Friday, December 4, 2015

50 Favorite Pop Songs of 2015 (Part One)

50. “Hypnotic” by Zella Day

Western-tinged alt-pop is strange hybrid of sounds, but this song just works so well. Its title is fitting, seeing that it hypnotizes listeners with a combination of that underlying shoot-'em-up cowboy movie guitar line, spurts of synths, and pouty voice.

49. "Dear Future Husband" by Meghan Trainor

This has been Meghan Trainor's year, and while she has had to share it with Taylor Swift, Adele, and Justin Bieber, she has still made quite a name for herself with a number one album and four top 20 singles. "Dear Future Husband" is quintessential Meghan Trainor; it's cute, doo-wop-dominated, and self-assured. Of course, it hasn't been without the accusations of being anti-feminist for its music video's imagery and mention of typical '50s housewife duties, but let's get real: the Internet finds something new to be offended over every day.

48. “Ex’s and Oh’s” by Elle King

Pop radio grabbing a hold of a girl with a voice that belongs on an '80s rock band album? Better believe it. Elle King found her success this year by burying a pop-worthy hook in old school rock and roll production that seems nearly authentic of decades past.

47. “Where Are Ü Now” by Jack Ü with Justin Bieber

The move that nobody expected from Justin Bieber: a decent electronic dance takeover. Skrillex and Diplo craft a spacious digital atmosphere behind him before bringing it home with a breakdown composed of Bieber's distorted vocals -- it's a style that actually suits Bieber well.

46. “Sparks” by Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff hasn't aged at all -- musically or physically. "Sparks" is a slice of sugary synthpop heaven, complete with a bouncy beat and a trend-conforming whistle post-chorus. An dance-worthy little bop, it is.

45. “Cool for the Summer” by Demi Lovato

Woah, Poot Lovato sure has changed. Her mature-content breakout comes a bit later than her former Disney girl counterparts, but she sure pulled out all of the stops: a new vocal technique accented by warm, seductive breaths, a grinding Max Martin production, and the shouted belts that make her identity clear again.

44. “Hello” by Adele

The lead single to Adele's record-breaking 25 may be the best that it has to offer. It is the proper punctuation mark at the end of her last album's affairs; a strong display of her well-supported vocals that brings closure to 21's chapter. And of course, it has been certified meme-worthy, too; just ask Miss Piggy.

43. "Borderline" by Tove Styrke

I had to cheat a little bit for this one to make the list, using the excuse that Styrke's full-length debut didn't get released until this summer. Her nasal-tinged sneer cuts through an off-beat, tribal-sounding track before she spirals into a strange little "ah" vocal run.

42. "King" by Years & Years

Years & Years' American breakthrough never happened, but this song was the group's best shot of doing it. It introduces listeners to the trio's silky-smooth take on faceless synthpop with one of their best melody lines and infectious synth runs.

41. “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld

At first, it seems like your basic pop song, perfectly manufactured for immediate breakthrough success. Upon closer listens, its clever and infectious nature begins to reveal itself. White moms love it for the mirage of self-empowerment; we love it for being the first song to go over every radio listener's head, even though the clear meaning is on display right between those bombastic choruses. It may just be the best song out there about... self-servicing.

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