to pretend that I was crying because of the loud noises. I was lowkey a mess back in July because I've just graduated high school and I didn't really know where I'd end up in September, study-wise. And while I was happy to travel with my family, I was kinda sad at the same time within my personal life so you could say that I was "lost.mp3". But this song and the album in general were like a warm hug for me. Golden Hour is the soundtrack to my summer 2018 and 'Happy & Sad' is definitely my song of the year! Who knew I had to become a space cowboy in order to survive this year? 14. Little Mix - Wasabi Submitted By: @Ari 2018 saw the release of LM5 from legendary iconic girl group Little Mix. After the massive success of their previous album Glory Days, they had big boots to fill but they did not disappoint! Many songs on this album are very different to their previous sound which has received some mixed reactions, but one song we can all hopefully agree on is the iconic bop that is 'Wasabi'. Penned by none other than legendary group member and LGBTQ icon Jade Thirlwall, as well as written and produced by the iconic MNEK, 'Wasabi' is the hoe anthem that we all need in our lives. From the catchy lyrics to the boppy beat and bass to even the harmonising "oh oh"'s, Little Mix show us that they will never be limited to one sound as a girl group and that each album they give us will be unique and fresh and work with all four members no matter the style of song. And that is why 'Wasabi' is one of the best songs of 2018. 13. Mariah Carey - GTFO Submitted By: @Skinny Legend Mariah Carey was never entirely gone from the music scene, with releases like the festive 'The Star' and the messy 'I Don't' holding fans over since her last album, 2014's Me. I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse. Even so, our first offering from this year's Caution plays out just like a comeback single should, harking back to the classics that made gave Mariah her 18 #1's while propelling her unique form of balladry into the modern age. Don't let the title fool you; 'GTFO' is a down-tempo, moody heartbreak song, which is only slightly offset by it's angsty and comedic chorus of "How 'bout you get the fuck out?". While 'GTFO' was far from a hit, it did reach meme status pretty quickly and it's sound is probably the closest thing to a smash song that Mariah could get to in 2018. Fingers crossed that the next release from Caution will do a little better. 12. Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry Submitted By: @Fetish My favorite song of this year has to be the gorgeous introduction to Ariana Grande's fourth album Sweetener. 'No Tears Left To Cry' almost instantly became a hit due to its beautiful production and even dreamier music video. The track defied expectations for Ariana, as she took inspiration from the Manchester tragedy to curate both a meaningful hard-hitting track and a seemingly lighthearted dance track. The upbeat nature of the production secures the song as a beautiful track filled with the celebration of all things, as Ariana twists the idea of no longer being able to cry into a transition towards happiness. With a catchy instrumental and even catchier lyrics by Max Martin, the song has easily established itself as one of the best songs of 2018 in my books. 11. Tinashe - Ooh La La Submitted By: @Glamleska Tinashe Jorgensen Kachingwe is the slept on R&B up-and-comer that's been championed as an unbeatable contender for seven years running, and this year she takes the stage with my favourite song 'Ooh La La'. Though this year has been considered a difficult one for Tinashe – from being dropped by RCA to going home earlier than deserved on Dancing With The Stars to the unjustly scrapped EP project NASHE – she still delivered one of my favorite R&B tracks of this decade. Track number five, 'Ooh La La', off her sophomore album Joyride has remained at the top of my rotation since its release. Though the album was heavily criticized, I found this track to be an incredible standout. I didn’t mind the album either, with the exception of there being way too many features. Between the nostalgic squeaking sound effect reminiscent of Trillville’s 'Some Cut', the heavy pulsating 808s, and her smooth harmonies over the chorus, 'Ooh La La' was everything I needed from an R&B track in 2018. It’s a shame it wasn’t released as a single over some other questionable choices - *cough* 'Me So Bad' - but I digress. Here’s to 2019 and another year of hoping my Aquarian sister finds some success independently! STOP SLEEPING ON TINASHE 2K19. #BuyJoyrideOniTunes 10. Lady Gaga - I'll Never Love Again Submitted By: @Skinny Legend Although she's best known for her dance/pop tracks, Lady Gaga has always been an incredible balladeer, as she's shown countless times in fan favourite songs like 'Brown Eyes', 'Speechlees' and 'Angel Down'. But while she's explored rooting tooting rock ballads and unsettling acoustic work, Gaga had never lent her vocals to a straight up power ballad before the release of this year's A Star Is Born soundtrack. 