Best Songs of 2018

Well, it’s that time of year again. We get to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the past year. Right now we’ll run through our top songs of 2018… While this is Alt Columnist, we can’t deny there were some true bops in every genre this year. There’s a bit of everything on this list, from rock to indie to pop punk to singer/songwriter to R&B to electropop. So strap in and enjoy!

Best Songs of 2018

  1. “Bulletproof” by DALES
  2. “Bad Girls Don’t Cry” by The Night Game
  3. “Enough” by Speak Low If You Speak Love
  4. “Surveillance” by George Ogilvie
  5. “Growing” by Blue Heaven
  6. “Drive” by Pale Waves
  7. “If You’re Over Me” by Years & Years
  8. “Magnetic” by Phillip Phillips
  9. “Topanga Lawrence” by Charmer
  10. “Cool Out” by Imagine Dragons
  11. “Good Kisser” by Lake Street Dive
  12. “Pacific Kiss” by MILKK
  13. “Again” by Kehlani
  14. “Bullet For Your Sweetheart” by Make Out Monday
  15. “Bad Machine” by Boston Manor
  16. “take you home” by slenderbodies
  17. “Sister Cities” by The Wonder Years
  18. “Daydream” by The XCERTS
  19. “My Life” by The Vamps & New Hope Club
  20. “Haircut” by Ryan Beatty
  21. “Lash Out” by Alice Merton
  22. “Swim” by Fickle Friends
  23. “Why” by Shawn Mendes
  24. “Babe, Can I Call?” by The Hunna
  25. “all the kids are depressed” by Jeremy Zucker
  26. “Blonde” by Waterparks
  27. “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” by The 1975
  28. “Sky Full of Song” by Florence + the Machine
  29. “Just Like That” by The Aces
  30. “James Dean” by The Wrecks
  31. “Taking Me Back” by LANY
  32. “Voices” by Against the Current
  33. “Hair Too Long” by The Vamps
  34. “My My My!” by Troye Sivan
  35. “Villains” by Mainland
  36. “Moving Along” by 5 Seconds of Summer
  37. “Misty Mae” by Georgia Fearn
  38. “Malibu Nights” by LANY
  39. “Before the Sun Goes Down” by The New Respects
  40. “Mariners Apartment Complex” by Lana Del Rey
  41. “Heaven’s Gate” by Fall Out Boy
  42. “You Can Count On Me” by Trophy Eyes
  43. “The Overpass” by Panic! at the Disco
  44. “stop and stare” by joan
  45. “Mad Love” by Honest Men
  46. “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer
  47. “That Something” by With Confidence
  48. “Daphne Blue” by The Band Camino
  49. “Heat Wave” by Snail Mail
  50. “Jumpsuit” by twenty one pilots
  51. “Not Warriors” by Waterparks
  52. “Powerslide” by Ryan Beatty
  53. “Best Friend” by 5 Seconds of Summer
  54. “Brooklyn” by Fickle Friends
  55. “Lovely” by Pinkish Blu
  56. “Revolution” by The Wrecks
  57. “Hunger” by Florence + the Machine
  58. “Lake Effect Kid” by Fall Out Boy
  59. “Midnight” by 5 Seconds of Summer
  60. “Empty Cups” by Charlie Puth
  61. “Thick and Thin” by LANY
  62. “Lovin’ Is Bible” by The Aces
  63. “Love It If We Made It” by The 1975
  64. “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes
  65. “Babylon” by 5 Seconds of Summer

Yeah, I’m surprised too. I’m not going to explain every song on this list, but let’s go through a handful of my favorites.

“I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” is basically if The 1975 made a late ’90s Third Eye Blind song… and it somehow works.

“Bullet For Your Sweetheart” by Make Out Monday is reminiscent of Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree, lyrically and musically, which is a welcomed sound.

Speaking of Fall Out Boy, while I consider MANIA to be their most unsatisfactory project to date, “Heaven’s Gate” surprised me with its soulful melodies and organic instrumentation, seemingly harking back to the Folie á Deux era of their career.

