1. Childish Gambino – This Is America
Ariana's love anthems. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper making surprisingly sweet music together. Cardi B dominating the charts. If you can say one good thing about , it's that the songs were fire. Here are the 26 best of the year so far. On the surface, Maroon 5's "Girls Like You" is a simple, cute bop you can sway to and sing in the mirror. Have you ever had one of those pinch-me-I'm-dreaming love moments? Yeah, me neither. But Ella Mai's "Boo'd Up," the song you couldn't escape this summer, perfectly captures what happens when you meet a guy who you fall head over heels for. Makes you wanna get boo'd up, right?
This is America: theories behind Childish Gambino's satirical masterpiece
There is no single song that defines We live in an age in which music is more accessible and easier to make than ever before. A kid with a computer could become the most popular artist in the country over night. This is a time when Spotify averages 13, new songs every month. Instead, we bring you 55 songs from —unranked—that provide a cross section of the music that commanded the charts, pushed the boundaries of genre, and captured the political and cultural zeitgeist of You can also listen to the playlist on Spotify. That album marked the moment when the young Odd Future-affiliated rapper started to find his own identity. He had already defined himself as a brilliant, versatile lyricist, but his sound was still something majorly in the works. Earl is very much back. And while it might seem bizarre for a young rapper to focus on a dying medium, Staples seems to be commenting for the most part on how we consume pop music.
Guardian music writers have picked their favourite songs of the year — from UK drill breakthroughs to pure pop anthems — and put them all on a giant playlist. Mon 3 Dec K icking off our roundups of the best music of , polled from votes by more than 50 Guardian music writers, we count down our favourite tracks of the year — topped by a man who managed to unpick US racial politics, launch a thousand thinkpieces and reach No 1 in the US charts, all with a single track. Read about the top 20 below, and hear the whole top in playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. There are only two bands in this top 20, showing how the cultural dial at least among Guardian critics has continued to drift away from indie and rock. But this Melbourne quintet show that jangling guitars will never, ever stop being a joy, no matter how much tastes change. Mainland has a scrappy garage chug, tempered with the sweet breeziness of chillwave indie like Real Estate, and vocal harmonies that cock an ear to Teenage Fanclub — plus bags and bags of melody. She got cosmic on her fourth album, Golden Hour, yet her effortlessly pop songwriting remained grounded. More fool them.