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50 Best Songs of 2015

Adele, Drake, Fetty Wap, the Weeknd and more

50 Songs

Illustration by Ryan Casey

2015 was the year Drake made our hotlines bling, the Weeknd made sure we couldn't feel our faces, Adele said "Hello" again and Fetty Wap made us all jealous of his steady pie-cookin' companion. Check out the year's 50 greatest songs below, and stream them all here.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

50

Titus Andronicus, “Dimed Out”

In a year where more was more, this pulse-racing punk anthem about never settling for less than the realest, deepest experiences in life was a wild-eyed rallying cry.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

49

Carly Rae Jepsen, “Run Away With Me”

Part M83, part "Baker Street," the mid-Eighties Corvette-cruise retro obsession that ruled so many playlists in 2015 burst from the vaporwave underground into explosive pop.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

48

Major Lazer feat. Mø, DJ Snake, “Lean On”

Rihanna turned it down. Nicki Minaj, too. So Diplo's anything-goes dance crew teamed with a Danish goth-pop upstart and a French party starter who loves Middle Eastern melodies. The result: The most streamed track in Spotify history, and one of this year's most insidiously delightful hooks.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

47

Cage the Elephant, “Trouble”

The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach helps the Kentucky garage-rock crew stir up some exquisitely sweet, red-eyed psych-pop — like the Tommy James of "Crimson and Clover" hiding under the covers and wishing the world away.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

46

Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”

Country music's great blue state hope returns with some plucky Hee-Haw corn that gives Hank Williams' "Mind Your Own Business" a very contemporary boot: "Pissin' in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener."

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

45

Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”

Rihanna gaffles five words from a handful of Eighties and Nineties men (Keenan Ivory Wayans, Big Daddy Kane, AMG), and now she might own them forever. Album or no album, this one goes harder than John Kasich trying to get elected.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

44

Wolf Alice, “Lisbon”

Pure retro-Nineties noise-pop bliss: 23 year-old London alt-rocker Ellie Rowsell sounds like she just strutted in from the second stage at Lollapalooza but her music crackles with fresh, knotty self-discovery.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

43

Mumford and Sons, “The Wolf”

The world's biggest string band discovers electricity and uncorks one of their most muscular anthems without compromising a shred of folk-rock heart.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

42

Sheer Mag, “Fan the Flames”

This Philadelphia five-piece's second seven-inch rocked harder than a lot of artists' entire albums this year – like Big Star or Cheap Trick busting out of an amp that doesn't sound much bigger than telephone receiver.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

41

Coldplay, “Adventure of a Lifetime”

How did it take Coldplay this long to go disco? This confetti-bright, carefree jam was exactly as fun as "The Scientist" was sad.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

40

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”

Dizzingly strange, undeniably soulful rattle-trap stoner-disco that somehow makes lines like "We eat crickets/In the future" seem like an invite to a five-star feast.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

39

The Weeknd, “Earned It”

The 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack proved Abel Tesfaye's ideal entree into the pop mainstream, though here he eschewed S&M to instead focus on the bottom line, lending his liquid falsetto to the role of affectionate sugar daddy.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

38

A$AP Rocky feat. Rod Stewart, Miguel, “Everyday”

A sampled '68 Rod Steward guest vocal (from Python Lee Jackson's "In a Broken Dream") ebbs into Miguel's contemporary take on the same melody; A$AP Rocky pivots from boast to confession and back again with nimble, conflicted virtuosity.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

37

Blur, “Ong Ong”

Brit-pop lives in 2015! Damon Albarn's written tons of great hooks in the decade-plus since Blur's last album, but he kept this one in his back pocket.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

36

Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”

2015 was a car crash of a year. When we woke up every day as optimists and were ready to go wild by nightfall, this was the blues song we needed, with Rihanna voicing our pain, Kanye venting our frustration and a Beatle strumming along in support.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

35

Car Seat Headrest, “Something Soon”

After five years and 12 Bandcamp releases, lo-fi hero Will Toledo yelped loud enough for the world to hear, announcing, "I want to romanticize my headfuck," complaining about sitcoms and idolizing Raymond Carver over wiry indie-rock.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

34

JD McPherson, “Let the Good Times Roll”

Though Shirley and Lee, Sam Cooke, Louis Jordan and the Cars all sang that title before, that didn't stop one of the top rock & roll revivalists of his generation from writing his own version with the perfect mix of arrogance and respect.

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33

EL VY, “Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, With Crescendo)”

Matt Berninger from somber Brooklyn indie-rock dads the National and a Portland buddy named Brent steal a title (the parenthetical part) and some guitar action from Eighties lefty-punks the Minutemen and knock out some swooned-out hand-clap disco-pop that's one of Taylor Swift's favorite new songs.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

32

Disclosure feat. Lorde, “Magnets”

Lorde finds the ecstatic liberation buried inside a slow-burn groove from Disclosure. The year's most understated dance-world magic.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

31

Kurt Vile, “Pretty Pimpin'”

Our man with the golden guitar tone finds himself staring in the mirror at a total stranger — then shrugs off the panic with a jokey tune that's loopier than a Möebius strip.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

30

Selena Gomez, “Good For You”

A seductive smile of a song that wouldn't leave your head for the rest of the night, or the year.