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SongsOfTheYear_SoFar

The Best Songs Of 2015 So Far…

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After half a year of solid listening, we gathered together a list of thirty songs that most made their mark on us to this point in 2015. 

Illustrations by Bianca Bosso.

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WhatSoNot
30. What So Not
Gemini (Feat. George Maple) 

Amidst all the tears and tantrums that followed the news that your boy Flume was 2kewl4skewwwl and had departed duo What So Not, the boys released one (probably final) absolute banger. Mysterious songstress and all round babe-town George Maple lent herself to the track and produced some seriously entrancing vocals. Literally cannot think of another team-up in the world of Electronic this year that could have been as explosive as this. The song has cemented itself in the sets of every Future Classic/OWSLA DJ…for like…ever. If that doesn’t talk of its staying power, I don’t know what will. – Meshell Webb

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TkayMaidza

29. Tkay Maidza
M.O.B.

Catchy is one word to describe this song, and it’s probably also the most apt. It’s infectiously up-beat and easily Tkay Maidza’s most polished work to date. It’s a gorgeous cross between electro and hip-hop, and not only showcases the irrepressible Maidza’s ability to both sing and rap but also her awesome knack of transitioning seamlessly between the two. Not hard to guess why it’s already been one of triple j’s most played songs this year, and when you take into account the relatable topic material, ‘money over bitches’, now who can’t relate to that? – Zanda Wilson 

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HotChip

28. Hot Chip
Need You Now

Hot Chip are the definition of an act that understand the importance of texture and layering. These guys are masters at hiding complexity in simplicity, especially with regards to the enveloping individual rhythms, instrumental lines and samples that cascade in and out of prominence throughout Need You Now. The addition of vocal counter-melodic lines gives the track another level of polish and professionalism. Need You Now is a deceptively diverse sectionally-perfect banger. – Zanda Wilson 

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Elliphant

27. Elliphant
Love Me Badder

Elliphant is known for her bad bitch personality, take no prisoners, middle fingers up whilst driving into the sunset vibes, but with Love Me Badder she’s showing some vulnerability. The track sees the singer open up a whole new world in her music. She’s at her rawest and most vulnerable but still packing a powerhouse whallop into that chorus. If versatility is the key to longevity in an artist career then Elliphant is showing that she’s got what it’s got to keep fans interested for years to come with this change up. – Alexander Wilkinson

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Nao

26. Nao
Apple Cherry

Nao properly arrived in 2015 as one of those artists you can’t help but fall hopelessly in love with from the first listen. Her use of harmony, play with rhythm and rhyme, and the minimal instrumentation playing off heavy synths in Apple Cherry make it a compelling track, which continually moves and evolves. Of course, one can draw many similarities to FKA twigs, but that’s more a sign of the times than anything else. Like twigs, Nao is one of the rare few standout artists that are nailing the future RnB genre. – Donna Maria Arendse

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TheWeeknd

25. The Weeknd
I Can’t Feel My Face

If there’s anything surprising about The Weeknd‘s new single, it’s the departure from his usual dark, hazy efforts to this radio-friendly yet overtly capturing track. What’s unsurprising, however, is that it hits every mark that a good single should. Abel Tesfaye has been on the radar for some time now, progressing strongly since 2011’s House of Balloons. But if he wasn’t well regarded before, he will be now. This is one of the better (or best) examples of a song that explores the relationship between love and drugs. The lyrics are transparent, but there’s really no need for them to be anything but. Carrying an irresistible bassline and Michael Jackson-esque vocals, this song is an explosion waiting to happen. – Annie Cooper

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Eves

24. Eves The Behavior
Electrical

Eves The Behavior’s next move following the brilliant TV was always going to be anticipated and she didn’t disappoint with Electrical. The track and its subsequent Warpaint remix has seen Hannah skyrocket into headphones of the general public. Comparisons to female artists like Lorde, Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES) are common among the bloggers but Eves The Behavior’s distinguishes herself with icy synths and hushed yet anthemic-in-feeling vocals that wash through the chorus – “I’m nothing more than skin and bone, with wires that make me tremble”. Splendour In The Grass will mark her proper arrival as one of Australia’s best assets right now. – Alexander Wilkinson

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TameImpala_Eventually

23. Tame Impala
Eventually

In a Reddit AMA earlier this year Kevin Parker noted that Eventually was “still very moving” for him to listen to. And that’s seems to have translated to the rest of the public as well. Eventually has two modes – those expansive, crunching guitars that elevate the verses and the crystalline, stillness that illuminates the bridge and the chorus. “I know that I’ll be happier and I know you will too,” Parker sings, giving us both his most personal and fragile moment yet. Lonerism had its sweet, introspective moments but never did it break down the walls as much as Eventually does. Tame Impala have a break-up song and it’s not jaded nor is it angry, it’s hopeful. – Sam Murphy

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FourFiveSeconds

22. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney
FourFiveSeconds

Rihanna has always come out all-guns-blazing on lead-singles from new albums so it’s an understatement to say FourFiveSeconds was a surprise. It’s no Only Girl, We Found Love or Diamonds, it’s not even Russian Roulette. Instead it’s an acoustic number featuring music royalty of young and old. That initial shock stumped people at first but the song eventually gained momentum and that’s because it’s got an undeniably brilliant melody that only took one instrument to orchestrate it. Rihanna’s voice is at its grittiest and even Kanye sounds like a crooner. One of the few risks in pop music this year and it turns out all that was needed was a little simplicity.

