As we get ready to bid 2018 a farewell and prepare to welcome in 2019, l wanted to take a few moments….. a few hours in reality to reflect back on the songs that made those 2018 dance floors bounce! As a DJ and music enthusiast, it’s easy to be overly critical of today’s music. While there were many new songs and artists that made it into my favorites folder this year, not all of them had an impact on the dance floor at the events that I hosted. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite and most mentionable songs of 2018:
- Shawn Mendes – Lost In Japan Zedd Remix
I’ve always been a fan of Shawn Mendes, but when you combine his talent with one of my favorite EDM producers – Zedd, you’re sure to get a fire track with a feel good beat that commands your body to bounce to its catchy rhythm. The chorus is fun, catchy and easy to sing along to. Luckily, the song became popular later in 2018, but still earned its way to my #1 spot. I have high hopes for this being a banger on the dance floor in 2019. All of this makes “Lost In Japan Remix” my all time favorite 2018 track.
- Happier – Marshmello
Another breakthrough dance track with a catchy sing along chorus and contagious energy filled beat that screams 2018 dance floor anthem. The emotional filled lyrics are subjective yet relatable to most making this my #2.
- Have It All – Jason Mraz
One of my favorite new Cocktail Hour or Dinner selections. Jason Mraz’s music has always had a special place in my heart as they are reminiscent to laid back tropical vibes and the time that I spent in Hawaii. I think Mraz speaks to us all in this song when he talks about dreams ambitions and goals and his encouragement to chase those dreams no matter the sacrifices or uncertainties.
- In My Feelings – Drake
How can this song NOT receive an honorable mention? I mean c’mon it’s Drake and whether you like it or not, Drake was the king of 2018 with several hits ranking high on the charts this year. The song even sparked a dance challenge and a series of viral videos dubbed “The Kiki Challenge”. Just don’t ask my wife to send you my challenge submission 🤦🏻♂️
The simple beat and those vocal drops by “The City Girls” Jatavia Johnson became a 2018 pop culture staple. No doubt that this song has been one of my most requested dance floor tracks this year.
- Meant to Be – Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
This Country-Pop crossover was a favorite for a lot of people this year including my 3 year old who had me repeat this song almost as much as “Baby Shark”. Country crossovers are nothing new for Florida Georgia Line, but this time they included pop star Bebe Rexha to bring in those catchy verses and chorus that you can’t help singing along to with your group of friends. The song is versatile and worked well for me during background cocktail hour and dinner music, but also a huge hit on the dance floor.
- Bruno Mars and Cardi B – Finesse
For those 30 and older, the 90’s Sketch Comedy Show “in Living Color” was a staple TV show that spawned several of Hollywood’s greatest comedians including Jim Carrey. While we aren’t here to talk about TV, the shows theme song appropriately titled “In Living Color” played a huge part in the “New Jack Swing” movement, a short lived, but popular genre in the early 90’s influenced by Janet Jackson and made popular by Teddy Riley. Bruno Mars recognized this era in music as being influential and a “feel good” time and brought it back with his 2018 hit “Finesse”. The song really latched on with its remix which featured 2018’s break through artist Cardi B sounding reminiscent of TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye Lopez”. The song brought all of the 30+ somethings back to a nostalgic time in music history while also introducing the new generations to a funky and danceable hip hop beat. Together, everyone came together and felt like they were part of that house party that they always wanted to be a part of. Many attempts at Kid N Play’s signature dance move, “The Kickstep” had been attempted making for some fun times and awesome photos on the dance floor 🙂
- Maroon 5 – Girls Like You
This song should really be in the #1 position being that it held the #1 spot on the billboard charts for weeks on end not only in the US, but also in Canada and New Zealand. Maroon 5 has always been a favorite among the ladies. Believe me, I’m still shielding my wife’s eyes from Adam Levine’s sexy physique and charming personality. This year, their hit song “Girls Like You” spoke to all the ladies and became the “women empowerment” song of 2018. With its fun empowering sing along lyrics and several fun remixes that range from subtle background to fun energetic fist bumping renditions, this song became a favorite on the dance floor at weddings in 2018.
- Zedd – The Middle
Another iconic 2018 Country / EDM crossover that quickly became a dance floor favorite with its sing along lyrics and fist bumping beats. This happy feel good track helped inspire many new friendships that were built while singing and dancing to this 2018 multi generation favorite.
- Gods Plan – Drake
As mentioned earlier, it was really hard to ignore Drake in 2018. His hit single “God’s Plan” from the motion picture soundtrack “Black Panther” hit #1 for 11 straight weeks on the billboard charts. Although this track didn’t work for every audience, the song was a sure bet among the younger crowds and hip hop loving weddings and events.
