Top 20 songs of 2018

Okay, so here's the thing. In many previous Januarys I've compiled a list of my top 20 songs of the year before. I really like doing this, and I really like listening to the accompanying playlists, and feeling like I'm time-travelling to the eras of those songs. This list will be my ninth so far. The 'rules' used to state that the songs had to be, ideally, released in that year, or at least totally new to me. The problem I'm having is that I don't think I can come up with a list of 20 brand new songs from last year that I genuinely loved...

Like many, many of us, I spent a drastic portion of my 2018 listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack (it's literally still the #1 album, as I type, in 2019, over a year after its release. Who is still doing this?!), to the detriment of discovering much new music. I also spent an unreasonable amount of time watching and listening to musicals (#onbrand), so the first half-ish of the list will be selected songs from shows I saw last year. These aren't necessarily my favourite songs from shows I've seen this year, just the ones that are calling to me tonight. And for some reason, the ones that seem to be calling to me tonight are the sentimental ballads in shows that have mostly upbeat songs?


1 | It Means Beautiful - Everybody's Talking About Jamie
I love this pretty song, sung by Pritti in the show, about valuing your own beauty and power.

2 | For Good - Wicked
"Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But, because I knew you, I have been changed for good." There are so many people this line brings to mind, and it just makes me feel so warm and grateful and loved.

3 | It's Quiet Uptown - Hamilton
Seeing this show actually taking place in front of me was uniquely powerful, and no song was more affecting than this one. Rachel John and Jamael Westman (and Rachelle Ann Go's acting even if she doesn't sing) bring so much only-just-controlled emotion to the heartbreaking scene.

4 | Days and Days - Fun Home
Jenna Russell's version of this at the Young Vic was the unexpected showstopper for me this year. This is the moment her character breaks open and reveals the toll that years of compromise and regret has taken on her life, as she implores her daughter, "Don't come back here, I didn't raise you to give away your days like me."

5 | The Launching: Godspeed Titanic - Titanic the Musical
I entirely unironically love this musical, and I will take every opportunity I can to see it. This is the rousing song that launches the ship. "Farewell, farewell! Godspeed, Titanic! From your berth glide free! As you plough the deep, in your arms I'll keep. Safely west may you carry me." YAAAAS. #dramaticirony

6 | Enjoy The Trip - Bring It On: The Musical
As much as I enjoyed all the energetic cheerleading numbers, this plaintive little song was very touching. "Don't sit on your ass waiting for life to begin. If you do what you love with your time, then you win!"

7 | Not My Father's Son - Kinky Boots
"The endless story of expectations swirling inside my mind wore me down. I came to a realisation and I finally turned around to see, that I could just be me."

8 | Somewhere That's Green - Little Shop of Horrors
I saw this for the first time at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, starring Matt-From-Busted (Matt Willis) and George-From-The-Famous-Five (Jemima Rooper), and it was a brilliant. George smashed this one.

9 | March, Women, March -  Sylvia
I hope this show is given the time and work it needs - I saw an unfinished version last summer that was so close to being really, really great.

10 | Seventeen - Heathers the Musical
Even if I had found a million brilliant new songs this year, this song would have made the top 20, against any competition. It's become an instant favourite showtune - those harmonies and progressions, and lyrics and gah, I love it. Carrie Hope Fletcher and Jamie Muscato really rocked it, and I can't wait for the London cast recording!

11 | Being Alive - Company
Rosalie Craig singing this song broke me into a million pieces.
"Somebody hold me too close
Somebody force me to care
Somebody make me come through
I'll always be there
As frightened as you of being alive."


12 | Fred Jones, Pt. 2 - Ben Folds
We got to sing an incredibly beautiful arrangement of this incredibly beautiful song at our Christmas choir concert. A privilege.

13 | In My Blood - Shawn Mendes
Although this is a song by a very young heartthrob boy probably aimed way below my age demographic, this song felt more real than almost anything else I heard this year. Plus it completely rocks.

14 | thank u next - Ariana Grande
No explanation needed or offered.

15 | Shotgun - George Ezra
The! Song! Of! The! Summer!

16 | Found/Tonight - Lin-Manuel Miranda & Ben Platt
I was a soggy weeping mess when I first listened to this song. Firstly and most importantly, it was raising funds and awareness for #MarchForOurLives in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. As well as that, though, it combines songs from two of the musicals that have been the most important to me over the last few years. And aside even from that, one of those songs is 'You Will Be Found', which I sang with choir last year. Hearing Lin-Manuel Miranda's little take on the opening lines that I had practised countless times, trying to make them my own, was and is utterly overwhelming. One day I will sing this duet with someone and it will be epic. Play this at my funeral, my wedding, my birthday party, karaoke, church, work, waking, sleeping, breakfast, dinner, everywhere and at all times.

17 | 2002 - Anne Marie
It seems like 2018 was the year of not-that-long-ago nostalgia, what with this one, '1999' by Charli XCX and Troye Sivan, and 'Nineties' by Busted (just because you didn't hear about it doesn't mean it didn't happen, and honestly, it's number 21 on this list) but this one is the original and the best. Weirdly no mention of the World Cup, sadly.

18 | This Is Me - Keala Settle
I know (I know) that the movie as a whole has some issues, but the songs are all-time greats. Every song in it could have made this list. "And I know that I deserve your love, there's nothing I'm not worth of!"

19 | If You're Over Me - Years & Years
They're back! And they're STILL great!

20 | Give Yourself A Try - The 1975
I feel like The 1975 have stealthily become one of my absolute favourites.
"You learn a couple things when you get to my age
Like friends don't lie and it all tastes the same in the dark
When your vinyl and your coffee collection is a sign of the times..."
...I'm getting spiritually enlightened at 29.