50. Grimes w/Janelle Monae “Venus Fly”
49. Best Coast “Heaven Sent”
Best Coast is at her best when singing simple songs. “Heaven Sent” evokes a sweet innocence that radiates all throughout this track about love.
48. Demi Lovato “Stone Cold”
As far as big heart-wrenching ballads go I think hands down this is a better version of Adele’s “Hello”. Lovato flexes those pipes here and it really pays off.
47. Torres “New Skin”
46. Carly Rae Jepsen “I Really Like You”
45. Screaming Females “Wishing Well”
44. Justin Bieber “What Do You Mean?”
43. Johanna Warren “Less Traveled”
42. Girlpool “Before the World Was Big”
Another song that dwells in innocence, this time from the perspective of one looking back just after the world has turned from small to big. The song may seem short and slight, but there is depth to it both lyrically and in the way the songwriting matches its content.
41. Speedy Ortiz “Swell Content”
40. Hop Along “Texas Funeral”
Every song by Hop Along features a tour-de-force performance from singer Frances Quinlan; “Texas Funeral”–with Quinlan’s repetition that “none of this is gonna happen to me”–is the one that stuck with me the most off of their excellent album.
39. Drake “Hotline Bling”
38. Screaming Females “Burning Car”
37. Sufjan Stevens “Death With Dignity”
36. Future “Just Like Bruddas”
35. Wolf Alice “You’re a Germ”
34. Kanye West w/Paul McCartney “Only One”
Released the first minute of the new year, West’s ode to his mother and daughter is a beautiful portrait of love from a man who can be quite vulnerable, but rarely expresses it in beautiful ways.
33. Grimes “California”
32. Tame Impala “Eventually”
31. Young Fathers “John Doe”
30. Hiatus Kiayote “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk”
A jazzy soul quartet that brings life to your Starbucks-y, Norah Jones coffee shop soundtrack by adding an experimental edge. The song is simultaneously infectious and weird, feeling like it could fit into a Janelle Monae album.
29. MØ “Kamikaze”
I hope to write more about this in my albums of the year round up, but I’m really enjoying this trend of weird artists creating the catchiest of pop songs. MØ fits alongside your indie/electronic bands, but also (as she has proven) wouldn’t be out of place on top 40 radio. “Kamikaze” is an amazingly catchy indie pop song and deserves to be played for the broadest of audiences.
28. Courtney Barnett “Pedestrian at Best”
27. Speedy Ortiz “Raising the Skate”
26. Drake “Know Yourself”
I’m still disappointed that Drake’s “woes” are not a reference to a “woe is me” attitude as he “rides through the 6” but rather is a nickname for what he calls his crew. It would have made him the greatest sad-sack rapper of all time. Regardless, “Know Yourself” is a jam, blast it at your will and pretend it’s all about letting your neighbors know how sad you are.