The year is 2018. Boston’s teeming with some real catchy hits. And we all know there’s no way you would have conceivably come with such brilliance. But these local artists could and they did. Here are 10 songs you didn’t write in 2018, (but thank god someone did.)
Crow Kid – “Superpower”
Combining the haziness of dreamy bedroom pop with the raw power of ‘90s alt-rock, Crow Kid steeps “Superpower” in an adequate bath of angst and hooks. “Superpower” originally was performed live as a stripped down acoustic number, aching with a certain sadness. In its 2018 recording, the track takes on new life with a full band’s worth of instrumentation. The chaos of the guitar layers in the chorus turns the acoustic sadness into an addictive anthem for existential dread—naturally making it a 2018 stand-out.
Sidney Gish – “Persephone”
Is it even a 2018 year ender without passionate (and well-deserved) praise for Sidney Gish? While any track from Gish’s No Dogs Allowed could have made the cut—because let’s face it, everyone wishes they could use a loop pedal as brilliantly as Gish—there’s something so starkly beautiful and poetic about “Persephone.” Seeping with sadness conveyed via mispronunciations and mis-accents, the track evokes tears and sighs of appreciation every time that opening beat begins ticking.
The Water Cycle – “$18 Shirt”
This track has been heard echoing from Allston basements for over a year now, but it’s making a triumphant debut on this year ender as a recorded track (from February’s The Water Cycle Falls in Love). Equivalent to your first slow dance at a middle school soiree, “$18 shirt” prevails as a charmingly awkward scene staple and fan favorite. And any song that transforms the topic of heartbreak and thrifting into a pleasant and danceable number deserves a pat on the back.
Edge Petal Burn – “Emo”
Forget that this is a list of songs you wish you wrote in 2018, because Edge Petal Burn is the band you wish you were in this year. Constantly toeing the line between delicate elegance and pure poison, Edge Petal Burn churned out 10 pieces of true art—“Emo” being one of them—with their release of Glass Cannon. “Emo” is heartbreaking, but breathtaking: chaotic, but structured in such a sincere, deliberate way as to perfect every angle of the track.
Leopard Print Taser – “Close Enough” and “Things You Do”
Okay, so I’m doing a two-for-one here, because I personally wish I wrote both of these songs. (And this really shouldn’t be a surprise.) I mean have you heard those riffs? The thundering choruses? Singer Leila Bower alternating flawlessly between fierce growls and gentle croons? “Close Enough” taps into a well of ferocious energy, while “Things You Do” balances a twinge of melancholy with the power pop of your dreams—the back-to-back tracks form an undeniable and unstoppable duo of the year.
Tuxis Giant – “Almost Enough”
Tuxis Giant has an uncanny ability to meld what feels like tragedy with a greater, overarching beauty. This stands true in “Almost Enough,” in which Matt O’Connor’s vocals offer a warm comfort atop the uncertainty presented by the aggressive sorrow of the wall of distortion. “Almost Enough” undoubtedly is enough to pull at heartstrings and stick in your memory like your most haunting nostalgic moments.
Kissing Kontest – “GGG”
In the midst of Boston’s musical landscape denoted by crushing depression loosely disguised behind heavy power chords, Kissing Kontest dares to be sweet. A part of Kissing Kontest’s debut EP, “GGG” drips with sugary bubblegum pop elements, while nodding to the innocence of falling in love. The feel-good, tooth-ache-inducing track offers a refreshing change of pace. Besides, isn’t it just nice to smile and swoon every once in a while?
Cosmic Johnny – “Hell is a Basement”
While “Hell is a Basement” came out as a single last year, it made its full-album debut with Cosmic Johnny’s April release, Good Grief. The track features all the staples of a danceable indie pop tune—jangly guitar, clean-cut vocals, and witty, relatable lyricism—and yet it still avoids all the tropes of the genre by appearing fresh. You wish you wrote “Hell is a Basement” because you know you’ve been thinking it. Cosmic Johnny just had the guts and genius to vocalize it in a melodic guitar-pop anthem.
Bat House – “City Proper”
Atmospheric, but stark and innovative, Bat House hypnotizes with their signature ever-changing vibes, tempos, and patterns in “City Proper.” But you don’t get lost in the temporality of each segment of the song—Bat House guides you through every melodic twist and turn, so that you experience the whole song in its cohesive, exploratory glory.
You probably wish you wrote these, too:
Prior Panic – “Float”
Squitch – “Fruit Punch”
The Michael Character – “Toronto”
Puppy Problems – “Orange Juice”
Rene Chambers – “Girls From Nowhere”