Best songs of Q1 2018: Jorja Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Camila Cabello and more…

We are just three months into 2018 and yet we’ve seen some incredible new song releases from both those already established in the world of pop and some newcomers too. There’s been some great songs, such as “IDGAF” and “Finesse” that were on 2017 albums and ruled the charts in 2018. However, for those purely new songs here’s the best 2018 has offered us in Q1 according to me.

Jorja Smith ft. Stormzy – Let Me Down

If you’ve read my previous blog posts on music before, you will have undoubtedly seen I’ve been a champion of Jorja Smith for some time. In 2018, she is finally beginning to fulfil her potential and destiny as the next big UK star. She was awarded with the Critics Choice Award at the 2018 Brit Awards – putting her amongst the likes of Adele, Florence + The Machine, Sam Smith and Rag’N’Bone Man. All of her predecessors have gone on to at least some decent level of success (Jack Garratt aside!) and so this is a promising endorsement of the rest of her year ahead. She released her first new song of the year “Let Me Down” featuring THE man of the moment, Stormzy, and the song did not disappoint. It’s a haunting, emotional and bittersweet ballad with Jorja really going to town on her vocals and Stormzy offering a great interlude in the middle of the song too. As ever, Jorja didn’t disappoint with a great video and she managed to get her biggest hit to date with this masterpiece. Whilst “Let Me Down” hasn’t take the world by storm and Jorja will be largely unknown to the public still, it has given us a taster of what’s to come. It feels very much like when Adele came out with “Hometown Glory” at the very start of her career. And look what happened after that…

Kendrick Lamar & SZA – All The Stars

I think my single favourite song of the year so far HAS to be “All The Stars” by Kendrick Lamar & SZA. I’ve been a fan of Kendrick, as is half of the country, for a couple of years now. For me, the Black Panther soundtrack has revealed his true genius. He has brought together so many different artists into one fantastically strong piece of art that is absolutely worthy of sitting alongside the film. I’ve never been a huge fan of SZA, I thought she was okay but never really saw a lot of the internet hype for her. However, she really kills it in this song. Her parts work so well with Kendrick’s and that hook with the instrumental is just so infectious. I think the chorus will probably be stuck in my head forever at this rate. The video is spectacular – it’s a real feast for the eyes and is probably my favourite of the year too! It really brings alive the theme of the Black Panther film and the underlying aims it was hoping to and successfully achieved. As a whole package, the song and video just work so incredibly well. But the song as a standalone is already a modern classic for me, it’s unrivalled in how euphoric it is! I find it hard to see either artist bettering this for me.

M.O, Lotto Boyzz & Mr Eazi – Bad Vibe

“Bad Vibe” is the epitome of the current sound of the UK music market. Mr Eazi has popped up on a huge array of hits this year and he helped M.O to make a return in 2018 following a line-up change. The reason I consider “Bad Vibe” to be amongst the songs of the year is that it doesn’t pretend to be ground breaking or revolutionary in any way but it’s a good fun song that is very hit ready! The chorus is so catchy and like “All The Stars” has been stuck in my head for weeks without any sign of going away (pun intended). Lotto Boyzz are a great addition to the song and elevate it. Without them, the song had the danger of becoming a bit too repetitive but they helped to mix it up and created a good banger. It may be trend chasing but it’s great to see M.O back with perhaps one of their best yet after “Who Do You Think Of?” remains one of the catchiest songs of 2016.

Khalid & Normani – Love Lies

Khalid was already one of my favourite new artists of 2017, as he suddenly exploding on to the scene from nowhere with huge anthems such as “Young, Dumb & Broke” and “Location” as well as huge features in the form of “Silence” and “1-800-273-8255”. For me, he really took it to the next level, releasing “Love Lies” in 2018 as the soundtrack song from the film Love, Simon. Whilst those previously mentioned have been far more instant, “Love Lies” is such a lovely and chill R&B mid-tempo. I actually think it could potentially be one of the best R&B mid-tempos for some time! It’s instantly recognisable as a Khalid thanks to his distinctive vocals and familiar chill R&B instrumental. If you’re a fan of Khalid, you will no doubt love this but like some of his features, I think this goes much further to appeal to more casual pop listeners as well. I think “Love Lies” could really bring him a new audience here! Whilst Khalid would have killed this song on his own, the addition of Normani is such a great touch. After this, it excites me to see what both Khalid and Normani have in store for us for the rest of 2018!

Camila Cabello – She Loves Control

Unless you’re a regular user of Spotify, you may not have heard this song yet. “She Loves Control” is a song from Camila Cabello’s self-titled album released in January and it’s another incredible song from her. Fans of “Havana” will enjoy this, as it’s very much in that vibe latin urban pop vibe but with some added reggaeton style instrumental from Skrillex. It really is a huge smash hit in the making and if this isn’t a huge hit it will be one of the biggest music shocks of the year. It’s a very powerful break up song that is masked in the very upbeat and happy production. It feels incredibly positive and fierce. This is very familiar territory for Camila and cements her as one of the most exciting pop forces in 2018. She has truly found her niche in “Havana” and “She Loves Control” acts to cement this in the same way Dua Lipa found hers with “New Rules” in 2017 and cemented this in 2018 with “IDGAF”.

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