25.Rae Sremmurd “No Flex Zone”
24. Chvrches “Empty Threat”
This is probably the easiest song to do a stupid dance to that came out all year, as soon as the chorus hits I dare you to defy the dance-spiration.
23. Wavves, Cloud Nothings “Come Down”
Rihanna has evolved from pop star writer, to pop star, to bona fide Queen status. Her work is on this braggadocio anti-hero track that is so much more exciting than the star who makes music based on the whims of songwriting teams and current trends. This track portrays Rihanna as an assassin and while it doesn’t live up to every blogger’s dream of female empowerment, it’s pretty cool.
21. Will Butler “Son of God”
20. Chvrches “Never Ending Circles”
19. Sorority Noise “Using”
18. Kacey Musgraves “Dimestore Cowgirl”
Country music is a blind spot for me, mostly due to taste and the apathy of not wanting to explore a genre I am unlikely to gain much from, but Musgraves is one who has gained quite the reputation from various music critics. I don’t love most of what she’s released, but “Dimestore Cowgirl” is sweetly infectious.
17. Vince Staples “Jump Off the Roof”
Here we have the most emotional cry out of anything released on To Pimp a Butterfly, with Kendrick celebrating being black, but conflicted about the hate he sees in others and in himself. The highlight of the song however is by guest: Assassin , who crushes the chorus an emotional strain in his voice.
15. Kurt Vile “Pretty Pimpin'”
14. Sorority Noise “Blissth”
13. Ciara “I Bet”
The song may suffer from me only discovering it a few weeks ago and keeps moving higher and higher on my list. I love me a good break-up song and Ciara’s created a fantastic one aimed at a jealous ex. It’s a little sad, a little feisty, and oh so catchy.
12. Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment “Sunday Candy”
Chance the Rapper’s crew has come up with one of the most sincerely sweet songs of the year all about Chance’s grandma and his weekly ritual of visiting her. He relates these visits to the experience of going to church and he reflects on an admiration of his grandma’s faith. Most importantly this song pulls off being completely joyous, capable of melting any cynic’s heart.
11. Sufjan Stevens “John My Beloved”
Drake may have won the feud, but Meek Mill’s opening track is better than than anything Drake put out this year. This was cemented further by it getting the “Eye of the Tiger” spot in Creed, one of the year’s most surprisingly great films. There’s a reason they used it in that spot, because it’s a banger that deserves to be blasted at maximum capacity.
As mentioned above, Chance released one of the most joyful songs of the year in “Sunday Candy”, here his guest spot on Bronson’s “Baby Blue” is filled with spite that also turns out surprisingly joyful. In my favorite rap verse of the year Chance lays out everything he hopes will happen to his ex-, listing things like “I hope you get a paper cut on your tongue” and “I hope you never get off Fridays/And you work at a Friday’s that’s always busy on Fridays”.
8. Carly Rae Jepsen “Run Away With Me”
This definitely has the best use of a saxophone all year with Jepsen proving she’s more than “Call Me Maybe”. It’s pure candy pop.
7. Courtney Barnett “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party”
Courtney Barnett has created what will forever be my Friday night jam–an ode to introverted nights at home which honestly sound amazing. Blast it with your friends at 8 pm before sneaking out the back door.
Tame Impala unexpectedly created some of the most infectious melodies of the year, “Let it Happen” is like a 7-minute psychedelic pop anthem.
Torres’ sophomore album was surprisingly heavy, featuring hard guitars and powerful vocals. “Sprinter” takes you on a walloping journey from her stories of growing up in church and the failure she saw to the slices of optimism that still remain despite her rejection.
It’s simultaneously one of the catchiest songs of the year whilst wallowing in a slight desperation. “Push Pull” is Purity Ring at the top of their game and grounds them as frontrunners of the electronic indie pop game.
Kendrick brags probably only like Kendrick could, forming an entire track around Kunta from Roots and bragging about how many yams he has. Yet even his track admonishing his own rise to power there is a world weariness–like most of To Pimp a Butterfly Kendrick is wary of his own fame, those that would use him, and any sort of people that would place him as a role model.
2. Grimes “Flesh Without Blood”
This is the best pop song of the year and I’m not really sure it’s trying to be. It’s a jolt of energy that seems to find most of its influence in K-pop rather than anything you might hear in Top 40 radio. K-pop can be an overbearing rush of sweetness at times, but when placed in the hands of Grimes, it evidently shines greater than just about anything.
1. Sufjan Stevens “The Only Thing”
I have three songs in the top 10 because of how irresistibly fun and catchy they are, but true to form, the song that truly captured my heart was a reflection on the loss of a loved one. Sufjan opens this song sitting in a car, having just lost his mother, and contemplating whether life is worth continuing. He is enraptured by everything his mother was and falls into a pattern where death and doubt plague his life. I imagine this song encapsulating exactly what it must feel like to have lost someone so dear to you, from a constant haunting: “everything I see returns to you somehow”, to the regret of not having fixed everything with that person: “I want to save you from your sorrow”. Yet even in all of this Sufjan finds hope, not negating his prior emotions, but finding signs and wonders that lead him down the path. It’s hau