The time has come, it’s the end of the year; the Christmas holidays have been celebrated, and all that remains is the countdown to the new year. Of course, this includes looking back on the past year through, among other things, annual reviews on TV but also most certainly listening to annual lists on the radio.

And what better way to end the year at Nolala than by making our own list of the best lyrics of 2018?

We couldn’t find just one winner and that’s why the whole editorial team is happy to introduce you to their personal best lyrics of the year!

Jeanine’s pick: God Is A Woman – Ariana Grande

The lyrics of this track by Ariana are for me the best of this year because I think this song has so much to offer!

At first sight, it looks like an average sexy love song, but between the sensual lines Ariana addresses a larger social theme; the sexual emancipation of women. You go Ari!

But you’re different from the rest
And boy, if you confess, you might get blessed
See if you deserve what comes next
I’m telling you the way I like it, how I want it

(…)

You, you love it how I move, you
You love it how I touch you, my one
When all is said and done
You’ll believe God is a woman
And I, I feel it after midnight
A feeling that you can’t fight, my one
It lingers when we’re done
You’ll believe God is a woman
God Is A Woman – Ariana Grande

The accompanying video clip is full of feminist symbols that reinforces this message. In this way, you hear none other than Madonna reciting a passage from the Bible with the message that you should not touch their sisters because then you can expect revenge. Wow! You can also see (slightly more subtle) symbols like Ariana sitting on top of a globe, in the video she also breaks a glass ceiling.

Besides the fact that I think this is a fantastic power song, I also wrote my first article for Nolala about God is a woman! I’ve had a lot of great reactions to it, and I’ve already enjoyed writing several articles. These lyrics are very meaningful to me and not only because of the strong feminist message of Ariana!

Amber’s choice: Not Today – BTS

This year, I think that BTS wrote the most powerful lyrics because they are a real breakthrough band marking the Korean music industry, and because I find K-pop a fascinating genre in itself.

Not Today was actually published back in 2017, but I only dug into the meaning behind the lyrics when BTS was expected to perform at the Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam this year. This song is catchy and has a flawless music video, fulfilling all the aesthetic qualities that we previously found can make or break a K-pop group.

The lyrics of Not Today are The Best of 2018 because through them, the Bangtan Boys come up for the underdogs, inspiring their international fan base. 

If you can’t fly, run
Today we will survive
If you can’t run, walk
Today we will survive
If you can’t walk, crawl
Even if you have to crawl, gear up
Not Today – BTS

I’m not as big a K-pop fan as most members of the Soompi Community, but K-pop does bring up good memories. During my studies, I spent a semester in South Korea’s capital where I got to know the Korean culture.

In Europe, we usually go for a drink at a pub, but there, most nights ended in a Karaoke booth. And then you just had to know the lyrics to a K-pop song! 😉

Practise them here and discover the other stories behind their music!

Carlijns Keuze: This Is America – Childish Gambino

The lyrics of Childish Gambino’s much talked about song This Is America are the best of 2018 if you ask me. The lyrics (not to mention the insanely stunning videoclip) cover various topics regularly in the news in The States. Is America with Uncle Sam…. uhm, Trump at the helm still ‘The Promised Land’?

This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (ayy)
Look at how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now

With these lyrics, Gambino addresses the subject of police violence. In America, the police are often in the news because they are said to be racist.

Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)
Guns in my area (word, my area)

I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry ‘em

Yeah, yeah, I’ma go into this (ugh)
This Is America – Childish Gambino

In the above passage (and the rest of the lyrics), you can read that Childish Gambino also has a strong opinion on gun ownership. This is impressively reinforced in the symbolic video clip.

Earlier this year I completed a bachelor’s in Communication and in the final phase of my study, I wrote an article about gun ownership in America. Now that I know more about it, I find this protest song of Childish Gambino extra fascinating.

And I’m not the only one! This Is America agitated America (and given the enormous viral effect of this song perhaps even the world) quite a bit. Impressive!

Are you curious as to which other messages are hidden in these lyrics and the music video of This Is America? We figured it out for you, line by line and clip by clip.

