The Best Songs of 2018: Reviews by 8th grade guest-writers on their favorite songs of the year

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Familiar” from Steven Universe

review by Drew Whitford

“Familiar” from the Cartoon Network show Steven Universe is potentially the greatest song from the show’s 5-year run.  The song follows the main character, Steven, while he goes through changes to appeal to the Diamonds and have him live up to their expectations. As he sings the powerful lyrics that are very emotional to the viewer. He sings about how everything felt way too familiar to him as he goes under many changes to his carefree lifestyle. This song was a very dark turn to the show’s bubbly personality.  Since the main theme of the song is changing yourself to live up the expectations of others. “Familiar has amazing values in the background instruments. The most powerful one has to be the bass drum that is very prominent in the power of the song. The song has an the reputation of a rebel compared to the other popular songs, such as Let’s Just Think About Love.  In conclusion, “Familiar” is clearly a diamond within the show’s playlist.


Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

review by Emma Rempe

The late 70’s was an iconic generation filled with amazing music. Now all I have to do is pop in my earbuds and listen. Maybe that’s why older generations are so fond of Queen and other rock bands. “Don’t Stop Me Now” has a timeless beat and follow that can make anyone move. Queen has such a unique follow than other rock bands that stand out to other rock bands.

Queen’s music is so powerful and can move people. “Don’t stop me now” is the type of song that makes you want to dance. It can make different generations sing along and dance. Which is unique compared to songs made today. The vocals in the song are very unique along with the lyrics. Which is why it is still listened to today. How can a song that was popular in the 70s still be listened to? Well, I wasn’t even born when it was created but since I discovered Queen’s complexity. Which is different from any other songs I have listened to.


My Boy” by Billie Eilish

review by Fiona Clements

Typically, Billie Eilish has a gloomy tone to her voice in most of her songs, making the songs more chill and calm. I usually listen to Billie Eilish when I need to de-stress or calm down. Many of Billie’s calmer songs are slower as well, which gives you time to think about her lyrics, what they mean and why she placed them in the song. On the other hand, her song “My Boy” is a much faster and slightly upbeat song. Although the song has a faster beat, the song still gives me time to listen to every lyric and really think about it.

“My Boy is much different from all of Billie’s other songs. I feel that most of her songs get in your feelings and really make you think about her lyrics and connecting them to your life and hers. Billie puts lots of messages and metaphors instead of saying what she means flat out. For example In the beginning of “My Boy”, Billie says “My boy loves his friends like I love my split ends” making you wonder why she compared such different things. She then finishes the lyric by saying “by that I mean, he cuts them off.”


Spongebob Theme Song by Tom Kenny

review by Gerasimos Kominos

The spongebob intro is no doubt one of the most catchy songs of the previous decade. When you hear this song you feel jumpy and it makes you want to watch an episode. When you hear spongebobs voice you know you are getting yourself into a wild roller coaster of emotions.

When you listen to the intro once it will get stuck in your head and although you might outgrow the show the theme song will always be legendary and will never be forgotten. The lyrics “who lives in a pineapple under the sea” informs you that spongebob is a very weird and humorous character. In the intro it also describes their everyday life and their living spaces.


“Another Day of Sun” from La La Land, performed by the cast of La La Land, written by Benj Pasek, Justin Hurwitz, and Justin Paul

review by Hannah Sawyer

It’s a rare instance in which I find a song that can sum up an breathtaking movie in just under four minutes, but for me “Another Day of Sun” does exactly that. The composers of this masterpiece have recently risen to fame for their work on the hit Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, which, just like La La Land, is a musical that perfectly captures the struggles of being human.

