Song Writing

Top 10 Songs of 2018

by Ed Pearce

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These are the 10 songs in the Songfacts database released in 2018 which have been viewed the most over the past year. Some of the songs on the list were technically released in 2017 but 2018 was the year they culturally and commercially made an impact. Our list reflects not just the popularity of the songs, but also their intrigue, leading readers to check out the stories behind them.
10) Ziv Zaifman (featuring Hugh Jackman) - "A Million Dreams"

When the P.T. Barnum musical biopic The Greatest Showman was released in December 2017, it received mixed reviews from the critics, who deemed it "shallow," "an awful mess" and "no substance." However praise was given for the movie's catchy tunes.

Despite the critics' lack of enthusiasm, the film proved to be a crowd-pleaser and its soundtrack was a huge success, topping the charts in several countries, including the US, UK, Australia, and Japan. In fact, in the UK it was the best-selling album of 2018.

"A Million Dreams" is one of the most popular songs on the soundtrack. It is sung by the young P. T. Barnum (Ziv Zaifman) to his future wife, while later in the tune the adult Barnum (Hugh Jackman) recounts the same dreams. Many of you came to Songfacts to find out about the song's composers. We told you "A Million Dreams" was the first tune that Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote for The Greatest Showman and it served as their audition for the movie.
9) Imagine Dragons – "Natural"

Imagine Dragons are a rare exception in an era where rock groups seldom reach the upper regions of the singles charts. By fusing multiple subgenres such as rock, pop, EDM and hip-hop with simple and repetitious melodies and inspirational lyrics, the Las Vegas outfit have become a consistent chart band.

"Natural" was a song from their 2018 album Origins, which especially intrigued you. Many wanted to know its meaning, and we explained the lyrics are about singer Dan Reynolds choosing to be cold hearted as a coping mechanism when dealing with adversity. He especially had in mind the emotional distress arising from a marital breakdown, as well as the criticism he gets from social media trolls.
8) Loren Allred – "Never Enough"

The second song on our list from The Greatest Showman, you wanted to know what "Never Enough" was about. It is sung in the movie by the opera singer Jenny Lind (Loren Allred) and the lyrics find the Swedish songbird expressing her excitement following her successful P.T. Barnum-promoted American debut.

It seems you could never get enough of this song. It had a second wind later in 2018 after Kelly Clarkson covered the tune for The Greatest Showman: Reimagined album.
7) Maroon 5 – "Girls Like You

For months, "Girls Like You" was just another album track that seemed to be breaking less ground than a child's plastic spade. However, when a remix featuring American rapper Cardi B was released as Red Pill Blues' third single on May 30, 2018, things started heating up. The single climbed to #1 on the Hot 100, becoming Maroon 5's fourth chart-topper. It was also a huge hit worldwide.

It was the song's music video that grabbed our attention. The clip features a rotating assortment of female celebrities dancing and lip-syncing as Adam Levine performs the song. We gave you plenty of information about the visual, including the name of the one famous lady the video director couldn't land for a cameo: the British actress Helen Mirren.
6) Thomas Rhett – "Marry Me"

The top-ranking country track on our list, "Marry Me," despite its title, is definitely not a wedding song. It's a "what-if" tune about Thomas Rhett not marrying his wife Lauren and instead trying to make it through her wedding without crying when she ties the knot with somebody else.
5) N.E.R.D (featuring Rihanna) – "Lemon"

N.E.R.D. is a trio comprising Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes production duo, along with Shay Haley. Their first song in seven years had a long gestation period, having originally been written back in 2014. Several versions were released, but it was the one featuring a rapped verse by Rihanna that caught your interest. The bawdy Barbadian's sweary lyrics about a woman who shines bright because of her beauty especially intrigued you.

This one generated a truly worldwide viewing on Songfacts with a huge amount of visits from the US, the UK and India.
4) Eminem (featuring Ed Sheeran) – "River"

The meeting of American rap star Eminem and English contemporary pop mainstay Ed Sheeran was always likely to generate huge interest. And despite its dark theme (or maybe because of it?), this examination of a rapidly deteriorating abusive relationship between two lovers had you coming to our site in droves.

The carrot-haired English singer has been a longtime fan of the Detroit legend, having cured his childhood stammer by rapping to The Marshall Mathers LP. So when Sheeran was contacted about a possible collaboration, he jumped at the chance, recording his contribution at Russell Crowe's studio in Australia.
3) Migos – "Stir Fry"

Were we not banned by the Department of Bad Puns, we'd say Migos cooked up a dish with "Stir Fry" that appealed to your tastes and gave you plenty to chew on. The Atlanta trio themselves aren't shy in incorporating some culinary play on words. As well as touching on their usual topics of luxury items, girls and drugs, on "Stir Fry" Migos also fuse a number of fast food references into the lyrics.

You wanted to know about the background to the song title. It came from the streets. Migos rapper Quavo is comparing the wrist whipping technique involved in making crack to stir frying in a wok.
2) George Ezra – "Shotgun"

The high position of "Shotgun" in our Top 10 can be attributed to the interest in this song in George Ezra's native UK as well as Australia and New Zealand – the track topped the charts in all three territories. You wanted to know what location Ezra is singing of when he talks about "riding shotgun underneath the hot sun." He penned the tune after spending time up Montjuïc hill in Barcelona, Spain.

Some of you were also intrigued by the burp-like noise Ezra makes 59 seconds into the song, which is actually him saying the word "well."
1) Camila Cabello (featuring Young Thug) – "Havana"

After fair-to-middling success following her departure from Fifth Harmony with her first solo single, "Crying in the Club," Camila Cabello's second single, "Havana," altered the course of her career. Sung over a purely Latin instrumental, the tribute to the capital of her home country of Cuba was a monster hit, topping the charts worldwide. By September 2018, it had become Spotify's most-streamed song ever by a solo female artist, with over 1 billion streams.

Here at Songfacts Towers, we noted your interest in "Havana" and gave you plenty of spicy tidbits about the song. One fun fact: there are a total of 75 "na"s in the lyrics.

December 27, 2018
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