Break­out Artists

FIVE ACTS—FROM THE BRONX TO KOREA—THAT MADE WAVES (AND RECORDS) IN 2018

Newsweek International - - CULTURE - —ZS

BOY­GE­NIUS

What hap­pens when three young, sad-sound­ing song­writ­ers join to form a su­per­group? They make epi­cally sad-sound­ing mu­sic with glo­ri­ous three­part vo­cal har­monies. The union of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Da­cus has ex­isted for just six months, but their sold­out shows and widely ac­claimed EP make us hope their fierce vul­ner­a­bil­ity con­tin­ues to re­ver­ber­ate in the male-dom­i­nated halls of in­die rock.

BTS

The seven-mem­ber South Korean boy band, around since 2013, is a global phe­nom­e­non, com­mand­ing Beatlesin-1964 lev­els of scream­ing fans, chart records and a so­cial me­dia em­pire—the most Twit­ter en­gage­ments for any mu­sic group. But it took un­til 2018 for BTS to be­come in­escapable in the U.S.: The group’s lat­est al­bum, Love Your­self: Tear, has be­come the first K-pop al­bum to top Bill­board’s

U.S. al­bums chart; BTS is also the only Korean act to play a U.S. sta­dium.

TIERRA WHACK

The de­fi­antly strange artist from Philadel­phia has turned a child­hood po­etry habit into a sur­re­al­ist hip-hop ca­reer. Her de­but, Whack World, re­ceived sub­stan­tial ac­claim. It’s also the most un­usu­ally struc­tured al­bum of the year: 15 tracks (one, “Bug’s Life,” about her se­ri­ous in­sect al­lergy), each just a minute long. And that rap-per­fect name? She was born with it.

GRETA VAN FLEET

If you are younger than Justin Bieber but play mu­sic that sounds ex­actly as if it’s from 1969, you might be a mem­ber of Greta Van Fleet. The band’s de­but, An­them of the Peace­ful Army, sold 80,000 U.S. copies in just one week. De­trac­tors mock them as hol­low, in­dus­try-hyped Led Zep­pelin clones. Fans adore them for be­ing old-fash­ioned, hard-driv­ing Led Zep­pelin clones. Ei­ther way, when’s the last time rock crit­ics got riled up ar­gu­ing about a rock ’n’ roll band?

CARDI B

“Bo­dak Yel­low” reached No. 1 (usurp­ing none other than Tay­lor Swift—quite a feat for an up­start rap­per) in the lat­ter months of 2017, but 2018 was the year Cardi so­lid­i­fied her vi­ral-fu­eled as­cent with her best-sell­ing de­but, In­va­sion of Pri­vacy. Cardi’s ag­gres­sive flow and dis­tinctly mil­len­nial rise from Bronx-bred strip­per to rap queen in­spired even politi­cians: Alexan­dria Oca­sio-cortez, in cel­e­brat­ing her own work­ing-class roots, quoted from “Best Life.”

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