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Year-End List 2018: 25 Songs

2018 is all about break-ups, some come backing singles, empowering women and lost of Cardi B! It's a year where once again, hip-hop dominated pop world with few artists rising to the occasion. Collaborations were hot while some major pop artists can't break in the current pop stigma.

Nonetheless, we have a fruitful year and it was a ride. We're at times shallow but mostly delicate. We dealt with our growing pains and even thought that God is a woman. And that was never enough. In 2018, there are no tears left to cry and promise ourselves that we will never be the same again. We thought love lies and our decisions have consequences. In the end, 2018 is blast and I like it like that!

Here are the 25 songs that made their peak in 2018. Totally subjective, extremely competitive!

25 Never Be the Same
Camila Cabello

Camila has a tough act to follow as Havana is still ruling the radio stations in early 2018. But it is refreshing to hear variety from the budding pop star. To actually sing along on a song with nicotine, heroin and morphine in its lyrics, is a genius lyrics play. With her undeniably, signature quirky tone, Camila sold this mid-tempo song to next level addiction. It was honest, relatable and infectious. The production is intoxicatingly beautiful. The song demonstrates a repetitive, catchy hook and that yearning vocals from Camila is the cherry on top. Never Be the Same is addictive and that makes it one of the best pop songs of 2018.

24 Meant to Be
Florida Georgia Line (ft. Bebe Rexha)

It is not the first time we are treated with a genre-cross over. Pop meets hip-hop. There is sometimes a blurry line between pop and R&B. Country songs (looking at you the old Taylor Swift) topping the pop charts. It is just the way the music market works sometimes. So it is not surprising when this FLG and Bebe Rexha collaboration has been making its round all over the radio. The actual impact of the song actually lies on how these two artists mesh well. It is a generic country song but there is something special with it. Is it the catchy chorus hook? Maybe. Is it Bebe Rexha's solid vocals? Most likely. But one thing is for sure, there is no denying that you bop along the song whenever you hear it and that lasting impression makes Meant to Be one of the best pop songs of 2018.

23 Mine

How could you fault someone for making a 2 minute song? He was able to capture the market with its simple,  percussion driven production and almost silly backtrack. Mine stands out as it is. The song feels like a monologue in beats. Its imperfection is charming. The whole track is infectious and in a world where sometimes overproduced pop-hip/hop tunes are made, Mine delivers on its subtle yet effective approach and that makes this Bazzi tune one of the best pop songs of 2018.

22 Call Out My Name
The Weeknd

Call Out My Name is that song. The melancholic backdrop sets the mood of the song until the single reaches its crescendo. The beauty of this The Weeknd song is that it never suffers to just being sappy. Its poignant and riveting production is backed up by Abel's broken and yearning vocals. As the piano-driven track progresses, it even gets better. There's a sense of pureness and vulnerability that showcased Abel's intent: tell a story of a past relationship that he is struggling to let go of. Those ingredients make up to a great song and those were just few of the many reasons why Call Out My Name is also one of the best pop songs of 2018.

21 No Tears Left to Cry
Ariana Grande

Pop songstress Ariana Grande, had a year prior to yet another roller coaster year. To channel those fears and pain, and put out a self-lifting song as an introduction for her brand new album is both gutsy and genius. Experience is sometimes our best medium to tell a story. Ariana turned a broken page into something worthwhile. On paper, No Tears Left To Cry would be a generic anthem but who said you can't make an uplifting tune into an 80s inspired dance pop track. It was smart move for them to stay away from those big ballad sappy anthem, instead turned that tragic experience into a celebration of renewed hope and moving forward. No Tears Left To Cry mostly relies on the upbeat tempo and seamless Ariana vocals. Regardless of its flaws, the song is darn catchy and radio friendly and that is why it is one of the best pop songs of 2018.

20 Boo'd Up
Ella Mai

There is no way a breakout artist would not make a year ender list and for this year, pop-R&B singer  Ella Mai is carving a name for herself courtesy of her Grammy nominated song, Boo'd Up. Sure, the single hasn't reached the one-hit wonder smash status but it was known well enough that the R&B track is a commercial and critical success and Nicki Minaj hit it up with a remix version. That's how good the song is. Boo'd Up's best quality is its classic R&B feel - think about old school usher and Chris Brown. It is not too dated but not to mainstream current that it will get lost on the pop realm. The chorus had enough hook to be memorable and its mass appeal is quite accessible. Boo'd Up relies on its trap beats and savvy hooks and its success cross over to pop radio is undeniable. With its never ending accolades, rest assured that Boo'd Up is the list of the best pop songs of 2018.

