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Happy Mag’s Top 100 Songs of 2018

Each and every year, the amount of jaw-dropping music we hear grows. Suitably, picking our Top 100 Songs of 2018 was one of our toughest lists ever.

From the first moments of January through to just last week, we heard songs that made us smile, cry, explode in anger and slump down in defeat. Every single musician in Australia and New Zealand deserves high praise for the last 12 months for playing their part in such a formidable scene, but alas, a list must be finalised.

Starting with the top ten, find our Top 100 Songs of 2018 below – and if Spotify’s your jam, check out a playlist with all the songs here.

10. The Ocean Party – What It’s Worth

For the past number of years, The Ocean Party have built themselves as one of the country’s best guitar-pop bands. On What It’s Worth, the second single from their latest full-length album The Oddfellows’ Hall, the six-piece glide through a concoction of summery slide lines and meditative vocal hooks to craft a homely slice of indie goodness.

The Ocean Party’s entire discography is blanketed in a sense of peacefulness. Even on a track that digs as deep as What It’s Worth, the band land on a gentle sense of resolve. Coming off a year as tumultuous as 2018, especially for the band themselves, these moments of tranquility are appreciated ever more.

9. Moaning Lisa – Carrie (I Want A Girl)

Moaning Lisa has had a phenomenal year, one that started way back in January when they turned millions of heads with Carrie (I Want A Girl). A declaration of sexuality realised through a sheen of pure grunge steeze, it would go on to appear on the band’s excellent Do You Know Enough? EP.

When it was premiered by Pilerats, Moaning Lisa called their song “something we all need after the shit show surrounding marriage equality this year”. Another 11 months down the line, we certainly haven’t forgotten.

8. Holiday Sidewinder – Leo

Following on from singles Tra$h Can Luv and Casino, Holiday Sidewinder’s Leo is an exuberant call for sexual empowerment. On the track, Sidewinder refines her brand of shimmering disco-pop to deliver the Tinder-age anthem we were all yearning for.

“I always write from experience and add a dose of fantasy. I was a hopeless and foolish romantic, frivolous cheater, and serial monogamist,” she says. “Every relationship was bumper to bumper. So I am now conclusively (and for the foreseeable future) a free and empowered sex-positive independent lover.”

And if you haven’t seen the video for this one, stop kidding yourself go watch it now! It’s probably the best of the year.

7. Carla Geneve – Greg’s Discount Chemist

Carla Geneve is one of the finest new songwriters to make her mark on Australia in 2018, having kicked off with Greg’s Discount Chemist. With little more than a single under her belt, Geneve was playing BIGSOUND and some of the country’s finest festivals.

“I wish that I could kill time, but time’s killing me”, she sings in a rambling Perth accent over a driving guitar rhythm. Greg’s Discount Chemist was the kind of debut single that stops you dead, and we’re damn sure she’ll have the same effect as she continues into 2019.

6. Avantdale Bowling Club – Years Gone By

Avantdale Bowling Club is the latest project from prolific Kiwi hip-hop artist Tom Scott, a man who’s made more than his share of noise over the last decade.

Debut single Years Gone By is a beautifully scripted and unrestricted autobiography, effectively the story so far for listeners only now catching onto his output. It plays over a wonderfully understated, jazzy backdrop, written by a confluence of New Zealand’s most talented musicians.

Scott’s flow is smooth as butter, the backing instrumentals are somehow even richer, and I didn’t even notice the track was seven minutes long on my first listen. This is nothing but net.

5. Parcels – Lightenup

Parcels’ self-titled debut album flows like melted caramel, and the second Lightenup kicks in is a perfectly executed moment of recording. As opening track Comedown climaxes, you’re teased into thinking a monumental crash will follow, but instead? One of 2018’s slinkiest riffs materialises.

This band has been on the upward bound since leaving relocating to Europe, linking up with Daft Punk, and beginning the press cycle of their would-be album. From afar we’ve been watching every move with glee, and frankly we can’t wait to have the Byron Bay lads back on our shores.

4. Mojo Juju – Native Tongue

Assertive and fierce, the title track from Mojo Juju’s third full-length album Native Tongue is an epic lament on cultural identity in Australia. Through the track, we travel with Juju as she navigates her Indigenous heritage, her father’s experience as a Filipino immigrant, and how her mixed cultural background informs her identity.

“I went through puberty when Pauline Hanson was a household name and came of age when the Howard government was in power,” she says of the song. “I couldn’t connect to my Anglo-Saxon heritage because I was constantly told I wasn’t white. Then I went to the Philippines and realised, I have no idea what it’s like to grow up in a developing nation. No matter what part of my identity I claimed, I wasn’t enough.”

On Native Tongue, Mojo Juju firmly established herself as one of Australia’s most important songwriters.

3. Mildlife – Phase II

First with their debut single and recently with Phase II, Mildlife have proved their proclivity for crafting extended, instrumental space odysseys which stretch beyond the normal bounds of imagination.

Phase II stands at over 11 minutes long, packing a flawless bassline, time-dilating shifts in tempo, and synth work borrowed from the outer reaches. Their live show is additionally bolstered by wild improvisation, and I’ll be the first to attest that every Mildlife set is something spectacular.

Whether this track bodes another extended release from Mildlife, we’re yet to find out. Here’s hoping.

2. I Know Leopard – Landmine

We waltzed into 2018 already fans of I Know Leopard. Add some silver face-paint, glittery costumes, and Jeff Lynne-style vocal hooks, and we were completely in love. The quartet have been kicking around the Sydney scene for a few years now, and in that time they’ve built a strong catalogue of dreamy pop gems.

