Troye Sivan, Kim Petras, Taylor Swift, Cardi B, Kylie Minogue & Halsey single covers

Troye Sivan, Kim Petras, Taylor Swift, Cardi B, Kylie Minogue & Halsey single covers

Photos courtesy of Capitol, BunHead, Big Machine, Atlantic, BMG & Astralwerks

With July here means the first half of 2018 is over. The past six months have yielded major pop star breakthroughs and comebacks. To help navigate the always busy music scene, here are six standout tracks from January to June 2018 that deserve a second look.

January - Troye Sivan's "My My My!" / Bloom

Australian singer-songwriter Troye Sivan kicked off the year in a big way with the swaggering and sexy "My My My!" The gay artist hits his stride and lives his best life among synths and house music beats. Sivan's caught up in a hot romance that's got him repeatedly exclaiming the song's title. It's pure pop ecstasy at a fever pitch and Troye's fiercest and finest moment on the dance floor.

February - Kim Petras' "Heart to Break"

February saw the release of German pop star Kim Petras' breakthrough single "Heart to Break." Icy synths and bubbly beats soundtrack Petras' bad romance that keeps her coming back for more. "Anytime that you like gonna give you my heart to break," she concedes. It's fun, flirty and finding a place for transgender artists in pop music. Kim's breaking hearts and new ground.

March - Taylor Swift's "Delicate" / Reputation

After going on the offensive over the fallout that preceded last year's Reputation album, Taylor Swift let her guard down on the dreamy delight "Delicate." When her image took a hit, she had to carefully navigate love's waters as beautifully captured in the song. "My reputation's never been worse so you must like me for me," she sings. Taylor treads between fragility and fun with ease.

April - Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin's "I Like It" / Invasion of Privacy

Upon release of Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy album in April, her colorful collaboration "I Like It" with Puerto Rico's Bad Bunny and Colombia's J Balvin shot up the chart (and now it's No. 1 on Billboard). She embraces her Dominican roots atop a sample of the Latin classic "I Like it Like That" mixed with trap beats. The self-proclaimed Latino Gang does it for the culture with this bilingual club banger.

May - Kylie Minogue's "Golden" / Golden

In honor of her 50th birthday in May, Australian superstar Kylie Minogue premiered the music video for the rustic and radiant "Golden." Her usual disco-pop is married with a country music edge as she preaches a carpe diem message. "Live your life like you're stealing every little moment in time," Kylie sings. Minogue wears her legacy proudly on this empowering and timeless-sounding dance track.

June - Halsey's "Strangers" featuring Lauren Jauregui / Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

Rounding out LGBTQ Pride Month, singer-songwriter Halsey premiered the music video for "Strangers" with former Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui. Both bisexual-identifying ladies breathe life into the story of a girlfriend gone cold. "She doesn't kiss me on the mouth anymore," Halsey sings. Instead of going gender neutral, Halsey and Lauren normalize gay relationships with this electrifying gem.