'I'll Never Love Again' is the final track on that album, although it appears as the penultimate song on the tracklisting as well with a slightly different ending, and after the high energy rock and roll attitude of the soundtrack and the movie it's the perfect song to listen to as the audience reflects back on the events of the story. Although the lyrics can be slightly over-sentimental and cheesy, the beautiful orchestral work can't be faulted and Gaga's voice sounds the best it ever has, even without any hint of Autotune or post-production work. Put simply, 'I'll Never Love Again' is a masterpiece on par with Whitney's 'I Will Always Love You', Mariah's 'Without You' and Celine's 'All By Myself', and the only shame about the song is that the charts didn't revere it as such. 9. Cher - The Winner Takes It All Submitted By: @Ruthless Love Yes, the song itself is not from 2018, however Cher's rendition is and it is magically perfect. Following her role in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, the legendary Cher announced she'd be releasing an album full of ABBA covers, and the result was Dancing Queen. The album itself is flawlessly perfect from beginning to end, and the standout song for me is the second-to-last, 'The Winner Takes it All'. Originally released by ABBA in 1980 from their Super Trouper album, the song is magical in its lyrical content, and under the direction of Cher and music producer Mark Taylor, it's truly uplifting and easy-listening at its best. It's still ABBA, but with a special twist of Cher-riffic talent and gold. This song is not-to-be-missed. 8. Hailee Steinfeld & BloodPop® - Capital Letters Submitted By: @Cypher There were a lot of songs this year that were good in glimpses, but one that stood out is 'Capital Letters' by Hailee Steinfeld and BloodPop®. Coming down from his production on the Justin Bieber collaboration 'Friends', BloodPop® was able to capture the cinematics and emotions of a new romance. With Ellie Goulding thrown into the mix as a co-writer, the song comes together with some of the highest highs of 2018. 'Capital Letters' is a feel-good song about falling into the whirlwind that comes with any new relationship. After what seemed to be a melodramatic 2017 full of anticipation, this song kicked off 2018 with new goals, bright rays of light, and hope for a better tomorrow. Though the single did not become a smash hit in any region, it thrives as an underrated piece of pop perfection with a timeless sound. 7. Au/Ra - Emoji Submitted By: @Cock Destroyer 'Emoji' is underrated and one of my most played songs this year. I thought 'Panic Room' would be Au/Ra's best song but then she released this masterpiece. I love the production, the melodies, everything. It's quite different from today's pop but still a pop song. I feel like if t.A.t.U released a song today, it would sound like this. 6. Demi Lovato - Sober Submitted By: @Whoknowsmehere I have listened to a lot of my favorite songs from 2018 (and there are a quite a few of them) over the last couple of days to determine my fave; but this one particular song just kept coming back to me over and over. The fact that this song hit so close to home for me is my primary reason for choosing it. That, and I actually enjoyed listening to it very much over and over again. I have probably listened to it at least a hundred times since it came out. I will not get into a long drawn out explanation, other than to say I know what exactly Demi is talking about in this song. I know this song did not get a lot of air time. Nor much, if any, acclaim. But for me that is not what makes a great song. The message is what did it for me. 5. Rina Sawayama - Cherry Submitted By: @Skinny Legend Rina Sawayama might still be a relative unknown in the pop music scene, but in the burgeoning realm of underground queer pop artists which includes Charli XCX and Kim Petras she's a frontrunner of the genre. Like these two artists she's fully capable of self-referential and ironic hyper-pop bops, as she proved last year with 'Cyber Stockholm Syndrome'; but with 'Cherry', the Japanese-English Sawayama proves that she has more up her sleeve than just that. 'Cherry' is not only a slice of alternative pop heaven in it's production, but a vulnerable admission of sexual curiosity that's rarely heard in pop music. "Down the subway, you looked my way/With your girl gaze, with your girl gaze/That was the day everything changed/Couldn't stay the same" introduces the song, and for the most part it's the perfect introduction of Sawayama herself - soft yet strong, insecure yet confident, and enigmatic yet honest. If Rina has more "cherries" like this on the way, then we get the feeling the sky's the limit for how far she'll go. 4. Mark Ronson - Nothing Breaks Like a Heart (Feat. Miley Cyrus) Submitted By: @Tweener After taking a social media hiatus, the legendary Miley Cyrus teamed up with the amazing producer Mark Ronson (known mostly for his work with Lady Gaga) and created the song of the millennium! Miley did what other girls wished to do and what they should've done a long time ago. The song and the powerful music video convey a very important message of contemporary society mindlessly following the news about the Kardashians, and other celebrities not paying enough attention to real problems like police brutality, racism, kids running around with guns, greed in stores, and clerks' hypocrisy. The video is comprised of many LGBTQ references as well, which doesn't come as a surprise considering Miley is an LGBTQ icon who, unlike many other pop girls nowadays, fight for our rights not for publicity but because she truly believes in our cause. This is a new gay anthem which charts high all around the world. It's undeniably one of the best songs of 2018 if not of all time. 3. Robyn - Honey Submitted By: @BlackoutZone Crowned the second best song of 2018 by Pitchfork for a reason, the title track of Robyn's recent album is a joyful journey of the senses. After two years of teasing, expectations for the track reached high heavens yet Robyn effortlessly exceeded them all and delivered the masterpiece we all wished for. The song itself is so juicy and so flourishing as it builds that you can almost taste it. The sound becomes the flavour of golden honey waves that your mind surfs on while listening. Though Mariah and Katy B already showed us how seductive honey can be, it's never been done with such delicacy, and Robyn totally elevated the concept of it being a pure sexual pleasure. 