Celeste’s choice: Where The Heart Is – HAEVN

After having discovered so many beautiful lyrics this year, I remember the lyrics of Where The Heart Is by HAEVN the most and with that I think they are the best of 2018! Although this song was released a while ago, I rediscovered it in this beautiful Behind The Track article by Marjolijn in which she interviewed singer Marijn. He quit his job to follow his passion and do what he has always loved doing: making music.

I suddenly felt so connected to the story in this article, because at the beginning of this year I took the exact same step: I too resigned and started following my heart. A very special period for me. Marijn really expresses this perfectly in Where The Heart Is:

High above the tallest trees
Courage will come your way
It’s the need that burns the trust that shines
When you climb out of the shade
Your high awakes the things you wanna be
Where the air is thin and sweeps you off your feet

Where the heart is
When the light’s at your side
When the faith is ready
No more guidance
Take the leap of your life
As the ground is shaking
Where The Heart Is – HAEVN

I find it incredible that someone can express a feeling so aptly using music. And the special thing about it is that this song about chasing dreams was actually the beginning of the successful career of HAEVN. As if it should have been like that!

This year they signed to an international record label and released their debut album Eyes Closed, with which they have a mission to offer ‘the soundtrack of your life’. This year, I’ve chosen for myself in all sorts of ways, so I’ve already got a lot of cool things on my path! That’s why, at this moment, I can say that this song is written for me.

Are you curious about the deeper layer in HAEVN’s Eyes Closed songs? In an interview Jorrit and Marijn share the stories behind the songs track by track.

Marjolijns pick: Nico And The Niners – Twenty One Pilots

The best lyrics of 2018? Do I pick Apeshit by The Carters, the entire repertoire of Kendrick Lamar or This Is America by Childish Gambino, which have blown me away with their societal messages? Or Imagine Dragons who gave me energy with hits that not only turned out to be catchy power songs, but also contained strong messages? Or BTS, who opened up a whole new world for me? I hardly knew the K-pop genre and this year I found out how unique and great it is! Bizarre!

If I have to choose one song, my vote goes to Nico And The Niners by Twenty One Pilots.

East is up, I’m fearless when I hear this on the low
East is up, I’m careless when I wear my rebel clothes
East is up, when Bishops come together they will know that
Dema don’t control us, Dema don’t control
East is up
Nico And The Niners – Twenty One Pilots

These lyrics may not reveal much at first glance, but there is a very special story behind them! In the run-up to the release of their new album Trench, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are setting up somewhat like a scavenger hunt in the form of grainy photos, handwritten messages, GIFs and special photos on their website and social media.

For an entire day, I put all the pieces of the puzzle together and it turned out that they had built an imaginary (dark) world ‘Dema’ with their music and video clips.

Dema symbolizes the dark state you are in when you have depression – something Tyler has been suffering from for years. The theme of the album Trench is his escape from this dark world. Through the symbolically imbued lyrics and images you can discover how intense that was for him.

Personally, I’m happy that I’ve never had to deal with depression, but I love the fact that the men shared with those who could use a helping hand that they are understood and heard. And in a very creative way as well. I think this music is the way it is meant to be, as far as I’m concerned, a fair winner!

What do you think?

And that brings us to the end of our own Top Best Lyrics of 2018! Was your favorite not listed? Let us know which lyrics are worth a nomination to you by commenting below, or on our Facebook or Instagram.


– God Is A Woman is written by Rickard Göransson, Savan Kotecha, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Max Martin & Ariana Grande © Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc., 2018.
– Not Today is written by Pdogg, Bang Sihyuk, Rap Monster, Supreme Boi, June. BigHit Entertainment, 2017.
– This Is America is written by Donald Glover / Ludwig Goransson © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, 2018.
– Where The Heart is is written by Jorrit L Kleijnen / Marijn Van Der Meer © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, 2015.
– Nico And The Niners is written by Josh Dun & Tyler Joseph – Fueled By Ramen, 2018.