18. Empress Of, “When I’m With Him”
Honduran-American singer-songwriter Lorely Rodriguez turned heads with her acclaimed debut album Me in 2015, and expectations were high in 2018, as many people expected her to make a full crossover into mainstream pop. While the resulting album Us turned out to be middling at best, “When I’m With Him” is so charming in its simplicity that it stuck around my constantly evolving “2018 tracks” playlist. It balances a sunny musical arrangement with her protagonist’s horrible anxiety (“I can’t help but repress all of the signs telling me that I’m not fine”) and while that light/dark juxtaposition is a tried and true songwriting cliché that’s as predictable as it is effective, it’s executed impeccably.