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Grimes

21. Grimes
REALiTi

After a clear division between fans over Go, Grimes shot back earlier this year with a forgotten off-cut from the fabled “lost-album” that she began and canned in 2013. The song rode the fine line between her sounds from Oblivion and something new and exciting. It didn’t matter what your thoughts on Go were…Grimes fans worldwide rejoiced at the release of the amazing single (and totally tumblr-worthy film-clip). The real baffler was that Grimes herself thought that this song wasn’t album worthy in the first place, reminding us all that she is a superior being. – Meshell Webb 

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CourtneyBarnett

20. Courtney Barnett
Depreston

It’s hard to argue now that Courtney Barnett isn’t one of the greatest songwriter is the world. She manages to take the mundane and amplify the emotions surrounding it. It’s never more clear than on Depreston – a song about looking for suburban real-estate in Melbourne. Instrumentally Depreston is her most solemn sounding track with Barnett gently spilling out her thoughts over a simple but effective arrangement. In the song’s latter parts she manages to create a stirring hook out of the line, “If you’ve got a spare half a million/You could knock it down and start rebuilding.” Not many, if any, could do that. – Sam Murphy

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Florence

19. Florence + The Machine
Ship To Wreck

The expectation for Florence + The Machine’s third LP was that they would continue aiming for the grandiose like, the at times overwhelming, Ceremonials. But they didn’t. They reigned it right in and delivered a career best with Ship To Wreck being the hallmark of that. At first it sounded limp but as time when on Ship To Wreck flourished into a loose-limbed masterpiece that evoked something freeing inside all of us. It’ll bring out the interpretive dancer in all of us and that seems to be exactly what Flo and co would’ve wanted. – Alexander Wilkinson

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TobiasJessoJr

18. Tobias Jesso Jr.
How Could You Babe

We all keep saying it but how goddamn refreshing is it to hear a plain old great ballad in a market that is saturated with overproduction? For all the bells and whistles in the world won’t write you a song as great as this one. One listen and you’re hooked. The retro recording techniques only lend to the charm of Jesso Jr. The baby-faced singer teeters on the edge of a sound that could be cheesy but the sincerity of the lyrics along with the no-bullshit presentation give this song the kind of timeless appeal that means you can totally rock out to it in the car and your grandma will love it too. How cool is that? – Meshell Webb

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Jamiexx_Gosh

17. Jamie xx
Gosh

When Jamie xx debuted this song on BBC Radio 1, Annie Mac compared it to Orbital’s Belfast. While they’re are distinct differences in terms of tempo, she was spot on. The two songs correlate because they both find their euphoria in a finessed melody that runs underneath a club-ready beat. Gosh is Jamie xx’s love letter to the British club-scene. His kisses are blown in the form an alarm-like synth that sweetens a frenetic, industrial beat. When the synth comes out at the midway points its as if the lights are completely blurring out club-goers vision. They can’t see a thing but they know they’re in good company. It even translated to Glastonbury over the weekend where you could see hearts melting. – Sam Murphy 

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FatherJohnMisty

16. Father John Misty
Bored In The USA

Father John Misty arrived back on the scene with an unusual piano ballad that that darkly scrutinises the societal problems afflicting the US of A. Different from his trademark folk, it’s a treatise on White America and its disillusionment. But hey, don’t let that deter you – the gentle piano melody is arresting paired with his voice echoing the vacant melancholy of Americans who find themselves “bored” with their lives. While downbeat, the acutely-written lyrics strike at the heart of Middle America making it both a humorous and unnerving listen. – Michelle He

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KanyeWest

15. Kanye West
All Day

Even sans flamethrowers, All Day is one of the finest gifts Kanye has blessed us with for a long while. It’s angry, substantial, and subverts any preconceived ideas as to what his next album will sound like. This is Kanye showing us what he is capable of as a rap artist, this is Kanye rapping harder, faster, sharper, so it is clear that his war waged against those running radio is not yet done, and far from. Allan Kingdom and Theophilus London both contribute vocals to the track, which glide well with Kanye’s verses, however, they are incapable of detracting any attention from the real monster here. If this track is any indication of what the bulk of his album will sound like, there’s something very exciting in store for us. – Annie Cooper

