Top 50 Tracks of 2015 (30-21)

30. Blood Stone “Married to Satan”

Amidst joyful noise pop guitar riffs and minimalist Moe Tucker-like drumming, Detroit, Michigan’s Blood Stone gleefully extol the many advantages of being the Prince of Darkness’ spouse. Even the song’s creepiest lyric, “I’m underneath your bed, while you’re doing your hair” is irresistibly fun to sing along with. A surprisingly cheerful girl/boy duet despite the subject matter, “Married to Satan” had every witch at the coven dancing in 2015. – Andy Mascola

29. Death Grips “Have a Sad Cum BB”

Outlandish. Death Grips is well known for their esoteric style, but “Have A Sad Cum BB” takes it to a different level. A much more instrumental track for the hip hop trio, “Have A Sad Cum BB” is all about production value, mixing in a little lyrics on top of absolute craziness. While there may be more digestible tracks in the Death Grips repertoire, “Have A Sad Cum BB” captures the atmosphere perfectly –angry and violent, in every sense except the physical –a poetic release. – John Naessig

28. Beach House “PPP”

Was any song this year more cathartic and powerful? Maybe, but the lovely “PPP” is certainly in the conversation. This is classic Beach House, making music that’s almost too rich and beautiful. Sure, lots of people want Beach House to take more risks and evolve, but when the duo can still pull off this kind of thing, why change for anyone? – Mark Steinbach

27. The Weeknd “The Hills”

This might be the darkest song there is about a secret casual hookup situation, and maybe that’s why it draws you in and keeps you transfixed. The beat sounds sinister, making lyrics about keeping his emotional distance from his part-time lover sound slightly more creepy than lonely. Why can’t he be himself unless he’s high? Why do they have to hide their trysts so carefully? What more is going on? With a sample of a woman singing in Amharic, the Weeknd’s mother tongue, there’s enough material here to dissect the meaning of this song in an essay. And despite the dark, sinister beat, this song is so hot that you’d probably still follow the Weeknd into a creepy, decrepit mansion in the Hills to hook up with him, no questions asked. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

26. Negative Scanner “Low”

With a creepy, stalking bass line and a sinister-sounding jangling guitar, Negative Scanner’s “Low” quickly snakes into your psyche and makes itself at home before picking you up and taking you on a rollercoaster ride through a dystopic post-punk nightmare. Rebecca Valeriano-Flores’ singing prowess is devastating as her vocal intensity increases tenfold in a running time of just over two minutes. Remarkably, as “Low” approaches its stark conclusion, Rebecca’s bandmates sound more exhausted than she does. A masterful performance by all involved. – Andy Mascola

25. Best Coast “In My Eyes”

Coming off of an album called California Nights, “In My Eyes” sounds like California. It’s an indie-rock breakup song with the upbeat charm of a ’50s girl pop song, a sunny combination despite the subject matter. With relatable lyrics about missing an ex despite the crummy relationship and long-coming breakup (lead singer Bethany Cosentino sings “I don’t remember having fun,” and notes that she treated him badly) nearly anyone can relate. It’s the song we all needed after that ill-advised summer fling fizzled. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

24. Beck “Dreams”

Maybe Kanye won’t agree, but Beck’s “Dreams” has landed at number 24. With a MGMT-like sound, this fun and danceable track has been featured in FIFA ’16 and in an ad for Apple TV. You know you don’t make it to a soccer video game’s soundtrack unless it’s a high energy song. The funky guitars present for much of the song give way to acoustic strumming and an ethereal sound leading into each chorus, then the funky guitar returns with electronic sounds. Beck has said he “was really trying to make something that would be good to play live.” He succeeded; “Dreams” is sure to get crowds moving. – Colleen Walsh-Jervis

23. Destroyer “Dream Lover”

Driving drums and blaring saxophone, “Dream Lover” sounds more like Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band than Destroyer. Daniel Bejar sounds the most enthusiastic he has in years while singing about his dream lover throwing in a comical “aw shit, here comes the sun.” – Adam Tercyak-Morgan

22. Heartless Bastards “Gates of Dawn”

“Oh, there was a silence comfortable / There is nothing left to say, to say,” sings Erika Wennerstromon, her voice a tremor backed by the strings of an acoustic guitar. She fronts Heartless Bastards, and “Gates of Dawn” is one of the best tracks from their newest album Restless Ones. The song’s simplicity is what makes it so beautiful; nothing about it is harsh or uneven or jagged. It flows in a way that’s almost perfect – leave it on repeat and you’ll be hard-pressed to have it start grating on your nerves. From the first note to the last, Heartless Bastards have proved themselves to be the indie rock band worthy of your attention in 2016. – Shannon Athena

21. Protomartyr “Why Does It Shake?”

Performing at the Pitchfork Music Festival, Protomartyr is the band that was on everyone’s radar this year, and rightfully so. The Detroit four-piece does post-punk better than you could ever dream – just look to “Why Does It Shake?” for the proof. The first half of the track is nothing but fuzzed-out guitar and Joe Casey’s rhythmic chanting before breaking into its titular line. The lyrics are cryptic and slightly unnerving, but that only lends the song its visceral thrill. Because of this, it’s reminiscent of Foster the People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks” – the words always reveal something darker than the music is letting on. Protomartyr isn’t trying to scare you, but who said good music couldn’t be a little disturbing? – Shannon Athena

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