The colorful intricacy of the choreography and fashion depicted in the number is something that is yet to be matched. While the song is message to persevere until the next dawn, it also can take another position. In addition to the depiction of the cavalcade of color, it reminds us that sometimes it is mandatory to let our dreams take hold and imagine he vast amount of possibilities that await us. The song perfectly captures this in the line, ”A technicolor world made out of music and machine, it called me to be on that screen, and live inside each scene”. This line is a line that perfectly captures the human desire to live in a world of dreams.


idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish

review by Justine Liu

Seventeen year old artist Billie Eilish is wise beyond her years. There are meaningful stories and deep thoughts weaved into each of her songs. The best artists are the ones that can connect with the hearts of their fans simply through their lyrics, and this young singer is able to do just that. One example of this is her intricately written song, “idontwannabeyouanymore.”

This song was written based on the tough times Billie faced due to all the fame she received at a young age. Her unforgettable chorus, “If ‘I love you’ was a promise, would you break it, if you’re honest? Tell the mirror what you know she’s heard before. I don’t wanna be you anymore,” is heartbreaking and mesmerizing at the same time. This song displays the darkness many people often face, and it allows the listeners to connect to the lyrics on a deeper level. In addition, Billie’s angelic voice throughout this sad song creates a beautiful contrast that everyone can’t help but listen nonstop to. Unmistakably, this unbelievably talented singer/songwriter and her unforgettable lyrics make her song, “idontwannabeyouanymore”, one of the best works of art ever created.


Be Alright” by Dean Lewis

review by Kate Winter

The best songs are the ones that catch your attention because it feels as, if in some shape or form, the lyrics are speaking to you. Whether you know the lyrics or not, you immediately know it’s calling your name. You have a sense of ease because you know you can relate to someone. You’re not alone. Dean Lewis, while talking about his own experiences, also connects to others. This is a hard thing to do, but he does it very well.  

“Nothing heals the past like time” is a lyric that really sticks out and gives listeners a feeling of comfort. Hearing this lyric, they may realize that whatever is going on, there are people out there who understand. It tells you everything will be okay. He expresses these feelings and words to anyone out there with an obstacle, such as anxiety, relationships or loss. Through the melody and tone, the artist speaks to you, which is why I definitely recommend adding this song to your 2019 New Year’s playlist to start your year off right.


7 Rings” by Ariana Grande

review by Luke Gamber

The iconic superstar Ariana Grande has yet again come up with a bop. The song, “7 Rings”, has taken the world by storm. When I heard the song, I was amazed. Let us look at some of the lyrics. “Yeah, breakfast at Tiffany’s and bottles of bubbles. Girls with tattoos who like getting in trouble. Lashes and diamonds, ATM machines. Buy myself all of my favorite things.” If you could not see, they are using the same rhythm of the song from “The Sound of Music.” Ariana is a very clever song writer and the fact that she used “The Sound of Music” boosts the rating by one thousand.


‘’Miracle Power’’ by View Kanji

review by Madison Ketchum

‘’Miracle Power’’ has a good beat that makes me feel happy because it has electones. The artist, named View Kanji, is a Japanese artist. This piano-like melody combines music with clapping hands. It’s written in Japanese and is about a cosmic baton girl, Comet-San. She uses her magic for good.

Although it’s all Japanese, the song makes you want to dance. ‘’Miracle Power’’ has an upbeat tempo that draws you into its magical persuasion. When the song is over, you cannot help but to hit repeat. For a song that transcends cultural boundaries, I recommend ‘’Miracle Power.’’


Happier” by Marshmello

review by Maggie Jortberg

Songs are mostly defined by their lyrics and what emotions you feel while listening to them. Marshmello usually stays in the same genre of music. “Happier” is in the same genre, but stands out in a different way. “Happier” is one of the most delightful and uplifting songs that Marshmello has ever made.

“Happier”’s repetitive lyrics and beats engrave it into your mind and don’t let you forget it. The song was widely played in 2018, when it first came out. The chorus of the song is very catchy. “Then only for a minute. I want to change your mind. ‘Cause this just don’t feel right to me…” stuck out to me and are the lyrics that every person who listened to this song had stuck in their head. When the song starts playing, I immediately start humming to the beat. When the chorus comes, I sing along to it because it’s so catchy. Every time the chorus plays, it’s like old things coming back to me. Even though this song was from last year, it’s still very catchy and I definitely recommend you add this to your 2019 playlist and start the year off with this as your favorite song.