Similarly, Panic! at the Disco’s Pray For the Wicked was a disappointing release, but “The Overpass” provided some punch, rhythm, and excitement with gutsy horns, racing percussion, and soaring choruses.

“stop and stare” by joan is an ’80s-inspired indie pop rock jam with warm synths, ethereal atmosphere, and a stellar guitar solo.

“Daphne Blue” by The Band Camino is an undeniable summertime anthem, perfect for a windows-down, volume-up drive.

“Powerslide” by Ryan Beatty is another tune for the summertime, but much more chill and smooth and, uh, suggestive, bound to get stuck in your head with its bouncy melodies and vocal harmonies.

“Lovely” by Pinkish Blu delivers a hazy indie rock vibe through nicely reverb-laden guitar timbres and poignant lyricism.

Fall Out Boy originally released a demo of “Lake Effect Kid” on their 2008 Welcome to the New Administration mixtape, but the song finally got its rightful studio version released this year, a decade later, as a love letter to the band’s hometown of Chicago. This is the Fall Out Boy we’ve been missing.

“Midnight” by 5 Seconds of Summer was released as a Japanese bonus track on their latest effort Youngblood, but it’s easily one of the best songs from the record. (Although, as you can tell from their numbers of entries on our list, it’s fairly difficult to say there were many inferior songs on the album to begin with.) “Midnight” is a sultry plea for a deeper relationship with a paramour who only gives their love after midnight, but the tune is so anthemic and gargantuan that the tremendous choruses and celestial atmosphere nearly eclipse the subject matter.

“Empty Cups” by Charlie Puth is a rather similar song, begging a lover to stay, but with more groove and allure… and more scandalous in regards to cheating.

LANY’s “Thick and Thin” employs tasteful simplicity and heartfelt lyrics to craft a refined, exquisitely minimalistic tune deserving of repeated listens and shouted singalongs.

“Lovin’ Is Bible” by The Aces is a fabulous ’80s-influenced tune with some real character. The chorus is undeniably catchy, and the guitar riffs are absolute earcandy.

“Love It If We Made It” by The 1975 is a desperate yet hopeful survey of our world’s current sociopolitical state, and while it is quite anxiety-inducing, it is one of the band’s strongest works to date.

Speaking of anxiety, “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes is an empowering cry for help, a portrait of persevering through mental health struggles and general challenges of life. Shawn Mendes surprised us with this Kings of Leon-inspired pop rock song, and it’s brought me to tears on multiple occasions.

“Babylon” by 5 Seconds of Summer is a ripping pop rock anthem, characterized by colossal guitar melodies and sky-high choruses. Calum Hood’s moment to shine is an ultimately defining moment for the Aussie band.

That’s our list! Let us know your favorite tunes of the year in the comments down below or tweet at us on Twitter. @AltColumnist

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2017 Year-End Roundup

Alright, so the big album-related lists from 2017 are out of the way (Best Albums & “Worst” Albums), so let’s jump into some more year-end lists! Let’s start with best songs. We’re gonna blow through the majority of these and then talk about the list-toppers a bit more in detail. Keep in mind this is all my personal opinion and you’re free to disagree! Let me know your favorite songs of 2017 down in the comments below.

