Friday, December 11, 2015

50 Favorite Pop Songs of 2015 (Part Two)

40. "Don't Be So Hard on Yourself" by Jess Glynne

All in one sitting, Jess Glynne's debut album gets a bit repetitive. In four minute increments, though, she can create bursts of euphoria. Case in point: "Don't Be So Hard on Yourself." It's a whirlwind of disco and europop production with unbreakable, soul-tinged vocals.

39. "Colors" by Halsey

The new "in" trend is to cyberbully Halsey, one of the most notable breakthrough stars of the year. But let's not let that take away from the quality of her music. "Colors" has been a fan favorite for a while, and for good reason. Perhaps the bridge's cheesy little poem take itself a bit too seriously, but the immersive chorus and pretty, artsy language makes up for that.

38. "Stressed Out" by Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots managed to capture the spirit of nostalgia and the struggle of growing old in just one song. Trip-hop fused alt-pop is in the duo's wheelhouse, and this song hits the nail right on the head; it succeeds with a good hook, conversational lyrics, and #relatable moments.

37. "Better" by Banks

The fragile upper register, the spooky lower register, the moans, the crackles, the squeals, the incredible, vibrato-rich runs... Everything Banks can do with her voice is breathtaking. While last year's Goddess was incredible in nearly every way and was constructed on murky synthpop and vocal samples, it looks like her second studio album will place even more emphasis on that voice in its natural state. "Better" allows it to shine at the forefront before the song builds into a short-lived climax.

36. "Money All Around" by Holychild

Ironic statements on society are nothing new in music, but Holychild makes them well. Creating their own realm of "brat pop," the duo immerses their ironic lyrics in tidal waves of heavy synthesizers and dance-floor beats -- and "Money All Around" may just be their crowning jewel.

35. "Hymn for the Weekend" by Coldplay
*stream is pitched due to copyright

Chris Martin plus Beyoncé? We must be in heaven. "Hymn for the Weekend" is a deep forest of fun, with Martin and Yoncé's vocals blending like coffee and cream as they sing, "I'm feeling drunk and high / So high, so high / Then we shoot across the sky," over the beat-laden, horn-accented track. 

34. "Bitch Better Have My Money" by Rihanna

I don't care. This thing is a banger, ratchetness and all. It makes more sense in context of the music video, but even without the knowledge of the accountant that bankrupted Rihanna, it's still a badass tune; the whole heavy trap track is sing-shouted and fueled on aggression. It's what we expected from Rihanna -- and it's wanted from Rihanna after that one night stand with an acoustic guitar on "FourFiveSeconds" early this year.

33. "Pity Party" by Melanie Martinez

What is the best way to make your "demented child" schtick seem authentic? Put your own spin on the most notable musical temper tantrum in existence. Melanie Martinez translates elements of Leslie Gore's "It's My Party" into a deep trip-pop meltdown and has the voice to execute the persona perfectly.

32. "Heaven" by Troye Sivan feat. Betty Who

Honestly, this one may be especially important to me as a member of the LGBT+, but that's alright. Troye Sivan's butter-smooth voice glides through the song's lyrics, which zero in on the conflict of interest between living openly as a gay man and subscribing to a religion that could be manipulated to condemn him to eternal damnation. And course, the addition of Betty Who definitely doesn't hurt, either.

31. “WTF (Where They From)” by Missy Elliott feat. Pharrell Williams

In the ten years that Missy Elliott has been gone, plenty of girls have come to fill her shoes -- but their size 7 feet just can't completely fill out Missy's size 12 shoes. At age 44, Elliott is back to show that she hasn't lost her touch with the Pharrell-assisted "WTF (Where They From)." She's still distinctive, she's still on top of the game, and she's still nothing but 100% Missy.

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