Jake’s Take’s Best of 2018: The Top 20 Songs

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By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com  

It is hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close.  Throughout this year, countless songs have been released onto our favorite music streaming platforms and were uploaded onto YouTube.  For the first time, Jake’s Take compiled a Top 20 Songs list that includes original songs, collaborations, and covers.   Did your favorites make the cut? Read on to find out!

#20-Alexander Jean: “Waiting for You.

Friends of the blog, singer-songwriter duo Alexander Jean (husband and wife duo Mark Ballas and BC Jean), had a breakout hit thanks to the new single: “Waiting for You.” The song featured powerful guitar riffs, fantastic vocals, and excellent harmonies. Legendary radio icon and music influencer Elvis Duran named them his Artist of the Month for November. They also performed the song on Today.

#19-Christina Aguilera: “Twice.”

“Twice” was one of the most honest tracks on Christina Aguilera’s Liberation. The Kirby Lauryen-penned song showed the “Accelerate” singer-songwriter at her most vulnerable. Ms. Aguilera beautifully belted that she would not think twice about some of her past life experiences. “Twice” was also one of the highlights on her Liberation tour.

#18-Kylie Minogue: “Stop Me From Falling.

Kylie Minogue’s “Stop Me From Falling” was one song that found itself on multiple playlists this year. Ms. Minogue co-wrote Golden’s second single with producer Sky Adams, Steve McEwan, and Danny Shah. The track brilliantly blended country and pop music together. The international superstar also performed the track on various shows such as Good Morning America and The Graham Norton Show. Also, she sang the track to Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her 92nd birthday.

#17-Paul McCartney: “Caesar Rock.”

It was difficult to find a standout track from Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station because all of the tracks were good. However, “Caesar Rock” stood out to me due to the legendary songwriter ’s impeccable lyrics and Greg Kurstin’s superb production skills.

#16-Drake & Michael Jackson: “Don’t Matter to Me.”

Drake surprised his fans and the music industry when he incorporated Michael Jackson into his track: “Don’t Matter to Me.” Variety reported that the “God’s Plan” rapper sampled one of Jackson’s unreleased vocals on the album.  The CBC also confirmed that music legend Paul Anka permitted Drake to use it for this amazing track.

#15-Mariah Carey featuring Ty Dolla $ign: “The Distance.”

Mariah Carey delivered one of the best records of her career with Caution. One of the album’s true highlights was her collaboration with rapper Ty Dolla $ign. “The Distance” showcased the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” singer-songwriter at her finest, while it features superb production from Poo Bear and Skrillex.

#14-Clark Beckham: “James and Natalie.”

Earlier this year, friend to the blog, Clark Beckham, released a brand new EP! “James and Natalie” was one of the gems that the Groove Crew discovered on this record. This track showcased Clark’s impeccable songwriting, a mesmerizing medley, and superb vocal performance.

#13-Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey: “The Middle.”

One song that has been playing in restaurants and on the radio constantly throughout this year is “The Middle.” DJ-producer Zedd teamed up with Maren Morris and EDM duo Grey for this breakout track. “The Middle” peaked at number one on four U.S. Billboard charts, and the official music video was viewed over 65 million times.

#12-The Spencer Lee Band: “The Wolf.”

While the critics slammed Fifty Shades Freed as a film, it produced a superb soundtrack. One of the best songs on the album was The Spencer Lee Band’s “The Wolf.” Lee co-wrote this fantastic song with Freddy Wexler and Eric Valentine. Between its superb lyrics and energetic guitar riffs, “The Wolf” was a breakout hit and featured in a lot of workout mixes.

#11-Ella Mai & Chris Brown: “Whatchamacallit.”

R&B/Soul singer Ella Mai had a breakout 2018! In addition to releasing her self-titled debut album, she also dropped her duet with Chris Brown: “Whatchamacallit.”  The collaboration brought out the best in both artists, who co-wrote the DJ Mustard-produced song with Sam Hook. Hopefully, the duo collaborates more in the future.

