The conceit of this list is simple: Which music power couple dominated the year? In 2018, there is no easy answer. This, after all, was the year of Grusk, Pete & Ariana, and super secret weddings between men who write songs and play guitar and certified A-list actresses. I devised a complex, scientific formula to determine which of these 10 power couples technically “won” 2018, and after weeks of research and careful deliberation among the Stereogum staff I’m ready to present my research.
Please, keep in mind that the couples mentioned here either went public in 2018, were content fodder for tabloids, or had a “big year,” however you define it. This is dumb, heteronormative gossip at its peak — just ask Jack Antonoff. Let’s start the countdown.
10. Chris Martin & Dakota Johnson
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All you need to know about Dakota Johnson and Chris Martin is that they threw a gender reveal party (for someone else’s baby) and have matching infinity tattoos.
9. Neil Young & Darryl Hannah
There is a joke here to be made about Neil Young’s classic song “Heart Of Gold” and so I will make it: Neil Young has a heart of gold and it belongs to actress Darryl Hannah! The two have been dating since 2014, but they tied the knot in secret on a yacht near the San Juan Islands under a freakin’ blood moon, according to a local boat captain. Too bad it wasn’t a … harvest moon … heh.
8. Lil Xan & Noah Cyrus
Pitch: a Serial-esque podcast that investigates whether SoundCloud rapper Lil Xan and Miley Cyrus’ little sister Noah Cyrus ever actually dated even for like, one second.
The couple allegedly got together in June, after Xan allegedly slid into Cyrus’ DMs four months earlier and she didn’t notice. Allegedly. In August, they released a song called “Live Or Die.” Later that month, the couple arrived on the MTV VMAs red carpet together (pictured above) and kissed in front of everyone. But by Labor Day, they confirmed on Instagram they’d split up. Xan accused Cyrus of cheating and posted a picture of himself pissing on a plaque for his single “Betrayed” because he felt betrayed.
Cyrus alleged that Xan was needlessly jealous when she sent him a NSFW meme depicting Charlie Puth’s head on a porn star’s body. Then, she alleged that Xan was actually cheating on her. AND THEN, in an Instagram Live video, Xan claimed that Columbia set him up with Cyrus to “boost, uh, her like … y’know.” I assume the “y’know” is a stand-in for “make people give a shit about either of our careers.”
Yes, this is extremely convoluted and no, neither party is a reliable source (remember, Lil Xan did “overdose” on Hot Cheetos earlier this year) so I’m writing Sarah Koenig to see when we can get this investigation off the ground.
7. Kanye West & Kim Kardashian West
This is how I imagine a conversation between Kim and Kanye goes in 2018.
KIM: Babe, maybe you should put your phone away for the day.
KANYE: Hold on just a second, let me post this pic of me in a MAGA hat and then I’ll log off.
KIM: OK, sounds good babe. I’m going to research the prison-industrial complex.
6. Cardi B & Offset
If Ariana Grande is the Woman Of The Year, it’s only because Cardi B released her debut LP way back in January, which feels like a century ago at this point. In 2018, she became the first female rapper with three #1 hits, she secretly married her fiancé Offset, and the two brought a baby girl into the world. All of this happened after Cardi told freakin’ everyone on Earth about Offset’s cheating ways on Invasion Of Privacy. Just last week, Cardi announced that she and Offset are splitting up. Looks like he was not careful with Cardi after all.
5. FKA Twigs & Shia LaBeouf
FKA Twigs ditched her fiancé Robert Pattinson last year and ended up dating … actor Shia LaBeouf! This should surprise no one since Twigs is a performance artist and LaBeouf is desperately trying to become a performance artist. The couple will debut their new film, Honey Boy, at Sundance next year. No word yet on whether Twigs and R-Patz will continue to co-parent their dog.
4. Ariana Grande & Pete Davidson
I resent how often I was forced to consider Pete Davidson’s dick in the year 2018. We have Pete and Ariana to thank for Big Dick Energy, after all, and the memes this relationship spawned are already the stuff of legend. Here’s a working list:
- First Day Of Hogwarts
- Ariana sucking on a lollipop and looking up at Pete, who is dressed like my depressed middle school crush (pictured above)
- The aforementioned Big Dick Energy (also known as “BDE”)
- Hair Swap
- Butthole Eyes
- Piggy Smallz
- One Taught Me Love, One Taught Me Patience, One Taught Me Pain
- Saying “thank u, next” when you’re over it
Ariana and Pete are no more, but some memes last a lifetime, and that’s what matters.
3. Grimes & Elon Musk
When Grimes and Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made their relationship public at the Met Gala this year (the ultimate “I Am Rich” flex) the TL overflowed with apoplectic commentary. A lot of people were beside themselves, somehow confused why Grimes, an artist who is obsessed with AI and green energy and the future and nerd stuff, would date Elon Musk, a man whose greatest claims to fame are shooting an electric car he made into space and union-busting. Others were disturbed by how hard the internet was taking the news, tweeting stuff like: “Why should I care who Grimes dates?”
How naif. I care about who *EVERYONE* dates, which is why I made this list.
As of today’s date, Grusk seems to be going strong. I am so thankful for that, because they produced some of our best headlines this year. (Grimes even went so far as to block Stereogum on Twitter for a period, which, fair.)
- Elon Musk Is Dating Grimes?
- The Week Grimes And Elon Musk Broke The Internet: A Deep Dive
- Elon Musk & Lisa Prank Fight Over Farting Unicorn Drawing
- Grimes Says She Tried To Instigate A Tesla Union Vote, Defends Elon Musk’s GOP Donations
- Elon Musk Ends Farting Unicorn Feud With Lisa Prank’s Dad
- Azealia Banks Currently “At Elon Musk’s House Alone For Days Waiting For Grimes”
- Elon Musk Addresses Azealia Banks’ Claims About Her Weekend In His House Waiting For Grimes
- Azealia Banks Shares Apology Letter To Elon Musk
- The SEC Is Suing Elon Musk Over His 420 Joke To Impress Grimes
We appreciate power couples!
2. Phil Elverum & Michelle Williams
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Here’s a screenshot of the Stereogum Slack the second we learned that Phil Elverum secretly married Michelle Williams:
Your wedding is no longer important or special UNLESS it is a secret!! I don’t make the rules.
In all seriousness: It’s genuinely moving to see two people who have endured unimaginable loss find love again. I had a fat smile on my face when this news broke and I have a fat smile on my face writing about it now.
1. Ally & Jackson Maine
LOVE is better when it is FICTIONAL and TRAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!