The Pilerats Mid-Year List: The 50 Best Songs of 2018 So Far
From Australian up-and-comers to some of the mainstream world's biggest and best, the first half of the year has brought the goods when it comes to music.
Back in April, we celebrated the first quarter of the year with a list of the 20 best songs of the year to that point. From Alice Ivy and Nicolas Jaar's Against All Logic right through to Woodes and What So Not, the twenty tracks reflected what had already been a big year for basically every dominant genre. There was the emotive indie-rock of City Calm Down and Camp Cope at the top, positioned right next to the confident pop of Troye Sivan and the thumping bass of Dro Carey, The Presets and Jon Hopkins' pulsing Emerald Rush. Now, three months later, we've officially met the half-way point of the year which of course, means we get the chance to update our list with another 30 anthems from the six months just gone.
Joining the party at the six-month mark is a bunch of talented gems from both here and abroad (predominately here though, shoutout Australia/NZ), including everything from the big-league pop-stars dominating the whole world to a bunch of rising stars who only just burst onto our radars in the last year. On the pop side of things, G Flip followed-up her near-perfect debut About You with another brilliant track Killing My Time, joining names such as Sigrid, Odette, Maribelle and Kota Banks as the front-runners of a new pop music era. ALTA, Channel Tres, DJ Koze, Maribou State and Two People lead the charge in electronica, bringing forward some of the most creative and forward-thinking dance music on the planet. In hip-hop, Tyler The Creator's crashing OKRA was an immediate stand-out, as were tracks from Beyoncé and Jay-Z as The Carters, Childish Gambino and rising Australian star Kwame. Add in names like Jack River, RAAVE TAPES, Lily Allen and SOPHIE into the mix, and you have a diverse-as-hell bunch of musicians who we genuinely believe are the cream of the 2018 musical crop - pushing boundaries and being all-around incredible.
Although we're only halfway through the year, we've got a mountain of great music behind us already. Check out our 50 picks below, and be sure to keep an eye on the Pilerats homepage to see how these acts progress across the rest of the year and beyond.
The 50 Best Songs of 2018 So Far:
Against All Logic - I Never Dream
Alice Ivy - Chasing Stars feat. Bertie Blackman
ALTA - Now You Want Me
Anderson .Paak - 'Til It's Over
Annie Bass & Christopher Port - Thrown Away
Annie Bass and Christopher Port are two of our favourite emerging Australian electronic acts, which is why we were stoked to see them join forces this year for a new two-track. Thrown Away is the better track of the pair, with Annie Bass' bold and confident vocals standing tall above Christopher Port's percussion-soaked production that oozes with his signature garage-esque flavour. We had high hopes for a collaboration between the pair, and Thrown Away knocks these right out of the park.
Camp Cope - The Face Of God
Channel Tres - Controller
Childish Gambino - This Is America
City Calm Down - Joan, I'm Disappearing
Cosmo's Midnight - Get To Know feat. Winston Surfshirt
Previewed live at Falls Festival, Get To Know was one hell of a way to start Cosmo's Midnight's 2018. Featuring unexpected 2017 stand-out Winston Surfshirt on vocals, Get To Know sees the Sydney electronic twins veer into funk-fuelled territory with incredible results, proving why Cosmo's Midnight are worth their place in Australia's electronic market – especially when it comes to their craft of consistently releasing anthems for the D-floor and at home too.
DJ Koze - Pick Up
Dro Carey - Glow Now (feat. Taliwhoah & Genesis Owusu)
Eilish Gilligan - S.M.F.Y.
Eliott - Over & Over
Emerson Leif & Golden Vessel - Hesitate
Golden Vessel and Emerson Leif have collaborated numerous times before, and every time they do, it seems like they make magic. Hesitate is their latest and strongest collaboration yet, with Golden Vessel and Emerson Leif showcasing their complimenting styles in a way that is fluid and perfectly matching – with no half out-strengthening the other. It's oozing electronica at its best, bringing exactly what we hoped for another collaboration between the pair and what all partnerships should aspire to be.