19 Back to You
Selena Gomez

Post break-up could be a bitch and the experience is either damning or a laughing matter. While the core of the song is circling around the idea, just like everyone else, you rely on music and music has a way of either healing or just taking you for a roller coaster ride. Back to You is that song. Merging heartbreaks and post break-up symptoms, Selena Gomez sings with so much gusto yet her calm demeanor in her tone perfectly fits the dance beats and simple backdrop. Back to You is nowhere revolutionary, but it is that kind of pop song, regardless of its lyrics, when you hear it you bop along. It hits its mark, tend to its audience and produced an infectious hook, Back to You is undoubtedly one of the best pop songs of 2018.

18 F.R.I.E.N.D.S
Marshmello & Anne-Marie

From the guitar riffs intro, to an acoustic driven first verse, F.R.I.E.N.D.S is destined to be a hit. Marshmello best work always is when it allows its vocalist to be the lead and the production - not as an afterthought - but co-depending to the artist. The magic of F.R.I.E.N.D.S is not just because it has dance, exuberant beats or Anne-Marie's commanding, feisty vocal works but its hooks are simply  catchy and the production is cool and memorable making it one of the best pop songs of 2018. Oh, not mention, in case you forget and it's not obvious, Anne-Marie will spell it out for you - it's F-R-I-E-N-D-S.

17 All the Stars
Kendrick Lamar (ft. SZA)

Kendrick Lamar and SZA are two artists that individually could stand on their own, especially the former. With a collaboration - produced and performed - and is backed up by a block buster superhero hit, it seems like All the Stars is meant to be big. With multiple awards nominations success and public love, it almost feel like the critical reception is inexistent. All the Stars is a track that you would expect to be this revealing, bold and revolutionary song that will transcend over time. The streaking synths that sounds like ticking time bombs are supported by drum beats, SZA's gorgeous vocals and attempts to stay away from R&B riffs and Kendrick's reliable rap verses kept the single together. The hook is infectious and was meant to be accessible. All the Stars' mid-tempo 80's vibes were note worthy enough to name it as one of the best pop songs of 2018.

16 Youngblood
5 Seconds of Summer

Aussie resident pop-punk band who brought the words "She looks so perfect standing there, in my American apparel underwear" is back with such gusto bringing more pop than punk on their current sound. It is fitting to say that the quartet is testing the waters of pure pop, especially with One Direction on hiatus, no other teen boy band can fill the void other than them. With critics claiming that the Aussie band loses their spunk with these synth-driven pop tunes, 5 Seconds of Summer pulled a hit, reaching #1 on pop radio and top 10 in Billboard Hot 100, it seems like the young band still has it. Rightfully so, Youngblood is more than just another pop tune. It brings angst vocals backed by virtual snaps and percussion driven infectious hooks. Youngblood is simply catchy and it is an undeniable bop that made it to the best pop songs of 2018.

15 One Kiss
Calvin Harris (ft. Dua Lipa)

To start the song right off the bat with that infectious chorus is a thing of beauty. Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa had had success individually and this chance of a collaboration, on paper, seems to be a sure thing hit. Rightfully, One Kiss is a magical, sublime and euphoric floor filler. The track that boasts some tropical vibes in 80s inspired synths and refined production, One Kiss is a blissful treat that elevates their discography to another level. It's a pop-trans tune you thought you never needed, but One Kiss is envelop with that whimsical beats, catchy hooks and dreamy production that makes it one of, if not, the best pop songs of 2018.

14 My! My! My!
Troye Sivan

Troye Sivan's My! My! My! is a whimsical experience, bringing back 80's vibes and mixing it with current pop feels resulting to a joyous track that should not be ignored. The intro dictated the mood that focuses on its dance beats, My! My! My! is not just a fuzzy, fun song, it is that song that needed attention. It captures the storytelling well enough without being too sappy and Troye Sivan's vocal work is just divine. The hooks are catchy, the repetitive chorus is memorable and the breakdown bridge that leads to a booming last verse chorus is refreshingly colorful! My! My! My! stands out and it has the right to be names as one of 2018's best pop songs.

