This year has seen exciting new songs from indie veterans, career-best so far music from bubbling stars, and much more. Between BTS and Brockhampton , the boy band is both thriving and evolving. Still, the hallmarks of a grade-A boy-band bop remain airtight harmonies, an irresistible hook, and matters of the heart. The once very guarded singer lays it all bare on her new album, Magdalene , reflecting on the personal pains of her last few years. Now, think again: Was there also an artist who relished in making the masses uncomfortable more than Billie Eilish? Brown skin, black braids, brown liquor — sip, sip, sip. The result is cultural fusion done beautifully.
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G enre is dead; all hail the new masters of global, category-defying hits from artists old and new. Rendered in minimalist, twanging piano chords and tightly-wound vocals, it swings from breathy devastation to high notes of carefully controlled keening. It also marks her return after nearly three years of absence from music, foreshadowing a new openness in work to come. While California hip-hop has witnessed a fearsome revival over the last few years, its community was struck by tragedy when Nipsey Hussle, one of its titans and fiercest advocates, was shot dead in Crenshaw in March. The song distills reggaeton to its purest composite parts, with Guaynaa locking into an infectious flow and gliding over the complicated syllables with the ease of an Olympic skier.
DJ Nate: “Fuck Dat”
In , with one killer track, an artist could become a household name, sparking infinite conversations and even more memes. In addition to all the new names, established artists like Lana Del Rey and Vampire Weekend redefined themselves and reset the trajectories of their careers. At the end of one year, and looking ahead to the next decade, here are the tracks we believe will stand the test of time. Listen to selections from this list on our Spotify playlist and Apple Music playlist. Shawn Mendes seems beamed in from a pop era before face tattoos and pink hair and cursing: Last year, when the Canadian heartthrob revealed he liked to— gasp! On paper, Mendes is pining after the girl who got away with the obsessiveness of an Instagram stalker—and yet his effervescent delivery, and shameless cheesing in the video , make it clear that this winning rom-com of a song has a happy ending. The titular vocal sample, chopped into oblivion, is a suitable mantra: Nate returned to footwork while recovering from an injury that left him temporarily paralyzed from the waist down, a particularly cruel irony in a scene defined by movement. What emerges is a strangled, melodic hook offset by unsettling vocal effects and chords that spiral upwards in a nervous twist of energy. The exhilarating track from her seventh studio album, Beauty Marks , follows the singer in the throes of infatuation, with a throwback disco beat that mimics her joy.
From pop comebacks to international acts finding crossover success to gorgeous ballads and irresistible dancefloor bait, was quite the year. Here are the songs we couldn't stop playing this year. Think the vulnerable voice of Nina Simone waxing poetic about the ills of millennial dating. Following in the footsteps of international kings like Burna Boy and WizKid, Rema's crisp, charming vocals float over a bouncy rhythm that blends Afropop and hip-hop to create three minutes and 15 seconds of sheer joy. Sex sells, but Rapsody has never been one to conform to hip-hop's misogynistic views of women. Angel Olsen's lush, throaty voice connects with an eerie, '80s-leaning production to create a musical masterpiece. One of the most ubiquitous songs of came from pop's newest power couple. Hate it or love it, Shawn and Camila make magic together. DaBaby covers common rap tropes, yes, but it's his signature breathless, rapid-fire flow matching the high-energy beats he cruises on that sets hi, apart from his contemporaries.