Day 6

Timeless tracks: 2018 had plenty of big hits, but which ones are built to last?

Plenty of great songs dropped in 2018, but only a handful will still be in rotation 50 years from now. The Day 6 music panel weighs in on what gives a song staying power.

Not all of today’s biggest hits will still be around in 50 years

These are the artists whose songs the Day 6 music panel picked. (Photo credits clockwise from top left: Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press, Evan Agostini/Invision/Associated Press, Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press, Jordan Strauss/Invision/Associated Press, Alicia Wynter)

You may be hoping to forget the events of 2018 as soon as possible, but will you forget the year's top pop music too?

As January nears, we reconvened the beloved Day 6 music panel to tell us which songs from 2018 they think we'll still be listening to in 50 years.

The panel features Andrea Warner, a writer with CBC Music and the co-host of Pop This, Nate Sloan, a musicologist and the co-host of the podcast Switched on Pop, and Melissa Vincent, an editor with A.Side who also writes for Pitchfork, the Fader and the Globe and Mail.

What makes a song timeless?

For Vincent, timeless music examines universal moments, "like falling in love for the first time or maybe being curious about the future."

Sloan told Day 6 host Brent Bambury that universal themes are important, with the caveat that "a song has to be grounded in some specific moment [or] emotion."

And of course, "a good beat and a really catchy hook" never hurts, Warner added.

Andrea's pick: 'Deliberately, defiantly, radically feminist friendship'

Warner's pick for 2018's most-timeless song is Srty by Toronto hip-hop collective The Sorority.

In addition to the rhymes, she loves the allusions in the song, like the lyric "secret 'tween our thighs," a reference to the poetry of Maya Angelou.

"I just get so excited about this idea that we are moving into a place where we're seeing very deliberately, defiantly, radically feminist friendship prioritized in music," Warner said.

Melissa's pick: A forward-looking political anthem

In 2068, Vincent says we might still be jamming to Janelle Monae's Americans.

The song pulls musical influences from new jack swing, '80s pop and Prince, Vincent told Day 6.

It also has a strong political message.

"For a black queer woman to put out what is essentially a pro-America anthem feels like a contradiction," she said. 

"But Janelle Monae uses the song to remind us that it's not. And she's entitled to call herself an American and envision a new future for the country as much as anyone else is on the other political side."

Nate's pick: 'A celebration of hedonism'

I Like It by Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin has an addictive beat and brilliantly marries trap drums with the 1967 boogaloo classic of the same name, Sloan says.

He argues this "celebration of hedonism" may still have legs in 2068.

"This song is taking 50 years of musical history and incorporating it. So maybe 50 years from now, it'll still be resonant — and especially at a time when this kind of diasporic music seems so relevant; that's only going to be [truer] I imagine in another five decades."

Songs to say 'thank u, next' to

Some beloved songs from 2018 probably won't last, the panelists say, but that doesn't mean one can't enjoy them while they're here. One example of that is Ariana Grande's thank u, next, which embodies that very sentiment.

"I would say what it will continue to give us for 50 years is a master class in duality: shade and gratitude going hand in hand. And I love this," Warner said.

"I think the theme of the song will carry on forever. The song itself will be dead probably next year."

For Vincent, Sheck Wes' Mo Bamba is the not-so-timeless hit of the year.

"If you're on a dance floor, kids are pogo-ing. I think anything that just creates a mosh pit where you might not expect one is a song I can't get enough of."

What's your pick for the most timeless song of 2018? Share it with us on Twitter at @CBCDay6 — and if we're still here in 2068, you can check in and tell us if you were right.


To hear our music panelists deliver their picks, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.

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