Everyone told it was a good-about uneven year in music. Rapper Cardi B finally released his long-standing large label album Disruption of privacy; queer pop blew up; Beyoncé's surprise, dropped another album. Streaming is huge, record sales less. Prolonged tensions between Drake and Pusha T (and later, Kanye) boiled into a fusillade of steak records that made the summer a little more interesting. Also, it is still possible to get almost 200 million views on a music video, if you make a four quadrant clip with a lot of bend and snap. But what were the best music memories in 2018? Read on, we've put them all under.
Beyoncé converts Coachella
Ascendance. It's the only way to properly describe what happened in Indio, California on the night of April 14, the year of our Lord Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Over a two-hour recreation set at Coachella, the Grammy-winning singer wrapped through 27 songs as an unstoppable force in nature – omnipotent, constant, endless. Flanked by 100 dancers and a marching band, she took believers and non-believers on a historic journey through the black southern culture, invoking the emblems and dances of HBCUs, her domestic Houston, and black fraternities and sororities. She sang the Black National Anthem, reunited with Destiny's Child for a big hit medley, and even offered Jay-Z a moment to shine. The result was near volcanic: Social feeds were flooded with news about the performance in days and weeks after. Front pictures of a giddy Rihanna were shared on Twitter. Video recording of Adele exciting lip-sync from homemade rounds on Instagram. Coachella was quick, and rightly, rechristened #Beychella. Writing her mythical influence, it New York Times Appropriately observed: "The story is her scene." The next day, watching the YouTube stream, I found myself glued to the TV (I was three hours late to brunch with friends because there was no way I would miss the story). The truth about it all: I have never seen a show so rich, so Augustly, so emotionally imagined. With that, Beyoncé increased into a rare league of entertainers: along with Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Prince. "Thank you for letting me be the first black woman to overwrite Coachella," she said halfway through the set, just to play with a number of contexts: "Isn't it?" We are standing forever. – Jason Parham
Kendrick Lamar becomes Pulitzer Kenny
Despite his release of his last LP, DAMN., in 2017, Kendrick Lamar had a big year in 2018. It started with Black panther soundtrack, which he curated and featured on heavily. It ended with eight Grammy nominations – more than any other artist – a Golden Globe nod for "All Stars" from Black panther and a place on the Oscars list. But along the way he did something no other MC had done before: He won the Pulitzer Prize for DAMN. By awarding the prize, the Pulitzer board marked the album as "a virtuoso song collection that was united with its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamics that offer to influence vignettes that capture the complexity of modern African-American life." It was all that and more. And Lamar, who embraced the moniker Pulitzer Kenny, accepted proudly and humbly. "I've written my whole life to get this kind of recognition," he said. "It's beautiful." We couldn't agree more. -Angela Water Cutter
Flasher takes on YouTube
Don't be fooled by the cruel spin points: When the video of Flasher's "Material" starts to puff around 30 seconds, it's the first sign that the clip for this spit punk number – from the DC band is excellent Constant image album-is actually a send-up of circa-2018 YouTube culture. In the next few minutes, "Material" is in the form of almost all YouTrope-imaginable, from conspiracy theory videos, to scaring clips to dopey YouTube comments (there's another short, narrow popping clip). It's a little UHF, a small mass media meta comment, and even if you don't catch every reference, the song's choir will be streaming to your head long afterwards. Be sure to smash and subscribe! -Brian Raftery
Ruby finally releases honey & # 39;
It was it Chinese democracy of Swedish pop: The last season of girls presented such an unfinished song called "Honey" from too far absent dance scene of Robyn. At that time, it had been seven years since she had released an album and her fans were thirsty. After card girls bother, her successors began an online campaign – # RELEASEHONEYDAMMIT-to get her to put out the final version of the track. This year the fans got more than that: They got the "Honey" song, and Honey album. There are nine tracks of elegantly produced dancefloor-ready pop that could only come from Robyn himself. It took a long time, but it was worth the wait. -A.W.
Ariana Grande thanks
Although it's easy to claim – rightly so – that the best music in 2018 was made by women, none of them had more of a breakout year than Ariana Grande. Not only did she launch the best album in her career so far, sweetener, she also went through a very public relationship, breaking down with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson. On the heels of both of these things, she released "thank you, next" – a single she dropped just 30 minutes before SNL hit the air and took over Twitter in no time. There were several memes, but it was the song's video that sent the internet to a tailspin. Played on the social media of the Grande itself in the weeks before it fell, the video was a tribute to dear Millennial and Gen X movies that Bad girls, Legally Blond, 13 Goes at 30, and Take it on. (There was also a burial on President Trump's immigration policy.) It almost melted YouTube, giving over 55 million impressions in 24 hours, a new record. Thank u, To ride. -A.W.
