50. “Gosh” – Jamie xx
I’ve admittedly never been a big fan of The xx, so “Gosh” is something of a revelation for me; it’s the chance to hear Jamie xx unleashed and fully realizing his potential.
49. “I Really Like You” – Carly Rae Jepsen
Chances are that you’ve heard this song, but have you ever stopped to consider that it’s actually really, really, really, really, really, REALLY good? It is.
48. “Back to Back” – Drake
“Back to Back” was the punctuated end of Drizzy’s feud with Meek Mill, a freestyle so packed with punches that everyone left feeling winded.
47. “Untouchable” – Pusha T
Pusha T gets his hubris from mentor Kanye West and the casual flow of “Untouchable” makes the bold, rewarding choice of lining Pusha up against a Biggie sample.
46. “Bird of Prey” – Natalie Prass
Natalie Prass’ debut album is summed up in “Bird of Prey,” an airy jingle that feels delicately and meticulously crafted.
45. “B—- Better Have My Money” – Rihanna
Rihanna’s top competition for the title of ultimate pop star is the likes of Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, and she comes to the fight swinging in this abrasive banger.
44. “Baby Blue” – Action Bronson
Action Bronson is just as much an entertainer as he is a rapper, and “Baby Blue” strikes right at the heart of his humorous tone.
43. “On The Regular” – Shamir
If you could point to anything as 21-year-old Shamir’s modus operandi “On The Regular” is it, a goofy, groovy hit that’s really only about having fun and not caring what you think about it.
42. “Sandra’s Smile” – Blood Orange
When 2015 turned Blood Orange’s way with jazz and R&B seamlessly fusing in much of the year’s best music, he came back with “Sandra’s Smile” to prove he can do it with the best.
41. “Great Big Storm” – Nate Reuss
Nate Reuss was born to write horn-laden stadium anthems, and “Great Big Storm” is reminiscent of some of his best work with fun. and The Format.
40. “Satisfied” – Hamilton Cast
Picking a favorite Hamilton song is like picking a favorite child, but “Satisfied” stands out because of Renée Elise Goldsberry’s dazzling work as Angelica Schuyler.
39. “Wanna Be Your Man” – Pokey LaFarge
“Wanna Be Your Man” missed its target audience by a few decades and would feel more at home in a saloon than a coffee shop, but there’s something endearing about LaFarge’s effortless nostalgia.
38. “Grief” – Earl Sweatshirt
While the pads swell and the rhythm stutters clumsily, Earl doesn’t forget to remind his audience of how barbed and talented he is.
37. “Hello” – Adele
The year’s biggest song from the world’s biggest voice, “Hello” finds Adele back in her melancholy rhythms, showcasing her legendary pipes at the expense of another painful memory.
36. “Kill v. Maim” – Grimes
Grimes has perfected the craft of writing a pop song, but tracks like “Kill v. Maim” highlight what her fans love about her: the willingness to never compromise her raw creativity.
35. “Hollywood” – Tobias Jesso Jr.
In an album full of soft-rock anthems, “Hollywood” stands out as Jesso’s most personal effort, a reflection on both upbringing and growing up.
34. “Pedestrian at Best” – Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett announces her revival with her intentions laid bare: “Put me on a pedestal, and I’ll only disappoint you.”
33. “No Cities to Love” – Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney didn’t change in its hiatus and “No Cities to Love” shows they haven’t lost a bit of edge in melody or poetry.
32. “Hotline Bling” – Drake
Drake’s respite from feuds and surprise mixtapes comes in the form of a vintage R&B infused single highlighted by a keen awareness of internet culture.
31. “$ave Dat Money” – Lil Dicky
A brilliant send-up of rap culture, Lil Dicky blends parody and craft in this self-aware ode to thriftiness.
30. “Light” – Gungor
A lullaby to their daughter with Down Syndrome, “Light” is more of a Gungor journal entry than song.
29. “Random Name Generator” – Wilco
If Star Wars ranks among Wilco’s most experimental releases, “Random Name Generator” ranks among their easiest to love.
28. “American Beauty” – Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
“American Beauty” isn’t sexy, but it does have a strange allure to it, one sort of like looking over the edge of the Rocky Mountains or driving through the hills of the Midwest.
27. “Apollyon of Blue Room” – of Montreal
Aureate Gloom was a worthy follow-up to Lousy with Sylvianbriar and “Apollyon of Blue Room” stands out as Barnes’ catchiest track since “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse.”
26. “Brand New” – Ben Rector
When Ben Rector announced that his new record would be reflective of a renewed joy in making music, the title track cemented itself as one of his best: it’s effortlessly and unapologetically personal.