Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 25 Songs of 2015: #5-3

#5. I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times) [feat. Young Thug and Popcaan] - Jamie xx: This is the second time a song from Jamie xx's In Colour appears on this list, because this year, few albums shone as bright as his eclectic debut. And when it comes to this single, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything else that felt quite this good. The reggae-rap summer anthem was an unexpected but welcome diversion from the rest of In Colour's melodic rave cuts; pairing a dusty sample from The Persuasions with steel drum synths and Thug's bouncy rhymes, "Good Times" was a slow wining, sun-streaked dose of hope for what's next in music. And, every time they chant they know there's gonna be good times, it's hard not to feel like there might be a little bit of hope for yourself, too.

#4. Hotline Bling - Drake: When "Hotline Bling" dropped in July as the sole non-diss track in a handful of albumless Drake singles, there wasn't a question people were going to eat it right up. That cha-cha shuffle, Drake's oddly alluring sing-rapping, his vulnerability at the hands of yet another ghost of his romantic past - this song was just good, with all the fixings of R&B gold. While it glided slowly upwards, it was actually the October video release - in the year we've called the "return of the rap video" - that did it. Drake works his way through fluorescent rooms and feelings of neglect with corny two-steps and shimmies that will go on to be imitated until the end of time, proving that in this visual age of virality, a few right moves can go a very, very long way.

#3. Sunday Candy - Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment: In 2015, there was no album I overplayed more than Surf - the free bundle of 16 songs, featuring major rap and R&B guests, that was assembled by Chance the Rapper's instrumental collective. Surf was by no means a Chance album - although the Chicagoan carried a lot of the narrative - it was chock full of shiny and downtempo instrumental cuts, playful wordplay and romantic thinkers that felt like, one by one, they were revolutionizing the way we think a rap album should sound. On album single "Sunday Candy," the childlike, horn-filled ditty led by Chance and singer Jamila Woods, it felt nostalgic - almost safe, in a good way - with its sugary sweet talk of love and family. And that's the thing; this whole album conveyed that sentiment - friends coming together through music, with little to no agenda outside of creating something with spirit, something happy and uncomplicated that, against all genre conventions, will still most definitely stand the test of time.

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