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The ShortList guide to the 50 greatest songs of 2018

All killer, no filler

The ShortList guide to the 50 greatest songs of 2018

It’s that time of year again guys. Yes, when everyone has had enough of coming up with exciting new ideas and instead does end-of-year roundups for some lazy content.

But we here at ShortList would never deliver you lazy content, so believe us when we say that we furnish you with the top 50 songs of 2018 purely with your own cultural wellbeing in mind. Because someone out there has to make sense of the endless release of new music out there and we, with our fingers on the pulse and our ears constantly primed and ready to receive massive tunes, are best placed to do it.

THE RULES:

- We welcome a broad church: all genres welcome, all styles of song encouraged.

- We don’t care if the album was rubbish, if a tune’s a good tune, it’s a good tune. Besides, it’s 2018, what even is an album?*

- No more than one song per artist.**

- If you disagree make your own playlist.

Shall we begin? Yes, let’s.

*It’s a collection of songs designed to be listened to in its entirety in our to deliver a full and coherent artistic vision. Still, let’s be honest 9 times out of 10 there’s some tunes that bang more than others aren’t there?

**Look everyone features on everyone else’s songs these days don’t they so if they’re an ’&’, ‘ft’, or a ‘x’ then we might (have) make (made) an exception

CLICK ON THE SONG TITLE TO WATCH THE VIDEO, CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO A SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

50. Ilan Bluestone feat. Giuseppe De Luc - ‘Cosmic Feeling’

Ilan Bluestone makes trance music. The kind that, unless you’re a fan, sounds exactly the same song-to-song. Then, on his first artist album, this song appeared out of nowhere - an against-type ‘80s-styled retro-banger. Look, it’s cheesy and it’s got the same name as the first song you ever wrote when you were 13, but it sounds really good and fun and lovely, so shut up. SHUT UP ABOUT THAT SONG YOU WROTE WHEN YOU WERE 13!!!

49. Riton ft. Kah-Lo - ‘Ginger

Sometimes you just need a big, dumb, fun slice of stupid dance music, and ‘Ginger’ fits the bill to a tee. Of course, Riton is a legendarily excellent producer and Nigerian singer-songwriter Kah-Lo is a brilliant, distinctive vocalist so this, their third collab after 2016’s amazing ‘Rinse & Repeat’ and 2017’s ‘Money’ lifts itself far above actually dumb dance music to become… smart? We’ve confused ourselves here but just rest assured: it’s a banger.

48. Carly Rae Jepsen - ‘Party For One’

She took the top spot in last year’s top 50 with the incredible ‘Cut to the Feeling’ but this time the Canadian goddess sneaks into our top-rated with comeback song ‘Party For One’. It might not be quite up to the level of 2017’s winner, but, as ever, Jeppo does exactly what she’s good at: churning out a huge pop song awash with massive hooks, some mighty ‘HEY’s, a half-time breakdown, in and out in just over 3 minutes. You cannot argue with it. Literally, because it’s a song, not a sentient being.

Carly hits the beers hard after learning she’s scooped the coveted number 48 spot

47. Johnny Marr - ‘The Tracers’

God bless Johnny Fuckin’ Marr, who continues to go from strength-to-strength with the release of his third solo album Call The Comet. He’s never sounded more confident as a vocalist but this track is all about the dense, relentless, scuzzy backing that blasts away throughout. Of course, this being Johnny Marr, there’s no way the song could end without a joyously jangling guitar riff that enters proceedings about two minutes in. Hypnotic, and very, very excellent.

46. Friendly Fires - ‘Love Like Waves’

We’ll be honest, when 2018 began, two things we were not expecting were 1) a Friendly Fires single and 2) a new Friendly Fires single which would be any good. Nonetheless, their first track after a six year absence was an absolute joy, even if the keyboard solo in the middle sounded a bit like a kid who’d just got a brand new Casio for Christmas.

45. Ariana Grande - ‘breathin’

Ariana dominated headlines throughout the year, with fourth album Sweetener, the follow-up to 2016’s all-conquering Dangerous Woman, being rapturously received by critics and fans alike, before she instantly followed it up with ‘thank u, next’, which, at the time of writing, continues to dominate the charts. However, our pick of the lot was ‘breathin’, the most muscular track she did and a bona fide pop gem, complete with a dash of guitar shredding.