Best Songs of 2017

  1. “All the Land Glimmered” by Julie Byrne
  2. “No Halo” by Sorority Noise
  3. “Main Attraction” by Sincerely, Me
  4. “Hiccups” by WATERS
  5. “Get By” by Real Friends
  6. “All” by Joseph
  7. “Better Off” by 7 Minutes in Heaven
  8. “Cannot Do This Alone” by Colony House
  9. “New York” by LEDGES
  10. “Take What You Want (feat. 5 Seconds of Summer)” by ONE OK ROCK
  11. “Feel Good” by Neon Trees
  12. “Apartment” by Seaway
  13. “The Last of the Real Ones” by Fall Out Boy
  14. “Paradise” by Broadside
  15. “Okay” by As It Is
  16. “Certainty” by Seasonal
  17. “What’s Wrong” by PVRIS
  18. “Sold” by Heavy Things
  19. “Caroline” by A Will Away
  20. “Everything You Want Me to Be” by Coldfront
  21. “Young for the Summer” by DALES
  22. “Celebrate the Reckless” by Magic Giant
  23. “The Fog” by LAYNE
  24. “Kids” by The Gospel Youth
  25. “Feelings” by Hayley Kiyoko
  26. “Don’t Take the Money” by Bleachers
  27. “Last Young Renegade” by All Time Low
  28. “The Breakup” by LANY
  29. “Slow Burn” by State Champs
  30. “Lookers” by The Menzingers
  31. “Fire” by The Dangerous Summer
  32. “In the Middle of It All” by Citizen
  33. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles
  34. “Tiger Teeth” by Walk the Moon
  35. “Daylily” by Movements
  36. “Hiding With Boys” by Creeper
  37. “Liability” by Lorde
  38. “Beautiful Things” by Grayscale
  39. “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu” by The Maine
  40. “Fake Happy” by Paramore

That’s it! My top choice is “Fake Happy” by Paramore because I found myself constantly coming back to this song and loving it more and more every time. The lyrics are amazingly well-written and give such an awesome commentary, and the melodies in this song are absolutely stellar. “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu” is my second pick because this song is so emotionally-charged and “gives me all the feels,” if you will. The instrumental is fantastic and the guitar melody is always stuck in my head on repeat. “Beautiful Things” by Grayscale is next on the list due to its heartfelt lyrics and spectacular vocal performance, along with that catchy hook! “Liability” by Lorde is a song that I can personally relate to and is such a moving piano ballad, which is quite out-of-the-ordinary for Lorde. “Hiding With Boys” is an epic rock tune outlined by smoky nostalgia and heart-rending lyrics that makes me feel some type of way. “Daylily” by Movements also makes me … feel something … and is such a poignant song between its raspy, impassioned vocals and raw instrumentals. I’ve been waiting for a studio version of “Tiger Teeth” by Walk the Moon for AGES and we finally got it! It definitely lives up to and even surpasses the live recordings of this atmospheric, emotional tune. “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles isn’t what most fans expected from him, but my God, this monumental power ballad the best thing we could’ve ever dreamed of getting from this former boy band member. All of my top picks have something in common: they all made me feel. I don’t mean to get sappy, but that’s why I love music, it makes me feel things.

Best EPs of 2017

  1. Fade by Cold Climb It
  2. Likes Me Like That by Over Atlantic
  3. Aesthetically Pleasing by Sincerely, Me
  4. Do You Feel the Same Way Now? by Forbidden Envy
  5. Best When In Motion by Life Lessons
  6. Bloom by Seasonal
  7. Symmetry by 7 Minutes in Heaven
  8. Hard by The Neighbourhood
  9. Without You by pineview
  10. Wednesday by LAYNE

Click the links to read what we have to say about these EPs!

Best Debut Albums of 2017

  1. Totem by Welman
  2. AM/PM by The White Noise
  3. Lovely Domestic Bliss by Guide Dog
  4. Prosper by Gold Route
  5. Love Jail by Julia Louise
  6. Tasha Sits Close to the Piano by Jaws of Love.
  7. Homecoming by LEDGES
  8. Busybody Lazybones by Woolbright
  9. Landmark by Hippo Campus
  10. Red, Green, or Inbetween by WSTR
  11. Fail You Again by Can’t Swim
  12. Float Around by Coldfront
  13. Overexposed by Sleep On It
  14. Coast Modern by Coast Modern
  15. Always Lose by The Gospel Youth
  16. The Heights by Knox Hamilton
  17. Dreamcar by Dreamcar
  18. Cigarettes After Sex by Cigarettes After Sex
  19. Greatest Hits by Remo Drive
  20. Here Again by A Will Away
  21. In the Wind by Magic Giant
  22. Eternity, In Your Arms by Creeper
  23. LANY by LANY
  24. Feel Something by Movements
  25. Harry Styles by Harry Styles

Click the links to read what we have to say about each of these albums!