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Drake

14. Drake
Energy

Try as hard as you might, there’s no avoiding Drake. In 2015 he’s been everywhere – from Coachella to Apple Music to dropping a surprise mixtape outta nowhere. However, coming from someone that typically feels nothing but ambivalence for Drake, this track is an objective standout. What’s so attractive about Energy is that it’s a big fuck you to pretty much everyone. That is, everyone that uses the internet. Drake disregards us all by spitting “I got bitches askin me for the code for the wi-fi/ so they can talk about they timeline/ and show me pictures of they friends/ just to tell me they ain’t really friends”. It’s tongue in cheek, it’s hard hitting, and it’s beguiling because essentially, he’s speaking about you. – Annie Cooper

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Miguel

13. Miguel
Coffee (Fucking)

It’s no surprise that Miguel can write an acutely sexy song. Kaleidoscope Dream was full of them but he’s returned with something that gives us a little more than the usual RnB sextalk. Coffee, the first single from WildHeart, is a love song centred around sex. But rather than portraying it as cheap and fleeting like so many of his contemporaries he’s tender and respectful with the same smooth charm as a song like D’Angelo’s Untitled. “Wordplay, turns in to gun play/And gun play turns into pillow talk/Pillow talk turns into sweet dreams/Sweet dreams turns into fucking in the morning,” he sings, giving us the most poetic turn of events we’re likely to hear this year. – Sam Murphy 

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HudsonMohawke

12. Hudson Mohawke
Ryderz

Ryderz is part of a new but pleasing direction for Hudson Mohawke, known affectionately to those who’ve been listening to his stuff for a while as HudMo. The new side of HudMo increasingly features vocal collaborators after an early career focussed on bizarre sounds and a genre loosely known as Wonky. His production is smooth as ever though, whilst being definitely more melodic. Ryderz features some old school HudMo samples, especially in its conclusion which draws on sounds from an earlier track of his called Hummus. – Zanda Wilson

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ActionBronson

11. Action Bronson
Baby Blue (Feat. Chance The Rapper)

The “go f**k yourself” lyrics, the production from an on fire Mark Ronson, a team up with another leader of the pack rapper and of course the ultimate coolness that drips off anything Bronson does. Baby Blue was going to be a winner even if you just looked at this shit on paper. It’s great to hear Bronson singing in the choruses-something about his drawl and tone makes me love him even more. I cannot fault Ronson’s instrumentation and production chops on this either. Top that all off with a “Coming to America” rip-off music video and you have Hip Hop gold. Also props to Chance The Rappers‘ contribution, featuring the most sharp-tongued quips heard this year – “I hope you never get off Fridays, And you always work at Friday’s, That’s always busy on Fridays.” Burn. – Meshell Webb

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Years&Years

10. Years & Years
King

Crowned as the Kings of the coveted BBC Sound Of…award this year, an honour that boasts graduates such as Adele, 50 Cent and Sam Smith, British trio Years & Years had big, big shoes to fill. And fill it they did. It was a slow start but their massive single King skyrocketed to the top of the charts and, soon enough, the once relatively unknown boys from Britain (and one from Australia) firmly made their mark on the international music scene. The reasoning behind the brassy synth-driven King‘s popularity isn’t hard to put a finger on. With a sound that’s best described as radio-ready pop, transformed by elements of RnB, pop and deep-house, and impossibly smooth vocals courtesy of lead vocalist Olly Alexander, Years & Years are the much-needed breath of fresh air we’ve all been waiting for. Watch this space. – Bianca 

Read: Years & Years And The Pressure of Being The World’s Most Hyped Band 

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Kelela

9. Kelela
A Message

Venezuelan producer Arca did masterful work on Bjork’s return-to-form Vulnicura this year and it only continued with Kelela’s A Message. With both artists he managed to make the use of space more important than what’s in between. The breath-halting pauses are what makes A Message spectacular. “If I was your ex,” Kelela sings before briefly coming to a stop and then continuing, “girlfriend.” It’s that moment that energises the song, builds its sensuality and distorts its use of time. There are definite recollections of Aaliyah here but it’s also Kelela pushing the future RnB envelope even further. – Sam Murphy 

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Kendrick

8. Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

King Kunta is To Pimp A Butterfly’s most accessible moment. It’s funky with ‘70s boogie and where The Blacker The Berry was an angry, fierce Kendrick Lamar, King Kunta is a chest-puff. Like he did on Big Sean’s Control last year Lamar gives us a rare ego – “Now I run the game got the who world talking.” He even amplifies his own voice adding a call and response between him and his back-up singers. When he raps “I’m mad”, they reasset “he mad”. It’s Lamar mocking the rap-game to a certain point, but you also get the feeling he enjoys stirring things sometimes. – Sam Murphy 