SUBS CAN YOU SORT THIS PICTURE OUT IT’S THE WRONG WAY ROUND ETC

44. Chad Valley - ‘10 Minutes

Chad Valley had finished his third album - well done him - but then, because the world is cruel, he lost it all. So instead of trying to do it all over again, he made a brand new one, and the resulting LP was Imaginary Music. The best song on the album is the sublime ‘10 Minutes’, which is just about one of his best songs, period, now we think about it. Hard to describe his particular type of music, but then again, when it makes you feel this good, there’s not really any point in being arsed to try.

43. Maribou State - ‘Turnmills’

Taken from the British electronic duo’s second album Kingdoms in Colour, released on the faultless Ninja Tune’s Counter Records imprint, this insistent, otherworldly groove has been a constant earworm since its release in May. Sampling the Kashmere Stage Band, a cult ‘70s school band from Houston, Texas, and adding a light breakbeat and funky bassline, you’ll be searching for the repeat button straight away (well, you would if you weren’t guaranteed another FORTY TWO BANGERS on the rest of our playlist).

42. Tom DeMac & Real Lies - ‘White Flowers’

If you ever wondered what song Mike Skinner’s ‘Weak Become Heroes’ character would have put on the stereo when he got back home from that epic night out, then wonder no more. This glorious, woozy track, a collaboration between the London band and Brit producer Tom DeMac is practically built for the wee small hours, straddling the line between epic, uplifting beauty and quiet, reflective sadness. A true emotional journey.

41. Shed Seven - ‘Waiting for the Catch’

It really cannot be overstated what an unexpected joy Shed Seven’s 2017 comeback album Instant Pleasures was. A band who hadn’t been in the studio for 16 years had no right to return with such a focused, well-written record which managed to somehow sound contemporary and classic at the same time. But even that didn’t prepare us for this track, released as a bonus song on the deluxe edition of the album this year which we can only imagine was left off the original by mistake. A beautifully understated, hypnotic track featuring dreamy boy/girl vocals, it was reminiscent of the finest moments of The Stone Roses as well as The Temper Trap’s ‘Sweet Disposition’. (It’s also worth checking out ‘Flashbacks’, which could easily pass for a long-lost Verve track).

SUBS YES VERY FUNNY BUT THERE’S ACTUALLY ONLY SIX SHEDS HERE SO IT DOESN’T EVEN WORK

40. Chelsea Jade - ‘Laugh It Off

Just one of those pop songs that somehow, in 2018, sounds different. Can you actually imagine that? A song that doesn’t have that annoying Major Lazer/MO ‘Lean On’ vocal effect that every single fucking song STILL inexplicably has even though that song came out over three years ago! Anyway, ‘Laugh It Off’ doesn’t have it, and instead has some other sounds - sounds that sound a little new, and good, and interesting. To be honest, this would still be a good song even if it did have that dumb vocal effect on it, but it doesn’t, and that means it’s as least 27% better. Brilliant.

39. Subshine - ‘Your Love’

Norwegian singer Ole Gunnar Gundersen was once one third of Lorraine, the greatest pop band you’ve never heard of, who were sadly lost to the sands of major label mistakes and legal wrangling (don’t believe me? Listen to this). Now recording under the name of Subshine, he quietly dropped this epic tune last month which features a truly euphoric key change up into the choruses and calls to mind the best moments of Ultravox and Depeche Mode. Lots more of this in 2019 please.

38. Cardi B ft Bad Bunny & J Balvin - ‘I Like It’

Cardi B is an absolute boss and of that there can now be no doubt. After last year’s all-conquering ‘Bodak Yellow’, this track became her second US number one, and for good reason: it’s a total riot, and was arguably the song of the summer, in the absence of any of the usual dancey contenders. Resistance is futile: bow down to Cardi.

“Who’s just landed number 36 in the ShortList greatest songs of the year 2018 list?”

37. Jessie Ware - ‘Overtime’

God it was so good to hear a track like this from Jessie Ware again. 2017’s third album Glasshouse was fine, but a little dull, as she went for the Sade easy listening assault on coffee tables everywhere, but this comeback track harked right back to her debut album Devotion and the cooler, clubbier end of her output. Calling to mind Shannon’s disco classic ‘Let The Music Play’ and Grace Jones’ ‘Pull Up To The Bumper’, this is totally irresistible.

