NPR Best Music of 2018

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During a turbulent year rife with personal and political trauma, the most memorable songs pulled no punches in the pursuit of pop. They also arrived from all directions: emerging from longtime partnerships and unlikely collaborations, from fertile local scenes and solitary experiments. In the case of many — including our No. 1 song — they were actually videos, tethered to images we've been unable to shake since. These are the 100 best songs of 2018, as selected by the staff of NPR Music and our partner stations. You can listen to the songs here, check out the 50 best albums of the year or hear All Songs Considered's podcast discussion of the year in music.

82. Ruston Kelly “Faceplant”

The most potent of the many self-conscious self-owns on this rehabilitated hellraiser's debut album, partly because it's the funniest, but also because Kelly pulls off a classic songwriter's trick of making the verse catchier than the (plenty catchy) chorus. That gives "Faceplant" a tumble-and-swoon momentum to match lines like "Feel like I'm gonna fall down / But I was born and raised in an earthquake state / so I'm better on shaky ground." Any song that starts with a weeklong pill-binge blackout could make the "give me one more chance" act hard to swallow, but Kelly drapes his confessions in the kind of slouchy charm that makes it easy to believe he'd get away with it. Probably more than once. —Jacob Ganz

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Jesse Atwell