The excellent young New Zealand band take part in the grand power-pop tradition of addictively buoyant songs about crummy romance. The Danish punk boys come on like bastard sons of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, with a smoldering venture into mutant American roots-rock from their excellent fourth album, Beyondless. Guitars sulk and kick like Eighties Def Leppard, while the blocky bass lines are tenacious enough to compete with Atlanta hip-hop; brusque rapping tugs against intricate, swooping singing. And alongside Robyn, it was more proof that American pop acts can learn a lot about emotional depth from their EU peers. This song, which mirrors the sort of mood-swings familiar to many of us in , is an outburst of chiming joy modulated by unshakable clouds. The finale of her warmest LP yet caps a virtual mixtape of ecstatic dance floor melancholy. During her post-teen-pop phase, Hayley Kiyoko has transformed herself into a queer-pop auteur, directing and starring in her own videos for pulsing anthems. Lil Baby and Gunna are the princes who were promised. The Turbo produced song is a tumbling, Western that features Baby and Gunna rapping about dripping and drowning and waves.
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There is no single song that defines We live in an age in which music is more accessible and easier to make than ever before. A kid with a computer could become the most popular artist in the country over night. This is a time when Spotify averages 13, new songs every month. Instead, we bring you 55 songs from —unranked—that provide a cross section of the music that commanded the charts, pushed the boundaries of genre, and captured the political and cultural zeitgeist of You can also listen to the playlist on Spotify. That album marked the moment when the young Odd Future-affiliated rapper started to find his own identity.
When talking about so far at Billboard , it's hard to avoid the fact that the chart year has only had 24 editions of the Hot , and Drake has been No. It's the most that any one artist has dominated the listing's top spot in a year's first six months this decade -- though shout-out to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' combined 11 weeks on top in the first half of -- and it essentially leaves the non-Drake part of the field wide open when it comes to discussing the year's best and biggest singles. But that's fine. Beyond the Drakening, has been a year of pleasant surprises on the charts: All-Star teamups we didn't see coming, previously unknown artists coming out with left-field hits, and a handful of big-name comebacks taking us to unexpected new places, all of which made the predictability at pop's highest level forgivable. And besides, those two Drake songs are pretty great too: You'll see them both below as we recount our 50 favorite songs of so far, with a Spotify playlist of all 50 at the bottom. The moment fans have been waiting for since Timberlake and Stapleton collaborated at the CMA Awards finally came in , and it's as special as that instant-classic performance. Not only did the song take JT and Chris' bromance to the next level, it made it very clear that their CMA team-up was no fluke. Jade Bird, "Lottery".
One-off collaborations, movie soundtracks and internet upstarts provided some of the most exciting music this year. Desolate lost love haunts the verses before determined self-preservation lifts the choruses, all at a tempo so slow only a singer like Sade would dare it. Roots rock goes noir , with tolling piano and reverbed guitar, in a ballad about a lasting trauma, unnamed but inescapable. A perfectly calibrated power ballad , with the Lady Gaga chorus trademark of repeated syllables, does movie-musical triple duty as love song, vocal showcase and plot pivot. Fatouma Diawara, a Paris-based singer who grew up in Mali, sings about love for an emigrant who may never return , lacing Malian rhythms with tendrils of guitar. Over a Bo Diddley beat, Richard Thompson longs for a cleansing apocalypse, and summons it with a wailing, clawing guitar solo. Loops of plucked violin and layers of vocals add up to a statement of no-nonsense, matter-of-fact individualism from Brittney Parks, who records as the one-woman electronic band Sudan Archives.