36. Childish Gambino - ‘This is America’

Yes, there’s every chance that he nicked this wholesale from the little-known rapper Jase Harley, but even if he did, at least he had the sense to nick a great track. Music increasingly rarely disrupts and dominates the cultural discourse these days but the world seemed to stop when this song, with its shocking, incredible video, dropped. Everyone scrambled to uncover the hidden meanings and references in the accompanying visual, but it’s easy to forget how good the song itself is, and what a moment it is when that unsettling, squirming bassline drops after the choral intro. Dark, impassioned and thought-provoking: music at its finest.

35. The Midnight - ‘America 2’

If you haven’t guessed it by now we have ‘something of a soft spot’ for well-crafted synthpop, full of longing and nostalgia, and this track is almost a dictionary definition of it. ‘America 2’ sees the LA-based duo channel M83 and Bruce Springsteen, leading us on a journey through the mountains, pawning their guitars and driving all night. An instant retro classic.

34. Let’s Eat Grandma - ‘Hot Pink’

Two teenagers from Norwich whose name is designed to emphasise the importance of commas have spent the last few years quietly reinventing what pop can be. Second album I’m All Ears refined their brand of music which can range from jerky, dischordant and deliciously plastic, through to melodic, smooth and organic - often within the same song. ‘Hot Pink’, co-written and produced by the brilliant Sophie and Faris Badwan from The Horrors, shows off both sides, with its soft, delicate verses giving way to brittle, chanted choruses. It’s unsettling and brilliant in the very best way.

Grandma worryingly absent from this shot. Where has she been recently?

33. The Manor - ‘Out ‘Ere’

South London trio The Manor have been building a loyal fanbase for a few years now and 2019 could be the year that they break through into the mainstream. Giving off serious Streets vibes - appropriately enough they support them on their forthcoming tour next year - it’s impossible not to love a tune as infectious and energetic as ‘Out ‘Ere’ with its debauched tales of nights out, partying and general chaos. In fact, who fancies going out tonight? We’re game.

32. Neneh Cherry - ‘Kong’

Massive Attack are not exactly the world’s quickest workers (honestly, what do they do all day), so ‘Kong’, co-produced by the band’s 3D, along with Four Tet, and taken from Broken Politics, her first album in four years, was an unexpected delight. Cherry’s rich, gentle vocals fit perfectly over the dubby, atmospheric backing, just as they did back on ‘Hymn for the Big Wheel’ nearly a quarter of a century ago (Christ alive, is it really that long). A gorgeous, smoky track.

31. All Saints - ‘Love Lasts Forever’

Look, no one’s more surprised than us that a new All Saints track in the year of our Lord 2018 is in this list, but it is here because it was, scientifically, the 31st best track released in 2018. Taken from their fifth album Testament, which followed 2016’s Red Flag, it showed a band eschewing the lazy comeback trail consisting of trading on past glories (and what glories they were) and actually trying - and succeeding to make excellent, contemporary pop without resorting to chasing trends. Just a bloody good song frankly.

30. Troye Sivan - ‘Bloom’

There were a host of contenders from the Australian star’s second album, but we’ve gone for the title track which Sivan himself sums up perfectly, telling Popjustice that it is “complete pop. Like: ‘Katy Perry ‘Teenage Dream’ pop”, while also describing it as “the most subversively queer song on the album”. The production on it is absolutely exquisite, managing to sound huge and anthemic whilst retaining a sense that it’s always holding back slightly. Melodically brilliant, with a great vocal, this is just quality stuff.

“Security who is this woman”

29. Betablock3r - ‘Make You Happy’

We repeat: you may have noticed a lot of synth-pop on this list, and should this irk you slightly, then anything by Betablock3r should probably be on your swerve list. After a good couple of years away, then suddenly smashed back on ‘the scene’ (what scene, we do not know, just the scene) with this absolute stonker of a tune. If you’re looking to make any sort of comeback, regardless of what came before, this is the kind of song you need to be putting out there - just hefty, thumping, synthy goodness. It also comes complete with a cringe-inducing video, which somehow, somehow, makes the song even better. Fantastic stuff.