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Skepta

7. Skepta
Shutdown

2015 arrived with a promise of being the year grime finally got his break. And it hasn’t really let us down this far. Kanye’s BRIT Awards performance of All Day with Skepta, Novelist, Stormzy and more was a big hallmark but a lot should be owed to Skepta’s Shutdown. Skepta beats out any MC on this monster of a song, centreing it around the British government’s shutdown of grime gigs with a cool confidence rather than anger. With the video assisting, it also has a distinct group-mentality that demonstrates to all those who didn’t know already that grime is all about its community, and as the audio snapshot in the track proves certain people find that “intimidating.” It’s more so empowering. – Sam Murphy 

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TameImpala_CauseImAMan

6. Tame Impala
‘Cause I’m A Man

Tame Impala are proving time over that psychedelic music still has a prominent place in Australia’s burgeoning music scene. ‘Cause I’m A Man drives forward in a relaxed way, but also in a manner where the instrumental line establishes a deep groove so early on means that it’s impossible not to be caught up in the depth of the funk. The chorus is undeniably the star, along with some gloriously affected vocals. The other highlight has to be the incredible and seamless shifting between conventional bass playing to the more gorgeous bass harmonics which creates undeniable diversity in both the melodic and bass layers of sound. – Zanda Wilson 

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UMO

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

The title track of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s 2015 LP illustrates why these guys are one of the most diverse and unique acts going around at the moment. Multi-Love is a melodic and rhythmic exploration in subtle psychedelic sounds, with gorgeous echoey vocals at its epicentre. Instrumental sounds range from mandolin-style guitars to more conventional strumming, all backed by instrumental and vocal sound effects and heavy use of delay. Part of the intrigue of the track actually lies in that some of the effects are so heavy in places that it’s hard to establish what precisely is going on in terms of vocal and melodic harmonies. – Zanda Wilson 

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Tink

4. Tink
Ratchet Commandments

Timbaland has reinvented himself a few times now. He rose to fame with Aaliyah in his hey-day and then returned with Justin Timberlake, only to also assist with Nelly Furtado’s rebirth. 20 year-old Tink is his third-coming but Tink’s not going to let Timbaland play the star in this story. Ratchet Commandments beat is unmistakably Tims but everything else is Tink – a quick-fire feminist ready to call out fake shit. “I thought we had some young Queens what you mean?” she raps as she deconstructs “phoney hoes.” A socially conscious, highly intelligent track that also manages to double as a banger. – Sam Murphy 

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Kendrick_BlackerBerry

3. Kendrick Lamar
The Blacker The Berry

Kendrick Lamar has always been an eloquent speaker when it comes to social issues but never has he been as potent as he is on The Blacker The Berry. The Blacker The Berry came after i, a track criticised by many for being too fleeting and light for Lamar. This is the opposite. Lamar is angry but he’s also totally is control. “You hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture?” he raps, digging to the depths of his vocal grunt. It’s without a doubt the most powerful song of 2015 and yet he still manages to add a fire Assassin hook and convert it to one of his most musically successful tracks. It’s also his lyrical peak, at this point. – Sam Murphy

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TameImpala_LetItHappen

2. Tame Impala
Let It Happen

The first track to be released off their still unreleased forthcoming album Currents, Let It Happen needed to be remarkable to set the tone for Tame Impala in 2015. Remarkable indeed, sitting at a cool seven and a half minutes, yet somehow not feeling long or overdone. This epic is a journey of exploration into psychedelic layering and texture. Typically, expressive vocal and guitar techniques are used to substantial effect, but the sectional interplay is where Let It Happen really gives a glimpse into the soul of the band and showcases the fact that Kevin Parker is one of the most talented songwriters of his time. – Zanda Wilson

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Jamiexx_LoudPlaces

1. Jamie xx
Loud PLaces (Feat. Romy)

“I go to loud places to search for someone to be quiet with,” Romy sings on Loud Places, the standout moment from Jamie xxs club-nostalgic debut solo album. Loud Places is a song caught between two emotions – sadness and joy. Romy’s verses are melancholic and beautiful while the Idris Muhammad sample is euphoric and ready for the masses.

Loud Places is that moment in the club where everyone’s moving in slow-motion and you’ve for a moment remembered some of the problems you entered with and are brought down for a split second. If you watch Jamie xx drop this song during a live set and watch the crowd’s reaction you’ll see their heart in their throat but they’ll still have their arms in the air. The dancefloor’s most potent moments have always traded in heartbreak and Jamie xx understands that flurry of emotion better than anyone. A beautiful and fragile moment that’s going to be incredibly hard to beat this year. – Sam Murphy 

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After half a year of solid listening, we gathered together a list of thirty songs that most made their mark on us to this point in 2015.

Illustrations by Bianca Bosso.

