CREDIT: Ariana Grande/YouTube

These were the singles released in 2018 or that first became hits in 2018 that had the strongest impacts on me.

1. Ariana Grande – “No Tears Left to Cry” – Has any other singer besides Ariana Grande ever endured so many personal struggles so publicly and on such a massive scale? She still had a lot of heartbreak left to come after releasing “No Tears Left to Cry,” but luckily she was already equipped with and had gifted the world with a timeless anthem for how to insist on finding the joy amidst all life’s turmoil.
2. Dennis Lloyd – “Nevermind” – The ultimate kind of elastic groove to which you can chill out or dance ’til you drop.
3. Ella Mai – “Boo’d Up” – Ella Mai captured the language of infatuation in 2018, but the feelings are eternal.
4. Ariana Grande – “God is a Woman” – Oh, trust me, I believe. I was certain once I heard that first sexy guitar strum.
5. U.S. Girls – “Velvet 4 Sale” – This is the sort of rock music that makes me happy to currently be an adult human.
6. Beck – “Colors” – Is Beck the greatest dance artist of his era? “Colors” makes a strong case.
7. Janelle Monáe – “Pynk” – If we all had our own personal “Pynk” to announce to everyone who we are, the world would be a much better place.
8. Rüfüs Du Sol – “No Place” – I imagine that this is what it will sound like when I drift off this mortal coil.
9. Childish Gambino – “This Is America” – The musical equivalent of getting shot in the head and living to tell the tale.
10. Portugal. The Man – “Tidal Wave” – The force of extreme weather, but going down smooth and easy.
11. Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel” – Feeling good should sometimes feel like there’s a worm dancing in your brain.
12. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – “You Worry Me” – It’s good to know that some musicians are out here to make sure we’re safe and sound.
13. Elle King – “Shame” – It’s healthy to exorcise the lowdown dirtiest impulses of your humanity through song.
14. Paul McCartney – “Come on to Me” – I know I’d also like to remain this punny and lusty into my seventies.
15. Bob Moses – “Back Down” – An ideal soundtrack for making an unstable night feel just a little bit more stable.
16. Kendrick Lamar and SZA – “All the Stars” – The kind of song that assures you that all the spirits of your community are with you.
17. Max Frost – “Good Morning” – I’m happy to admit when I wake up in a day-conquering mood, and Max Frost has packaged that feeling.
18. Tyler, the Creator – “You’re a Mean One” – Maybe all kids movie theme songs should be crafted by pansexual oddballs.
19. Two Feet – “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” – When the sound cuts out right before the chorus, and then the guitar chimes in so nastily, I feel like I’m drowning, into the Sunken Place or something … and I like it.
20. The 1975 – “Love It If We Made It” – The desire to make it all the way through together really does often sound this urgent, doesn’t it?