28. Olafur Arnolds - ‘re:member’

In these increasingly frantic times, sometimes you just need to stop for a second and breathe. And while you’re doing that, you should listen to this truly, truly gorgeous track by the acclaimed Icelander Olafur Arnolds, the title track from his fourth album, which gently builds and builds over the course of six minutes, slowly immersing you and soothing your frayed nerves. Truly transcendental stuff (though we don’t recommend holding your breath for the full six minutes).

27. Calvin Harris ft Dua Lipa - ‘One Kiss’

We summed this song up best in our legendary* Now 1 vs Now 100 face-off when, as the opening track of the landmark compilation, it was up against Now 1’s first track ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’. After praising Collins’ effort (obviously), we wrote: “Calvin and Dua pick themselves up, dust themselves off and brutalise Phil with a gut punch to the stomach that comes from making an undeniable summer banger that’s not even really a banger, more understated in that fantastic way Calvin does things these days as he distances himself from mindless EDM.” We’re sorry to have brought physical violence against a pensioner with mobility problems into the equation but music is a tough business so deal with it guys.

*”legendary”

One Kiss, Two Arrows

26. Lane 8 ft Fractures - ‘Clarify’

American producer Lane 8, aka Daniel Goldstein, released his second album Little By Little at the start of the year and, like absolutely everything he’s ever done, it was full of tracks of absolute, pure quality. Chief among them was this track, featuring vocals from Fractures (who won our best song of 2014 with the truly incredible ‘It’s Alright’), which gently bubbles away like a good spot of slow cooking. And, like a good beef stew, after consuming, you feel extremely satisfied and happy. Next week: how Ed Sheeran is like a tin of soup.

25. D Double E - ‘Live Tonight

For a man who has been around various scenes for longer than anyone actually knows (nobody can pinpoint exactly how old D Double E is, and it’s way more fun this way), he only released his first solo album this year. And after the wait, was it worth it? COURSE IT WAS YOU CLOWN. It was brilliant, and this Christine and the Queens-sampling slow-banger is the stand-out. Unusual production, D Double’s unmistakable vocals, at least one budabupbup - all the ingredients for the perfect song, really.

24. George FitzGerald & Lil Silva - ‘Roll Back’

The whole of FitzGerald’s second album All That Must Be is utterly stunning, but this one is the high point of a veritable mountain range of peaks (although they also, necessarily, have troughs, whereas this album doesn’t, so perhaps the metaphor does not stand up to any close scrutiny, which is a shame frankly). Dark, brooding, uplifting, life-affirming: all terms which can be applied to this track. What about a really high lake? Does that work better? Yes. ‘Roll Back is the Lake Titicaca of electronic music’: you can have that one for your press release guys.

George was not overly impressed with his new conservatory

23. Allie X - ‘Science’

Allie X has all the hallmarks of a massive popstar, but as it stands, she’s never quite reached the heights of other destined-to-be-massive artists like Dua Lipa. But maybe that’s a good thing, maybe that makes her cooler? Allie X makes absolute stone-cold honkers, like this whomping, heavy slow-banger, complete with excellent use of everyone’s favourite synth, the very lovely Yamaha DX7. You know what I said about her being cool? Listen to this song and try to deny the fact that it is exactly that in almost every possible way. So good.

22. Sad Boys Club - ‘15/01’

London quintet Sad Boys Club released a string of impressive tracks throughout 2018 but our pick of the bunch was ‘15/1’, a spiky, energetic indie blast with a helping of The Cure, a dash of The 1975 and a soupçon of Johnny Marr-style guitar work. And, as those three things are all very good things indeed, the result is, well, very good indeed. Expect to see much more of these guys in 2019.

21. Silk City ft. Dua Lipa - ‘Electricity’

Supergroups usually disappoint but not in the case of this collab between Silk City - aka producers Mark Ronson and Diplo - and Dua Lipa, the hottest pop star on the planet right now. ‘Electricity’ is virtually a perfect pop song: every single bit of it is basically a chorus; there’s a massive groove throughout; rave pianos are present and correct and Lipa’s vocal is absolutely imperial. Why virtually? Well, if the idiots had released it at any point in the year before September it would have been the song of the summer. An unforgivable error guys.