2. Kim Petras - Heart To Break Submitted By: @Skinny Legend Kim Petras first hit my radar with her insanely catchy ode to consumerism 'I Don't Want It At All', but it was with 'Heart To Break' that she truly claimed her position as one to watch. 'Heart To Break' went on to become my most listened song of 2018, but it's more than just an earworm. In describing the fairytale of a girl who gives her heart away even while knowing it will soon be broken, Petras ascends to the level of lyrical mastery shown by artists such as Robyn and Utada Hikaru, both of whom pen bittersweet pop songs with danceable beats made even more brilliant by their heartbreaking lyrics. 'Heart To Break' is impressive on it's own, but when you consider it in the context of Kim's strong voice, brilliant lyricism and unique image it makes you question why she isn't already #1 on every chart. 1. Christina Aguilera - Accelerate (Feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 2 Chainz) Submitted By: @liberation Six years after the not so well received album Lotus, Christina Aguilera released 'Accelerate', the first taste of her sixth album (or eighth if you count Mi Reflejo and My Kind of Christmas). When it was revealed that the song was produced by Kanye West and featured Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz, everyone knew that Urbantina was making her comeback, but I guess that we were all very surprised after our first listen, because the song is so...weird? The intro is very strange with hypnotic Ty vocals and heavy drums, and when Xtina starts with her verses there's a lot of ad libs by him. The song is pretty much a duet between two of them until the beat changes drastically and 2 Chainz joins with an iconic bridge. When the song ended I was shocked because it was the messiest thing I've ever heard, but that's the reason why I loved it. I'm pretty sure that the reason why XTina is my favorite artist is because she's not afraid of taking risks. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When it comes to 'Accelerate', I think it's the best song off Liberation and also her best song in a very long time, so I guess it worked for me. The video is very simple and sometimes it even looks a bit low budget, but I don't mind; I think it's sexy and fits the song very well, and it shows that she still owns her sexuality and doesn't give two fucks about what people think of her. At the end of the day, 'Accelerate' is a 10/10 song that is not predictable at all and I believe that it will age very well, and that’s why it is my song of the year. What songs did we forget about in our hunt for 2018's best track? Let us know in the comments down below!
I love that she seems to be so happy and has so many friends lately! This guest list is flawless tbh, imagine having a conversation with Lisa, Kylie and Kathy. And slay at her and Lana ovcercoming their stupid beef! I'm sad my invitation got lost in the mail.
With the end of another year imminent and New Year's Eve fast approaching, it wouldn't be surprising if now's the time you start to stress about your NYE party plans. While technology hasn't yet progressed far enough for us to send Chris Hemsworth through your screen as a midnight kiss, we are happy to help with what we can do best: and that's countdowns! This year, we've selected the top ten best singles of 2015 for you to add to your NYE playlist (one for every hour of partying, of course!) - and from 'Call Me Maybe' sugar cube Carly Rae Jepsen to Canadian alternative rock band Glass Face, we've designed it to keep everyone happy. For bonus points, finish off your party with the annual Pop Danthology mashup, where tracks like 'Hello', 'Trap Queen' and 'Bad Blood' do battle against each other! 10. Allie X - Prime You may not have heard of Allie X, who follows in the footsteps of acts like Marina & The Diamonds and Charli XCX as pop's latest indie darling. But rest assured that once you've heard your first taste of her breakout single 'Prime', you won't want to stop. Treading the precarious line between feel good party lyrics and social commentary, X reflexively hides a message on her generations need for instant gratification both sexually and socially through a killer chorus. Just be warned: you will have this song in your head all week. 9. Florence + The Machine - Ship To Wreck Flo's latest offerings from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful never reached the commercial heights of more radio friendly tracks like 'You've Got The Love' or 'Sweet Nothing', which is a shame given that 'Ship To Wreck' is one of her most powerful and ambitious songs to date. The English songstress has always excelled at painting some of the strongest images in pop, and this track is no exception, with Florence calling on nautical imagery to discuss the self-destructive addiction she faced at the tail-end of her Lungs release. Get ready to dance with this one. 8. Adam Lambert - Ghost Town At the beginning of this year, the most we really knew about Adam Lambert was that his killer set of pipes had gotten him far in American Idol, and that he had a penchant for penis. But with the release of 'Ghost Town' in April, we became privy to a new layer of Lambert's personality, and experienced a level of pop knowledge and talent that was almost scary. Edgier and more experimental than anything the singer had worked on before, the (literally) haunting lyrics are improved only by the expertise of the supreme Max Martin, whose heavy beats and whistles propelled the song right onto the dance floor. Have glowsticks on hand for maximum effect. 