Most Underrated/Overlooked Albums of 2017

  1. Apprise. Assemble. Arise. by Concealed in Clouds
  2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors by Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else
  3. Odyssey by The Accidentals
  4. Swear I’m Good At This by Diet Cig
  5. Fever Dream by Everything Everything
  6. Sincerely by Dude York
  7. Telephone by Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
  8. Waiting on the Sun by Jule Vera
  9. Bear Your Mind by Free Throw
  10. come out, you’re hiding by flor
  11. Connect the Dots by MisterWives
  12. Make the Best of It by Have Mercy
  13. For Posterity by Dryjacket
  14. Overexposed by Sleep On It (ironic title)
  15. Vultures by Dead Leaves
  16. Orc by Oh Sees
  17. Chew by Muskets
  18. Hurts So Good by The Polarity
  19. The Same View With a New Light by WATERMEDOWN
  20. Easy by The Weeks
  21. Homecoming by LEDGES
  22. The Love You Let Too Close by Thousand Below
  23. The Good Life by Makeout
  24. Stranger in the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers
  25. Tasha Sits Close to the Piano by Jaws of Love.
  26. Waiting for Morning to Come by Being As An Ocean
  27. Totem by Welman
  28. Not Even Happiness by Julie Byrne
  29. Always Hope by Forever Starts Today
  30. Float Around by Coldfront
  31. Camp Cope by Camp Cope
  32. Busybody Lazybones by Woolbright
  33. Metaphysical by The Technicolors
  34. Landmark by Hippo Campus
  35. Content by Joywave
  36. The Heights by Knox Hamilton
  37. Goner by Heavy Things
  38. Dreamcar by Dreamcar
  39. Volcano by Temples
  40. In the Wind by Magic Giant
  41. Awkward Phase by Eternal Boy
  42. Coast Modern by Coast Modern
  43. Here Again by A Will Away
  44. Back to Beautiful by Picturesque
  45. Diverge by Hawking
  46. Something More! by WATERS
  47. All These Countless Nights by Deaf Havana
  48. Synesthesia by Courage My Love
  49. Origami by Vinyl Theatre
  50. After the Party by The Menzingers

Click the links to read what we have to say about each of these albums!

Those are all the lists we have for 2017! Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Best Albums of 2017

2017. What a year. The time has now come to evaluate the releases of the past twelve months and pick the cream of the crop. While this year did not offer a large amount of truly amazing records, the few that did catch my attention are undeniably stellar albums. So let’s jump into it. Like last year, when it comes to year-end lists, I tend to be a bit more personal, relaxed, and interject my opinion more honestly, so strap in. (Keep in mind that these lists are in no exact, particular order since my views fluctuate relatively frequently.)

Honorable Mentions

Before we dive into the top full-lengths of 2017, let’s survey some honorable mentions, some albums that came close and yet so far.

10. Synesthesia by Courage My Love

Courage My Love expertly pulls off a stark stylistic shift on Synesthesia, transitioning from gutsy hard rock to synth-dazzled pop rock. The catchy hooks and smooth vocals stick the landing and make this album consistently replayable.

9. Good Nature by Turnover

Another change in sonic attitude, Turnover’s daydreamy record Good Nature showcases the band treading new territory into a hypnotically mellow trance. Sweet, heartfelt lyricism and liquidy guitar timbre gives this LP its undeniable charm and allure.

8. Okay. by As It Is

The album title doesn’t accurately describe this record since Okay. is more than just okay. This addicting slice of pop punk displays As It Is developing as songwriters and musicians exploring different styles and subject matters. (And Patty Walters’s vocals certainly improved.)

7. Broken Machine by Nothing But Thieves

Nothing But Thieves strikes yet again with the thunderous Broken Machine. Between soaring vocal performances from frontman Conor Mason and heavy-hitting guitars, Broken Machine is a phenomenal rock record for 2017.