20. Robyn - ‘Missing U’

Oh Robyn what a joy it is to have you back in our lives. The expectation for Honey, her first album in 8 years, was deafening, and almost anything she released was never going to live up to the hype bestowed upon it but, when the dust settles, there’s no doubt that it is a really great record. Yes, there was no song as good as ‘Dancing On My Own’ - how could there be? - but ‘Missing U’ and ‘Because it’s in the Music’ came bloody close. ‘Missing U’, in particular, had that same glorious sense of longing, and that classic Robyn just-behind-the-beat vocal delivery, as well as those bubbling synth arps, and was a hell of a comeback song. Don’t leave it so long next time, OK?

“What’s wrong with the American spelling of behavior? It’s MISSING U!” Robyn’s stand up routine needed work

19. The Aces - ‘Last One’

We are in love with The Aces and we are not afraid to admit it. The Utah quartet released their debut album When My Heart Felt Volcanic this year and it was a complete joy from start to finish, chock full of massive pop hooks, bright, breezy production and quality songwriting. We could have picked virtually any of the tracks from it, but we’ve gone with ‘Last One’, a slice of summer in 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Why they aren’t huge yet is absolutely beyond us, but at least we can say ‘we told you so’, when they eventually, inevitably, are.

18. Tom Walker - ‘Leave a Light On’

You can’t keep a good tune down, and Tom Walker proved that with his track ‘Leave a Light On’ becoming the sleeper hit of the year, gradually creeping up on us all before becoming inescapable by the year’s end. Co -written by Walker and pop genius Steve Mac, now you’ve heard it a million times it’s easy to overlook just how good a song it is; it’s simple, effective and hugely dynamic, with the chorus managing a neat trick of being both massive and restrained. Walker’s delivery is fantastic, not surprising, given the personal nature of the lyrics. In an interview he explained: “I wrote it about a friend of mine who was going through a bit of a tough time and just wanted to write something that would be a message to him and any other person going through a dark time that there’s always going to be someone there who will be that light for you when you need it most.” A sentiment we can all get behind.

Tom forgot to leave a light on again

17. DJ Koze - ‘Pick Up’

Yes, this is basically ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ for 2018 but ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ was released twenty bloody years ago so a new one is well overdue. Plus, ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ is still not on Spotify so this is doubly welcome.

16. Pale Waves - ‘The Tide’

Reader, we have to report that, having been excited about it all year, My Mind Makes Noises, the debut album from the Manchester quartet proved to be something of a crushing disappointment. With the shadow of The 1975 looming large over it (George Daniel and Matt Healy produced 2 tracks, while the band’s engineer Jonathan Gilmore did the rest), and on the strength of strong early singles (which admittedly, all sounded quite similar, but they’d surely express themselves more fully on an album), we were looking forward to a sleek and shiny ‘80s-influenced pop record. Unfortunately, it turned out that they only knew how to write one very good song and repeat it, over and over again, with diminishing returns, on every single song. Every track had the same sound and every single chorus contained the same four chords. However, that one song was very good, with the best version of it being ‘The Tide’ which - somehow - didn’t even end up on the album. A giant chorus, some absolutely cracking hi-hat work and the comforting feeling that you now don’t need to spend 50 minutes on the album because you’ve already heard every song.

15. Club Paradise - ‘Sugar’

Brand spanking new Newcastle quartet Club Paradise came out of the blocks impressively in June with the release of the muscular ‘Brother’, but on ‘Sugar’, which emerged in November, they thoroughly upped the ante. A thrilling three minute indie pop blast which managed to combine the best bits of Foals and Two Door Cinema Club; namely, inventive guitar work, a bouncy bassline, pop hooks all over the shop and a giant chorus. A truly massive tune from the Toon.

TOP 15? YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!

14. Chvrches - ‘Get Out’

’If you don’t like it, get out!’ is what you say to anyone who disagrees with the choice of this song at number 14 in the 2018 chart. A supremely excellent slice of big and bold electro that, quite simply, does not mess about. It was co-written and produced by hitmaker supreme Greg Kurstin and it shows, melding the Scottish act’s signature buzzy synth sound with hook after hook and not one, but two massive choruses, with the second one having the bonus of some beautifully weird harmonies that, somehow, totally work.

13. The Wombats ft. Dagny - ‘Turn’

This song, originally released on the band’s fifth excellent album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, narrowly missed the cut-off point for our 2017 selection but, thankfully, they released a new version of it with Norwegian singer Dagny guesting, enabling us to slot it neatly into 2018’s list. A slow-building, insistent track, it takes everything The Wombats do so well - catchy hooks, memorable lyrics and punkish energy - and turns the setting to ‘dark’. The final minute, as the intensity and the volume is turned up, is arguably the greatest moment of their career thus far.