7. Mark Ronson - UpTown Funk (Feat. Bruno Mars) While it may also qualify for most overplayed song of the year, there's a reason that 'UpTown Funk' was blasted from every radio station, barber shop and boombox for the majority of 2015. Mars has always been known as a prophet in pop, predicting the newest trends years before they happen, and Mark Ronson (best known as Amy WInehouse's most frequent collaborator) was the perfect choice for his new funk and soul inspired project. If you're looking to switch it up a little, try Fleur East's 'Sax': it's a formulaic rewrite but the melody's unique enough to get you dancing all over again. 6. Glass Face - Hotline Bling Probably more appropriate for the morning after than the big night itself, Glass Face's alternative rock cover of Drake's 'Hotline Bling' is admittedly more of a "slit your wrists in the bathtub" kind of song than it is a club banger. Nevertheless, their ambient blend of vocal harmonies, heavy percussion and stunning synths draws a sad vulnerability out from the original song that make the lyrics much more effective than they were in the awkward dancing original. 5. Skrillex & Diplo - Where Are Ü Now (Feat. Justin Bieber) J. Bieb's first major foray into EDM (after the admittedly catchy 'Beauty and a Beat' which was produced by Zedd) also marked a comeback for the one-time teen star, whose overblown antics made more waves than his music for the majority of 2015. With 'Where Are Ü Now', a collaboration with dance music heavyweights Skrillex and Diplo, Bieber strikes a delicate balance between danceable hit song and surprisingly vulnerable lyrics, a formula he'd later replicate somewhat less successfully with follow up singles 'What Do You Mean' and 'Sorry'. Even those who aren't fans of the Ruby Rose lookalike have to admit this track is a jam. 4. Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On (Feat. MØ) Gone are the days when MØ was simply known for being the awkward girl dancing behind Iggy Azalea on SNL. Now, she awkwardly dances behind Diplo in India! In November, 'Lean On' was named by Spotify as the most streamed song of all time, and it's easy to see why with it's global lyrics, powerful vocals and total earworm of a post-chorus. Not only did this track bring both Major Lazer and MØ to the forefront of pop music for 2015, it also sparked a sonical revolution that reverberated through the rest of the scene for the next six months and undoubtedly made Rihanna roll in her grave. Am I the only one who can still jam out to this song? 3. Demi Lovato - Cool for the Summer Before the release of 'Cool for the Summer', no one could have called Demi Lovato a risktaker. But with the first single from her otherwise disappointing album, Confident, Demi reinvented herself as sex kitten supreme, following in the footsteps of former Disney stars like Britney and Christina with a genre breaking hybrid that combines experimental pop, 90s power ballad and heavy metal. Matched with a new image I like to call "Tumblr meets sex shop", the track successfully pushed Demi out of her Disney Channel haze and into the adult world. It becomes even better when you realise the whole thing is basically about lesbianism. 2. Pia Mia - Touch It's crazy that at age nineteen, the ridiculously good looking Pia Mia already has more stellar pop songs under her low strung belt than most of her contemporaries double her age. It's equally silly that the almost amazingly mediocre 'Do It Again' blew up worldwide while the Stargate and Blood Diamonds produced banger 'Touch' went pretty much unnoticed by anyone who wasn't following Kylie Jenner on Instagram. Riding the same tropical house wave that made 'Where Are Ü Now' and 'Lean On' hits, characterised by some steel drum synths, a distorted vocal sample and an island beat, the would be hit was only improved by the super sexy video, in which Pia grinds, emotionlessly stares, and dances (rather well) her way to pop stardom. Make this happen people. 1. Carly Rae Jepsen - Run Away With Me It would have been easy to write off 'Call Me Maybe' star Carly Rae Jepsen as yet another flash in the pan after her big comeback single, 'I Really (Really Really Really Really Really) Like You' failed to make waves, even with endorsements from Justin Bieber and, bizarrely, Tom Hanks. But the second single off this year's EMOTION is pretty much everything you could want from a pop song and more. Backed by a saxophone sample that veers the song away from the dangerous bubblegum territory it might otherwise fall into, the song does what only an 80s inspired sax-laden pop song can do: it makes you want to dance, cry, change your life and do push ups all at the same time. Forget the Syrian refugee crisis: the fact that this song didn't blow up is the biggest social issue of the year, and we should all be attending to it as quickly as possible. What are your favourite singles of the year? Are you crying that we left out 'Hello', or screaming that 'Drag Me Down' didn't make the list? Let us know in the comments down below!