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Charlie Doherty’s Top Tunes of 2018 (Camila Cabello, Post Malone, The 1975, Chris Cornell, and More)

Last week, I posted my list of the best albums, EPs and box sets of 2018. Now it’s time to wrap it up for real with what I humbly consider an eclectic mix of tunes – country, rap, metal, pop, Latin pop, blues, etc. –  that stood out to me over the last 12 months or so. Some of these selections may be too indie or unfamiliar to you, so you’ll see commentary in select places to fill you in. This is my last list for this site as we know it, so I promise to make it a good one (about 45 songs in all)! Feel free to comment below the article if you agree or disagree with anything on this list.

Muse “Blockades”

Chris Cornell “When Bad Does Good” (from the late Soundgarden/Audioslave/Temple of the Dog legend’s career-spanning self-titled, four-disc 2018 box set)

Hozier “Nina Cried Power (f/Mavis Staples)”

Childish Gambino “This Is America”

The 1975 “Love It If We Made It”

Tycho “Jetty” (From the brand new Ninjawerks Vol.1 soundtrack out on Astralwerks + Ninja)

Ashley McBryde “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” (One of President Barack Obama’s favs of 2018, it’s the title track of her debut LP that was nominated for a 2019 Grammy for Best Country Album – the upcoming 61st Grammy Awards)

Dolly Parton “Girl in the Movies”

Unreqvited “Balance” (sorta black metal-ish like Deafheaven)

Troye Sivan and Charli XCX “1999” (I’m more a fan of the nostalgic theme than the actual music)

The Wheel Workers “Desire” (Houston political rock band that shows a bit of Pixies influence)

Camila Cabello “Havana (f/Young Thug)”

Anderson .Paak “Tints (f/Kendrick Lamar)”

Minus the Bear “Viaduct” (a heavy one from the Seattle indie rock band’s final EP, Fair Enough)

Twenty One Pilots “Jumpsuit” (Most unexpectedly good song I’ve heard in a long time – kind of Maynard/A Perfect Circle-ish at times, which is saying something)

Smashing Pumpkins “Silvery Sometimes (Ghosts)” (The band’s 2018 tour was its best received one in 20 years, and this new tune is the star of the Shiny… new album, no doubt)

J Mascis “See You at the Movies” (Loud or soft, the Dinosaur Jr. frontman always delivers)

Post Malone “Better Now” (Even Taylor Swift loves/is jealous of it) and “Sunflower (f/Swae Lee)”

Still Corners “Black Lagoon”

Iron & Wine “Waves of Galveston” (Originally only a live version existed for the A.V. Club “states” compilation in 2013 – so Sam Beam finally got around to releasing a studio version on 2018 EP Weed Garden)

Cloud Nothings “The Echo of the World” (Slow start, awesome finish)

Nothing “Blue Line Baby” (One of my absolute favs of 2018, it’s got the glorious ’90s shoegaze feel of Slowdive, mixed with the Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight, Tonight”-style drums)

Wild Nothing “Shallow Water” (Jack Tatum still expertly updates ’80s dream pop with his own brand, and this is a highlight from his 2018 album, Indigo)

High on Fire “Electric Messiah” (Inspired by the late Motorhead founder Lemmy Kilmister)

Morrison Kincannon “Freely” (Like a sequel to “Ventura Highway,” this track is from Beneath the Redwoods, a collection of once forgotten and previously unissued recordings from 1970-1982)

Snail Mail “Heat Wave”

Black Elephant “Cosmic Soul” (killer band from Italy taking cues from the likes of Sabbath/Soundgarden/Dozer/Kyuss)

Covet “Glimmer” (think of an instrumental version of Minus the Bear)

Joe Bonamassa “Redemption” (Bonamassa never stops)

Clutch “How to Shake Hands” (Always reliable rock from Maryland’s finest)

Mogwai “We’re Not Done” (with vocals, a rarity from these Scottish instrumental post-rock virtuosos)

Chino Moreno “Brief Exchange” (This one by the dynamic Deftones frontman includes production by Tyler Bates, former Marilyn Manson guitarist)

Beach House “Drunk in LA” (from 7, one of the top full-lengths of 2018)

Neko Case & Mark Lanegan “Curse of the I-5 Corridor” (Don’t you just love cool collaborations you never thought would happen?)

Kacey Musgraves “Slow Burn” (It seems that everyone has their own favorite from her recent masterpiece, Golden Hour, and this dreamy folky opener is mine)

Howlin Rain “The Wild Boys”

Gregory Ackerman “Don’t Need Nothin’”

Mazzy Star “Quiet, The Winter Harbor” (From the Still EP and first release since drummer Keith Mitchell left Earth in 2017)

Dr. Octagon “Area 54” (from Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation, Kool Keith’s first new album in 22 years with both Dan the Automator and DJ QBert)

L7 “I Came Back to Bitch” (the early ’90s female hard rockers famous for “Pretend We’re Dead” are back from the dead)

Jay Som “O.K., Meet Me Underwater” (From the 2018 Piroutte 7-inch)

Earthless “Gifted by the Wind”  (It’s like Black Sabbath and C.O.C. with a bluesy Gov’t Mule flavor)

Chris Sullivan “By the Light of the Radio”

Bermuda Triangle “Rosey” (Alabama Shakes singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s new Nashville-based folk trio)

About Charlie Doherty

Senior Music Editor and Culture & Society (Sports) Editor at Blogcritics Magazine; Prior writing/freelancing ventures: copy editor/content writer for Penn Multimedia; Boston Examiner, EMSI, Demand Media, Brookline TAB, Suite 101 and Helium.com; Media Nation independent newspaper staff writer, printed/published by the Boston Globe at 2004 DNC (Boston, MA); Featured in Guitar World May 2014. Keep up with me on twitter.com/chucko33

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Charlie Doherty’s Top Releases of 2018: Post Malone, Smashing Pumpkins, Tom Petty, Clutch, Kacey Musgraves, and More

Rock and roll is alive and well - and didn't need a Zeppelin clone to prove it in 2018.