You Don’t Know” by Katelyn Tarver

review by Alexa Argeros

Have you ever felt like you just need a break from everything else? To just sink into your couch and relax to your favorite tunes. That’s the feeling and emotion that everyone needs to have once in a while. Katelyn Tarver’s song  “You Don’t Know” really fits that description, the lyrics let you relax and let go of everything that is stressing and worrisome to you.

Tarver is a great singer who has sung lots of amazing songs such as “Kool Aid” and “You Don’t Know”. “You Don’t Know” is one of my favorites, every time I hear it, it fills the room with the chilling feeling of freedom and letting go of your problems. Tarver really brings the song to life when she changes her tone throughout the song, displaying moments where the song becomes intense but then letting the tenseness loosen and become free and flowing. One moment of the song that really stood out to me would be the line “But right now, I want to be not okay”, this line stood out to me because sometimes you just need that moment of silence. That moment to just let go and there’s a bonus to that also, you can enjoy this song everywhere, whether it be on the couch, at the gym, or even at Chipotle.


Narrated For You by Alec Benjamin

review by Anna Marquardt

While most people my age listen to pop or rap music, I find myself listening to indie-pop artists like Alec Benjamin. After seeing America’s Got Talent contestant Merrick Hanna dancing to his song “I Built a Friend,” I instantly fell in love with the music he shares. The 24-year-old singer from Phoenix, Arizona began putting out music on Youtube back in 2013. He put out his first mixtape, America, out and slowly gained fame. Since then, he’s put out multiple singles, and his most recent mixtape, Narrated For You. The mixtape has 12 songs, all telling a story of something that has happened in his life. His song, “If We Have Each Other” is dedicated to his sister, where he claims “you should know I’ll be there for you.” Just like that, the other 11 songs featured on the mixtape talk about things ranging from his childhood to struggles in relationships. His songs tell real stories that people can relate to. In his song “1994”, he says “And nobody’s invincible, because I know people die. I saw it on the news one day, when the towers fell down. September’s not the same place now.” Of course, I can’t necessarily relate to that specific situation, as I was not born yet. However, bad things do happen on the news, and I do see them. His lyrics really make you think, and it’s very insightful. Definitely try listening to this.  I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Big Plans” by Why Don’t We

review by Caroline Ohlandt

The best songs are the ones that you can’t help jamming out to whenever you hear it, whether it’s on the radio, or walking through the grocery store. The songs that you always find yourself singing the lyrics to, whether you meant to or not. “Big Plans” by Why Don’t We, is definitely one of those songs.

Since “Big Plans” is written by a band of five people, the band members switch off singing lyrics constantly. By doing this, listeners are able to get a taste of each member’s voice before they come together for the chorus. The sound that is created by all of them singing together is thanks to powerful vocals added in. The overall message conveying from this song is so amazing since it’s telling you that big plans are coming your way, and the future is yet to come.


The Climb” by Miley Cyrus

review by Briana Gould

This song shows the emotion and passion behind Miley Cyrus’ voice. It examples and displays how she uses her voice. The amount of sentiment exposed through her voice provides another vision of her life and story. Even though she was at a young age when the song was written, she still sings as if she has been doing this for years.

I would highly recommend this song to any Hannah Montana fan or anyone who enjoys early 2000s Disney pop.


Come Out and Play” by Billie Eilish

review by Malyka Abbas

Billie Eilish has a sad tone to her voice, yet this song has very inspirational lyrics. Besides the fact that her voice is normally very gloomy, in this song her voice sounds very calm which makes the song more meaningful. I like to listen to this song while doing homework, or studying because of the calmness of it, and the motivation in it. Although, when people think of motivational and inspirational music they think of upbeat songs, this song is a good example of a sappy yet meaningful song.  Listening to “Come Out and Play” makes me smile because of the meaning behind it, whenever I am feeling down I listen to this song because it never fails to bring me back up.