6. LANY by LANY

The glistening synths, erratic guitar flares, and earnest libretto causes LANY’s self-titled debut full-length to instantly deserve repeated spins. With inspiration from the ’80s and a modern knack for relatable lyrics, this album will appeal to just about everybody.

5. Eternity, In Your Arms by Creeper

Creeper’s theatrical songwriting and dark rock demeanor gives their debut album a stage-filling presence and moody atmosphere. Their dramatic character and instrumental sensibility makes Eternity, In Your Arms nothing less than fascinating and enjoyable.

4. What If Nothing by Walk the Moon

While Walk the Moon’s self-titled album is still their best in my eyes, What If Nothing combines the glittery ’80s-esque vibes of its predecessor and the curiosity and wide-eyed wonder of the band’s debut, making for a well-rounded and ever-interesting listen.

3. As You Please by Citizen

Emo revivalists Citizen recrudesce with their third full-length titled As You PleaseAs You Please is nothing short of expressive and cultivated through heartfelt lyrics, enticing vocal delivery, and poignant melodies, demanding you to listen again and again to catch every detail.

2. Adornment by Grayscale

Grayscale’s sophomore full-length Adornment testifies to the band’s engaging songwriting and stellar musicianship. With animated choruses and tireless libretto, Adornment doesn’t need to be adorned with enhancements—it’s already amazing.

1. Turn Out the Lights by Julien Baker

Emotional lyricism and morose melodies define Julien Baker’s second studio effort named Turn Out the Lights, displaying the solo performer examining new instrumental territories within a more piano-driven realm. It’s eerie, emotive, and undoubtedly memorable.

Best Albums of 2017

Before we finally delve into what I think are the absolute best albums of 2017, let’s discuss what it takes to make this list. For me, a record must be consistently replayable, rarely ever trite or stale after every listen. I should be able to look through the track-listing and enjoy (or, well, at least admire) every song present. With all that being said, 2017 didn’t produce a ton of best-worthy albums for me personally, so here’s my somewhat short list.

6. Feel Something by Movements

Movements’ debut album Feel Something will certainly make you feel something. This long-player hurts in the best way possible. As the artwork implies, Feel Something is haunting, dark, and raw, destined to keep your head spinning for hours to come when the closer ends.

5. After the Party by The Menzingers

The Menzingers explore the struggles of growing up and maturing through vigorous alt-rock and spirited songwriting. Impassioned lyricism melds with musical brio to produce a delectable listen from start to finish bound to hit you right in the gut with its raw relatability and emotion.

4. Lovely Little Lonely by The Maine

Catchy hooks, slick guitar melodies, and earnest lyrics characterize The Maine’s sixth studio album, Lovely Little Lonely. The band offers up some of their best material to date and tiptoes outside of their comfort zone on multiple tunes blanketed with atmosphere.

3. Harry Styles by Harry Styles

I never thought I would be writing about Harry Styles on an alternative music website but here we are. Styles delivers his debut solo album with grandiosity and charm. From thunderous, rocking choruses to calm, sincere acoustic serenades, Styles proves he’s more than just a typical (former) boy band member.

2. Melodrama by Lorde

Four years after her groundbreaking debut album, Lorde returns more lyrically mature and musically expansive than ever. Youthful yet mellow, Melodrama doesn’t hold back its emotions. Between songs of break-ups, struggles in the industry, and friendly endeavors, Lorde has certainly grown, and this record was well worth the wait.

1. After Laughter by Paramore

Irresistible melodies, smooth guitar riffs, and heartfelt lyrics define Paramore’s fifth studio album titled After Laughter. The band leans into a colorful new sound gilded by the ’80s and pop sensibility, continuing to push the envelope of their musical range and variation. This album never grows stale with each song offering up something fresh while still maintaining its throwback attitude.

Keep in mind this is all entirely my personal opinion. Let us know your favorite albums of the year down in the comments below!