The Class of 2018 playlist

A look back at the top songs of the past four years


Pharrell Williams, “Happy” 

Although this song may now be more known for being beaten to death by radio overplay, it was the top song of 2014’s year-end charts — and therefore the top track of the Class of 2018’s first semester of college. Whether you love it or hate it, it does seem pretty significant that this past fall — the Class of 2018’s last first semester — Pharrell was singing it live in Scott Stadium. Also, a song titled “Happy” is a pretty good title with which to start a college career. For example, the top song of 2011 was titled “Rolling in the Deep,” which is kind of depressing. “Happy” is solid. 

DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down for What” 

Coming in at No. 15 on the year-end charts, this song also seems appropriate in defining the phenomenon that is first-semester first-years finally discovering the freedom of college — for better or for worse. For the Class of 2018, this was the semester in which they had to grapple with the potential answers to that heavy question that DJ Snake & Lil Jon so wildly propose: is there really anything to turn down for? GPA? Gen Chem homework? RA’s on coverage?

Wiz Khalifa, “See You Again” feat. Charlie Puth

Things slowed down a bit in 2015, with one of the top tracks being Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s tribute track to “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker. A reminder to cherish your friends and not take anything for granted, this song was well-loved worldwide. Looking back, it’s still a relevant message to graduating fourth years getting ready to go their separate ways. 

Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

Still, 2015 didn’t slow down that much. This also happened. And along with those applications to Batten and Comm, it was probably stuck in everyone’s head for a while. 

Justin Bieber, “Love Yourself” and “Sorry”

2016 was the year of Justin Bieber’s renaissance. He came back … changed. And he dropped tracks that made the No. 1 and No. 2 spot on the Billboard charts for the year. He moved on from purple hoodies and swooshy hair to being danced to at Trin and Boylan. 2016 J.B. was living proof that reinvention is possible — and halfway through their undergraduate careers, maybe he gave a little hope to our Class of 2018 as they declared their majors and perhaps no longer were studying what they said they were first year. 

Migos, “Bad and Boujee” feat. Lil Uzi Vert

A top song of 2017, this is possibly how many members of the Class of 2018 felt as they entered their fourth-year — sipping wine in their Lawn rooms while checking off their “118 Things to Do Before Graduation” lists, writing theses and planning for their final formals and tailgates and homecoming and parties and events. Despite all the forthcoming stress about finding a job or going to graduate school, finally being a fourth year was pretty sweet, and a song talking about coming “from nothing to something” seems pretty well-timed. 

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, “Despacito” feat. Justin Bieber

This was the song of summer 2017, and again, while it may have been drastically overplayed, every member of the Class of 2018 probably danced in a somewhat summer-y setting to this song — be it at Beach Week, spring break, or maybe even after the summer was over and it was still playing pretty much every night, every day, 24/7, all the time. Whether you loved this song for the Spanish parts or the English parts or the shout-out to Puerto Rico — or even if you still don’t even know what “Despacito” means — it was definitely a summer staple.

Drake, “God’s Plan”

Finally, we arrive at 2018, and while there’s still much of the year and many yet-to-be-heard songs lying ahead of us, Drake’s “God’s Plan” is the No. 1 of the year so far — although that might be solely because of the line about his mom and his bed. For the Class of 2018, wherever you are going, whether you have everything planned out or whether you don’t even know what you’re doing tomorrow, whether you are staying in Charlottesville indefinitely or traveling the globe, remember the bigger plan, and remember the things that really matter: your mom and your bed. And your past four years at U.Va.

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