The meaning of “Come Out and Play” from what I interpreted is to not be afraid to take chances, and to look at the positive side of things. One of the lyrics that stuck with me was, “You see the piece of paper, could be a little greater, show me what you could make her, you will never know until you try it.” This stuck with me because sometimes it can feel like you will never be able to accomplish something, but is important to realize that you will never know your worth or potential until you give it a try. This is one of my favorite songs by Billie, and I recommend you to listen to it.


Wake Up in the Sky” by Gucci Mane, Bruno Mars, and Kodak Black

review by Max Beitzel

A song that makes you feel good and sing even after the song is over. Catchy lyrics that you can remember and aren’t too long. A song that you can put in your playlist and when it plays your mood will switch. A melody that you can remember and a rap section that you can learn. A group of talented musicians and none of the “mumble rapping” that you hear in other songs these days.

This is a song that when the first lyrics start to play you are already ready to dance. This is a song that is great for the car. You will be waiting for the lyrics “Wake up in the sky. You can’t tell me I ain’t fly.” This isn’t one of those over played songs on the radio that makes you annoyed everytime you hear it. We are all old of listening to Cardi B and trying to change the channel and then ending up hearing Cardi B on another station. Even though the songs are great to start with, they end up getting boring and old. This song is not often played on the radio so you won’t get sick of it. Although this song is relating to some bad things like drinking and getting high and waking up in the sky, it’s still a good song. I suggest to play the non-explicit version of this song because it includes a lot of strong language as well. The song is what you need to make your day full of homework turn to 3 minutes and 25 seconds of happiness and that is why I recommend you add this to your “Feel Good Playlist.”


Close to You” by Plasmagica

review by Morgan Ketchum

“Close to You” is a song that makes you feel happy in your heart.This melody is by Cyan Hijirikawa, Chuchu, Retoree, and Moa.They are Japanese singing group. It makes you dance and sing. This song tells the story about friendship.

The lyrics of the song say,“Walking home from school everyday, It’s you who makes me smile without fail. You’re the one who I can turn to when I feel overwhelmed. Everyone likes to pretend,these chapters of our lives never end. We can’t control the way our lives will unfold,” This song helps you get through the day. It is like a lyrical bond between friends about surviving by leaning on each other.


Idle Worship” by Paramore

review by Sofia Oyarzun

More times than not, when listening to songs for the first time, the feel or the beat is what we pay attention to. In a music project we did, I took a movie scene and put a song with a totally different mood to it, changing how it changed our perspective when watching it.

This song is a song that takes a deep and often relatable topic and puts it into an upbeat feel.The lyrics, “Hey baby I’m not your superhuman, and if that’s what you want, I hate to let you down.” and “Oh no, I ain’t your hero, you’re wasting all your faith on me,” when read alone, you’d think that the music corresponds to the lyrics, but before I took the time to look at the explicitly stated lyrics, I just looked at it as a happy, uplifting song. The main message is about someone who is self doubtful and wondering why anyone has expectations for them, when they have none for themselves. If you do take a liking to this song, when blasting it in the car while belting it out, think about the lyrics your singing out loud.


Nowadays” by Lil Skies, Landon Cube

review by Sully Richards

The best songs are the ones that you can rock out in the car and you can forget about what you are doing while listening to them. The song where your mind jumps for joy when you hear the first few beats and you start dancing before the words even come in. The song that when you are with your friends you all stop talking to appreciate how well the lyrics are written and you don’t talk for a whole 3 minutes which is practically a miracle. “Nowadays” by Lil Skies and Landon Cube is one of those great songs.

“Nowadays” catchy beat and lyrics repeat but it seems like they are different every single time they say it. This song, which is not as popular as other songs such as “Sicko Mode” and “Drip too Hard” is much better then both of these songs in my opinion.