WhatSoNot
30. What So Not
Gemini (Feat. George Maple) 

Amidst all the tears and tantrums that followed the news that your boy Flume was 2kewl4skewwwl and had departed duo What So Not, the boys released one (probably final) absolute banger. Mysterious songstress and all round babe-town George Maple lent herself to the track and produced some seriously entrancing vocals. Literally cannot think of another team-up in the world of Electronic this year that could have been as explosive as this. The song has cemented itself in the sets of every Future Classic/OWSLA DJ…for like…ever. If that doesn’t talk of its staying power, I don’t know what will. – Meshell Webb

TkayMaidza

29. Tkay Maidza
M.O.B.

Catchy is one word to describe this song, and it’s probably also the most apt. It’s infectiously up-beat and easily Tkay Maidza’s most polished work to date. It’s a gorgeous cross between electro and hip-hop, and not only showcases the irrepressible Maidza’s ability to both sing and rap but also her awesome knack of transitioning seamlessly between the two. Not hard to guess why it’s already been one of triple j’s most played songs this year, and when you take into account the relatable topic material, ‘money over bitches’, now who can’t relate to that? – Zanda Wilson 

HotChip

28. Hot Chip
Need You Now

Hot Chip are the definition of an act that understand the importance of texture and layering. These guys are masters at hiding complexity in simplicity, especially with regards to the enveloping individual rhythms, instrumental lines and samples that cascade in and out of prominence throughout Need You Now. The addition of vocal counter-melodic lines gives the track another level of polish and professionalism. Need You Now is a deceptively diverse sectionally-perfect banger. – Zanda Wilson 

Elliphant

27. Elliphant
Love Me Badder

Elliphant is known for her bad bitch personality, take no prisoners, middle fingers up whilst driving into the sunset vibes, but with Love Me Badder she’s showing some vulnerability. The track sees the singer open up a whole new world in her music. She’s at her rawest and most vulnerable but still packing a powerhouse whallop into that chorus. If versatility is the key to longevity in an artist career then Elliphant is showing that she’s got what it’s got to keep fans interested for years to come with this change up. – Alexander Wilkinson

Nao

26. Nao
Apple Cherry

Nao properly arrived in 2015 as one of those artists you can’t help but fall hopelessly in love with from the first listen. Her use of harmony, play with rhythm and rhyme, and the minimal instrumentation playing off heavy synths in Apple Cherry make it a compelling track, which continually moves and evolves. Of course, one can draw many similarities to FKA twigs, but that’s more a sign of the times than anything else. Like twigs, Nao is one of the rare few standout artists that are nailing the future RnB genre. – Donna Maria Arendse

TheWeeknd

25. The Weeknd
I Can’t Feel My Face

If there’s anything surprising about The Weeknd‘s new single, it’s the departure from his usual dark, hazy efforts to this radio-friendly yet overtly capturing track. What’s unsurprising, however, is that it hits every mark that a good single should. Abel Tesfaye has been on the radar for some time now, progressing strongly since 2011’s House of Balloons. But if he wasn’t well regarded before, he will be now. This is one of the better (or best) examples of a song that explores the relationship between love and drugs. The lyrics are transparent, but there’s really no need for them to be anything but. Carrying an irresistible bassline and Michael Jackson-esque vocals, this song is an explosion waiting to happen. – Annie Cooper

Eves

24. Eves The Behavior
Electrical

Eves The Behavior’s next move following the brilliant TV was always going to be anticipated and she didn’t disappoint with Electrical. The track and its subsequent Warpaint remix has seen Hannah skyrocket into headphones of the general public. Comparisons to female artists like Lorde, Lauren Mayberry (CHVRCHES) are common among the bloggers but Eves The Behavior’s distinguishes herself with icy synths and hushed yet anthemic-in-feeling vocals that wash through the chorus – “I’m nothing more than skin and bone, with wires that make me tremble”. Splendour In The Grass will mark her proper arrival as one of Australia’s best assets right now. – Alexander Wilkinson

TameImpala_Eventually

23. Tame Impala
Eventually

In a Reddit AMA earlier this year Kevin Parker noted that Eventually was “still very moving” for him to listen to. And that’s seems to have translated to the rest of the public as well. Eventually has two modes – those expansive, crunching guitars that elevate the verses and the crystalline, stillness that illuminates the bridge and the chorus. “I know that I’ll be happier and I know you will too,” Parker sings, giving us both his most personal and fragile moment yet. Lonerism had its sweet, introspective moments but never did it break down the walls as much as Eventually does. Tame Impala have a break-up song and it’s not jaded nor is it angry, it’s hopeful. – Sam Murphy

FourFiveSeconds

22. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney
FourFiveSeconds

Rihanna has always come out all-guns-blazing on lead-singles from new albums so it’s an understatement to say FourFiveSeconds was a surprise. It’s no Only Girl, We Found Love or Diamonds, it’s not even Russian Roulette. Instead it’s an acoustic number featuring music royalty of young and old. That initial shock stumped people at first but the song eventually gained momentum and that’s because it’s got an undeniably brilliant melody that only took one instrument to orchestrate it. Rihanna’s voice is at its grittiest and even Kanye sounds like a crooner. One of the few risks in pop music this year and it turns out all that was needed was a little simplicity.

