#40. “Reapers” – Muse
Muse’s 2015 album Drones isn’t great but they can still shred when it counts. “Reapers” is a big, riff fueled hard rock track that sounds more like Muse’s remarkable ascent than their plateau. Despite Drones’ shortcomings, songs like these keep Muse relevant nearly 20 years into their career.
#39. “Pretty Pimpin” – Kurt Vile
Like when a word loses meaning if you say it repeatedly, Kurt Vile wakes one morning to find an unrecognizable stranger staring back from the mirror. Finding some humor in the situation, Vile chuckles to himself and admires the stranger’s “pretty pimpin” clothes.
#38. “Good For You” – Selena Gomez ft. A$AP Rocky
“Good For You” is the sexiest song of the year. And then A$AP Rocky shows up for a totally unnecessary guest verse. But still, this song is chill and sexy af. On her intimate new album Revival, Gomez exhibits a newfound maturity and though she’s still got some work ahead of her, she seems to have the talent to remain commercially viable in her post-Disney pop life.
#37. “Here” – Alessia Cara
The outside perspective of a party has never sounded as cool or as confident as Alessia Cara on her breakout hit “Here”. The downtempo new-soul sound gives Cara’s voice and narrative plenty of room to operate and it’s no surprise that this song became inescapable in 2015. In 2014 she was just an aspiring YouTube cover artists and in 2015 she signed a record deal and released her debut album. Makes me thing one day I can make the leap from aspiring music blogger to taste-making mogul…until then, I’ll be “Here” on the outside.
#36. “Freedom ’15” – !!!
The cosmic electro funk of !!! (Chk-Chk-Chk) has always been best consumed live but on “Freedom ’15” from their latest album As If, they manage to capture the joyfully frenetic energy of their live performances.
#35. “Lighter” – Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz
Miley Cyrus’ surprise 2015 album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz is the most criminally underrated album of the decade. Co-written and produced with The Flaming Lips and Mike Will Made It, Cyrus’ created a psychedelic pop masterpiece but people can’t seem forgive the fact that Miley Cyrus made it. “Lighter” is a clean, understated 80s throwback love song that could have been a hit if anyone bothered to give it a chance.
#34. “Clearest Blue” – CHVRCHES
CHVRCHES’ sophomore album Every Open Eye inspired me to conjure a new classification for their genre: craft pop. Driven by an arsenal of synthesizers, drum machines and front woman Lauren Mayberry’s delicate but powerful vocal performance, CHVRCHES are at their best on “Clearest Blue”.
#33. “Eyes Shut” – Years & Years
“Eyes Shut” sounds like an indie electronica band doing a really earnest impression of early 2000s boy band ballads. As an avid fan of both early 2000s boy band ballads and indie electronica, this song got a lot of milage on my speakers in 2015.
#32. “Weathered” – Jack Garratt
Watch out for this guy. Jack Garratt’s debut album won’t be released until next month but “Weathered” first appeared on Zane Lowe’s show on Beats 1 Radio over the summer and I was hypnotized the first time I heard it. Reminiscent of other genre-melding songwriters like James Blake and Alex Clare, Garratt employs a captivating blend of bluesy guitars and electronic sounds on “Weathered”.
#31. “Let It Happen” – Tame Impala
Tame Impala made the leap from beloved little psychedelic indie rock band to international indie rock heroes in 2015. Their new album Currents is an astounding release and among the highlights, is the epic album opener “Let It Happen”.