#10-Celine Dion: “Ashes

One of the year’s biggest surprises was Celine Dion’s involvement with the Deadpool 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.  Deadpool 2 star Ryan Reynolds not only successfully recruited the “My Heart Will Go On” singer to join the project, but also convinced her to star in the track’s music video. As of publishing, the video has been viewed over 47 million times.

#9-Peter Hollens: “Come Alive

Friend to the blog, Peter Hollens, gave his signature A cappella twist to The Greatest Showman. “Come Alive” is one of the best tracks on The Greatest Showman-A Cappella because of the inclusion of the Hollensfamily.  The Hollensfamily assisted Peter with the backing vocals on this track and it showcased the group’s impeccable vocal muscles.

#8-Jordan Smith: “End in Love

Fans have been waiting to hear Jordan Smith sing an up-tempo song since he won The Voice in 2015. “End in Love” is a fan’s dream come true as EGOT legend in the making (and future The Voice coach) John Legend-penned this song for Jordan’s latest album, Only Love. From its impeccable lyrics to Jordan’s superb vocal performance, “End in Love” is an amazing song that will put a smile on many listeners’ faces.  

#7-Lenny Kravitz: “Here to Love

Lenny Kravitz penned a powerful anthem, “Here to Love,” for his eleventh studio album: Raise Vibration. The haunting track hopes to unite the polarized country together through song. Lyrically, it is one of the “Stand” musician’s best songs that he has ever written.

#6-Zac Brown Band: “From Now On

Zac Brown Band’s interpretation of “From Now On” from the tribute album The Greatest Showman-Reimagined is probably the best track on the record. They delivered a sensational Bluegrass twist to the Benj Pasek and Justin Paul-penned song.  The song’s lyric music video currently has over 762,000 total views.

#5-Pentatonix & Maren Morris: “When You Believe

It is hard to believe that Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston’s legendary “When You Believe” turned 20-years-old this year! Friends to the blog, Pentatonix, recruited rising country music star Maren Morris to record their interpretation of the track for their third-holiday album: Christmas is Here! Their A cappella rendition will not only give listeners chills, but they also made the song’s composers, Stephen Schwartz and Babyface, very proud.

#4-Bebe Rexha: “I’m a Mess

Bebe Rexha’s “I’m a Mess” became a go-to song for a lot of entertainment TV shows. Ms. Rexha performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Big Brother, America’s Got Talent, and at the Teen Choice Awards.  The “Meant to Be” singer-songwriter co-wrote the track with Justin Tranter and Jussifer, plus featured elements of Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch.”  “I’m a Mess” also peaked at number nine on the Billboard’s US Mainstream Top 40 charts.

#3-Kendrick Lamar & SZA: “All The Stars

Black Panther made a huge impact on the box office this year as it grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide! A major part of this success was the movie’s soundtrack. Rapper Kendrick Lamar recruited a plethora of R&B and hip-hop artists to the Kendrick Lamar executive produced album. “All The Stars” was one of the album’s crown jewels thanks to Kendrick’s smooth beats and SZA’s seductive vocals. In addition to topping three international music charts, the song’s music video won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects.

#2-Carrie Underwood & Ludacris: “The Champion

Carrie Underwood had an impeccable comeback year! The American Idol winner released her first pop and hip-hop anthem, “The Champion.” She teamed up with rapper Ludacris, producer Jim Jonsin, and co-songwriters Chris DeStefano and Brett James to deliver a new track that inspired both athletes and its listeners. While “The Champion” only peaked at number 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100, the song was part of both Super Bowl LII and the 2018 Winter Olympics campaigns.

#1-Justin Timberlake & Chris Stapleton: “Say Something

While Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods did not go over well with the critics, it produced the best song of 2018-“Say Something.” It was a collaboration between the “Suit & Tie” singer-songwriter and rising country music superstar Chris Stapleton. The duo co-penned with Timberlake’s regular collaborators Danja, Larrance Dopson, and Timbaland.  Together, they brilliantly blended country rock and R&B in a fantastic combination that peaked at number eight on Billboard’s US Adult Top 40 charts. The music video also amassed over 274 million views.

I do not own any of the clips that are sprinkled onto this album. They belong to the artists and their respective record labels.

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar