The Best Songs of 2018, in Their Own Words

Here is a lyrics-forward presentation of my favorite songs I discovered this year (though not all of them were released in 2018).

Listen to the full selection of songs in the playlist on Spotify or Apple Music. See also my 2019 list.

We are a generation on the right side. We gotta copyright on feelin’ alright. If you wanna get with us, then won’t you let me know?1

Had another day that I fell apart, but that was yesterday. And I can only feel it when the sun goes down, but it’s always down. Woke up feelin slower than the season before, but that was yesterday. I can only tell you “Being tuned out is beautiful.”2

On closer inspection, it’s just a reflection, and I still move with feeling inside. It’s the tyranny of questioning. Ring the diving bell. I’m further down. I’m nearly out. I wanna know where the silence comes from, where space originates.3

This is a waltz, thinking about our bodies, what they mean for our salvation. All is well as long as we keep spinning, here and now dancing behind a wall.4

All growing up I was banking on the Second Coming. Now I’d be ecstatic if someone would just pick up the phone. But my body doesn’t believe what my mind believes. My body might have some good news. Jacob and Esau gonna wrestle with eternal longing. Man just think about something else and it’ll go away.5

Bad men dream, good men lie, deaf men speak, blind men cry, clocks go round, things unwind. God’s not real, dead men died, no right or wrong, just you and I. Say what you mean, mean what you said.6

I never know what to say to you. I go outside with my hands I hide around my back to try to see it all. I’ve got my back against the wall.7

Is it the Chorus yet? No, it’s just the building of the verse, so when the chorus does come it’ll be more rewarding. I would speak to you in song, but you can’t sing as far as I’m aware. Though everyone can sing as you are well aware. I keep so quiet it’s hard to tell I’m alive. These are the people that I get drunk with. These are the people that I fell in love with. Don’t you realize our bodies could fall apart at any second? I am terrified your body could fall apart at any second.8

Will we ever have our own house? Will we ever be in one place long? Long enough to know all the sounds, to at least know our way around? When you said that you’d love me better with every passing day, how could that go on forever when I’m different everyday?9

Oh, I never get used to this. I’ve been counting on the wind would know where I’m going. I see feathers on every wave from every old used to be. Ones you loved, did you let them dream? I still lose it, I speak to myself. Oh, I ask out in nothing too!10

I know you’ll love me so I take my time. I spend the night in your bed. I am bare and unread, open and eager to the touch of your hand. Are you upset? I am. I think you see.11

Someday I’ll find you. Someday I’ll dig out my eyes. I’m always gonna miss you. I’m always gonna feel you. In everything that I do, I do. To never be with you, oh I miss you so. If only I could see you I’d tell you that I love you, I do. Someday I’ll be with you. Oh I love you so.12

Above, below, under a lonely star. Head to toe, hand in hand, it gets a whole lot better. If your telephone rings at night would you put some time aside to shut your eyes and fall apart under the light of a lonely star? Another day to sit around and dream as far as I can see, as long as memory. I’ll be watching from afar under the light of a lonely star. I hope it gets a whole lot better.13

I can draw a straight line through my mind right back to the good times. Now I’m stuck in the slow lane on the useless side of my brain. The one that drives a thinking man insane, wishing his circumstances never have to change. I’ll walk a sentimental mile over blue mosaic tiles. Our souls did co-mingle for a little while. And my life is just around the bend, and these broken hearts can mend. It just takes time, time, time.14

I look for a picture of you, but I can’t seem to find one where you look how I remember. You knew me better than I do.15

I am a part of you, you are a part of me. And this was you, and you are still me, and we are connected. Things are what they will. And I will, but you won’t belong to me long.16

I tell myself that I have nothing to say. Let me sing a line that leads in two ways: Hold on to the things that matter. Those clothes were made to fit your father. Surface now and breathe another breath and fill your chest with better weather.17

Find the place where you can be boring. Where you won’t need to explain that you’re sick in the head and you wish you were dead, or at least instead of sleeping here you prefer your own bed. You couldn’t know he was leaving, but now more will go with age, you know. So get up and stop your complaining. You know that you’re the only one who’s been destroying all the fun. Look what happened when you were dreaming, then punch yourself in the face. There’s no going back against this California feeling.18

