Here we are, at the end of 2018. I’m proud of myself for keeping these playlists going through this whole crazy, busy, exciting year! This month’s playlist is twelve songs long, because it had to be, and I’m doing a write-up for every single one, because why not?

And now, for the last time this year, you can find the playlist on Spotify, and my commentary below.

Graffiti - CHVRCHES

A solid pop song with an explosive chorus that I can never get out of my head. I chose this one more for the lyrics, though. I think “Graffiti” is supposed to be about a relationship, but it means something different to me. It really encapsulates how I’ve felt this year, reflective and melancholic and triumphant all at once. Waiting to grow up but not wanting to. Figuring out what it means to leave a mark before I go. Wondering what happens next.

Favourite lyrics: “how did you see me? we didn’t know what we wanted to be / when did we move on? I didn’t feel it, nobody told me”

Let’s Get Lost - Carly Rae Jepsen

I featured “Let’s Get Lost” in my June playlist, but I’m bringing it back for December. The sense of adventure, the possibility, the excitement of uncertainty—I’m hoping to bring at least a little bit of each into 2019.

I Wanna Get Better - Bleachers

I really do. Not sure there’s anything more to it than that.

Favourite lyrics: “so I put a bullet where I shoulda put a helmet / and I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away / that’s why I’m standing on the overpass screaming at myself / “Hey, I wanna get better”

My My My! - Troye Sivan

I’m bringing this one back all the way from January! Troye put out one of my favourite albums of the year, and “My My My!” is a standout track. As a bonus, it’s also super fun to dance around your house to.

Something Beautiful - NEEDTOBREATHE

A prayer for 2019 if I’ve ever heard one.

Favourite lyrics: “I just want something beautiful to touch me / I know that I’m in reach / ‘cause I am down on my knees / and waiting for something beautiful”

You Shine - Christy Altomare & Derek Klena

I know this song ruins the flow a little, but I couldn’t NOT put it in, so here it is. Plus, what’s a Natalie playlist without at least one cheesy song from a musical? This one’s to everyone who helped me shine this year. Thank you, and I hope I’m returning the favour.

Favourite lyrics: “no doubt, no more fears / I see you shine and the dark disappears / I’ll be your mirror, and you can be mine / look to me and you’ll see just how you shine”

(Bonus video of Christy and Derek performing this live for the first time in years! They’re so cute. I love them.)

Run and Hide - Sabrina Carpenter

Out of all the songs on the playlist, this one means the most to me. I hate to admit that the chorus is everything I want for next year, and all the years after that. That’s selfish, isn’t it? My wishes for the future should probably include ending world hunger and climate change and every awful thing in the world that is bigger than myself. And I do want all those things, I really do. But I keep coming back to this.

I wanna be loved, and I don’t wanna run, I don’t wanna hide.

when the party’s over - Billie Eilish

This one’s making a comeback from my October playlist. A couple months later, I stand by what I said—it’s going to stick with me for a long time. I didn’t have time to make list of my favourite songs from 2018, but if I had, “when the party’s over” would have been on it.

Tiger Teeth - Walk the Moon

Another strong candidate for my hypothetical favourite songs of 2018 list (even though it came out in 2017), and another January repeat. I called this song perfect back then, and it still is, although my favourite lyrics have changed.

Favourite lyrics: “tiger in my heart again / when you swallow someone whole, you are bound to choke / well, I guess we can never be friends / I ate you up the day we first spoke”

The Louvre - Lorde

Seeing Lorde live was a highlight of 2018 for me. Every song off Melodrama could go on this list, but I picked “The Louvre” in particular because there’s such a youthful arrogance to it. Like, what is in my heart deserves to be hung in museums and heard by the world, and yes, you’d better dance. I don’t think I believe that, but this year I got to broadcast a part of my heart and it seems like people enjoyed it at least a little - maybe 2019 will bring more of that.

This Love - Taylor Swift

For some reason I’ve latched onto this song in the last couple weeks of the year. It reminds me a lot of this poem, and it also reminds me that sometimes you have to let go of relationships to see if they were meant for you in the first place. A lot of the time, they’re not. But once in a while, they’ll appear on the horizon long after you stopped looking. They wave when they see you, and come in for a hug, and maybe they’re not the same person you loved before, but they’re here again. Sometimes the things you love are meant to come back to you. And if they’re not, well, I’m trying to let that be okay.

Favourite lyrics: “your kiss, my cheek, I watched you leave / your smile, my ghost, I fell to my knees / when you’re young, you just run / but you come back to what you need”

New Year’s Day - Taylor Swift

I really did look for a way to not have two Taylor Swift songs in a row right at the end, but I couldn’t find one, so…

It would feel wrong not to end with “New Year’s Day.” This is a song about the people who don’t leave after all the fun party stuff is done, but stick it out through the decidedly un-fun parts of cleaning up the mess the morning after. I’m blessed to have a lot of those people in my life, and I want to end 2018 with that. Hold on to the memories, they will hold onto you.

Well, that’s it. A whole year of playlists. I’ve had a lot of fun making them, and I hope you’ve had just as much fun listening along.

Thank you for reading, whoever you are. I hope your 2018 was full of light and love and happiness. May 2019 be everything you hope and more.