Top 50 Tracks of 2015 (20-11)

20. The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face”

The Weeknd makes sexy songs, even when they’re about drugs. Even when they’re about facial numbness due to drugs. Serious medical concerns sound pretty darned fun when the Weeknd sings about it. “Cant Feel My Face” has much in common with Michael Jackson’s Thriller era: it’s got the great beat, it’s got the falsetto vocals, and it makes you want to dance. And like Michael Jackson, The Weeknd can dance (even while on fire.) There’s nothing not to like about this catchy number. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

19. Drake “Hotline Bling”

Drake has made the world a slightly better place for all of us terrible dancers out there: we can dance however we damn well please to “Hotline Bling” and, after that video, we can’t be judged. Hell, Drake pulls the “my-hand-is-a-phone” and “invisible basketball” moves. “Hotline Bling” takes its instrumentals from Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together?” and gives them a slightly Latin sound, keeping things kind of simple and letting the lyrics (and the dancing, if you’re watching the video) take the spotlight. Drake’s wounded singing is a departure from his typical posturing: he’s a brooding, jealous ex who can’t stand that his former lover moved on after he left the city. But fear not, he’s not so bummed that he can’t dance. But, let’s be honest for a second: did you like this song before you saw the video? – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

18. Momus “The Driver”

After nearly thirty years making fantastically original albums filled with esoteric pop songs on themes as varied as sex and time travel, Momus (Nicholas Currie) is still capable of composing cabalistic pocket masterpieces. A love song written from the perspective of an automobile to its driver? A paean to car-crash sexual fetishism? Regardless of your interpretation, “The Driver” is quintessential Momus. – Andy Mascola

17. The Underground Railroad to Candyland “Dead Leg”

No song better exemplifies character corrosion brought about by capitalist greed than The Underground Railroad to Candyland’s anthemic “Dead Leg”. Introduced appropriately with a sample of get-rich-quick nineties infomercial pitchman Tom Vu, “Dead Leg” manages to temper its message of prosperity’s alienation with rollicking, countrified guitar and galloping drums. “Dead Leg” is the most fun you can imagine having while raging against the one percent. – Andy Mascola

16. Bjork “Stonemilker”

Bjork is synonymous with a lifetime of musical performance and mastery. It’s only natural she would continue to impress and her 2015 song “Stonemilker” is a shining example of Bjork’s genius. As gorgeous as ever, Bjork lays out haunting vocal lines. The orchestrated melodies build an absolutely maddening, beautiful, and artistic layer of Bjork goodness. “Stonemilker” is something to be grateful for. While we may all have our favorite Bjork songs, with the sensations it evokes, “Stonemilker” is arguably one of her greatest works in years. – John Naessig

15. Kendrick Lamar “Alright”

Dense but poppy. Poignant but celebratory. “Alright” is the centerpiece and crystallization of the genius nuance at the heart of Kendrick Lamar’s masterpiece of an album. There’s not much more that can be said: this is an essential, career-defining song. – Mark Steinbach

14. Florence + The Machine “Ship to Wreck”

Florence + the Machine are ever-evolving, and now they’re on to making music that is a little less theatrical and a little more rock. They’re channeling Fleetwood Mac and R.E.M. here, adding guitar and a fairly prominent tambourine to Florence’s phenomenal, powerful voice. It’s the song you want to belt out and sing along to in the car, all the while praying that the audio doesn’t cut out because, if it did, you’d realize that your voice is more like a goat’s than Florence’s. With nautical imagery, Florence reveals a destructive side, having to ask her love to remind her of something awful she’s done and doesn’t remember. We’ve all built a ship that we’ve promptly wrecked at some point in our lives, so preach, Florence, preach. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

13. Father John Misty “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.”

That swaying melody, those opening lyrics, “Oh I just love the kind of woman that can walk all over a man. I mean like a goddamn marching band.” Father John Misty’s “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.” is a shocker from the start. A complex and robust instrumentation, mixed with jabbing and absolutely brutally honest lyrics make for one hell of a song. There’s no doubt about it that 2015 has been a hell of a year for J. Tillman, the man’s on fire, and his songwriting has won us over. “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.” is a tune unlike others. It’s a hard pill to swallow, it’s a dose of frankness, it’s one hell of a catchy song. – John Naessig

12. Jamie xx “Gosh”

As far as post-dubstep albums go, Jamie xx’s solo full-length debut In Colour was among the most anticipated of 2015. Utilizing fun samples and a hypnotic beat, the record’s lead-off track “Gosh” is at once catchy and inviting. For fans of his project The xx, “Gosh” serves as a reminder of Jamie’s limitless abilities as a brilliant producer. For the uninitiated, the song provides a solid introduction to the sounds and styles synonymous with the fledgling genre. – Andy Mascola

11. Grimes “Flesh Without Blood”

Grimes is a master of juxtaposing innocent pop melodies with heavy and often dark lyrics. In the case of “Flesh Without Blood,” the catchiness of the track is so overwhelming that it is not until several listens through that you realize how sad the lyrics actually are. You can easily glaze over, Grimes singing “remember when we used to say ‘I love you’ almost every day?/I saw the light in you going out as I closed our window” because of her child-like voice and exuberant instrumental. The more times you listen, the more you realize why Grimes called “Flesh Without Blood” one of the most personal songs she’s written. – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

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