When Drake dropped two new songs in the middle of the night back in January, we suddenly had a glimmer of hope that 2018 will be the year we all need. From the bangers to the sad songs to the pop hits in-between, we're rounding up the best music this year has to offer. Grab your wireless speaker, incessantly blast the playlist below, and proceed to ignore your passive-aggressive neighbors.
"Nice for What" - Drake
Prepare to play this song at every single one of your pre-games. It's a certified head-banger, and makes our list of top music videos of the year for its star-studded cameos, including Yara Shahidi, Rashida Jones, Issa Rae, Tiffany Haddish, Olivia Wilde, Emma Roberts, Misty Copeland, and more.
"Thru Your Phone" - Cardi B
Cardi B shows off her sultry side on her debut album, Invasion of Privacy. Its 12th track, "Thru Your phone," is that slow jam you blast on-repeat when your S.O. is quickly about to become your ex. "I went through your phone last night / Saw some things I didn't like / I went through your phone last night / It's killing me, killing me, killing me, oh."
"After the Storm" - Kali Uchis ft. Tyler the Creator
Colombian-American artist Kali Uchis finally started receiving the recognition she deserves in April, when she released her first album, Isolation. "After the Storm" is the epitome of good vibes, and the perfect combination of R&B/soul and rap that also features the inimitable rapper Tyler the Creator.
"Ball for Me" - Post Malone ft. Nicki Minaj
"Ball for Me" is one of the best tracks on Post Malone's new album, Beerbongs & Bentleys. It's smooth, catchy, and Nicki Minaj is featured, so obviously it can't get any better.
"Girls Like You" - Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B
While Maroon 5's "Girls Like You" comes off as a love ballad dedicated to iconic music video, above). The pop song also features goddess Cardi B, who has a rap solo about three minutes in., let's be honest—lead singer Adam Levine is really serenading his wife, Behati Prinsloo (seen at the end of the
"Back to You" - Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez is long-overdue for a new album (she hasn't released one since 2015), and if "Back to You" is any indication of what's coming from Gomez, expect her to bring all the summer jams and more.
"I'm Upset" - Drake
Soon after Drake released his fiery single "I'm Upset"—which includes lyrics like, "Every month, I'm supposed to pay her bills / And get her what she want / I still got like seven years of doin' what I want / My dad still got child support from 1991"—Pusha T claimed Drake has a child nobody knows about, which has slightly tainted his good guy image. (Don't worry Drake, you're still the same in my eyes.) The song is a reflection of emotions that weren't expressed as clearly in his last two albums, Views (2016) and More Life (2017).
"Wasted Times" - The Weeknd
Oh, you thought the Weeknd was over Bella Hadid? Even though the pair broke up in 2016, he references Hadid in the sultry "Wasted Times" from his new mini-album, My Dear Melancholy. The pair recently reconnected in Cannes and they may or may not have low-key went Instagram official a few days ago.
"This Is America" - Childish Gambino
The incredibly talented Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover, wrote "This Is America" to highlight the gruesome reality of gun violence in America, and it's a poignant contribution to cultural conversation on what it means to live in this country, especially as a black person. Listening to the song alone doesn't do it justice—watch the music video, above, and see for yourself.
"New Light" - John Mayer
John Mayer has come a long way from his "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" days, and now he wants you to see him in a new light. Hence, the name of his retro-sounding new single. Fun fact: John Mayer shot his music video for "New Light" with a production company that usually makes bar mitzvah videos, so there's that.
"Bad Bad News" - Leon Bridges
Enter: a genius mix of jazz and R&B from artist-with-the-voice-of-an-angel Leon Bridges from his new album, Good Things.
"OKRA" - Tyler the Creator
Reminder: Tyler the Creator can rap, and he can do it really well. He released his single "OKRA" in March and described it as a "throwaway song," though it's anything but that with its smooth flow and bass-heavy ring. He also references Call Me By Your Name's Timothee Chalamet, which is reason enough to listen.
"Slow Burn" - Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves is that artist you never think you're going to "get into," and suddenly you're listening to her entire album on-repeat. Musgraves' "Slow Burn" has a soft melody with incredible vocals that will put you straight in your feels.
