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Ross On Radio Top 100 (Almost) Of 2018

Cam Diane Ross On Radio RadioInsight Top 100 2018Last year, I expressed relief that I had made my list of Top Songs of 2017 and found more than 100 titles—even with all genres and the entire world to choose from, I wondered if there was enough. So far, I’m just under 95 songs for 2018. It’s always hard to know if scraping to find songs, or my perpetual dissatisfaction with pop music this year, reflects the quality of the product, or merely the middle age POV of the author.

It certainly reflects that there are fewer hits in general. Look at this year’s CHR Top 100 and the consensus hits take you no further down than number. 25. Even the format that could choose from the best of everything (but rarely did) could find no more than one hit song every other week.

Looking down the list, I’m surprised (but not) to see the number of seemingly deliberate throwbacks to other songs. In my top tier alone, there are two different songs informed by Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” (Miley Cyrus acknowledges it musically; Cam’s “Diane” is a lyrical sequel.) I’ve been cheerfully public about my inability not to hear new songs without thinking of old songs; (“Diane” also reminds me of this 1979 single that Cam couldn’t possibly know. Right?) But what if everybody in every genre was indeed down with a case of the “Uptown Funk.”

Here’s my top 100 (almost) of the year, subject to grow with your comments and reminders. This is not the list of songs that had an impact on radio programming; look for “Songs That Made A Difference” in early 2019.

TOP TIER

  • AJR, Burn The House Down
  • Dustin Atlas & Erin Brower, Fake Ass Friends
  • Rayland Baxter, Casanova
  • Leon Bridges, Bad Bad News
  • Cam, Diane
  • Eric Church, Desperate Man
  • Sheryl Crow, Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You
  • Brynn Elliott, Might Not Like Me
  • George Ezra, Paradise
  • Max Frost, Good Morning
  • Ariana Grande, No Tears Left To Cry
  • Ghost, Dance Macabre
  • Khalid, Saved
  • Khalid x Nomani, Love Lies
  • Myles Kennedy, Year of the Tiger
  • Elle King, Shame
  • Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, Shallow
  • John Mayer, New Light
  • Mother Mother, Get Up
  • Pistol Annies, Got My Name Changed Back
  • Mike Posner, Song About You
  • Mark Ronson & Miley Cyrus, Nothing Breaks Like A Heart

THE OTHERS

  • Anderson.Paak, Tints
  • Arkells, Relentless
  • Beaches, T-Shirt
  • Bigflo & Oli, Dommage
  • Dierks Bentley, Woman Amen
  • Blue October, I Hope You’re Happy
  • Kane Brown, Lose It
  • David Byrne, Everybody’s Coming To My House
  • Camila Cabello, Consequences
  • Cardi B., I Like It
  • Cher, Waterloo
  • City Girls, I’ll Take Your Man
  • Clean Bandit, Solo
  • Bradley Cooper, Maybe It’s Time
  • Jordan Davis, Singles You Up
  • Dorothy, Flawless
  • Drake, God’s Plan
  • Drake, Nice For What
  • Echosmith, Over My Head
  • Elwins, Hey! Ya You
  • George Ezra, Shotgun
  • Father John Misty, Mr. Tillman
  • Five Finger Death Punch, When The Seasons Change
  • 5 Seconds of Summer, Killer Queen
  • Florida-Georgia Line, Simple
  • Gucci Mane, Wake Up In The Sky
  • Calvin Harris, One Kiss
  • Walker Hayes, Craig
  • Niall Horan, On The Loose
  • Imagine Dragons, Zero
  • Janet Jackson, Made For Now
  • Chris Jansson, Drunk Girl
  • Kent Jones, Merengue
  • Komodo, Died In Your Arms
  • Lenny Kravitz, Low
  • Lake Street Dive, Good Kisser
  • John Legend f/Bloodpop, A Good Night
  • Lil Duval, Smile B**ch
  • Lil Peep & XXXtentacion, Falling Down
  • Lil Wayne, Uproar
  • Dennis Lloyd, Nevermind
  • Loud Luxury f/Brando, Body
  • Ella Mai, Boo’d Up
  • Post Malone, Better Now
  • Ava Max, Sweet But Psycho
  • Shaun Mendes, Nervous
  • Alice Merton, Lash Out
  • Midland, Hotel Key
  • Maren Morris, Rich
  • Kacey Musgraves, High Horse
  • Old Dominion, Hotel Key
  • Brad Paisley, Bucked Off
  • Paloma Faith, Make Your Own Kind Of Music
  • Tom Petty, Keep A Little Soul
  • Royce Da 5’9, Boblo Boat
  • Darius Rucker, Straight To Hell
  • Troye Sivain, Bloom
  • Barbra Streisand, Don’t Lie To Me
  • Taylor Swift, Delicate
  • Sunset Sweatshop, Coming Along
  • Cole Swindell, Break Up In The End
  • Cole Swindell, Love You Too Late
  • Theory of a Deadman, Straight Jacket
  • Tiesto & Dzeko, Jackie Chan
  • Meghan Trainor, No Excuses
  • 2 Chainz, Proud
  • Twenty One Pilots, My Blood
  • Walk The Moon, One Foot
  • Wombats, Bee-Sting
  • YG f/2 Chains, Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, Big Bank
  • Brett Young, Like I Loved You
1 Comment
  1. chas108 says


    Oohhh, Cam. This year’s Song – and Artist – That Got Away.

    How could a tune with such an obvious hook and the built-in credibility that comes from tapping into such a timeless, iconic record as Jolene, by taking Jolene’s perspective, only make it to #34.

    On paper, I thought it would be the One That Would Establish Cam after her stellar 2015 breakthough “Burning House.” And when it flopped, I thought if THAT song couldn’t establish Cam, nothing would.

    And as it turned out, an announcement came that her next album would be Pop. Country Radio’s loss and a moment when I hate being right.

    Darius Rucker “Straight To Hell”…all-star collaboration, solid singalong hook, traditional/party vibe. Never got to first base. Again, Country Radio’s loss and a Sit Down & Shut Up moment for all those crying over what they perceive as a lack of traditional music in the format.

    At least “Desperate Man” made the Top 20. Kudos for Eric Church and his team channeling their inner Stones. The similar-feeling “Burning Man” by Dierks w/Brothers Osborne still has a shot at #1 in January.

    Glad to see you include the two Cole Swindell tracks. Hard to believe this is the same guy whose debut was the pandering throwaway “Chillin’ It.” In contrast, “Break Up In The End” and “Love You Too Late” are just freaking SOLID Country music.

    And “Love You Too Late” is the Song That Every Country Fan Must Listen To Right Now.

    Kane Brown is the new Conway Twitty. That guy’s just gettin’ started, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him. Glad you included him in your list.

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