ALL TOLD, IT changed into an excellent—if choppy—12 months in song. Rapper Cardi B sooner or later launched her long-expected essential label album Invasion of Privacy; queer pop blew up; Beyoncé surprise-dropped any other album. Streaming is big, file sales less so. Long-simmering tensions between Drake and Pusha T (and later, Kanye) boiled over right into a fusillade of pork data that made the summer a touch more exciting. Also, it is nonetheless possible to get nearly 200 million perspectives on a music video, if you make a four-quadrant clip with plenty of Bend and Snap. But what were the best music moments of 2018? Read on, we’ve put them all beneath.

Ascendance. That’s the simplest way to correctly describe what happened in Indio, California at the night of April 14, the Year of our Lord Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Across a two-hour headlining set at Coachella, the Grammy-triumphing singer waded thru 27 songs like an unstoppable pressure of nature—all-effective, consistent, ever infinite. Flanked by means of 100 dancers and a marching band, she took believers and nonbelievers alike on a historic voyage through black southern culture, invoking the logos and dance of HBCUs, her native Houston, and black fraternities and sororities. She sang the Black National Anthem, reunited with Destiny’s Child for a greatest hits medley, or even presented Jay-Z a moment to polish. The end result became near volcanic: Social feeds had been flooded with news of the performance for days and weeks after.


Front row photos of a giddy Rihanna were shared throughout Twitter. Video pictures of Adele excitedly lip-synching from homemade rounds on Instagram. Coachella was quick, and rightfully, rechristened #Beychella. Writing of her mythic influence, the New York Times fittingly found: “History is her level.” The day after, looking the YouTube stream, I determined myself glued to the TV (I turned into 3 hours past due to brunch with pals due to the fact there was no way I turned into going to miss out on history). The truth of all of it: I actually have in no way seen a performance so richly, so augustly, so emotionally imagined. With it, Beyoncé extended herself right into a rarefied league of entertainers: along the likes of Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and Prince. “Thank you for permitting me to be the first black lady to headline Coachella,” she said halfway via the set, simplest to playfully punctuate it with a shard of context: “Ain’t that ’bout a whinge.” We for all time stan. —Jason Parham

Despite the reality that he launched his remaining LP, DAMN., in 2017, Kendrick Lamar had a massive year in 2018. It started out with the Black Panther soundtrack, which he curated and featured on closely. It ended with eight Grammy nominations—more than every other artist—a Golden Globe nod for “All the Stars” from Black Panther and an area on the Oscars shortlist. But along the manner, he did something no other MC had ever executed earlier than: He gained a Pulitzer Prize for DAMN. In bestowing the prize, the Pulitzer board cited that the album becomes “a virtuosic tune series unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes taking pictures the complexity of current African-American life.” It became all that and extra. And Lamar, who embraced the moniker Pulitzer Kenny, universal proudly and humbly. “I’ve been writing my whole lifestyles, with the intention to get this type of popularity,” he said. “It’s lovely.” We could not agree on extra. —Angela Watercutter


Don’t be fooled by way of the cruel spinning dots: When the video for Flasher’s “Material” begins buffering approximately 30 seconds in, it is the first sign that the clip for this spry punk quantity—from the DC band’s fantastic Constant Image album—is truly a slip-up of circa-2018 YouTube subculture. Over the next few minutes, “Material” takes the shape of nearly each YouTrope imaginable, from conspiracy-principle videos to leap-scare clips to dopey YouTube remarks (there’s even a quick, barfy popping clip). It’s a touch bit UHF, a touch bit mass-media meta-statement, and even if you don’t seize each reference, the song’s refrain can be streaming to your head long afterward. Be sure to damage the like and subscribe! —Brian Raftery


It turned into the Chinese Democracy of Swedish pop: The very last season of Girls featured a then-unfinished track called “Honey” from too-lengthy-absent dance phenom Robyn. At the time, it had been seven years seeing that she’d launched an album and her fans were thirsty. After the short Girls tease, her followers commenced a web campaign—#RELEASEHONEYDAMMIT—to get her to place out the final model of the tune. This yr, those lovers got extra than that: They have given “Honey” the tune, and Honey the album. It’s nine tracks of sleekly produced dancefloor-ready pop that could only come from Robyn herself. It took a long time, but it becomes worth the wait. —A.W.

While it’s easily argued—rightly—that the fine track of 2018 turned into made with the aid of girls, none of them had extra of a breakout year than Ariana Grande. Not simplest did she release the exceptional album of her career thus far, Sweetener, she also went via a completely public courting, and breakup, with Saturday Night Live megastar Pete Davidson. On the heels of both of those things, she released “thank u, subsequent”—a single she dropped simply half-hour earlier than SNL hit the air and absolutely took over Twitter very quickly flat. It spawned several memes, however, it was the song’s video that despatched the internet into a tailspin. Teased on social media by using Grande herself in the weeks earlier than it dropped, the video changed into an homage to liked Millennial and Gen X movies like Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, 13 Going on 30, and Bring It On. (There changed into also a dig at President Trump’s immigration policies.) It nearly melted YouTube, garnering greater than 55 million perspectives in 24 hours, a new document. Thank u, Ari. —A.W.