So last year I wrote an end of the year review on my favorite games of 2017, and seeing as I’m usually late with things I decided I should also write an end of the year review, weeks late, not only about video games, but also songs. You can find my list for games here.
This list of music is weird and a mish-mash of a lot of genres I like and love. Some of them are pretty mainstream, others are super obscure, one might be a meme, but they were songs I deeply enjoyed throughout the year 2018 and were also officially (keyword here) released that year.
“My Boiii, Part 2”- Shofu tha BeatDown ft. shofu, Kingshofu, C Got It, CTC, Etika
So, if you were to tell me this song would be on the list in January 2018, I would have told you you were on drugs. In most occasions the only time I listen to Shofu tha BeatDown is if he’s rapping about Pokemon with his brother shofu on a cypher. But this song slaps. I played this song in my friend’s pick up truck and cranked it to max volume as we were driving through our neighborhood. Though one of my favorite sections comes from BeatDown’s alternate persona, Hypeman Hunnitz, I just remember trying to look cool in front of my small friend in a movie theater lobby by spitting out Etika’s verse, His girl? My girl! I smash out till her toes curl., and as I got to the, I smash out, part I crashed into a bunch of chairs and embarrassed myself. But if I wanna feel hype at any moment, say in the shower or before writing, this is one of my go to’s.
“Okra”- Tyler, the Creator”
I’ve liked Tyler for a while now, but my love jumped up in 2018 and I don’t know if it was because Flower Boy resonated with me a lot or because I was going through a litany of mental health issues and fell in love with a woman who loved Tyler, The Creator. This song creeps in with hype, and the line, Tell Tim Chalamet to come get at me, became a meme for a very small section of my friend group.
While due to certain events (that were my fault) Tyler’s songs now hurt me more than heal, there’s something about reminiscing about summer, colds, festivals, buffalo wings, Harvard ping pong matches, and the feeling of being endless that lingers with me when I think of this song.
“Lucid Dreams”- Juice WRLD
You know how the previous entry was kind of sad boy? Well this is like a sequel. For most of the year this was essentially the song I kind of listened to while I scrolled through twitter on my phone during an Uber ride–not because I was playing the song, but because the driver switched the station to hip-hop when they saw I was black.
So I at first thought nothing of this song, but then after I became a wonderful nobody, I needed this song, especially since I started having a wild series of lucid dreams. But it’s the perfect song for when I’m feeling pretty sad.
“King’s Dead”- Jay Rock ft. Kendrick Lamar & James Blake
If you know me, which a lot of you likely don’t, you’d know that my thesis was a collection of short stories about black superheroes. So of course I was a bit hype when Black Panther was coming out this year, not just because Black Panther was a black superhero, but also because that entire soundtrack slapped. Black Panther was for the culture. It was fun, it didn’t conform, it was itself. But I’m supposed to be talking about this song, not the movie.
Anyways, during the promotion for Black Panther, one of the singles released was, “King’s Dead,” and though it has a meme-able middle verse by Future, and doesn’t really feel like it actually belongs to Jay Rock as a song, it’s a wonderful song. I played it all through out the writing of my thesis, it’s the first song on my playlist titled Thesis, and it had me hype on my commutes to school. Also it just turned into a running thing where my little sister and I would break into lyrically screaming, Then I freaked it. And sometimes I miss those simpler times before I graduated.
“Ancient Tattoos”- Gentle Temper
So this feels like cheating since my friends, Gentle Temper, have performed this song for a while before 2018, but it was officially released in 2018, so I’m allowing it (and they’re my friends, so I’d bend rules for ’em anyways). The first time I heard this song (which I had, for a while, referred to as the “Octopus Song”) I was in a bar for a show they were playing, and since I was their neighbor for a while, I had heard them practice a lot of songs, but I had never heard this one. And there was just something so beautiful about beyond Ryan and Marion’s delightful melodic voices (they’re like tall sirens). Something resonated me in the lines:
I wish I were an octopus, prowling a black sea, I wish I were anything, anything but me.
This desire to be something else, anything else, it felt great to have a song that understood, expressed this feeling. I’d think about it sometimes while writing, used it in a story once. It’s my favorite song by them, and they know that. But the best part of this song, is that the end, when you’ve yelled it out and shouted about those goddamn tattoos, you just let everything go.
