The Best of NPR's Top 100 Songs of 2018, Ranked

It's the end of the year, so naturally the internet is awash with 'Best of 2018' lists and NPR is just one among many outlets joining in the end of the year rush. NPR's music coverage always fascinates me a little bit- from their Tiny Desk Concerts to their album reviews, I'm always a little surprised at who they find because, it always seems like I've never heard of any of the people they bring in for performances.

So, when they put together their list of the 100 Best Songs of 2018, I took a gander through the list and was once again, not surprised to find a list full of songs that I had never heard of. Now, I get it: music is not really my jam. I listen to it, I enjoy it and in general, I like what I like and don't worry too much about anything else. There's a whole ocean of new music out there that people consume and dissect every day that I know absolutely nothing about- so when I say 'songs I've never heard by artists I've never heard of' that's not to meant to be a judgmental statement. Just because I've never heard of the vast majority of these artists and their songs doesn't mean they're not great- if anything, my lack of knowledge probably speaks to my relatively narrow musical tastes than anything else.

I approached this fairly methodically. I made my way through the list listened to every song on it that I could find an active link for. (Most links on the article took you straight to the song- some didn't and proved just as hard to find on the YouTubes or the Googles.) If I liked the song, I listen to all of it- at minimum, I'd try and listen to at least half of any given song just to give it a fair shake. I reduced the overall list of 100 down to 48 songs that I liked enough to write down. From there, I boiled it down to these 25:

25. Kacey Musgraves- Space Cowboy (not what I was expecting and the lyrical twist of inserting a comma into space cowboy, making it 'space, cowboy' struck me as particularly clever.)

24. Jay Rock w/Kendrick Lamar, Future and James Black- King's Dead 

23. Now, Now- MJ

22. Caroline Rose- Jeannie Becomes A Mom

21. 47Soul- Mo Light

20. Eric Church- Drowning Man

19. Yves Tumor- Noid

18. Amara La Negra- What A Bam Bam

17. The War and Treaty- Jeep Cherokee Laredo

16. Natalie Press- Short Court Style

15. Leon Bridges- Bad Bad News

14. Parquet Courts- Wide Awake

13. The Decemberists- For Once In My Life (click the link and read the statement from Colin Meloy below the video. It's worth a read and makes the video that much more powerful I think.)

12. Courtney Marie Andrews- May Your Kindness Remain

11. Superorganism- Everybody Wants To Be Famous

10. Mac Miller- 2009

9. Public Practice- Foundation (very funky- reminds me a lot of Talking Heads or Blondie.)

8. The Carters- APES**T

7. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats- You Worry Me

6. Drake- Nice For What

5. Brockhampton- San Marcos (The chorus on this...  so so so good.)

4. Neko Case- Last Lion of Albion

3. Death Cab For Cutie- Gold Rush (Been missing these guys lately. Nice to see them back.)

2. Janelle Monae- Make Me Feel (Apparently, I need to listen to her album, because this song was amazing.)

1. The 1975- Love It If We Made It (Sort of sums up my general feelings on 2018. I would indeed love it quite a bit if we made it through whatever the hell this time period is going to be remembered for. And soon, please.)

(No, I didn't put Childish Gambino's 'This Is America' on the list- it was number one on NPR's actual list. You'd probably find it on a ton of 'Best of' lists for this year and that's fine- but I also feel like it went so viral so fast it's sort of in a category all by itself. And, as always, all taste is thoroughly subjective, so feel free to disagree with any and all of my choices.)


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