Best Songs of 2018 So Far

It’s never too early to start keeping track of the best music of the year, because if you don’t, how will you remember January treasures like “All the Stars” come December? You won’t, which is why this list of the best songs of the year so far is here for you. Keep checking back as more songs come out, but know that no matter what happens no one is better than Cardi B.

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1. “Make Me Feel,” Janelle Monáe

One of the first singles from Janelle’s long-awaited Dirty Computer, “Make Me Feel” is a sultry Prince homage that sounds so much like the Purple One because he actually helped make it. “Prince actually was working on the album with me before he passed on to another frequency, and helped me come up with sounds,” she said in February. “And I really miss him, you know, it’s hard for me to talk about him. But I do miss him, and his spirit will never leave me.”

2. “Drip,” Cardi B feat. Migos

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It’s hard to pick just one song from Cardi B’s excellent album Invasion of Privacy as the best, but this one’s definitely at the top. Aside from delightful boasts like “I’ve been that bitch since pajamas with footies,” it’s got a bass line designed to piss your neighbors off all summer long.

3. “Barbie Tingz,” Nicki Minaj

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When premiering this song on Beats 1, Nicki told Zane Lowe that her mysterious next album is the best one she’s “ever, ever, ever” made in her whole life. One listen to “Barbie Tingz” ought to be enough to convince you she’s not exaggerating.

4. “High Horse,” Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves has to be an actual magician, because with “High Horse” she’s managed to make what can only be described as a country disco song. It’s a combination you never even knew you needed in your life!

5. “God’s Plan,” Drake

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I want to hate Drake so much, but he just makes it harder and harder every day. It got especially difficult after the “God’s Plan” video, where he just goes around handing out money and scholarships like candy.

6. “After the Storm,” Kali Uchis feat. Tyler, the Creator and Bootsy Collins

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Because everyone could use a little more funk in their life.

7. “Bad Luck,” Neko Case

Shortly before recording this song, Neko found out that her house and barn had burned down, destroying most of her belongings (she’d written the lyrics to “Bad Luck” before the incident). “If somebody burned your house down on purpose, you’d feel so violated,” she said in a statement about the song. “But when nature burns your house down, you can’t take it personally.”

8. “Finesse (Remix),” Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B

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If anyone could make this already great song even better, it’s Cardi B, who in this case is the sprinkles on top of a cake that she also magically turned into Funfetti.

9. “Top Off,” DJ Khaled feat. Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Future

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There’s a lot to love about this DJ Khaled banger, but let’s be honest — the only part that really matters is Beyoncé rapping, “If they’re tryna to party with the queen, they gon’ have to sign a nondisclosure.” Are you listening, Tiffany Haddish?

10. “Lemon Glow,” Beach House

“Lemon Glow” doesn’t sound particularly different than any other woozy Beach House song, but damn if it isn’t a perfect woozy Beach House song.

11. “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA

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Having Kendrick Lamar “curate” the Black Panther soundtrack was a genius move, but no one dared hope it would be as Kendrick-heavy as it ended up being. It’s basically like we got a bonus Kendrick album less than a year after DAMN; this SZA collaboration is just one of many great songs included.

12. “Stir Fry,” Migos

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This masterpiece technically came out in December, but since the only song anyone listens to in December is “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” it counts, and it will keep counting all year long as it blasts out of car windows, other people’s headphones, and that cell phone store on my block that thinks it’s a nightclub.

13. “Lost in Japan,” Shawn Mendes

Many old women such as myself have attempted to resist the charms of Shawn Mendes, who by my calculations is 12 years old, but he has finally worn me down with this bouncy tune that I cannot relate to in any way because it’s about being rich enough to just like, fly to Japan and see your crush. And yet! It is stuck in my head all day every day.

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14. “Night Shift,” Lucy Dacus

Like “Stir Fry,” this song technically came out at the end of 2017, but the Mariah Carey point stands. It’s a slow-burning, gut-wrenching breakup song that builds to such an emotional complex you’ll want to go out and dump someone just to get the full effect.

15. “The Kids Are Alright,” Chloe x Halle

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Beyoncé protégés and Grown-ish stars Chloe x Halle continue to be the coolest teens around on the title track from their debut studio album. (And in case you didn’t know, yes, they also sing the show’s theme song.)

16. “The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs,” Wye Oak

After working on various side projects and releasing an album of outtakes from their last record, Wye Oak are back for a new album, and the gorgeous (but still occasionally distorted!) title track is one of the standouts.

17. “Hands on You,” Ashley Monroe

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This is the sexiest song on the list. The end.

18. “Apeshit,” Beyoncé and Jay-Z

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Music’s most powerful couple finally released their long-rumored joint album in June. It’s not as instantly iconic as Lemonade was, but the brag-heavy “Apeshit” is a high point, in part because Beyoncé raps the words “get off my dick.”

19. “No Tears Left to Cry,” Ariana Grande

Don’t let Ariana’s whirlwind relationship with Pete Davidson distract you from the fact that she’s still making really wonderful pop music. “No Tears Left to Cry” is one of her best songs ever, and features that perfect blend of vocal acrobatics and catchy hooks that she does so well.

20. “Boys,” Lizzo

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Every song called “Boys” is good. It’s science.

21. “Sky Full of Song,” Florence + the Machine

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If you’re a fan of pure, unadulterated Florence Welch pipes, great news, because this song starts off a cappella so you can really get a fix. Even when the song builds to its super-emotional climax, Welch’s vocals still take center stage, and for nearly four blissful minutes, she makes it sound like all is right with the world.

22. “Deep End,” Lykke Li

Lykke Li pivots hard into a trap-inspired sound on this So Sad So Sexy single, and while it sounds like it shouldn’t work, it really, really does. Also present: Her killer harmonies, which continue to sound like they come from another planet where everything is beautiful all the time.

23. “Fall in Line,” Christina Aguilera feat. Demi Lovato

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What’s better than one fantastic diva with a voice like an angel? Two fantastic divas with voices like angels! Maybe they should take a page out of the Carters’ book and make an album together. Just a thought.

Follow Eliza on Twitter.



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