Favorite Songs of 2018

Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2018; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

Never Enough, by Loren Allred on The Greatest Showman (Soundtrack)
Sorry, by Halsey on Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
Feel Alive, by Katie Herzig on Moment of Bliss
No Roots, by Alice Merton on No Roots EP
It’s Not Just Me, by Let’s Eat Grandma on I’m All Ears
Babies, by Tracey Thorn on Record
Cycles, by Tove Lo on Blue Lips
Delicate, by Taylor Swift on Reputation
Woodland, by The Paper Kites on Woodland & Young North EP
I Get Overwhelmed, by Dark Rooms on A Ghost Story (Soundtrack)
28, by Lorene Scafaria on Garden Party EP
Somebody New, by The Struts on Young & Dangerous
The River, by KT Tunstall on Wax
Hold Out Your Hand, by Brandi Carlile on By the Way, I Forgive You
The Winner Takes It All, by Cher on Dancing Queen
Capital Letters, by Hailee Steinfeld X Bloodpop on Fifty Shades Freed (Soundtrack)
Brave, by Sara Bareilles on The Blessed Unrest
Trade Hearts (feat. Julia Michaels), by Jason Derulo on Everything Is 4
Need You Now, by Lady Antebellum on Need You Now
Most of All, by Steve Perry on Traces
At This Moment, by Billy Vera and the Beaters on Billy and the Beaters

Which one was the best? I think it’s too close a call between Loren Allred’s soaring Never Enough and the always-melancholy Tove Lo’s Cycles. Both are delightfully painful tunes.

Favorite Songs of 2017

It’s still January, so not too egregiously late: Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2017; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

Paris, by The Chainsmokers on Memories…Do Not Open
On Hold, by The xx on I See You
Should’ve Been You, by Imelda May on Life Love Flesh Blood
Castle on the Hill, by Ed Sheeran on Divide
Want You Back, by HAIM on Something to Tell You
Ride, by Twenty One Pilots on Blurryface
Cleopatra, by The Lumineers on Cleopatra
Fault Line, by Michelle Branch on Hopeless Romantic
Walk on, by Overcoats on YOUNG
Liability, by Lorde on Melodrama
Making Love Out of Nothing at All, by Air Supply on Definitive Collection
New York, by St. Vincent on MASSEDUCTION
Beautiful Trauma, by Pink on Beautiful Trauma
Love Me Like You Do, by Ellie Goulding on Delirium
Sign of the Times, by Harry Styles on Harry Styles
The Industry, by Okkervil River on Away
Don’t Take the Money, by Bleachers on Gone Now
White Flag, by Joseph on I’m Alone, No You’re Not
Ordinary World, by Green Day on Revolution Radio
Tachycardia, by Conor Oberst on Ruminations
Apocalypse, by Cigarettes After Sex on Cigarettes After Sex

I don’t know if any one particular song stands out here — maybe Lorde’s “Liability”?  Or perhaps The xx’s “On Hold.”  Let’s just call it a tie, because they’re both wonderful.

Favorite Songs of 2016

Better late than never: Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2016; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

Fronteras, by Gaby Moreno on Ilusion
Million Reasons, by Lady Gaga on Joanne
Lady Wood, by Tove Lo on Lady Wood
Move Your Body, by Sia on This Is Acting
Hold My Hand, by Jess Glynne on I Cry When I Laugh
Until the Day Dims (Heavy Hands Remix), by The Woodlands on Heavy Hands Remix
Gimmie Love, by Carly Rae Jepsen on Emotion
A Happy Place, by Katie Melua on The House
Fight Song, by Rachel Platten on Wildfire
School Friends, by Now, Now on Threads
James, by Maggie Rogers on Blood Ballet
We’ve Only Just Begun, by the Carpenters on The Essential Collection
Open, by Rhye on Woman
Hold You Tonight, by The Woodlands on Gems and Bones
Hollywood, by Grouplove on Big Mess
Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain, by Lucius on Good Grief
Still Falling for You, by Ellie Goulding on Bridget Jones’s Baby Soundtrack
Used to Love You, by Gwen Stefani on This Is What the Truth Feels Like
Mayhem, by Imelda May on Mayhem
Lone Ranger, by Rachel Platten on Wildfire
Maybe This Christmas, by Tracey Thorn on Tinsel and Lights
She’s Got You, by Rhiannon Giddens on Tomorrow Is My Turn

The highlight this year is Tove Lo’s “Lady Wood,” which has some serious sonic landscapes.  Tove Lo also wrote another song here, the Ellie-Goulding-helmed “Still Falling for You.”  Ms. Lo is at the top of her game.

Gifts from 2015: BookDragon’s Top 25, NYT’s The Year in Illustration

I missed these two nice mentions before 2015 came to an end:

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s BookDragon named Love Love as one of its top 25 of 2015.  Here’s what it had to say about it:

Love Love by Sung J. Woo proves that jaw-dropping dysfunction can make for some spectacular Schadenfreude.

Over at The New York Times, they picked a handful of best graphics for their The Year in Illustration list and guess what was there…

None other than the fantastic artwork by Jun Cen for my Opinionator piece back in April.

Thank you, 2015.  You were the gift that kept giving until the very last day.