The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

The Top 50 Tracks of 2018

  1. Lizzo – ‘Boys’ (Nice Life / Atlantic)

Catchy, sharp and most importantly, full of humour, ‘Boys’ was a song as sticky as this year’s hot and steamy summer. Lizzo’s flamboyant attitude, Prince-esque groovy guitars and sex-positive lyrics make ‘Boys’ one of the most deliriously fun songs of the year. (AR)

  1. boygenius – ‘Me & My Dog’ (Matador)

The three members of the ego-free supergroup boygenius – Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus – came together to write a heartbreak song which will turn even the toughest people into emotional wrecks. Led primarily by Bridges, ‘Me & My Dog’ is deeply melancholic and disarmingly confessional, but this aching, poignant honesty is what makes boygenius so magnetic and incredibly good. (AR)

  1. IDLES – ‘Colossus’ (Partisan)

Bristol punks Idles came back with a dark an intense single ‘Colossus’ on their excellent second album Joy As An Act Of Resistance. The song’s chilling atmosphere becomes even more overpowering when the angst of the lyrics hits you – driven by rage of personal experiences and political observations, ‘Colossus’ is an embodiment of anxiety, anger and of course, punk. (AR)

  1. Marie Davidson – ‘Work It’ (Ninja Tune)

As one half of French-Canadian minimal wave duo Essaie Pas, Marie Davidson’s career up until now had been synonymous with introspection. But no longer. ‘Work It’, the lead-off single from her excellent Ninja Tune debut Working Class Woman, is pretty much the dictionary definition of a dancefloor banger – simultaneously an ode to independence and savage takedown of the pursuit of material success, all framed by Davidson’s unfuckwithable personality and all manner of raging beats. (EB)

  1. Little Simz – ‘Offence’ (AGE 101 MUSIC)

From the very beginning of her career, it was clear that Simbi Ajikawo is a creative powerhouse and a visionary that doesn’t settle for mediocrity. Her remarkable single ‘Offence’ proved that once again, being one of the most confident, direct and empowering songs that we had a chance to hear this year. Filled with unapologetic lyrics and brash attitude, ‘Offence’ was a perfect comeback after a period of absence. (AR)

  1. Christine & The Queens – ‘Girlfriend’ (Because Music)

‘Girlfriend’ was quickly and unsurprisingly declared one of the best pop singles of the year, showcasing a smooth, sexy and powerful side of the French singer, Hélöise Letissier. Fighting against macho culture, Chris is bringing the word “lover” closer to female identity while turning away from the omnipresent “girlfriend”. (AR)

  1. Robyn – ‘Missing U’ (Konichiwa / Universal)

‘Missing U’ opened Robyn’s first album in eight years Honey in an unforgettable way, with shimmering arpeggios, addictive beat and weighting heartbreak in the Swedish singer’s voice. It’s one of the most emotional, touching and beautiful releases of the year, something that only Robyn, a truly authentic voice in pop music for so long, could record with such natural intensity. (AR)

  1. Janelle Monáe – ‘Django Jane’ (Wondaland / Bad Boy / Atlantic)

Janelle Monáe spoke loudly and clearly on her latest album Dirty Computer and ‘Django Jane’ was definitely the highlight of her elaborate musical speech. Creating an alternative to reality where female empowerment and race discrimination are unfortunately still issues, Monáe invents a world where everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin and celebrate it without any fear. (AR)

  1. Mitski – ‘Geyser’ (Dead Oceans)

So many tracks could have been chosen for this list from Be The Cowboy, The Student Playlist’s runaway Album of 2018, but ‘Geyser’ was so universally beloved. It was this years’ best love song to songwriting itself, and the desperation that comes with dedicating your life to a craft that often requires emotional anguish to reap its rewards. (EW)

  1. Childish Gambino – ‘This Is America’ (mcDJ / RCA)

What Donald Glover unexpectedly dropped onto the world earlier this year (and its amazing video) made such huge waves across popular culture discussions that most of them are still ongoing. With its disguised (yet just obvious enough to make it fun to look for) references to gun violence and systemic racism, and a vague-enough concluding statement, it’s an almost perfect example of indirectly signifying prevalent issues. (EW)

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