The Top 10 Pop Songs You’ve Been Sleeping On This Year
These tracks might have flown under your radar in 2018, but we’re here to put things right
Nobody can say that pop culture has been boring this year. Ariana released the mother of all break-up anthems, Gaga FINALLY got another UK #1 single eight years after her last one, and Nicki vs. Cardi made the Oxford-Cambridge rivalry look trivial. 2018 has been pretty wild.
But still, there are some pop songs that just didnt get the love they deserved. So in an alternative universe where Survivor-era Destiny's Child would have solved Brexit in 30 seconds and Cher would be Commander-in-Chief, here's what the 10 biggest hits of the year would've looked like.
10. Madonna – "Beautiful Game"
Ok, this one's a little bit of a cheat because it's not actually been released yet. But talking about pop music without mentioning the Queen of Pop is like going to Cambridge and never matriculating. It just can't happen.
"Beautiful Game" was set to appear on Madonna's next album, but it didn't turn up on a possible leaked tracklist this month. We'll have to wait and see what happens when the record finally drops, but if this is all we'll ever get of the song, at least we've been blessed with this sickening mashup from the Met Gala back in May.
9. Paloma Faith – "Loyal"
Paloma's last album didn't quite live up to the standard of her first 3 releases, but a track like "Loyal" more than makes up for that. Taken from the re-release of 'The Architect', Paloma says this song is all about how motherhood fucked with her relationship.
The 7-minute video is beyond words. There's intense choreography, archery, and lots of body glitter. Oh, and Ms. Faith knows how to multitask: find another popstar who can manage to rock a crying baby to sleep AND keep swiping on Tinder. What an absolute queen.
8. St. Vincent – "Fast Slow Disco"
St. Vincent isn't the name you'd usually see crop up on a list like this. Then out of nowhere came this synth-pop rework of the broody, orchestral "Slow Disco" from 2017's 'MASSEDUCTION'. There's also a "Slow Slow Disco" now, but I digress. Anyway, this version is an insanely good pop song.
It's the sort of thing that happens when an old central college gets a May Ball makeover – it was already pretty nice to look at to begin with, but now it's become a nocturnal wonderland. And the video is just that. St. Vincent spends three minutes and fourteen glorious seconds getting her life on the dancefloor, in the midst of some hot, sweaty queer love. Great stuff.
7. Ava Max – "Sweet But Psycho"
There's a pattern in pop music. Britney arrived to save the world with "…Baby One More Time" in 1998. Gaga did it again in 2008 on "Just Dance". Is it the turn of Ava Max in 2018?
Let's not jump the gun here, but this girl is one to watch. Like the lovechild of Gaga, Ariana and Gwen Stefani, Ava looks every bit the popstar in the video for "Sweet But Psycho". It's a ridiculously catchy song that you won't be able to get out of your head (not that you'd want to). And she's got pipes. Just wait for the final chorus – you won't be disappointed.
6. Lily Allen – "Lost My Mind"
Let's get one thing straight. Lily's last album 'Sheezus' was not the hot mess everyone made it out to be. But there was something a bit off about songs like "Air Balloon". They just weren't very Lily Allen. So after the cold reception to that record and a tough few years for the "Fuck U" singer, we were waiting to see what her much-overdue comeback would bring.
Her latest full-length ticks all the boxes. 'No Shame' is banger after banger after banger, and "Lost My Mind" is no exception. It's a heartbreaking ode to her ex which gets super real about the fallout from a failed relationship. Oh, and Lily is literally dancing on the ceiling in the video. As you do.
5. Years & Years – "Hallelujah"
2018 gave the synth-pop trio another top-10 hit with "If You're Over Me", but this is the song that should be sitting on top of the charts. Olly Alexander is serving angelic vocals on this dancefloor anthem-in-waiting, yearning to spend the night with someone heaven-sent to get over his heartbreak.
Years & Years are hands down one of the most exciting and important acts the UK has produced this decade. Not only do they know how to turn out a bop or two, but they've earned a loyal legion of fans through their tireless activism and commitment to making the industry more inclusive than ever. Hallelujah indeed.
4. Lady Gaga – Hair Body Face
If we're being honest, the songs from 'A Star Is Born' could quite easily have filled every spot on this list. But just like "Before I Cry", "Hair Body Face" barely gets an airing in the movie. It's only when you listen to the soundtrack that you really get to appreciate this gem for what it is – pure pop perfection.
Gaga updates the R&B-infused dance-pop of 'The Fame' for 2018, and the result is iconic. With a beat made for vogueing and one of the campest hooks of the decade, this song is literally BEGGING to get played in Glitterbomb every Tuesday night.
Mother Monster has proved she can move us with her ballads, but she still knows how to make us move, too.
3. Kiesza feat. Philippe Sly – "Phantom of the Dancefloor"
After "Hideaway" back in 2014, the world seemed to forget that Kiesza existed. Thankfully she was back to remind us all how much she fucking slays with this incredible track. The collision of operatic vocals and thumping dance beats is exactly how you'd imagine 'The Phantom of the Opera' to be if it was put on in a Berlin nightclub.
If that wasn't enough, Kiesza absolutely SNAPS in the video. It's got dancing body parts, sickening lewks and so much high camp that it makes the Rocky Horror Show look boring. Andrew Lloyd Webber is well and truly shook.
2. Kylie Minogue – "Dancing"
While her country-tinged 'Golden' LP was Kylie's biggest-selling album in eight years (and frankly her best since 'Body Language'), the singles from the record failed to make much of a mark in today's streaming-dominated charts.
Lead single "Dancing" scraped into the Top 40, but it deserved so much better. Not only is it a total earworm (you'll be up line dancing before you know it), but the lyrics turn out to be way more poignant than you might expect. And can we talk about how good Ms. Minogue looks in the video? 🔥🔥🔥
If there was a Tompkins Table for Kylie singles, "Dancing" would be up there in the top five with Kings's or Peterhouse.
1. Troye Sivan – "Bloom"
Can somebody explain how Troye Sivan isn't the biggest artist in the world right now? Not only is he a supreme talent, the YouTuber-turned-singer is a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ+ community with one of the most aesthetically pleasing Instagrams of all time.
The title track from his latest album 'Bloom' is an unapologetic celebration of queer sexuality, with a video that contains enough inspiration for a whole year's worth of ArcSoc themes. And did we mention that it's also a total bop?
Who would have thought that a song about bottoming would end up on top of this list? 🍑
Honourable mentions: Áine Cahill – "Water Into Wine", Christine and the Queens feat. Dâm-Funk – "Girlfriend", Robyn – "Ever Again", Zara Larsson – "Ruin My Life"
If you disagree, leave your (questionable) opinions in the comments below x