The 63 Best Songs of 2015 So Far
50. Holly Herndon, “Interference”
Avant producer Holly Herndon describes her erratic digitalist fantasias as utopian reminders of the human in an increasingly cyborg future. But the mechanical jitter of “Interference” seems to suggest the exact opposite, turning her own slivered vocals into just another layer of carefully programmed instrumental chaos. In doing so, she prompts a sobering reminder: So much that seems human in a tech-driven world (the familiar face of a lover on Skype, a favorite song on iTunes) is little more than code. — C.J.
49. Kero Kero Bonito, “Picture This”
Coating their springy single with J-Pop melodies, dancehall oomph, and video-game bwongggs, London’s Kero Kero Bonito take a joyously absurdist look at the narcissistic use of apps like Instagram and Snapchat (“Show me a pic or it didn’t even happen”) in this slap-happy ode to selfies. “Don’t forget to show everybody you’ve ever known,” chirps lead singer Sarah Midori Perry, as screenshot noises cheerfully click in the background. Now you’ll think twice before reaching for your phone — even if you still end up doing it, anyway. — R.B.
48. Brandon Flowers, “Still Want You”
Crime, climate change, debt, nuclear distress: Brandon Flowers can — and wants to — leap them all in a single, Ariel Rechtshaid-sparkling bound, just to show you how much he loves you, girl. — B.C.
47. Lord Huron, “Fool for Love”
It’d be weird for your heart not to expand three sizes upon hearing this rapturous sonnet from Lord Huron’s sophomore effort, Strange Trails. Utilizing buoyant hand claps, twinkling tambourine, and breathy staccato à la Neil Diamond in “Cherry, Cherry,” frontman Ben Schneider falls hard and fast, but never on his face. — R.B.
46. Leikeli47 feat. Biker Boy Pug, “F**k the Summer Up”
Less than three weeks until Leikeli47’s summer-f**king time is officially upon us: can’t say you weren’t warned. Like, repeatedly. — A.U.
45. Blanck Mass, “Dead Format”
You can’t really hear what the strangled vocal samples are trying to squeeze out of “Dead Format,” but that’s not necessary. The most accessible (though still hardly radio-friendly) track off of Blanck Mass’ Dumb Flesh is meant for what the album title suggests: the flesh, pushed into motion by a wall of feedback that crumbles but never falls and the unceasing thud of tribally percussive dogs nipping at your feet. — H.B.
44. Ryn Weaver, “The Fool”
After a seemingly out-of-nowhere rise with “OctaHate” and her initial EP, Ryn Weaver had a lot riding on the first taste of her proper debut album. Luckily, “The Fool” more than lived up to the hype: Weaver’s voice confidently trills amidst elegant swells, but the track is at its best when everything seems to slip just out of her complete control; those turbulent highs (and intense closing breakdown) anxiously capturing the feeling of being so vulnerable in love. — JAMES GREBEY
43. Big Sean feat. Drake & Kanye West, “Blessings”
Even without the cover art, the most ominously skied hip-hop single of recent memory, with creeping-cloud synths and distant-thunder rumble that should have all three rappers shrinking into their hoodies and running for cover. Instead, the super-trio choose to appreciate those last few moments of clear-blue living, with serenity-now thoughts of home pools, Grammy statues, and the ’95 Magic. “Wayyyyyyy up“? The wayyyyyyest. — A.U.
42. Sheer Mag, “Button Up”
The best Thin Lizzy tune in 40-odd years, courtesy of a jean-jacketed, Philly quintet who wrapped their dual EPs of litigious-Angus-Young riff candy in greasy, Times New Viking-grade burrito casing. They’ll shrug it off as neo-garage or power-pop but don’t be so modest, Sheer Mag: The lo-fi hair metal revolution starts now. — D.W.
41. Shlohmo, “Buried”
Six minutes of painful death in slow motion — Coil would be proud — filled with agonizing guitar screams, drums that pop off like misfiring neurons and bass pulses that sound pretty distinctly like final breaths. It ain’t pretty, but there’s not much more beautiful. — A.U.