13 In My Feelings

It is undeniably catchy and the hook is infectious, Drake is applaudable in marking himself as one of the few who is not afraid to broaden their spectrum of genre and play along the changing times of music industry. He releases tracks that were critically acclaimed but at the same time, Drake managed to keep us entertained and excited. In My Feelings is one of those songs that you just can't help but bop along, sing the chorus with and dance the hell out of it cos it makes you feel that way. Is the song the revolutionary? No. Is it critically acclaimed? No. But whether you like it or not, that rhythmic beats and rap verse that made In My Feelings as one of the best pop songs of 2018 is memorable enough beyond its glorious memes and viral videos.

12 Never Enough
Loren Allred

There will always be a room for a sappy ballad and fortunately, The Greatest Showman film soundtrack provided that beauty, capturing a wide audience putting The Voice alumna Loren Allred on notice. Never Enough is a soaring ballad, boasting big notes left and right. The single starts soft, caressing every note to its core breathe like butter melting, sublime and divine. As the song reaches its full crescendo, it goes big especially towards the end. It's a song that solidifies it status as one of pop's best in 2018 with that lasting impression as a key element and those bold, big notes will never be enough. Never! Never! Never!

11 Happier
Marshmello, BASTILLE

For a song that is entitled Happier, the melancholic tone of BASTILLE's Dan Smith is bold and quite riveting. Somehow, it created a layer to this song and the rest is history. Happier's production is quite generic with the dance beats and trap synths is layered over glorious thumps and bombastic horns. The revelation here is how commanding Dan Smith's vocals are. It transcends the storytelling to the next level. Happier boasts a slick, memorable hook and a booming chorus. It is impossible not to recognize the song and its soaring work on 2018 makes it one of the best pop songs of the year.

10 Better Now
Post Malone

Driving a momentum from some credited hits on his waist, Post Malone carved yet another radio hit with Better Now. The trap beats, synth based mid-tempo post break-up tune delivers on its good and bad elements with the former outweighing the latter. Better Now could be attributed as that same, other Post Malone song but somehow it showcases a more commanding, intimate emotional connection. Better Now is no way a break out, forefront, next level type of tune but it serves its purpose by mixing luscious sound beats and catchy hooks. Rockstar, Psycho, Congratulations may have won the years past, with Better Now grabbing the torch as one of the best pop songs of 2018.

9 God is a Woman
Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande is coming for everyone's throats and God is a Woman is more than just a bold statement, it's a declaration of her owning up to something people have thrown on her. On a perspective, the theological debate will raise lots of issues on the song title, but God is a Woman is more than just a theological debate. It's an innuendo, a power claim and a worshipping ownership. God is a Woman seizes Ariana's vocal tricks. Playing with her riffs and runs that was well known as her signature pipes while showing some soft, low notes and sultry dynamics puts Ariana in a commanding confidence. God is a Woman featured some trap beats, flirtatious 80s vibes with infectious hooks and memorable chorus that makes this yet another entry from Ariana Grande as one of the best pop songs of 2018.

8 Love Lies
Khalid, Normani

One could argue that the road of Love Lies was a slow burn as it worked its peak almost throughout the year before it hits its proper fruition. Love Lies is a mid tempo song boasting some sultry, sensual and smooth vocals from Normani. The guitar driven track is quite a treat, both artist complimenting each other before soaring to some gorgeous harmonies. It is an R&B track, as laid back and cool however feels mature and sincere. Love Lies may have take awhile to reach its peak yet thankfully it proper as one of the best pop songs of 2018.

7 Finesse (Remix)
Bruno Mars (ft. Cardi B)

Finesse as it is is already a awesome pop track but the inclusion of Cardi B has solidified her status as the most current, charming and reliable female rapper today. Finesse is colorful at its best boasting some 80s flavor but maintaining that current feel. With Bruno Mars commanding both the vocals and beat, Cardi b's added rap verses here and there is a welcoming treat. In the end, Finesse is fun, hook laden pop hit that deserves its glory and rightfully so, it is one of the best pop songs of 2018.