Grimes

21. Grimes
REALiTi

After a clear division between fans over Go, Grimes shot back earlier this year with a forgotten off-cut from the fabled “lost-album” that she began and canned in 2013. The song rode the fine line between her sounds from Oblivion and something new and exciting. It didn’t matter what your thoughts on Go were…Grimes fans worldwide rejoiced at the release of the amazing single (and totally tumblr-worthy film-clip). The real baffler was that Grimes herself thought that this song wasn’t album worthy in the first place, reminding us all that she is a superior being. – Meshell Webb

CourtneyBarnett

20. Courtney Barnett
Depreston

It’s hard to argue now that Courtney Barnett isn’t one of the greatest songwriter is the world. She manages to take the mundane and amplify the emotions surrounding it. It’s never more clear than on Depreston – a song about looking for suburban real-estate in Melbourne. Instrumentally Depreston is her most solemn sounding track with Barnett gently spilling out her thoughts over a simple but effective arrangement. In the song’s latter parts she manages to create a stirring hook out of the line, “If you’ve got a spare half a million/You could knock it down and start rebuilding.” Not many, if any, could do that. – Sam Murphy

Florence

19. Florence + The Machine
Ship To Wreck

The expectation for Florence + The Machine’s third LP was that they would continue aiming for the grandiose like, the at times overwhelming, Ceremonials. But they didn’t. They reigned it right in and delivered a career best with Ship To Wreck being the hallmark of that. At first it sounded limp but as time when on Ship To Wreck flourished into a loose-limbed masterpiece that evoked something freeing inside all of us. It’ll bring out the interpretive dancer in all of us and that seems to be exactly what Flo and co would’ve wanted. – Alexander Wilkinson

TobiasJessoJr

18. Tobias Jesso Jr.
How Could You Babe

We all keep saying it but how goddamn refreshing is it to hear a plain old great ballad in a market that is saturated with overproduction? For all the bells and whistles in the world won’t write you a song as great as this one. One listen and you’re hooked. The retro recording techniques only lend to the charm of Jesso Jr. The baby-faced singer teeters on the edge of a sound that could be cheesy but the sincerity of the lyrics along with the no-bullshit presentation give this song the kind of timeless appeal that means you can totally rock out to it in the car and your grandma will love it too. How cool is that? – Meshell Webb

Jamiexx_Gosh

17. Jamie xx
Gosh

When Jamie xx debuted this song on BBC Radio 1, Annie Mac compared it to Orbital’s Belfast. While they’re are distinct differences in terms of tempo, she was spot on. The two songs correlate because they both find their euphoria in a finessed melody that runs underneath a club-ready beat. Gosh is Jamie xx’s love letter to the British club-scene. His kisses are blown in the form an alarm-like synth that sweetens a frenetic, industrial beat. When the synth comes out at the midway points its as if the lights are completely blurring out club-goers vision. They can’t see a thing but they know they’re in good company. It even translated to Glastonbury over the weekend where you could see hearts melting. – Sam Murphy 

FatherJohnMisty

16. Father John Misty
Bored In The USA

Father John Misty arrived back on the scene with an unusual piano ballad that that darkly scrutinises the societal problems afflicting the US of A. Different from his trademark folk, it’s a treatise on White America and its disillusionment. But hey, don’t let that deter you – the gentle piano melody is arresting paired with his voice echoing the vacant melancholy of Americans who find themselves “bored” with their lives. While downbeat, the acutely-written lyrics strike at the heart of Middle America making it both a humorous and unnerving listen. – Michelle He

KanyeWest

15. Kanye West
All Day

Even sans flamethrowers, All Day is one of the finest gifts Kanye has blessed us with for a long while. It’s angry, substantial, and subverts any preconceived ideas as to what his next album will sound like. This is Kanye showing us what he is capable of as a rap artist, this is Kanye rapping harder, faster, sharper, so it is clear that his war waged against those running radio is not yet done, and far from. Allan Kingdom and Theophilus London both contribute vocals to the track, which glide well with Kanye’s verses, however, they are incapable of detracting any attention from the real monster here. If this track is any indication of what the bulk of his album will sound like, there’s something very exciting in store for us. – Annie Cooper

