Crazed music addicts and generally neurotic individuals like myself are trapped by an undying compulsion to perpetually categorize, list, evaluate our music libraries – “best rock songs of the 1970s,” “best hip hop tracks,” “best Modest Mouse songs,” “best road trip songs,” “songs to put you to sleep,” “best songs for doing the dishes,” etc., etc., etc. We cherish December, as year-end-best-of lists render our obsessive need to rank things socially acceptable. But the most pathological among us (see Rolling Stone, Buzzfeed, and Paste Magazine) can’t even wait – we must indulge in a biannual roundup, the journalistic equivalent of throwing a rager for your half birthday. I hope you enjoy the following product of my clinical neurosis. Now excuse me while I tend to my Pinterest page.
Listen here: Best Tracks of 2015...So Far
“Planes” – Jeremih, J. Cole
“White Iverson” – Post Malone
“Check” – Young Thug
Sounds like: Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla $ign
Good for: Cashing out
Highlight: Young Thug’s ambient chorus of “sheesh!” during the hook.
Check out: All of Barter 6. Flames.
“I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” – Jamie xx, Young Thug, Popcaan
Sounds like: Star Slinger, Hudson Mohawk
Good for: Good times
Classic Young Thug: “I’ma ride in that pussy like a stroller”
Rap Genius weighs in: “The fact that a stroller is in essence a cradle for an infant and Thugger associates this with sex yields an opportunity for sly Freudian commentary about Thugger’s desire to return to the womb, and his unrestrained, nascent childlike id manifesting itself form his unconscious psyche.” Duh!
“Know Yourself” – Drake ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR
Wait for it: The song becomes a whole new type of magical at 1:40. And that’s how you let the beat build, bitch!
My woes: Rap Genius surmises that “woe” is another term for homie, reasoning that it derives from “whoadie,” a Southern slang term for friend. But Toronto artist and OVO Sound affiliate Devontée told Vice that “woe” stands for “working in excellence.”
“REALiTi” – Grimes
Sounds like: The best thing I’ve heard since “Genesis.”
Good for: Feeling whimsical
Don’t miss: The Grimes-directed video, featuring footage taken during her Asian tour and created as a thank you to her Asian fans.
“Trap Queen” – Fetty Wap
Sounds like: Your gay best friend who happens to be straight.
Because nothing says romance like pie: “I be in the kitchen cookin’ pies with my baby YASSSSSS.”
On having only one eye: “I tell everybody it’s nothing, because it’s really nothing to me.”
“Demon” - Shamir
Sounds like: Your best girl friend who happens to be a boy.
Good for: Feeling corrupted
It wasn’t me: “If I’m a demon baby you’re the beast that made me.”
“Full Circle (feat. Boxed In)” – George FitzGerald
“Ryderz” – Hudson Mohawke
“Firefly” – Mura Mas ft. Nao
“Bitch Better Have My Money” – Rihanna
Good for: Getting turnt
1-800-feelin-herself: “Every time I drop I am the only thing ya’ll playin!”
Insta-famous: Rihanna discovered one of the video’s co-stars on Instagram – Sanam is a 25-year old Seattle resident who works at a plant store. Excuse me while I go step up my selfie game.
“All Day” – Kanye West
Good for: Reminiscing Yeezus.
Classic Kanye: “Don’t really matter what I make, boy, you know I still go wild / Like a light skinned slave, boy, we in the motherfuckin’ house!”
“leaves” – Miguel
Sounds like: Prince
Good for: Realizing that California’s seasonless perfection creates an expectation at odds with the rest of life’s turbulence, setting residents up for disappointment (“the leaves don’t change here, so I never saw it coming.”)
“Lovetrap” – Soko ft. Ariel Pink
“Cause I’m a Man” – Tamp Impala
“Special Affair” – The Internet
Sounds like: SZA, Doja Cat
Good for: Feeling groovy
Deuces Tyler: The Internet is composed of former Odd Future members Syd Tha Kid and Matt Martians.
“Canal St.” – A$AP Rocky ft. Bones
Sounds like: The best A$AP track since “Peso.”
Pretty Mother Fucker: “Fuck jiggy, I’m flawless/ fuck pretty, I’m gorgeous”
“Dumb” – Jazmine Sullivan ft. Meek Mill
Sounds like: Mary J. Blige
Good for: Feeling vengeful
Bye Felisha: “Cause if you wanna go out and be single / Go ‘head, I told you I wont beg / Cause I know you gon’ miss me / So if you leave, baby, you must be.”
“The Hills” – The Weeknd
Sounds like: “Coming Down” from the Weeknd’s 2011 masterpiece, House of Balloons.
Good for: Doing uppers in glamorous settings
“Where Are U Now” – Jack U, Scrillex, Diplo, Justin Bieber
“2Shy” – Shura
“Shutdown” – Skepta
Sounds like: Wiley, Dizzee Rascal
Good for: Taking a break from hating on all things British…and then swiftly returning to it.
“XT” – μ-Ziq
“Should Have Known Better” – Sufjan Stevens
Sounds like: The defining sound of my angsty teenage years – Sufjan’s 2004 album, Seven Swans.
Good for: Feeling wistful
By Anna Dorn