By ALICEN HACKNEY
Each year we all wait patiently for our personal year in review on Spotify, and spend time mocking our friends for theirs as it often exposes much more of our guilty pleasure music than we’d like it to.
In 2018, UMW students listened to a good number of songs that made Spotify’s top 2018 list, found music that supported causes close to their hearts, and celebrated the lives of artists that aren’t with us anymore.
An incredible trend seen in 2018 was an increase in artistically feminist music and music videos. Ariana Grande played a significant role in this movement with her chart topping songs, “God Is A Woman,” “Thank U, Next” and “No Tears Left To Cry.” Most notably the music video for “God Is A Woman” called upon the reflection of the glass ceiling and numerous references to mother nature and the challenges women with cultural influence face.
“God is a Woman was probably the song that most stood out to me in the sense of how it relates to feminism verbally,” said junior Jo Sherwood. “However, I believe that she mainly contributes in how she’s presenting and promoting her music. She acknowledged on Twitter that she is seductive in her videos and promotional material but she points out that those decisions were up to her and not someone telling her she had to be sexy to sell records.”
Along with Ariana Grande, heavy hitters like Taylor Swift, who released her new album “Reputation,” Lizzo, who’s built a repertoire of female empowering music, and Kesha, with her single “Here Comes The Change” featured in “On The Basis of Sex,” a Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic, made 2018 the year of feminist music.
Male dominated bands have joined in support of the feminist movement as well. SWMRS debuted their music video for ‘Berkeley’s On Fire’ as a pre-album single on Aug. 17, 2018. This video featured an entirely female cast and focused on the culture and media coverage that surrounds the politics of rioting.
While Queen has been a long-time favorite across generations, they rose back to the top of the charts this year following the opening of “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Nov. 2. The film highlighted lead singer Freddie Mercury’s personal life, resonating with viewers.
In June the rap community was shaken by the wrongful and unexpected killing of artist XXXTentacion after an attempted robbery gone wrong. Beginning his career as a rap artist, often seen in the subgenera “Emo Rap,” he had a controversial career littered with criticism of misogyny and hatred. Despite controversy, he won two prominent awards following his death. His already popular music skyrocketed across streaming platforms following his death, landing him three spots on Spotify’s top 2018 list.
Looking forward, with the playlist “UMW 2019 Taste Breakers and Makers,” we’ve featured songs that are generating buzz across platforms and across campus. Notable trends to keep an eye on in the coming year include the ever present rise of K-Pop, music created by YouTubers such as Dodie Clark who recently released her new EP “Human,” and an increasing number of female solo projects.