The Wombats, pictured having a meeting with music industry executives

12. IDLES - ‘June’

Trying to pick a song from the truly brilliant Joy as an Act of Resistance, the second album from the Bristol punks, is truly a difficult task. It was the most vital release of the year, a thrilling ride that managed to combine anger, energy and love. The superb ‘Danny Nedelko’, espousing the virtues of immigration in a country that seems to have turned against it, would have been a fantastic choice but we have to select ‘June’, a devastating song about singer Joe Talbot’s daughter Agatha, who was born stillborn in June 2017. It has the most heartfelt, tender and brave lyrics juxtaposed with a brutally dark and oppressive backing, capturing the simultaneous love and pain of such a tragic event. Talbot said of the song in an interview: “I wrote this song for me. It’s the only song where I’ve ever written the lyrics first and will probably remain so. I struggled to see where it would fit on the album because it was so personal, but after hearing the riff Lee [Kiernan, guitarist] wrote, I realised that I did want to show my pain. I wanted to illuminate the importance of grieving parents’ right to call themselves mothers and fathers.” We should all be glad that he chose to do so.

11. Khalid ft. 6LACK, Ty Dolla $ign - ‘OTW’

Khalid was everywhere in 2018, popping up on a host of singles and soundtracks throughout the year. While sometimes his delivery can slip into being truly soporific (on ‘Better’ it sounds like he can barely be arsed to open his mouth), he nailed it on OTW, a gloriously slinky slice of R&B, full of plink-plonk-electro ear candy in the choruses. Bonus points for the throwback video, completely with synchronised clothes and handclaps.

10. Haerts - ‘Your Love’

God this is a brilliant song. Not only is it a brilliant song, it’s also got loads of fretless bass straight outta a Paul Young classic. A brilliant, broody verse gives way to a brilliant anthemic chorus, with brilliant anthemic lyrics that you can scream at the top of your lungs, then the drums kick in halfway through, then there’s a brilliant middle 8, then there’s a brilliant drumless chorus, with vocals that are ever-so-slightly off key but which totally work because they communicate that kind of yearning and anguish that mean you’re just giving over to the passion of the performance rather than trying to make it perfect, then there’s a ‘don’t wanna give it all’ bit that goes up, then it kicks back in but with extra background vocals, then there’s one of those brilliant extra choruses at the end (with the ‘I don’t know, I don’t know no/And now it’s falling down’ lyrics) and then it’s done. Brilliant.

9. Drake ft Michael Jackson - ‘Don’t Matter To Me’ (no link ‘cos Drake doesn’t ‘do YouTube’)

Scorpion was, frankly, an absolutely dull waste of an hour and a half (an hour and a half!) of my life, with the exception of ‘In My Feelings’ (just, and mainly because of watching people run into lampposts while doing those stupid videos) and ‘Don’t Matter To Me’ which, against all odds was utterly, utterly majestic. The finely-tooled production, courtesy of 40 and Nineteen85, is amazing, full of low-level percussion ear candy, Drake’s vocal actually sounds like he’s putting some effort and thought in, rather than using a vocal melody randomiser, and the Michael Jackson sample is haunting and otherwordly. It’s a truly fantastic track, although it says something when a Michael Jackson studio offcut is better than 99% of all music released in 2018.

8. Blossoms - ‘There’s a Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’

The Stockport quintet proved that their eponymous debut album was no fluke, by delivering a strident and focused followup in the shape of Cool Like You. Upping the synth factor, it clocked in at a breezy 37 minutes and was awash with melody and energy. Best of them all was this gently beautiful and melancholic track which, in another life, could easily have fitted onto Pet Shop Boys’ downbeat classic Behaviour. Tom Ogden’s fantastically pure delivery rings out on this, a classic tale of sadness and lost love; it’s a total gem.