Childish Gambino holds a mirror up to America's face
For a year as frenzied as it was creatively nourishing, the music remains in steady state of non-stop abundance: from to the ubiquity of "No Tears Left to Cry", "One Kiss" and "In My Feelings" to albums that tested artistic form (Tierra Whack s Whack World and Pusha T's Daytona) as much as they expected (Nicki Minaj Queen). Childish Gambino's "This Is America" was a welcome outlier among the fray-shattered prison gospel that set fire to past and present social terrors. It was not only this year's most surprising piece of protest music, but visually – Gambino's funny proposition to date: a Hiro Murai-directed jamboree of ruin and violence (unblinking and remorseless, a scene depicting a 10-person choir being shot down). As Kara Walker's large antebellum silhouettes that the video called to mind, it avoided themes of grotesque torture, death, slavery, graceful melodic swoops. "This is America" was provocation and warning: This is America, but it doesn't have to be. -J.P.
Janelle Monáe comes out as one Dirty computer
Janelle Monáe has always been a polymath: a singer, songwriter, performer, actress. She does everything. But until 2018 she had always done it in a way of some kind. She called herself an android; called himself Cindi Mayweather. But then she released Dirty computerAnd the short film that came with it, she let everything go. In a Rolling stone interview that followed the album's release, she came out as queer and the music and the text on the disc reflected a much more free artist than the one she had presented before. The mask was gone, and as a result, she made one of the best albums in her career. -A.W.
& # 39; Mo Bamba & # 39; redefines NYC Banger
New York hip hop has a long history of songs coming out of nowhere to control parties and car speakers, turning nightclubs into war zones and budding artists in peoples heroes. Think Young M.As "Ooouuu," Bobby Shmurda's "Hot N *** a," A $ AP Ferg's "Work." But while each followed his own winding path to virality, no one has quite the origins of Sheck Wes's "Mo Bamba." The young Harlem rapper grew up with college basketball standout Bamba, who asked him to release his name in a song; After hearing the beat built around co-producer 16yrold's "evil sounding type" piano sample, Wes freestyled the song in a single take, accidental mid-track glitchout and everything. The fuse burned slowly – landed on SoundCloud in June 2017 – but it started sweeping clubs (and for better or worse college parties) at the beginning of this year, the generous base and chanty delivery inviting the best type of upbringing entropy. When the real Bamba ended up being elected sixth by the Orlando Magic in this last June NBA draft, his sonic namesake had undoubtedly become the bigger breakout phenomenon. And thus two legends were born. -Peter Rubin
The 1975 Drops Its Meme-Heavy Love It If We Made It video
It stuck to the repetition of A brief online relationship requestThe third album from English Future Pope Seminar 1975, first sounds like a kind of copypasta fiasco: A litany of disentangled, references from digital life and invocations, from "married me, dad" to "rest in peace, Lil Peep" to a crass trump quotation. But for a song that reflects our meme-spackled, infamous modern displeasure, "Love It If We Made It" is sincere, with lead singer Matty Healy striving to connect with some-anyone-Over a gently inflexible bully of synth jabs and big-beat drums. Everything culminates in a chorus ("I would love it if we did it") as coincidental reasons for mankind's survival. No tune better caught the chaos of being tied to the internet in 2018 – nor the LOL's me-attitude is needed to endure it. -B.R.
Pitbull accidentally publishes the 2018s Anthem
Many things around 2018 were not reasonable. Teens started washing detergent; a stuffed animal called Trumpy Bear conquered the Internet; Thicc Zucc became a meme. It has sometimes felt like a long, strange Ambien tour that we as a society cannot wake up. Therefore, Pitbull's newest earworm, "Ocean to Ocean", is the perfect song of the year. Yes, Pitbull is back (as he explains in the opening examples: they tried to get rid of him, now they have to deal with him!) And who better to personalize our modern state? "Ocean to Ocean" may seem like a simple party tune, created for the original movie soundtrack Aquaman. But think it would be naive. For years, Pitbull has used his music to philosophize the major issues of our time, reviewing previous album titles, such as globalization, Climate change, and Money is still an important problem. (It's not the truth, Pit.) Here he tries Toto's "Africa", which is either a reference in 2018's devastating hurricane season (blessing these rains) or a commentary on the random, chaotic, meaningless of all. We can never know the true meaning, and if it is not a metaphor for this year, nothing is. ¡Dale! -Arielle Pardes
Springsteen launches its famous 1978 Roxy Show
Over the past few years, Bruce Springsteen has released high-quality releases, decades of exciting, affordable live shows at his live venue, including several marathon concerts that go well past the three-hour mark. This summer, the site finally revealed Boss's notorious 1978 show at the intimate Los Angeles site The Roxy-a show that has been searched in bootleg form for four decades. Only a few songs in, it's not hard to understand why: In more than 25 songs, Springsteen and his E Street Band superstars who have been jammed in a small rebel house in a club – have released a sweat-drenched rage that includes everything from Buddy Holly's "Rave On" to a tough, 14-minute version of "Backstreets". It's the kind of show built for digital download, so overstuffed with tunes that you couldn't imagine boiling it down a single CD or two. Even if you are a casual Bruce listener, it's worth a night at Roxy. -B.R.