The Best Songs of 2018
No one expects you to listen to every song that comes out. That’s impossible for a casual or even avid music fan. In fact, Spotify says that there are on average 13,000 new songs released on the streaming platform every month. That’s something like 36 days of new music. So you literally couldn’t possibly keep up with everything being released if you wanted to.
This is precisely what makes curation so important. We’re here to point you in the right direction, to provide you with a good cross section of artists and genres that are rising above all the noise out there. Even if you don't love everything on this list, give them a chance, expand the limits of your musical knowledge, because you might just find something you love. We'll be updating this all year, so keep checking back. You can also listen to the playlist on our Spotify.
ARIANA GRANDE – “THANK U, NEXT”
If there’s a song that defines a summer of tabloids, it’s Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next.” The pop star has had a rough few years, which culminated in the doomed whirlwind romance with Pete Davidson and the tragic death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. After the gossip sites went nuts with her sudden engagement to Davidson after a few weeks of dating in June, the relationship became the biggest entertainment news story of the summer. But, as abruptly as it started, the engagement was called off in mid-October about a month after Miller’s death. While Grande kept to herself after the break-up, Davidson used it as comedy material at appearances and on Saturday Night Live. In response, Grande released this empowering break-up anthem, which is at once a mature response to the tabloid drama and an affirmation of her own strength.
BOYGENIUS – “BITE THE HAND”
The self-titled debut EP from supergroup boygenius is tragically short. Comprised of brilliant young songwriters Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, boygenius is proof that the supergroup curse isn’t always true. Historically groups like these comprised of different individual artistic personalities and ideas can be a disaster. Both sonically and artistically, however, Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus work impeccably as a unit. They’re all giving musicians, allowing each of their voices space to work individually and as a unit. This fluid musical relationship is immediately apparent in the opening track of the EP, in which their swirling harmonies find a perfect balance. No single artist anchors this song; rather each verse, bridge, refrain, and chorus has each vocalist sharing an equal and integral part of the space.
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS – “DOESN’T MATTER”
In a year in which pop music—from Robyn to Ariana Grande—was making a powerful statement, singer Héloïse Letissier, who performs as Christine and the Queens, arrived from France to continue the conversation about gender and identity on Chris. On “Doesn’t Matter”—over bold poppy ’80s drums and sparkling synth—Héloïse bravely addresses the pressures of the masculine gaze, suicidal thoughts, and the nature of relationships and faith. It’s a heavy and important conversation to be having—especially in a song filled with as much buoyant French fun as this one.
SHECK WES – “WANTED”
“Where we from, they don't give, so we don't got shit / They leave us young niggas with no options,” Sheck Wes raps on "Wanted," a song about growing up in New York City. The Harlem rapper explains how he grew up too quickly, living a life in which the only options left for him were being involved with drugs and violence and robbery. It’s like a tour of the city from his perspective, name dropping all the major areas where shoppers and tourists and families didn’t want him around. It’s a song that wholly translates an experience and point of view of Sheck Wes, complete with an ominous, doom-ified beat like it’s being played from a crummy speaker in the back of a train or from the trunk of a nearby car.