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Chad Whitehead's Favorite Songs of 2018

Bao Ngo

Chad Whitehead, host of About What You’d Expect, breaks down his top 10 songs of 2018:

2018 was a great year for music. Here are some of my favorite songs that I tried to rank against each other (something I’m not very good at). I hope you find something on this list that you like! My bias is toward upbeat songs and I’ll admit, I don’t listen to lyrics that much. - Chad

10. Mt. Joy - "Silver Lining"

Buzz band alert! Mt. Joy spent 2018 climbing the Americana music ladder and are poised for a big 2019. "Silver Lining" builds on itself and gives me the impression that the band can really blow this song up when performing it live. I plan on finding out for myself on March 9th when they play the main room at Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City.


9. Now, Now - "MJ"

Dance-y and upbeat, put this on and the floors practically sweep themselves.


8. American Aquarium - "Tough Folks"

American Aquarium frontman, B.J. Barham, the “Springsteen of the South,” showed up big with Things Change, his eighth studio album. What East of Eden is to Steinbeck, "Tough Folks" is to American Aquarium.


7. John Calvin Abney - "Always Enough"

This is the sweetest song of 2018. It’s the coda to a long, hard day and a reminder that there is still care in a harsh world.


6. Leon Bridges - "If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be)"

Leon’s 2018 album, Good Thing, was a departure for him, but it felt natural and was a hit with audiences. "If It Feels Good" proves that a good groove can get anyone dancing.


5. Boniface - "Dear Megan"

This tiny band from Winnipeg worked their way into my ears early in 2018. They asked to play Tower on their way to SXSW and I said no. They asked again, reminding me that the Canadian government was paying their way to Austin and back (imagine that, local artists!). I took a chance and was blown away. They’ll likely tour Europe more than here, but their bubble gum, modern emo style is just fine by me.


4. The Wombats - "Lemon to a Knife Fight"

If you’re listening to any of these songs, you can quickly tell that I’m a big fan of upbeat and catchy. "Lemon to a Knife Fight" isn’t the most serious lyrics of the year, but who cares when your hooks are this good.


3. Mitski - "Nobody"

Mitski Miyawaki is the heir-apparent to St. Vincent and her 2018 album, Be The Cowboy, takes the listener on the same type of sonic journey you expect from a St. Vincent or Phantogram album. If you’re into vinyl, this one is a must.


2. Phosphorescent - "New Birth in New England"

I’ve never been a massive Matthew Houck fan, but his newest album, C’est La Vie, is incredible. "New Birth in New England" is a rambling and ultimately meaningless song that feels like it’s about more than just another beer.


1. Allen Stone - "Taste of You"

Give it one listen and you'll be hooked. Allen’s light-hearted songwriting feels natural and is in the pocket, just like his band.


Other great songs that I loved in 2018:

  • Rayland Baxter - "Casanova"
  • Kurt Vile - "Yeah Bones"
  • River Whyless - "Born in the Right Country"
  • Jim James - "Just a Fool"
  • Shakey Graves - "Mansion Door"
  • The Moondoggies - "Cinders"
  • Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever - "Talking Straight"
  • Jade Bird - "Uh Huh"
  • Yoke Lore - "Fake You"
  • Rotsam - "In A River"
  • Sports - "Cadillac"
  • BRONCHO - "Sandman"
  • Spiritualized - "Here It Comes (The Road, Let’s Go)"
  • Rubblebucket - "Lemonade"
  • Low Cut Connie - "Beverly"
  • Slothrust - "Double Down"
  • Courtney Barnett - "Charity"
  • Murder by Death - "True Dark"
  • Greyhounds - "No Other Woman"
  • Charley Crockett - "Lil' Girls Name"
  • White Denim - "It Might Get Dark"

Tune in to About What You’d Expect on Saturdays at 9 p.m.

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