“Cold Shoulder”- Gentle Temper
There’s a mold, in the shade, in the shape of you, Ryan melodically starts the song with. I usually transfix on friends I miss, friends I want back. This song, though somber, brings out a tenderness in me. When I wanna think about loved ones, people essential in my life, usually after waking up, curled in a fetal-c, I think of this song.
But what I love about this song is when they play it live. As they get into the end, they ask the audience to sing along, Cold shoulder roll over here, and for the first few shows I’d go to, sometimes I’d be the only one singing along, but now they’ve reached a point where packed rooms sing along, harmonizing with their already mellifluous voices and it’s just a sight to see. And now when I listen to this song, I just hope and play it loudly to say to a missed friend, slither closer, dear.
“Sunflower”- Post Malone & Swae Lee
I’m not gonna talk about how I haven’t watched Into The Spider-Verse yet or how the lack of this movie in my life is essentially a call for help, but let me just say that before this song, I only liked one Post Malone song: “White Iverson.” And now that I’ve heard this, I can say, No song by Post Malone should ever sound this good. That is all.
“I Need You”- Marc Rebillet
This song is also on Spotify (which you can get to the link here), but I wanted to show you the construction of this song. The thought put into it. When I first encountered Marc Rebillet, it was due to a Twitter post where he was singing his song, “Look At That Ass,” obviously something that was RT’d a lot and somewhat construed into a meme/ viral video. I had even RT’d it too, mentioning my small friend and our mutual appreciation of nice asses (that we only look at and will touch upon getting consent. learn, people.).
But after that, I watched his other videos and found this one titled, “SORRY TO BOTHER YOU.” This song is smooth. Though it has all the chances for meme worthy humorous lines, it’s very much a lyrically fluid song resemblant of classic R&B, though more so of a song from the 2000’s given its rap verse/ spoken word interlude.
It’s a surprising song that I’ve been blasting on repeat, maybe much to the chagrin of neighbors, roommates, and co-workers. But try to listen to that song and not believe in love afterwards.
“This is America”- Childish Gambino
This is another song where I want to show a video of it rather than just straight audio, but in this case it’s more that the video plus the audio carries a more potent message.
I’ve talked about this song countless times by this point. I’ve talked about how it reminds me of May escalator sit downs at Target, the, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah’s I’d sing while shopping. I’ve talked about the genius of it, how it sends a powerful message about violence, being black in America, paying attention to your surroundings, not being distracted with media aversions. This song is great, and it’s by Childish Gambino, so you know I’ve got to love it.
“Don’t Think Twice”/ “Chikai”- Utada Hikari
It was February 2018. I was on high alert for Kingdom Hearts III info. A new trailer would come out that day–I knew that. But to my surprise, it wasn’t just one trailer, but two. One revealed and confirmed something that had been leaked days prior, Monster’s Inc. would receive a world in KHIII, but there was also the reveal of a song that would be associated with KHIII: “Don’t Think Twice.”
At first we, the Kingdom Hearts fandom, had assumed that it would be the opening song for KHIII and of course that sparked debate. Where “fans” would claim that the song was too slow to be a Kingdom Hearts opening. And others would say, correctly, that it feels like a conclusion to an arc, a song fitting of such. What no one had known though, until about September/ October 2018 was that “Don’t Think Twice” was actually the ending song.
Anyways, this song sung by Hikaru Utada, its use in promotions and trailers, stayed in my mind. Back when I had only heard the first verse and nothing else, I’d sing it in the shower, but after the full release in December, it was a wrap. This song is beautiful, and when Utada sings, kiss me once, kiss me twice, kiss me three times, cross the line, you can usually find me in my office, under the illusion that I’m alone, pantomiming dramatic motions, grasping for air, and screeching off pitch. The song’s good, y’all.
Bonus: “Stay With Me”- Miki Matsubara
Lastly I’d like to share a song that didn’t come out in 2018 or even the 2000s. I found this song while looking for videographers for a product demo my company was about to do on an applicant’s YouTube channel. He had used the song in the background for his, Welcome to the channel, video. And when I head this song, this masterpiece of Japanese 80’s city pop, I knew that I wanted that song in my life. The aesthetics of it all was right up my alley and reminded me of Persona 5, which is one of the highest compliments I can give something. So here’s the song. Later days.