"God's Plan" - Drake
Scary hours, indeed. As soon as the clock struck midnight on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration, Drake took our minds off the misery with two brand new tracks from his EP, Scary Hours. The best part? This iconic verse from "God's Plan:" "She say, 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly' / I only love my bed and my momma, I'm sorry." The song has the same hip-hop vibe as "Free Smoke" and definitely doesn't disappoint.
"Diplomatic Immunity" - Drake
The political theme is no coincidence: Drake released "Diplomatic Immunity" straight on the heels of a government shutdown. It sounds similar to his reflective ballad, "Do Not Disturb," but we're not complaining. #MoreDrake2018
"All the Stars" - Kendrick Lamar and SZA
Kendrick and SZA dropped their first original song from the Black Panther soundtrack—reminding us they're the duet we didn't know we needed. This isn't the first time the artists have paired up. They worked together on SZA's 2017 song, "Doves in the Wind." "All the Stars" goes in a different direction with a more upbeat vibe—but it's still equally as amazing.
"Filthy" - Justin Timberlake
This is the first solo release from Timberlake's upcoming album, Man of the Woods. It's no FutureSex/Love Sounds (2006), but it definitely bumps. The full album was released February 2.
"Finesse (Remix)" - Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B
The "Bodak Yellow" artist collaborated with Bruno Mars to create a remix of his 24k Magic single, "Finesse," two years after its original release. It has all the *magic* of the original, with the added bonus of Cardi B rapping. You'll think of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as soon as you hit play.
"Dura" - Daddy Yankee
Write the 40-year-old Puerto Rican singer down on your list of rising artists, and proceed to add this song to your next vacation playlist. Between "Finesse" and "Dura," it's the year of '90s-inspired music videos.
"The Wolf" - The Spencer Free Band
If you haven't heard of The Spencer Free Band, you're probably not alone. The musical group is extremely low-key, but that's about to change. Their new single, "The Wolf," appears on the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack. Edgy and cool, the song will leave you feeling like you can rule the world.
"Parallel Line" - Keith Urban
Confirmed: The 50-year-old artist just made country cool (and...sexy?) again. While his wife of 12 years Nicole Kidman has been busy kicking ass for her role on Big Little Lies, Urban has also been working on his new single "Parallel Line" co-written by Ed Sheeran. (Thanks, Ed.)
"Heaven" - Justine Skye
"Don't think I'll ever be angel / I'm floating in the sky / I might have never been this high." "Heaven" is a major sit-in-your-feels song from the 22-year-old, whose debut album Ultraviolet was released on January 18.
"For You" - Rita Ora and Liam Payne
The sexy ballad stays true to Ora and Payne's pop roots. Ora starred in the original cast of Fifty Shades of Grey as Christian's younger sister Mia. Now, she's focusing on the franchise's music with this single for the last installment of the series, Fifty Shades Freed. As for Payne, he's clearly doing well sans boy band.
"Top Off" - DJ Khaled ft. Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Future
Name a more iconic
trio quad than DJ Khaled, Jay Z, Beyoncé, and Future. DJ Khaled dropped this first song from his album, Father of Asahd, in early March and it may be a hint as to what Beyoncé and Jay Z's new collaboration for their upcoming On the Run Tour II will entail. (In classic Bey and Jay style, they've kept their new album top secret.)
"Pray for Me" - The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar
The Weeknd is known for his sultry mixes and Kendrick Lamar for his quick-rap style. Pair the two together and you have the genius collaboration that is "Pray for Me," featured on the Black Panther soundtrack.
"Make Me Feel" - Janelle Monáe
You may know Janelle Monáe from the hit movie Hidden Figures, but she's been a singer since long before you spotted her on-screen. This sexy R&B ballad is part of her third album, Dirty Computer, released in April.
"Look Alive" - BlocBoy JB ft. Drake
While Drake has yet to drop an album this year (attention Drake, the world is waiting), he's released plenty of singles—"God's Plan," "Diplomatic Immunity," "Nice for What," and "I'm Upset" mentioned above, as well as this new hip-hop song "Look Alive," which feels like Drake's own even though he's technically a feature.
"Love Lies" - Khalid & Normani
Tell me where your love lies, Khalid. The 20-year-old rapper is gaining even more momentum this year with this hit single, "Love Lies," featuring Fifth Harmony singer Normani. And he doesn't plan on stopping.
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Check back as we update our playlist with the hottest new releases of 2018.