Drake

14. Drake
Energy

Try as hard as you might, there’s no avoiding Drake. In 2015 he’s been everywhere – from Coachella to Apple Music to dropping a surprise mixtape outta nowhere. However, coming from someone that typically feels nothing but ambivalence for Drake, this track is an objective standout. What’s so attractive about Energy is that it’s a big fuck you to pretty much everyone. That is, everyone that uses the internet. Drake disregards us all by spitting “I got bitches askin me for the code for the wi-fi/ so they can talk about they timeline/ and show me pictures of they friends/ just to tell me they ain’t really friends”. It’s tongue in cheek, it’s hard hitting, and it’s beguiling because essentially, he’s speaking about you. – Annie Cooper

Miguel

13. Miguel
Coffee (Fucking)

It’s no surprise that Miguel can write an acutely sexy song. Kaleidoscope Dream was full of them but he’s returned with something that gives us a little more than the usual RnB sextalk. Coffee, the first single from WildHeart, is a love song centred around sex. But rather than portraying it as cheap and fleeting like so many of his contemporaries he’s tender and respectful with the same smooth charm as a song like D’Angelo’s Untitled. “Wordplay, turns in to gun play/And gun play turns into pillow talk/Pillow talk turns into sweet dreams/Sweet dreams turns into fucking in the morning,” he sings, giving us the most poetic turn of events we’re likely to hear this year. – Sam Murphy 

HudsonMohawke

12. Hudson Mohawke
Ryderz

Ryderz is part of a new but pleasing direction for Hudson Mohawke, known affectionately to those who’ve been listening to his stuff for a while as HudMo. The new side of HudMo increasingly features vocal collaborators after an early career focussed on bizarre sounds and a genre loosely known as Wonky. His production is smooth as ever though, whilst being definitely more melodic. Ryderz features some old school HudMo samples, especially in its conclusion which draws on sounds from an earlier track of his called Hummus. – Zanda Wilson

ActionBronson

11. Action Bronson
Baby Blue (Feat. Chance The Rapper)

The “go f**k yourself” lyrics, the production from an on fire Mark Ronson, a team up with another leader of the pack rapper and of course the ultimate coolness that drips off anything Bronson does. Baby Blue was going to be a winner even if you just looked at this shit on paper. It’s great to hear Bronson singing in the choruses-something about his drawl and tone makes me love him even more. I cannot fault Ronson’s instrumentation and production chops on this either. Top that all off with a “Coming to America” rip-off music video and you have Hip Hop gold. Also props to Chance The Rappers‘ contribution, featuring the most sharp-tongued quips heard this year – “I hope you never get off Fridays, And you always work at Friday’s, That’s always busy on Fridays.” Burn. – Meshell Webb

Years&Years

10. Years & Years
King

Crowned as the Kings of the coveted BBC Sound Of…award this year, an honour that boasts graduates such as Adele, 50 Cent and Sam Smith, British trio Years & Years had big, big shoes to fill. And fill it they did. It was a slow start but their massive single King skyrocketed to the top of the charts and, soon enough, the once relatively unknown boys from Britain (and one from Australia) firmly made their mark on the international music scene. The reasoning behind the brassy synth-driven King‘s popularity isn’t hard to put a finger on. With a sound that’s best described as radio-ready pop, transformed by elements of RnB, pop and deep-house, and impossibly smooth vocals courtesy of lead vocalist Olly Alexander, Years & Years are the much-needed breath of fresh air we’ve all been waiting for. Watch this space. – Bianca Bosso 

Read: Years & Years And The Pressure of Being The World’s Most Hyped Band 

Kelela

9. Kelela
A Message

Venezuelan producer Arca did masterful work on Bjork’s return-to-form Vulnicura this year and it only continued with Kelela’s A Message. With both artists he managed to make the use of space more important than what’s in between. The breath-halting pauses are what makes A Message spectacular. “If I was your ex,” Kelela sings before briefly coming to a stop and then continuing, “girlfriend.” It’s that moment that energises the song, builds its sensuality and distorts its use of time. There are definite recollections of Aaliyah here but it’s also Kelela pushing the future RnB envelope even further. – Sam Murphy 

Kendrick

8. Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

King Kunta is To Pimp A Butterfly’s most accessible moment. It’s funky with ‘70s boogie and where The Blacker The Berry was an angry, fierce Kendrick Lamar, King Kunta is a chest-puff. Like he did on Big Sean’s Control last year Lamar gives us a rare ego – “Now I run the game got the who world talking.” He even amplifies his own voice adding a call and response between him and his back-up singers. When he raps “I’m mad”, they reasset “he mad”. It’s Lamar mocking the rap-game to a certain point, but you also get the feeling he enjoys stirring things sometimes. – Sam Murphy 

