I take end-of-the-year lists very seriously (too seriously?), so when I sat down to compile my picks for the best songs of 2015, my head was spinning. Aught-fifteen brought us so many memorable tunes! How could I possibly choose just a few? For a moment, I considered just listing all 15 tracks from Carly Rae Jepsen's latest LP/masterpiece, EMOTION , and calling it a day. It was an incredibly appealing option, yes, but in my heart of hearts, I knew it wouldn't be totally fair (though it would be surprisingly close to totally fair). If I was going to zero in on the best records 2015 had to offer, I needed to come up with some sort of judging criteria beyond "I really, really, really, really, really, really like this song" (that was a Carly Rae reference, btw) — but what? I had so many questions, but so few answers.
Then, suddenly, it hit me: I needed to relax. I needed to trust my gut! I needed to go with the songs that inspired numerous top-of-my-lungs sing-along sessions in 2015. I needed to go with the songs that both excited and surprised me. I needed to go with the songs that I couldn't wait to share with family and friends. And just like that, it all became clear. Below are my personal picks for the best songs of 2015.
Little Mix, "Black Magic"
Why the hell aren't Little Mix a huge deal in the United States yet? Have you people even heard "Black Magic"? IT'S SPELLBINDING. It's time to get with the program.
Drake, "Hotline Bling"
OK, so I'm not at all into Drake admonishing his ex for having the audacity to move on with her life (puh-lease), but "Hotline Bling's" groove is just sooo irresistible...
Ellie Goulding, "Love Me Like You Do"
This song is my destiny. I'm going to marry it someday — just try and stop me!
Snakehips, "All My Friends" (feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper)
"All My Friends" definitely has one of the best choruses on this list. (I won't say it has THE best chorus on this list because that's the exact kind of trivial claim that would keep me up at night... but it is pretty great.)
Selena Gomez, "Hands to Myself"
If you told me a couple of years ago that Selena Gomez would one day be capable of pulling off a restrained yet über-sexy whisper jam of this astonishing caliber, I woulda laughed you right out of town. Sigh. She's come so far.
Demi Lovato, "Cool for the Summer"
"Cool for the Summer's" lyrics are dumb (and kind of offensive!), but that pop-rock drop in the chorus never fails to charge me up. (Shame about the rest of Demi Lovato's Confident album, though.)
When I first heard the opening of Adele's big comeback track, I panicked. I thought it sounded dour and boring, and I was worried she'd somehow lost her touch. (Did she have amnesia? Had an evil witch stolen her musical powers? I wasn't sure — but I didn't want to rule anything out.) But, as it happens, I was just being a big ol' idiot. In full, "Hello" is heartbreaking and brilliant.
Lunchmoney Lewis, "Whip It!" (feat. Chloe Angelides)
It is impossible to not feel amazing while listening to "Whip It!" I like that. I like that a lot.
Justin Bieber, "Sorry"
I suspect Justin Bieber is one of those insufferable goblins who only apologizes out of necessity (read: as a last resort) because he never actually thinks he did anything wrong ("I'm not being a jerk — you just can't handle 'all of my honesty'!"). Surprisingly, however, that doesn't affect my enjoyment of "Sorry" one bit. Nope! It's still a top-notch piece of pop music.
Kacey Musgraves, "Dime Store Cowgirl"
Kacey Musgraves is a national treasure. 'Nuff said.
The Weeknd, "Can't Feel My Face"
"Can't Feel My Face" was scientifically engineered in a top-secret pop music super lab, and it is flawless.
Adam Lambert, "Another Lonely Night"
Sometimes, you just need to dance and sob at the same time. Thanks, Adam Lambert!
I don't know why Tinashe's career hasn't blown up yet, but I do know that I'll never stop obnoxiously yelling about how fantastic she is. "Player" is currently my most-played song on iTunes.
Fleur East, "Sax"
Essentially, "Sax" is a pop-ier, glossier, 75-percent more ridiculous version of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk." It's absolutely breathtaking, and I won't hear a word against it. Not a single word!
Skrillex & Diplo, "Where Are Ü Now" (feat. Justin Bieber)
I have yet to meet a person who doesn't dig "Where Are Ü Now" at least a little bit. That's pretty rare, right?
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Run Away With Me"
"Run Away With Me" also definitely has one of the best choruses on this list. (Again, I won't say it has THE best chorus on this list because yadda yadda yadda... but it is pretty magical.)
I can't wait to find out what musical delights await us in 2016. Happy New Year!