The Billboard Year-End lists for 2018 have been released, compiling the 100 most successful songs of the entire year in terms of chart appearances. Because only 5 of my 11 song reviews have been positive, I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to give my thoughts on a few more songs that I really, actually enjoy.
(4) Havana by Camila Cabello: This song isn’t even particularly impressive or ambitious lyrically or sonically, but it’s just an absolute joy to listen to. The pounding drums and piano riff hit hard every time, and Young Thug’s subdued verse is a really enjoyable change of pace from Camila’s energetic opening verse and strong chorus. A simple but amazingly effective pop song.
(20) No tears left to cry by Ariana Grande: One trend that I’ve really disliked about pop is the disappearance of the big, bold chorus in favor of a drop or nothing at all. No tears left to cry isn’t a stereotypical massive chorus, but I think I like what it does even more: the instrumental shifts dramatically on the chorus, with the drums and synths suddenly getting quieter, smoother, and lower-pitched. This allows Ariana’s voice to shine through, where she declares that she’s in a state of mind she “wants to be in all the time”. It’s strong, bold, and a fantastic contrast to the lively, upbeat verses.
(50) Love. by Kendrick Lamar: I didn’t love Kendrick Lamar’s 2017 album, DAMN., as much as a lot of people did. I thought it was a step down from his previous work and there were only a couple songs that I wanted to listen to more than once or twice. Love. was one of them, a surprisingly catchy and sweet song that I honestly didn’t see coming from Kendrick. The production is simple but fantastic, and Zacari’s feature is amazingly calming.
(24) Delicate by Taylor Swift: I’ve been a big Taylor Swift fan for a long time, and while I haven’t been a big fan of some of her biggest hits in recent years (such as Shake It Off, Bad Blood, and Look What You Made Me Do), this song is a beautiful reminder of how great she is at her best: vulnerable, thoughtful, and with a sense of innocence. I’m biased towards the song due to the association the song has to a really great time of my life. With that said, it has held up really well throughout the year, and its lyrics and tone are refreshing every time. She describes the initial good signs of a relationship in a really unique, personal, and powerful way.
(18): Never Be The Same by Camila Cabello: this one comes with a bit of a strange exception, but hear me out: I really dislike the song’s high-pitched prechorus, which in my opinion destroys the mood and flow of the song. My solution was to edit the song myself and take it out entirely, so I did that and put a new version on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7EIGm7QrM). With that out of the way, I absolutely love the chorus and I think Camila Cabello’s low-pitched verses create a gorgeous atmosphere. The lyrics are direct, and despite being pretty average and ordinary, they’re delivered with a lot of genuine emotion.