- Tequila – Dan + Shay
It’s likely that you’ve heard of Dan + Shay, the American Country songwriter duo. They are somewhat new to the country genre (circa 2012) and their music has been the center of several weddings of like minded country fans. While I admittedly am not the biggest country fan, every so often a country track like this one comes along and instantly becomes one of my favorites. Tequila has been one of those songs that showed up several times throughout 2018 as the couples go to First Dance song or at the very least, the top of several “Must Play” lists. The original is a beautiful ballad that worked great for slow dances, but I also became a fan of the R3hab remix which was used to excite the dance floor among country and non country fans alike.
- Cardi B – I Like It
Latin fusion tracks have been on the rise for the past couple of years with fan favorites like Pitbull, Despacito and the like. 2018 introduced us to female hip hop artist Cardi B who has made dance magic with every track she touches. With roots in spanish culture, Cardi B released her take on Pete Rodríguez’s Latin flavored boogaloo classic “I Like It Like That”. Latin theme or not, this song is sure to set your dance floor on fire and is sure to be a favorite among all ages young and old.
- Jackie Chan – Tiesto
When this song first premiered, I honestly couldn’t stand it. It was too repetitive for my particular music taste. After a while, it quickly grew on me after seeing the energy it created on the dance floor and how much everyone else loved the song. What’s so appealing about this song besides its simplicity and easy sing song lyrics is the multi genre inspiration that you can hear throughout the song. With Post Malone and Preme on vocals, we get the hip hop lyrics on top of everything to be expected from Tiesto including EDM / Dance inspired beats with a touch of funky guitar twangs.
- Marshmello – Friends
Another vocally relatable track among many on the dance floor with a fun sing along chorus and dancy pop beat. I love Marshmello and all of his contributions to the dance music scene even if he is wearing a giant 5 gallon paint bucket on his head posing as a human marshmallow. My 7 year old is an aspiring DJ and really looks up to this guy, but I had to place this song a little bit lower on my top 20 of 2018 list because it’s a hit or miss. When it’s a hit, the song really hits, especially with all of the remixes and different versions available with totally different feels. The song is versatile enough to be used on the right dance floor, but can also work as background music during cocktail hour music.
- Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton
When it’s time to slow down the dance floor, I’m really feeling this 2018 Chris Stapleton country release. Something about it makes me feel like I’m listening to some classic Al Green like soul. It’s slow, romantic, but funky! This is another one that had seen a lot of play for 2018 First Dances and made its way to the top of several “Must Play” lists.
- Never be the same – Camilla Cabello
Female Latin inspired tracks were huge in 2018 with Cardi B and Camilla Cabello. Cabello is now a solo artist, but once was one fifth of the r&B group “Fifth Harmony”. Cuban born singer brings that Cuban flare to the American dance floor with tracks like “Never Be The Same” and her other hit single “Havana”. While “Never Be The Same” is certainly Cuban inspired with its mid tempo beat, seductive horn line and sultry vocals, it also has that hip hop element brought to you by Young Thug. I feel like this song held its own earlier in the year on the dance floor among a variety of age groups, but as the year went on, what could have been great, quickly got swept under the rug. Has anyone seen Camilla lately? Is she waiting in the wings to drop some fire in 2019?
- Freaky Friday – Lil Dickey
With a name like “Lil Dickey”, you can’t take this song too seriously, but hey that’s what 2018 needed! This song quickly became the anthem to the summer of 2018 with its throwback style to the early 2000’s with its….AHEM!! *Gulp! auto-tuned comedic lyrics about a white dude trapped inside of Chris Browns body. Let’s face it though folks, auto tune isn’t the worst thing to have hit the dance floor. I mean, what’s with this new “mumble rap”? Freaky Friday Is comedic and catchy and brings us back to the days of when hip hop was silly and a little less serious. Seemed like everyone knew the words to this song front to back and it was always sung loud and proud!
- Shallow – Lady Gaga
It was only a matter of time before Lady Gaga put out a pop country crossover. Her voice is incredible and together with Bradley Cooper, this song becomes an emotional ballad of power. Let me propose this question though, is it just me or is she channeling Stevie Nicks or what? Truly an amazing song, but I had to place it so low on my list because, well it’s hard to get it any love on the dance floor.
- Mine – Bazzi
A favorite top 40 cocktail hour / dinner song for sure. This song is full of melody and is easy on the ears for a more subtle background favorite.
- Janell Monáe – Make Me Feel
If you’ve never heard of Janell Monae, you’re missing out. Make me feel makes the list with its funky tongue clicking beat and guitar riffs that remind me of the stylings of “Prince”. This queen of soul will make you feel nothing short of funky.
- Done For Me – Charlie Puth
Although the lyrics are a bit inappropriate for a wedding with its talking about cheating and suspicion, the song still has a dance presence with its 80’s inspired beats. The only reason it’s last on my list is just the context of the lyrics and because I wish it was a bit more appropriate for weddings 🙂
Author: Mike Napoli