The Best Pop Music of 2018 (So Far)

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


It’s only been six months, but 2018 has already given us some incredible pop music. From bangers to ballads, here are the best pop songs of 2018 (so far).


It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through 2018, but the year has been rife with outstanding pop music. From established artists like Janelle Monáe and Ariana Grande to newcomers like Cardi B and Troye Sivan, there have been plenty of highlights so far.

Included on our list are songs that have dominated the charts, like Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry” and Cardi B’s “I Like It.” We’ve also included more left-of-center picks, like Monáe’s “PYNK” and Sivan’s “My My My!”

So without further ado, here are the best pop songs of 2018 (so far).

Best Pop Songs of 2018

It’s only June, but 2018 has already given us a bounty of excellent pop music. Whether you’re looking for something to help you get through a tough break-up or just want to dance your cares away, there’s a pop song out there for you. Here are some of the best pop songs of 2018 so far.

“No Tears Left to Cry” – Ariana Grande

“No Tears Left to Cry” is a song by American singer Ariana Grande. It was released on April 20, 2018, through Republic Records as the lead single from her upcoming fourth studio album, Sweetener (2018). The song was written by Grande, Savan Kotecha and its producers Max Martin and Ilya Salmanzadeh. “No Tears Left to Cry” is a trap-influenced pop and R&B song with a house beat. Lyrically, it addresses the Manchester Arena bombing.

The song received positive reviews from music critics, who praised its production and called it a return to form for Grande. It debuted at number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became Grande’s ninth top 10 single in the United States. The song also debuted at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming her fourth UK top-ten single. Internationally, “No Tears Left to Cry” peaked within the top ten of the charts in 16 countries, including Australia, Canada, France and Germany.

A music video for “No Tears Left to Cry” was released on May 1, 2018. It was directed by Dave Meyers and features Grande upside down in various scenes throughout New York City. The video drew comparisons to the work of Alfred Hitchcock and M. Night Shyamalan due to its use of disorienting shots and plot twists. To further promote the song, Grande performed it live on several television shows including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live; as well as at Coachella 2018 where she was headlining.

“All the Stars” – Kendrick Lamar ft. SZA

“All the Stars” is a song recorded by American rapper Kendrick Lamar and singer SZA. It was released on January 4, 2018, as the lead single from the soundtrack album Black Panther: The Album. The song peaked at number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Lamar and SZA wrote “All the Stars” with Mark Spears, Anthony Tiffith, Al Shuckburgh, Abel Tesfaye, Solana Rowe, and Alexander Grant. Rowland worked on the production of the track with Timberland, who co-produced it along with Frank Dukes and Sounwave.

The song was originally intended to be included on Lamar’s fourth studio album DAMN., but after he was asked to create material for Black Panther, he decided that “All the Stars” would fit better for the film’s soundtrack. SZA’s involvement in “All the Stars” came after Lamar sent her an email asking her to appear on DAMN.; she agreed and recorded her vocals in two hours.

Lyrically, “All the Stars” addresses black excellence; it celebrates African beauty while also acknowledging the racism that black people face in America. The track received positive reviews from critics who praised Lamar and SZA’s chemistry, as well as its message of empowerment.

“Havana” – Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug

“Havana” is a song recorded by Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello, featuring guest vocals from American rapper Young Thug. It was released on August 3, 2017, through Syco Music and Epic Records, as the lead single from her upcoming second studio album. The song was written by Cabello, Starrah, Ali Tamposi, Brian Lee, Pharrell Williams and Young Thug, with production handled by Williams. A Latin pop and R&B track, “Havana” is an ode to Cabello’s hometown of Havana and her Cuban heritage.

Upon its release, “Havana” received critical acclaim from music critics, who praised the song’s production and Cabello’s vocal performance. Commercially, the track peaked at number one in several countries including Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary and New Zealand; while also reaching the top ten in over twenty-five countries such as Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the United States, “Havana” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100; it became Cabello’s first solo entry on the chart and her highest-peaking single as a lead artist until 2019 when it was surpassed by “Señorita”. The track additionally topped Billboard’s Pop Songs airplay chart. Globally, “Havana” was 2017’s ninth best-selling digital single with sales of 8.5 million units according to IFPI.

An accompanying music video for “Havana” was directed by Dave Meyers and filmed in Havana; it depicts Cabello interacting with locals in various locations throughout the city such as Prado Streetand Coppelia ice cream parlor. The clip received positive reviews from critics who praised its visuals and hailed it as a love letter to Havana. Commercially, it peaked at number three on YouTube’s Global Chart—marking Cabello’s highest-peaking visual on the chart until 2019 when it was surpassed by “Señorita”—and received a nomination for Best Pop Video at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. To promote the track further, Cabello performed live renditions of “Havana” on several televised appearances and during her set at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2018.”

“God’s Plan” – Drake

“God’s Plan” is a song recorded by Canadian rapper Drake, released on January 19, 2018. The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and set multiple streaming records. “God’s Plan” was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Rap Performance at the 61st Grammy Awards.

“Never Be the Same” – Camila Cabello

One of the year’s breakout pop stars, Camila Cabello, burst onto the scene with her solo debut album, Camila, in early 2018. The lead single from the album, “Never Be the Same,” is a pop anthem about young love and its intoxicating effects. The song reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Top 40 chart and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the biggest hits of the year so far.

Best Pop Albums of 2018

We’re only a few months into 2018, but there have already been some stellar pop albums released. Whether you’re into upbeat anthems or slower, more reflective tracks, there’s something for everyone on this list. Keep reading to see our picks for the best pop albums of 2018 so far.

“Sweetener” – Ariana Grande

Grande’s fourth album, “Sweetener,” was released on August 17th and features the singles “No Tears Left to Cry” and “The Light is Coming.” Grande co-wrote most of the album’s songs with her frequent collaborators Max Martin, Ilya Salmanzadeh, and Pharrell Williams. The album received critical acclaim, with many critics praising Grande’s development as a songwriter and her willingness to experiment with new sounds.

“Camila” – Camila Cabello

“Camila” is the debut studio album by Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello. It was released on January 12, 2018, through Epic Records and Syco Music. “Camila” features guest appearances from Pharrell Williams and Young Thug. The album was preceded by the release of the lead single, “Havana”, featuring Young Thug, which peaked at number one in several countries including the United Kingdom, Cabello’s native country of the United States, and Australia. “Camila” debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 119,000 album-equivalent units, of which 96,000 were pure album sales. It is Cabello’s first number-one album in the United States and her second overall following Fifth Harmony’s debut studio album “Reflection” (2015). Elsewhere, the album topped the charts in Australia, Canada, and Scotland.

“Reputation” – Taylor Swift

“Reputation” is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. It was released on November 10, 2017, through Big Machine Records. The record was primarily produced by Jack Antonoff, Max Martin, Shellback, and Swift herself, who also serves as the executive producer. The album features guest appearances from Ed Sheeran and Future. Upon its release, “Reputation” received generally positive reviews from music critics. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 1.216 million copies. In doing so, Swift became the first artist since 2013 to have an album open with over a million copies in a single week and the only artist in history to have four consecutive albums open with greater than one million album sales within its first week of release (her last three studio albums “1989”, “Red”, and “Reputation” consecutively).


In conclusion, the best pop music of 2018 has been a mix of established artists and fresh faces. From Justin Timberlake’s comeback to Cardi B’s breakout, there has been no shortage of great music to enjoy this year. Here’s hoping that the second half of the year will be just as good!

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