2018 was an incredible year for Top 40! There were some comebacks from familiar faces, songs that crossed multiple genres, and even some movie soundtrack songs that charted. Check out 10 of our favorite Top 40 singles from this year!
10. “Natural” by Imagine Dragons
It seems like Imagine Dragons constantly have a single out, and we’re not mad about it. They’ve released four singles from their 2017 Evolve album including “Believer,” “Thunder,” “Whatever It Takes,” and “Next to Me.” These were all played on Top 40 radio well into 2018, so when a new track titled “Natural” was released back in July, many were shocked that it was for a completely different album (that ultimately was released just last month). With its production and intense vocals from lead singer Dan Reynolds, “Natural” reminds us of their hit song “Radioactive” which will always be a fan favorite!
9. “Fall In Line” by Christina Aguilera feat. Demi Lovato
We’ve all been anxiously awaiting new music from Christina Aguilera for the last six years, and 2018 was the year our wish was granted! The second single from her Liberation album is a collaboration with Demi Lovato. “Fall In Line” is a girl power anthem, letting listeners know that they won’t take crap from anyone. Their vocals are so strong, and when the key change in the final chorus hits, you can’t help but think, “Yas queens!”
8. “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes has always been known for being a storyteller and isn’t shy to divulge his feelings in his lyrics. His 2018 hit “In My Blood” is no different. This is one of our favorite songs he’s ever recorded not only for his lyrics but for its catchy production. It begins with an acoustic riff, then a drum beat kicks in for the bridge, and during the chorus, you can’t help but belt out!
7. “High Horse” by Kacey Musgraves
If we had to name one musician who’s having the best year ever, Kacey Musgraves is your girl. Her album Golden Hour that came out earlier this year has received tons of positive reviews from critics. Before she knew it, Musgraves was gaining fans who previously would have never listened to country music. Her previous albums have been indie-country but Golden Hour is so much more than that; it has country, singer-songwriter, pop, and even disco influence, which is heard on the single “High Horse.” If you somehow missed this song, which Rolling Stone penned as its #15 song of 2018, we definitely recommend listening ASAP!
6. “Say Something” by Justin Timberlake feat. Chris Stapleton
Justin Timberlake was MIA from music for five years before releasing his Man of the Woods album earlier this year! Included on this album is a track called “Say Something,” which features country singer Chris Stapleton. The song blends pop, hip-hop, and a country riff to make an extremely catchy song with beautiful harmonies whose hook has definitely gotten stuck in your head at some point this year.
5. “Never Be The Same” by Camila Cabello
While initially being coined as just a former member of Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello has broken out of that shell to arguably become the member with the most successful solo career. While we love how catchy and fun her song “Havana” is, something about “Never Be The Same” makes us love Cabello even more. The song’s sound is nothing like what’s out right now, and don’t even get us started on her vocals! Not many people can sing in multiple octaves in one song, and she slays it. We can’t wait to hear more from Camila in 2019!
4. “no tears left to cry” by Ariana Grande
No matter where you looked in 2018, Ariana Grande was always making headlines, whether it was for her high-profile relationship with comedian Pete Davidson or for her highly anticipated album Sweetener. Its lead single “no tears left to cry” was the perfect segue into Grande’s new album; it keeps her pop/hip-hop/dance sound we all know but has a more mature vibe than her previous releases. The song is so good that we weren’t mad when we couldn’t escape it on the radio in 2018, and we secretly hope it keeps getting a ton of airplay next year, too!
3. “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
If you still haven’t seen A Star is Born, you need to drop everything you’re doing and go watch it right now! The movie truly has lived up to its hype and the soundtrack is largely to thank for that. Of course, Lady Gaga sounds incredible, as she has one of the best voices of our generation, but Bradley Cooper’s voice blew us away! We never knew he could sing so well, and now that we know this, we want him to sing in everything! The stand out track from the movie is a song called “Shallow” that starts off as a singer-songwriter song but finishes as a powerful rock ballad. Once you hear the song, we guarantee it will get stuck in your head. This type of song has been missing from Top 40 radio in recent years, and we’re so happy it’s getting the airplay it deserves!
2. “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey
Let’s be honest, even though “The Middle” is technically by three artists, Maren Morris MAKES the song. We all knew Maren from country hits like “My Church” and “80s Mercedes,” but we were so happy when it was announced she was getting added to Top 40 radio. The demo for “The Middle” had been recorded by 11 other artists including Charli XCX, Elle King, Demi Lovato, Tove Lo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bishop Briggs, Camila Cabello, Anne-Marie, Daya, Bebe Rexha, and Lauren Jauregui! Morris was the perfect fit for “The Middle” as her voice is so eclectic. There’s no denying that the beat is insanely catchy, and if “The Middle” doesn’t win Record of the Year or Song of the Year at the Grammys, then something is seriously wrong.
1. “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer
In the past, we knew who 5 Seconds of Summer was and, maybe admittedly, thought they were a One Direction knock-off group. But 2018 was the year that thought was completely changed for us! While lead singer Luke Hemming’s voice still sounds similar to Harry Styles’ (sorry!), “Youngblood” is something we never would have expected from either group. The drumbeat on the chorus is one of the catchiest things we’ve heard, and you can’t help but rock out! “Youngblood” is the perfect mix of pop and rock that we needed in a year where rock seemed to lag on the Top 40 charts. This is a song that transformed 5SOS from a boy band to a band who we’d love to see on alt-rock charts in the future.
Featured image: Interscope Records