Essie Holt - Magnetise
Feels & Stella Donnelly - They Need Us
G Flip - Killing My Time
G Flip - About You
HANDSOME - Save Some Love
HANDSOME's Save Some Love blends the beautiful, romantic songwriting of The XX with the haunting, warped autotune of Bon Iver and the electronic, percussion-soaked pulse of Bonobo in one tidy, seamless package that'll have you swept away from its opening piano chords, only to dunk you under time and time again with its waves of emotional beauty until you can finally gasp for her as her autotuned vocal echoes out. It's uplifting, elegant and jaw-dropping with its beauty, and noting that it's only HANDSOME's second major single, we are in awe with what she could achieve in the next few years.
Hatchie - Sleep
HTMLflowers - Spirit Double feat. Eilish Gilligan
Jack River - Ballroom
James Blake - Don't Miss It
Janelle Monáe - Make Me Feel
Make Me Feel is one of the best songs of Janelle Monáe's career thus far. It's straight-forward and simplistic, but the way Monáe brings it all together with her signature sound and flavour is what makes it a single so easily repeatable. From the opening swelling melody and crisp mouth clicks, Make Me Feel is irresistible, colourful and theatrical in the best of ways, reminding us all of the simplistic beauty of Janelle Monáe's singles and why she's one of the most well-respected artists in the game right now.
Jon Hopkins - Emerald Rush
Kendrick Lamar & SZA - All The Stars
Kllo - Potential
Kota Banks - Zoom
Kwame - WOW
After being dubbed someone to keep an eye on back in 2016, 2018 saw rising Sydney talent Kwame burst out the gates with WOW. Part Kendrick, Part Vince Staples, WOW is a bouncy and dynamic hip-hop epic that draws you from its first warped synth melody and catchy chorus, not letting go as the clanging single twists and turns until its final melody. It was the first single from his Endless Conversations EP – one definitely worth checking out – and it succeeded it pushing forward Kwame as an Australian hip-hop heavyweight in 2018.
Lily Allen - Family Man
Maribelle - I'm A Mess Without You
Maribou State - Turnmills
Moaning Lisa - Carrie (I Want A Girl)
No Mono - Frostbitten
Taken from their superb debut album Islands Pt 1, Frostbitten features the two Toms - Big Scary/#1 Dads' Tom Iansek and Tom Snowdon - in perfect synchronisation. It's emotive and powerful in its stripped-back brilliance, with Snowdon's angelic voice perfectly swooning over the single's intricate and minimalist production. As we said on the single's release, there's a lot of ways to describe No Mono - angelic, irresistibly stunning, beautiful, remarkable, moving and gut-wrenching being just some of the ones we've used across their rise. Frostbitten does nothing but confirm all of these, placing No Mono amongst the most remarkable acts to arise from the country this year.
Odette - Take It To The Heart
Parcels - Tieduprightnow
RAAVE TAPES - SUDS
RÜFÜS DU SOL - No Place
Sigrid - High Five
There's a lot to love about Sigrid. At only 21-years-old, the Norwegian pop-superstar-in-the-making as one of the most powerful voices in the game right now, something she truly pushes to the limits on her captivating 2018 highlight High Five. It's booming and powerful, uniting her strong and confident vocal with a matching production that genuinely elevates her to the next level. There's been a lot of sure-fire signs that Sigrid is the next big thing, and with High Five, we'd have to agree - she's got the 'it' thing.
SOPHIE - Immaterial
The Carters (Beyoncé & Jay-Z) - APESHIT
The Presets - 14U+14ME
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - Leave A Light On
Troye Sivan - My My My!
Back in 2014 when Troye Sivan was a baby-faced Perth boy armed with his debut single Happy Little Pill, it was hard – but not impossible – to imagine that he would be one of the world's biggest stars a few years later. My My My! was the first single from his incredibly awaited second album Bloom (due for release August 31) and it's Sivan at his most powerful, confident and bold, stripping himself of his indie roots for a fully-fledged pop anthem which will no doubt be one of the best of the year internationally – and definitely one of the best in years from Australia.