Theresa May just out of shot

7. I Am Karate - ‘Expectations’

The pattern goes like this: find song you like, play song, play song again, play song again so many times that you no longer like song anymore. This is how it goes every single time. Except with ‘Expectations’ by I Am Karate, in which case, the pattern does absolutely not manifest in any way. You play it again and again and again on repeat, so much so that you think you might have a problem - like, you’re not listening to any other songs - and then… it never gets old. Ever. It never gets old. You can listen to it forever and it will never get old. Not many songs can lay claim to this fact. You have found the Holy Grail. Drink from it. Again and again.

6. Jon Hopkins - ‘Everything Connected

Singularity was, without doubt, one of the best albums of the year, and ‘Everything Connected’ was the standout track on it. An absolute hulking brutal beast of ear-batteringly epic electro, the low end when it first fully kicks in at 4:05 could wake the long dead (or at least rattle them around in their graves a bit). There is an edit of this that is under six minutes long but frankly if you don’t do the full ten minuter every single damn time, with the volume turned up to 11 and the bass bins rattling, then we can no longer be considered friends.

5. Chromeo - ‘Bedroom Calling Pt. 1’

Chromeo have always been unafraid to have fun with their music and their image and, sadly, this has sometimes seen the brilliance of their writing not given the respect it deserves. ‘Bedroom Calling Pt. 1’ is an absolutely unarguable rebuke to anyone who has got the wrong idea about the talent these guys possess: a delicate, tender ballad with a glorious melody, a chorus straight out of heaven and lush, yet grooving production. The only problem with this song? Should be at least three times as long. Get going on a 12” version ASAP please lads.

More knobs on that keyboard than at a West Ham game

4. We Are The Way For The Cosmos To Know Itself - ‘Don’t Bother’

Upon hearing Danish trio WATWFTCTKI’s music for the first time - about halfway through the year when they had just 5 songs up on Spotify - we proceeded to listen to nothing else for the next 48 hours. Then they dropped the Flashbacks EP and this song came on, and it completely floored us. This is utterly perfect, transcendental cosmic pop: the minimal-but-just-right drums; the palm-mute guitar gently giving the track momentum; the beautiful, pure vocals from Julie Christiansen and the woozy, dreamy synths expertly weaving in and out, and the crescendo of the epic final section. And the best bit? The three chords from 1:18 to 1:21, aka the most beautiful chord sequence in music. Put this on and just get lost in another world.

3. Years & Years - ‘If You’re Over Me’

Because we are an environmentally-conscious lot here at ShortList, we are very much in favour of recycling old material to use again. Therefore, let us refer to the Now 1 vs Now 100 master document again on which we wrote: “‘If You’re Over Me’ is one of those lovely songs that sneaks up on you - the first few times I heard it, I thought it was “fine”, then “good” and then slowly, slowly, it turned out that I absolutely loved it. Wonderfully restrained, boasting one of the most glorious pre-chorus melodies of recent times and then unleashing a genuinely moving chorus, this is pop at its absolute finest.” What a bloody great song this is.

Olly Alexander, pictured shortly before descending into the heavens

2. Kacey Musgraves - ‘Space Cowboy’

We’ve been fans of Kacey Musgraves for years, with her brilliant songwriting and ability to perfectly articulate universal emotions in a personal way evocative of Taylor Swift’s finest moments. Golden Hour, her third album (excluding her Christmas record), saw her at the peak of her powers, expanding her sonic palette away from straight country towards a more pop-influenced direction. However, the emotional fulcrum of the record was undoubtedly ‘Space Cowboy’, a heartbreaking beautiful straight-down-the-line country song full of rich, mournful melody, haunting pedal steel, one of the greatest key changes of all time, and incredible lyrics. Who could fail to be moved by the couplet: “I know my place, and it ain’t with you/Sunsets fade, and love does too”? We’ve all been there, we all know the pain of finally realising that something is over - and this song is like a friend putting their arm round you and saying ‘it’ll be alright’.

“Security who is this guy”

1. Rae Morris - ‘Dancing With Character’

What a truly stunning piece of music this song, the final track on Morris’ excellent second album Someone Out There, is. Delicate, dynamic production, Morris’ perfect, intimate vocals and a beautiful melody. And the lyrics? Well, the lyrics are just utterly beautiful - a heartbreaking story of a widower dancing alone with the memory of his former love. We’re not ashamed to say this has moved us to tears on more than one occasion, and stirring such emotion is what truly great art should do. Listen to this and enrich your life.

Rae cannot contain her euphoria at coming top of the most important list in music

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(Images: Getty/Press)