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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

8

Future, “Fuck Up Some Commas”

From Atlanta to Pluto, the man who's dubbed himself "Future Hendrix" came back strong in 2015, taking a money shower – thousands, millions, the more commas the better – over a siren-laced banger of a beat.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

7

Kendrick Lamar, “King Kunta”

The fiercest and most funkadelic track on To Pimp a Butterfly takes aim at everything from Lamar's haters to "the power that be." We already knew Kendrick was a great lyricist; turns out he's kind of a badass, too.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

6

Adele, “Hello”

When Adele says "hello," people listen – like, tens of millions of them. Whether she was singing to an ex (as the video seemed to imply) or to her younger self (as she's maintained), this achingly intense ballad hit home like an emotional sledgehammer.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

5

Jamie xx feat. Young Thug, Popcaan, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”

2015's sunniest summer jam came from the unlikely trio of Jamie xx, Young Thug and Jamaican toaster Popcaan – plus sweet R&B harmonies sampled from the Persuasions, for a true street-corner symphony.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

4

Courtney Barnett, “Pedestrian at Best”

The most thrilling four minutes in rock in 2015: garage-y guitar crunch and a darkly hilarious rant lead to a chorus that your favorite Nineties alt band would have eaten its Doc Martens to have written.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

3

Drake, “Hotline Bling”

A vintage Seventies drum-machine sample powers Drake's exquisitely rueful remembrance of booty calls past. Now all he can do is miss that girl, brood about her new life at the club and dance like the world's biggest fool for love.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

2

Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

The year's biggest brand-new star sent a stylish "Hey, what's up, hello" from Paterson, New Jersey, to the entire world. Fetty Wap conquered the radio with a gangsta love song – behind that nuclear-level catchy hook is the tale of a criminal-minded hustle for two, a Scarface dream where Fetty and his trap queen can cook up hella-illegal pies and ride high together forever. It definitely says something about our crazy times that the most credible romantic fantasy out there is about a drug-slinging couple, but perhaps that's what we've come to. A pair of matching Lambos? Now that's true love.

50 Best Songs of 2015

Illustration by Ryan Casey

1

The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

It was the "oooooh!" that changed everything. That single ecstatic syllable, slipping out just before each chorus, transformed Abel Tesfaye (a.k.a. the Weeknd) from a cult R&B singer to a full-on pop star – just as decisively as a similar yelp of joy marked a new era in Michael Jackson's career when "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" hit 36 years earlier. Max Martin's satin-smooth production helped, too, vaulting "Can't Feel My Face" straight to Number One on the pop charts with Scandinavian efficiency. But Tesfaye's showstopping vocal performance is what makesit an instant classic. He spends the song remaking himself as a pop giant – cleverly disguising his obsession with drugs beneath a metaphor about a dangerously hot fling, and playing down his angst-y tendencies until there's just a hint of existential pain in his lighter-than-air falsetto. By the time the song is over, you'll do anything for another hit.