I spent most of 2018 listening to Brandi Carlile, so this list will include many of her songs. Some tracks below were released prior to 2018—some way prior—but captured my ears or imagination for one reason or another this past year. I heard some in coffee shops, some from YouTube binges on sleepless mornings, some on the radio, and some from streaming stations. I hope you like the list, or in the very least, discover a new song/artist or rediscover an old favorite.
In no particular order, here are the songs I listened to the most for the past twelve months.
From the Album of the Year, By The Way, I Forgive You, I first heard “The Joke” listening to Radio Woodstock on a cold Hudson Valley February morning, still in my PJs and in front of my friend Mark’s fireplace.
No Hard Feelings
From True Sadness (released in 2016), “No Hard Feelings” landed in heavy rotation after Danny and I attended an Avett Brothers concert in July, a gift for my 50th birthday and our 21st year together.
Don’t Blame New York
From Shut Up Shut Up, I first heard “Don’t Blame New York” performed live at Joe’s Pub in January.
I’ll Keep You Safe
Originally released in 2013, I discovered this song during an insomnia-fueled YouTube sidebar listening binge. Love this song despite not sleeping at last.
I wept when Bruce performed “The Wish” in Springsteen on Broadway.
A song for mothers and fathers. I could totally relate.
Released in 2016, I first heard “Homecoming” playing in someone’s Instagram story, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
My Mind is For Sale
Released in 2017, I first heard “My Mind Is For Sale” on Radio Woodstock while upstate.
A barista at Joe Coffee in Chelsea got me hooked on caffeine and Kacey Musgraves.
All Your Favorite Bands
Released in 2017, “All Your Favorite Bands” is another song I first heard on Radio Woodstock.
Every Time I Hear That Song
This song also made President Obama’s list of favorite songs for 2018.
Willie covering Sinatra, what’s not to love?
÷ (Divide) was an album that kept giving in 2018.
Out of Time
As the title suggests, this song is out of time—and from 1966, it’s way out of time—but it captured my imagination in 2018 and I couldn’t stop listening to it.
The Very First Snow
Another song first heard upstate on Radio Woodstock while it snowed outside.
Hold Out Your Hand
Brandi again. An anthem for the March for Our Lives gun reform movement.
Only To Be With You
The only silver lining to waking up in the middle of the night/early morning and not being able to fall back asleep is discovering new music. So glad this song found me.
Everyone’s In Love With You
Released in 2001, I heard this song in Joe Coffee in Chelsea, then added it to my “In Rotation” playlist.
I can’t remember when I first heard “Los Ageless,” but I probably Shazammed it in a coffee shop or store, and the rest is history.
A Change of Heart
Released in 2016, I first heard “A Change of Heart” on ALT 92.3 FM in the car.
Everybody Wants To Be Famous
A Shazammed favorite that I started to hear in more and more places.
The Middle Ages
Mary’s 2016 album The Things That We Are Made Of is a gift that keeps on giving. Also, turning 50 in June helped keep this song in rotation.
Released in 2016, “Better Place” really captured my imagination when I used it in an off-to-college video I made for my son.
Party of One
A stunningly beautiful song and video. See my post about it.
Shut Up Shut Up
Can we get some peace and quiet, please?
Ed Sheeran (with Andrea Bocelli)
Because Perfect wasn’t perfect enough, Ed Sheehan recorded a version with Andrea Bocelli. Also check out the sublime duet version with Beyonce.
I Love You Will Still Sound The Same
A song from 2014 that I heard while on a YouTube sidebar binge at 3am.
Let’s Be Still
Another YouTube sidebar find. From 2013, but in heavy rotation in 2018.
In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company
Song released in 2014. Video in 2017. My ears in 2018. My husband is a spontaneous whistler and I’m trying to add this to his repertoire.
One More Light
Poignant and emotional, this song always stopped me in my tracks.
One word: Yaaaaaasssssssss!
I seemed to miss so many good songs in 2016. Here’s another I only discovered in 2018.
After seeing Brandi Carlile perform “Cannonball” at the Beacon Theatre without a mic or amps, I revisited this Indigo Girls’ cover from 2017.
Something Tamed Something Wild
From 2016, this is one of those songs that endures (because you’ve put it on so many playlists) and gets better with time.
Someone To You
First heard at Think Coffee in the LGBT Center.
I Miss Those Days
First heard in the car listening to ALT 92.3 FM.
I Am The Fly
A 1978 song makes it into rotation 40 years later. I first heard this song at Think Coffee in the LGBT Center. Wham! Bam! Shazam! and I listened to it all year.
Another sleepless find.
Most of All
Guess who? I haven’t listened to one album this much in years. It’s really that good.
Late For The Sky
From the 2014 Jackson Browne tribute album, Joan Osborne’s cover of “Late For The Sky” has stayed in heavy rotation. Several close friends in long-term relationships broke up in 2018, and this rendition brings me to tears every time I hear it.