I know that it’s vain when our friends depart to breathe kind words to a broken heart. And I know that the joy of life is marred when we follow lost friends to the old churchyard. I rest in the hope that one bright day sunshine will burst through these prisons of clay, and old Gabriel’s trumpet and the voice of the Lord will wake up the dead in the old churchyard.19

With the light coming down over your shoulders saying, “What is that sensation? Beautiful weather today. Time and off again. Fancy seeing you here. How’s the church? How’s the job? How’s the family? Nice to meet you. How’s your health again?” It’s all that we have. Just that and the big, beautiful blue sky. I’m no longer afraid to die, cause that is all that I have left.20

If I had my way, I’d cross the desert to the sea. Learn to speak in tongues something that makes sense to you and me.21

Old stars filling up my throat. You gave ‘em to me when I was born. Now they’re coming out. There’s only so much letting go you can ask someone to do, so I keep you by my side. I will not give you to the tide. I’ll even walk you in my stride.22

They wheeled out my casket, they said, “Boy, lay down your head” And I said, “Aw shit, man, I ain’t even dead.” I won’t be buried ‘fore I’m dead.23

Do you feel just like a stranger? Do you feel just like a shell? Alien and yet familiar like an item on a shelf? As much as we’re a little tired, as much as we can’t find our way, I know that we cannot retire where the seasons never change. Fly across the biggest ocean to try and make a brand new start, I know I’ll take with me the notion of having left behind my heart.24

I know I think too much. I know I waste my time. And I can’t figure out which one is yours or mine.25

All I know is this: There are times when, to me, you seem to glow from within, and I wonder how this moment could possibly be, and how much was of my choosing, and what chose me. And I couldn’t care less when it all adds up, I feel I am closest to what I really am, and there is nowhere I need to go, and there is nothing left to do, and I am sitting watching myself, watching you, watching the waiting.26

If there’s one thing that I know it’s that all good times go, and the hard times too. The life that we had is the dream of my youth. It was too good to be true, and the highway stretches on. I just want to get gone.27

I live in a gallery that no one’s ever seen. Sometimes all the golden fruit falls down on top of me. The room’s beige, it’s a mess. You dream to be sleepless.28

Well its been building up inside of me for oh I don’t know how long. I don’t know why, but I keep thinking something’s bound to go wrong, but she looks in my eyes and makes me realize and she says “Don’t worry baby. Everything will turn out alright.”29


Songs 1-16 released in 2018. Songs 17-29 are songs I discovered in 2018 that were released earlier. Check out the 2019 list.

  1. Semicircle Song - The Go! Team  

  2. Bad Fuckin Times - Black Moth Super Rainbow  

  3. Talking Straight - Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever  

  4. Suspirium - Thom Yorke  

  5. My Body - David Bazan  

  6. Good Men Change - Secret American  

  7. $2.45 - Pizzagirl  

  8. Bodys - Car Seat Headrest  

  9. Cicada - La Luz  

  10. An Ocean - The Tallest Man On Earth  

  11. Not For Me - Forth Wanderers  

  12. Someday - Phantogram  

  13. Mansion Door - Shakey Graves  

  14. Straight Shot - DeVotchKa  

  15. Why Didn’t You Stop Me? - Mitski  

  16. Belongings - Mimicking Birds  

  17. Before Telling Dragons - Karl Blau  

  18. American Dream - Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton  

  19. The Old Churchyard - Offa Rex  

  20. Beautiful Blue Sky - Ought  

  21. Me and Jâne Doe - Charlotte Gainsbourg  

  22. Masterpiece - Big Thief  

  23. Buriedfed - Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson  

  24. Northern Highway - Martin Courtney  

  25. Sometimes - Beach Fossils  

  26. Watching the Waiting - Wye Oak  

  27. Getting Gone - Mutual Benefit  

  28. Sleepless - girlpool  

  29. Don’t Worry Baby - Big Star