Making an end-of-year list can be a complicated balancing act. How much importance should we place on a song’s overall impact and popularity when deciding on its ranking? How do we represent the varied tastes of our full staff in a single list? Is the process of ranking art even a productive exercise in the first place?
Over the course of several meetings, we approached this list with a single goal in mind: to celebrate a great year in music by highlighting all of our favorite songs in one place. We didn’t ask ourselves, “What do people expect to see on this list?” Instead, we put together a collection of songs that we couldn’t stop playing in 2018. These are the tracks that we put on in the office throughout the week and kept listening to when we went home on the weekends. In five years, we hope to look back on this as a documentation of the greatest moments from an incredible year in music. These are Complex’s picks for the best songs of 2018.