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.
27. Andrew W.K. – “Music Is Worth Living For”
On his first album in nearly a decade, Andrew W.K. reminds us that life is a wondrous marvel to behold, even when it’s befouled constantly by horrific, soul-crushing news. Like much of W.K.’s work, the standout “Music Is Worth Living For” rapturously rejects what he sees as toxic cynicism, pleading with listeners to soldier on with an open heart and never back down. It’s an almost comically over-the-top anthem, to be sure, but not at all ironic. The world has never needed Andrew W.K. more. —Robin Hilton