Skepta

7. Skepta
Shutdown

2015 arrived with a promise of being the year grime finally got his break. And it hasn’t really let us down this far. Kanye’s BRIT Awards performance of All Day with Skepta, Novelist, Stormzy and more was a big hallmark but a lot should be owed to Skepta’s Shutdown. Skepta beats out any MC on this monster of a song, centreing it around the British government’s shutdown of grime gigs with a cool confidence rather than anger. With the video assisting, it also has a distinct group-mentality that demonstrates to all those who didn’t know already that grime is all about its community, and as the audio snapshot in the track proves certain people find that “intimidating.” It’s more so empowering. – Sam Murphy 

TameImpala_CauseImAMan

6. Tame Impala
‘Cause I’m A Man

Tame Impala are proving time over that psychedelic music still has a prominent place in Australia’s burgeoning music scene. ‘Cause I’m A Man drives forward in a relaxed way, but also in a manner where the instrumental line establishes a deep groove so early on means that it’s impossible not to be caught up in the depth of the funk. The chorus is undeniably the star, along with some gloriously affected vocals. The other highlight has to be the incredible and seamless shifting between conventional bass playing to the more gorgeous bass harmonics which creates undeniable diversity in both the melodic and bass layers of sound. – Zanda Wilson 

UMO

5. Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

The title track of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s 2015 LP illustrates why these guys are one of the most diverse and unique acts going around at the moment. Multi-Love is a melodic and rhythmic exploration in subtle psychedelic sounds, with gorgeous echoey vocals at its epicentre. Instrumental sounds range from mandolin-style guitars to more conventional strumming, all backed by instrumental and vocal sound effects and heavy use of delay. Part of the intrigue of the track actually lies in that some of the effects are so heavy in places that it’s hard to establish what precisely is going on in terms of vocal and melodic harmonies. – Zanda Wilson 

Tink

4. Tink
Ratchet Commandments

Timbaland has reinvented himself a few times now. He rose to fame with Aaliyah in his hey-day and then returned with Justin Timberlake, only to also assist with Nelly Furtado’s rebirth. 20 year-old Tink is his third-coming but Tink’s not going to let Timbaland play the star in this story. Ratchet Commandments beat is unmistakably Tims but everything else is Tink – a quick-fire feminist ready to call out fake shit. “I thought we had some young Queens what you mean?” she raps as she deconstructs “phoney hoes.” A socially conscious, highly intelligent track that also manages to double as a banger. – Sam Murphy 

Kendrick_BlackerBerry

3. Kendrick Lamar
The Blacker The Berry

Kendrick Lamar has always been an eloquent speaker when it comes to social issues but never has he been as potent as he is on The Blacker The Berry. The Blacker The Berry came after i, a track criticised by many for being too fleeting and light for Lamar. This is the opposite. Lamar is angry but he’s also totally is control. “You hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture?” he raps, digging to the depths of his vocal grunt. It’s without a doubt the most powerful song of 2015 and yet he still manages to add a fire Assassin hook and convert it to one of his most musically successful tracks. It’s also his lyrical peak, at this point. – Sam Murphy

TameImpala_LetItHappen

2. Tame Impala
Let It Happen

The first track to be released off their still unreleased forthcoming album Currents, Let It Happen needed to be remarkable to set the tone for Tame Impala in 2015. Remarkable indeed, sitting at a cool seven and a half minutes, yet somehow not feeling long or overdone. This epic is a journey of exploration into psychedelic layering and texture. Typically, expressive vocal and guitar techniques are used to substantial effect, but the sectional interplay is where Let It Happen really gives a glimpse into the soul of the band and showcases the fact that Kevin Parker is one of the most talented songwriters of his time. – Zanda Wilson

Jamiexx_LoudPlaces

1. Jamie xx
Loud PLaces (Feat. Romy)

“I go to loud places to search for someone to be quiet with,” Romy sings on Loud Places, the standout moment from Jamie xxs club-nostalgic debut solo album. Loud Places is a song caught between two emotions – sadness and joy. Romy’s verses are melancholic and beautiful while the Idris Muhammad sample is euphoric and ready for the masses.

Loud Places is that moment in the club where everyone’s moving in slow-motion and you’ve for a moment remembered some of the problems you entered with and are brought down for a split second. If you watch Jamie xx drop this song during a live set and watch the crowd’s reaction you’ll see their heart in their throat but they’ll still have their arms in the air. The dancefloor’s most potent moments have always traded in heartbreak and Jamie xx understands that flurry of emotion better than anyone. A beautiful and fragile moment that’s going to be incredibly hard to beat this year. – Sam Murphy 

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Eves

Eves The Behavior Debuts New Single ‘Electrical’

Eves

Aussie songstress Eves The Behavior is set to have a really big 2015. She started the year on tour with Laneway Festival, released her most confident single to date TV and has now followed it up with Electrical. It’s a brooding, electronic piece with a bursting chorus of dense synths and sprawling vocals. The production is polished and the songwriting is on-point, making it clear once again that Eves The Behavior is a cut above many of the other singers trading in this brand of electronic-pop at the moment.

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