6 Nice For What

It says a lot with Drake's artistry on how he was able to cultivate hits after hits after hits without being tired and exhausting. Nice For What is a welcoming surprising. The vibrant track still implores Drake's rapid fire rap verse but there is a clarity to it with a infectious joy that is somewhat freed with the rhythmic beats and the hook is provided by the interpolation of Lauryn Hill's Ex Factor. The song speaks some light too that behind some spit fire trap beats and rap verses is an underlying message of women empowerment and how he understands their hustle and aspirations. Nice For What is not just another rap song. Nice For What is a damn great song and it is one of the best pop songs of 2018.

5 Thank U, Next
Ariana Grande

A formula as simple as Thank U, Next is sometimes what you need to stand out on the pop market. Sure, Ariana's high profile stays still plays a big part yet Thank U, Next is straight forward, lovely and confident. Ariana's work are sometimes coming from her personal experience and they translate well cos it allows her to be young, relatable and be her. Thank U, Next doesn't boast any riffs or whistles. The production doesn't involve heavy percussion of bass. The synths were luscious enough complimenting Ariana's soft, smooth vocals. The chorus is catchy. There's a hook that was memorable. There is both compassion and confidence in her delivery. It's an easy, feel good listening and it's one of the best pop songs of 2018.

4 In My Blood
Shawn Mendes

To start the song in its most quiet and vulnerable state allows the build up of Shawn Mendes' new single In My Blood reach new heights of his pop madness discography. The first verse is brilliant with just a simple guitar backtrack and Shawn's vocals in a talking-singing manner. The verse allows us to, rightfully so, nurture the tone of the storytelling. It also embraces the added dynamics that the pulsating beat, which kicks in eventually in the first verse, to welcome a more pop-rock influence of the song. In My Blood may not the usual straight up pop tune from Shawn. In My Blood masterfully explores moments of vulnerability, feelings, resolve and imperfect emotional struggles. The single is soulful at its best. Its rock-tinged quality is a welcoming surprise. The song is emotionally driven with a radio friendly hook that reminds you of Kings of Leon's Sex on Fire or of some sort. In My Blood ranks high as one of the best pop songs of 2018.

3 Girls Like You (Remix)
Maroon 5 (ft. Cardi B)

A guitar riff backing up Adam Levine's signature, mid-pitch tone is quite a recipe for this pop gold. Girls Like You is nothing extraordinary. It is a formula that usually works for Maroon 5 and it still works up to this day. The idea that the production is mostly percussion and guitar riffs is quite bold as it put the vocals of Adam front and center. The added rap verse from Cardi B quite elevate this empowering women track into a more likable pop tune. The hook is infectious, the repetitive chorus is memorable and there is a catchy rhythm to it that works well for easy listening. Girls Like You is that pop song that you didn't think will resonate but somehow finds it way to greater heights and marks itself as one of 2018's best pop songs.

2 The Middle
Zedd (ft. Marren Morris, GREY)

There is nothing quite revealing on this Zedd track aside from the fact that Marren Morris sold it as if it was written for her. With the production of the song took a long journey before its fruition, the end product is and will always be the right one. The Middle is nothing without Marren Morris and how she confidently delivers each and every verse with gusto is what made The Middle even more likable. The Middle is just another electro-pop single with its dance backtrack and pulsating beats. But Marren's vocal work is full of braggadocio and her remarkable tone is stellar. Here we didn't hear the country singer Marren trying to be a pop star, we hear Marren singing a song with passion, fearlessness and great storytelling. The Middle, with how it resonated and peaked throughout the year, makes it as one of pop's best songs of 2018.

1 I Like It
Cardi B, J Balvin, Bad Bunny

From the beginning to the end, I Like It is meant to become big. I Like It effortlessly meshes up rap verses with some Latin spice and the outcome is a pop love child. The production is not over produced, allowing each artist to deliver their verses with right intensity. The hook is infectious and the whole track is just catchy and memorable. The vibrant feel and exuberant quality allows us to enjoy such song with joy. I Like It just transcends well and it is a song that when you hear it, you just can't but bop along. I Like It solidifies the status of Cardi B as a hit maker, making her the most popular female rapper right now and the most in demand. She just adds color and texture to these songs and her song I Like It is just one of those best pop songs of 2018.
Year-End List 2018: 25 Songs Reviewed by Etan Musni on 6:46 PM Rating: 5

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