Though on Landmine, the band ventured down a surreal alleyway that has resulted in one of our favourite tracks of the year.

Landmine is a melting pot of lush string arrangements, addictive melodies, and hypnotic vocal harmonies. Top it off with a bizarre, Matt Sav directed music video, and I Know Leopard have completely reinvented their collective identity. Here’s hoping 2019 brings more from this Sydney four-piece.

1. Emma Louise – Falling Apart

Lilac Everything was one of the most startling, bold, and unique statements of the year. Centred around a last minute decision to pitch down her vocals across the entire record, Emma Louise’s latest LP is more old-world crooner than the sky-high pop the world had come to love her for.

“It just felt so right”, Louise said ahead of the album’s release, “I didn’t even have to think about it. It made the album swell. It expanded. I think, creatively, I was able to do whatever I wanted.”

Falling Apart was the third single Louise released prior to Lilac Everything, a dramatic, desperate ballad. It proved her willingness to take the road less travelled with gusto, and served as the strongest point on her most inimitable album yet.

You can listen to Happy Mag’s Top 100 Songs of 2018 in the Spotify playlist above, and chuck it a follow here. Check out the full list of songs below:

1. Emma Louise – Falling Apart
2. I Know Leopard – Landmine
3. Mildlife – Phase II
4. Mojo Juju – Native Tongue
5. Parcels – Lightenup
6. Avantdale Bowling Club – Years Gone By
7. Carla Geneve – Greg’s Discount Chemist
8. Holiday Sidewinder – Leo
9. Moaning Lisa – Carrie (I Want A Girl)
10. The Ocean Party – What It’s Worth

11. Tropical Fuck Storm – You Let My Tyres Down
12. Sampa The Great – Energy
13. Annie Hamilton – Fade
14. Crocodylus – My Love
15. Baker Boy feat. Dallas Woods – Black Magic
16. The Beths – Future Me Hates Me
17. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Mainland
18. Ha The Unclear – Big City
19. Gabriella Cohen – Baby
20. Bloods – Feelings

21. A. Swayze & The Ghosts – Suddenly
22. Okin Osan – I Wanna Be That Girl
23. Baby Beef – Chicken Or The Goose
24. Peter Bibby – Work For Arseholes
25. Buzz Kull – The Garden
26. Jack Ladder – White Flag
27. FRITZ – Biggest Fool In The World
28. WAAX – Labrador
29. The Ruminaters – Boys Off Work
30. The Buoys – Arm Wrestle

31. DEN – Eclipse
32. Kwame – No Time
33. Hockey Dad – I Wanna Be Everybody
34. Julia Jacklin – Body
35. Cool Sounds – Cactus Country
36. Hatchie – Sugar & Spice
37. Bland – The Great Divide
38. Spike Vincent – Lie In The Dust
39. Crepes – Bicycle Man
40. Otis Thomas – Gina

41. DMA’s – In The Air
42. Tia Gostelow – Phone Me
43. Total Giovanni – Comes In Waves
44. Tkay Maidza – Flexin’
45. Georgia Mulligan – The Dark
46. Shogun and the Sheets – Hold On Kid
47. 100 – If I Give Myself
48. Rosa Maria – Howlin’
49. Courtney Barnett – Need A Little Time
50. Emerson Snowe – Sunlight

51. CLEWS – Museum
52. Ryan Downey – Running
53. Straight Arrows – Out And Down
54. Retiree – Pumice Stone
55. Tiny Ruins – How Much
56. Murray Darling – Leave Me This Way
57. ARSE/Party Dozen – Power Tripper
58. GUM – The Blue Marble
59. Modern Heaven – Midnight Cowboy
60. plantlife – we don’t speak much

61. Harvey Sutherland – Amethyst
62. Marlin’s Dreaming – I’ll Stick By You
63. Jack River – Limo Song
64. Leroy Francis – Intoxicated Dreams
65. Angie McMahon – Keeping Time
66. Stella Donnelly – Talking
67. Last Dinosaurs – Eleven
68. Georgia June – Pressure
69. Methyl Ethel – Scream Whole
70. Press Club – Suburbia

71. Donny Benet – Santorini
72. Oh Pep! – What’s the Deal with David?
73. Egoism – Sorry
74. Spacey Jane – Cold Feet
75. Amyl & The Sniffers – Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)
76. Raindrop – Bob Dylan’s 116th Dream
77. Buddy Dingo – Driving My Ute
78. Big White – How Did You Find Out
79. Body Type – Arrow
80. Candy – Hiding From The Sun

81. VOIID – Silly Girl
82. Baked Beans – Slow
83. Johnny Hunter – 1995
84. Bored Shorts – Figure 8
85. Merk – Hang
86. Alex The Astronaut – Waste of Time
87. Ruby Fields – Dinosaurs
88. Camp Cope – How To Socialise & Make Friends
89. Parsnip – Feeling Small
90. Pist Idiots – Smile

91. The Pinheads – Not Like You
92. Cash Savage & The Last Drinks – Pack Animals
93. Wafia – I’m Good
94. Jaala – Sames
95. Ainsley Farrell – Walls
96. No Mono – Tidal Fight
97. A.C. Freazy – Only One
98. Ultracrush – Swimming
99. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – Social Candy
100. Bec Sandridge – Animal

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December 11, 2018

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