What’s This Playlist All About? The tastemaking site compiles its annual collection of bests, prefaced with this rather orotund description: “More than ever, music felt like a playing field where new, exciting artists were sharing the discussion with the veterans, if not taking it over outright. A sea change was underway, the borders eroded—and music was better for it.”
What You Get: As promised, there are indeed plenty of newcomers here—many of them women—from Snail Mail’s evocative, ‘90s-nostalgic indie rock to Tierra Whack’s one-minute hip-hop daydreams to cupcakKe and Cardi B’s brash and bold one-liners. In fact, women totally dominate this list, down to folk supertrio boygenius and alt-pop siren Mitski, who nabs the No. 1 spot. Heck, there’s even old standby Cat Power, whose “Woman,” featuring Lana Del Rey, may just sum up everything. But that’s not to say the men are ignored—no, not at all with electronic faves like DJ Koze and Jon Hopkins and hip-hop trendsetters like Earl Sweatshirt and Pusha T squeezed comfortably in between.
Greatest Discoveries: Spanish powerhouse Rosalia and her smoking mix of flamenco and alt-pop; Brooklyn singer-songwriter Amen Dunes’ moody, psych-tinged indie folk; and Against All Logic (Nicolas Jaar)’s heady, soul-groovy dance music.
How Well Does This Define the Year 2018? As mentioned above, the women rule the show here (appropriate for the year of #metoo), but Pitchfork clearly made a conscious decision to make this list plenty diverse to show—as they put it—an erosion of borders happening not just around the world but within our own musical tastes.