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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
The world's biggest string band discovers electricity and uncorks one of their most muscular anthems without compromising a shred of folk-rock heart.
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.
How did it take Coldplay this long to go disco? This confetti-bright, carefree jam was exactly as fun as "The Scientist" was sad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lorde finds the ecstatic liberation buried inside a slow-burn groove from Disclosure. The year's most understated dance-world magic.
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.
A seductive smile of a song that wouldn't leave your head for the rest of the night, or the year.
No one outside of Drake's inner circle called Toronto "the 6" before this year, and few will call it that in 2016. But for the space of this song, he made his imaginary slang sound like the absolute coolest syllables in the universe.
Sung from one outsider to another, the Nashville maverick borrows an old Wilco tune and big-ups Jackson Pollock for an ode to a small-town outcast with rock & roll dreams.