2018 was an interesting year for new music. Some “can’t miss” artists released new music that had little to no impact (Eminem and Justin Timberlake most notably) while brand new artists like Camila Cabello and Sheck Wes came along and rocked our dance floors. So here’s my recap of the best songs of 2018 with a caveat that when I say “best songs” I mean for events. I had plenty of personal favorites this year (like David Byrne’s “Everybody’s Coming to My House” and just about everything off Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer album) that didn’t make this list. But here’s what had my dance floors rocking (or swaying) in 2018.
Finesse – Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B Probably my most used “new song” of 2018 (I put new song in quotes because I’m aware that Mars originally released the song on his 2016 album 24K Magic but it was the single released with Cardi B added in that blew this song up). I love the New Jack Swing vibe of this song and it’s been an awesome addition to my party playlist all year. Plus I don’t see its popularity fading.
One Kiss – Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa Calvin Harris knows how to create a hit song and One Kiss is a great example. Catchy and upbeat, it was one of the best new dance songs of 2018
In My Feelings – Drake The song and video that started the Kiki Challenge craze. I dropped this often in 2018.
I Like It – Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin. The origin of this song goes back over 50 years to Pete Rodriguez’ “I Like It Like That.” I often used The Blackout All-Stars’ 1994 version of that song so when I first heard Cardi B’s take on it I knew it was going to be a hit. This one rocked many a dance floor for me in 2018.
Mo Bamba – Sheck Wes. A perfect example of a song going viral. Wes released this track in June 0f 2017 and no one picked up on it. He put out a video in January of this year and still no one cared. Then all of a sudden in the last few months it has BLOWN UP. We have an edited version (of course) and I don’t see this song having a long shelf life but for now, it’s a dance floor filler!
The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morrie and Grey. This is the quintessential song for the sound of 2018. Midtempo with a smoldering verse then a booming chorus. I used this often in 2018 and probably will continue into next year.
Girls Like You – Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B. You gotta give Maroon 5 credit. They’ve been around for over fifteen years and they are still relevant. And a lot of that is due to the fact that they partner with producers and artists who are red hot. This song is a perfect example and the combination led to many a packed dance floor for me this year.
Move to Miami – Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull. How could a song with these two Latin dance powerhouses not connect? It’s infectious and fun and I used it often in 2018 to bring the tempo up from a hip hop set
Azukita – Steve Aoki, Daddy Yankee, Play-N-Skillz, Elvis Crespo For years producers have been blending Latin rhythms with big room sounds. This is a perfect example and I used it often in my peak hour sets this year. I happen to love the energy in this song so I hope its popularity hangs on.
Tequila – Dan + Shay. Country music with a twist! This mid-tempo sing-along song has been a fun edition to my playlists this year.
Freaky Friday – Lil Dicky featuring Chris Brown. Kind of a throw back to the early days of hip-hop when most lyrics were comical and fun. Lil Dicky (a white rapper) imagines waking up in Chris Brown’s body. That fact that Brown was in on the joke and participated in the song only makes it better.
God’s Plan – Drake. 2018 was the Year of Drake and I while I only put two of his songs in this list I probably could have put 5 or 6. This song was #1 for 11 straight weeks this Spring and I used it often to kick off a dance set.
Meant to Be – Bebe Rexha featuring Floride Georgia Line A great mid-tempo song with awesome lyrics.
You Make It Easy – Jason Aldean. Country artists write the best ballads! Here’s another beautiful one.
Havana – Camilla Cabello. I know I know. This was released in 2017. And I was even playing it last year. But it really blew up in 2018 and was a mainstay in my party playlists all year.
Smile (Living My Best Life) – Lil Duval featuring Snoop Dog and Ball Greezy. “I’m living my best life!” I love this song which is maybe why I play it often in a new hip-hop set. But it goes over every time so it’s not just me. Much like Mo Bamba I use a radio friendly version!
Greatest Love Story – LANCO – See my comment for You Make It Easy
Happier – Marshmello and Bastille A great, upbeat pop dance song that just seems to make people, well, happier
Most People Are Good – Luke Bryan I’ve started dropping this song in during meals at my events. I just love the message in the lyrics
Have It All – Jason Mraz I’ve always loved Jason Mraz’ music, especially his mid-tempo stuff. This song is as good as anything he’s ever produced with some awesome life advice for the listener.
Jackie Chan – Tiesto & Dzeko featuring Preme and Post Malone. Love this version of the song as it’s more upbeat than the original. The chorus is fun and gets a lot of people singing along.