The year might not have started on the strongest note, but at least the music has. With almost the first half of the year down, we already have the likes of Lady Gaga and Bad Bunny making us dance during happy moments and Soccer Mommy and Phoebe Bridgers holding us during melancholy ones. No matter how you're feeling during this confusing time, there just might be a new record out there to match your mood.
15. Jaime by Brittany Howard
R29 Original Series
The sheer number of songs released each year has become so staggering, what with all the one-off singles and album tracks, that finding new music has grown increasingly difficult. That's where our list of the the best songs of the year comes in. We scour the output of major and up-and-coming artists and filter it all down to this frequently updated playlist of absolute jams. You know those songs that immediately make your mind "cut to" a sequence of memories or even a daydream of what-could-bes that play like a film reel? Venezuelan experimentalist producer Arca 's songs don't always sound like songs. Instead the FKA Twigs, Kanye-approved collaborator makes what can only be described as avant garde sonic bombasts. Puerto Rican trap artist Bad Bunny has become one of the most promising superstars and the biggest sweetheart across the globe. He pulls together a roster of fellow Puerto Rican rappers and lights up an intense, smoky production based around a meandering Missy Elliot sample.
The album won't go down without a fight. As the algorithmic thinking of the streaming music era tightens its grip on the record industry and consumer listening habits, artists are still writing and recording collections of new material, releasing them as cohesive units on specific dates, and suggesting that you listen to them in a pre-established order. As a format for enjoying multiple songs and a way of thinking about creative development, it remains essential.
You can listen to all songs that were voted for in our playlist. Mon 2 Dec M ore than 50 Guardian music writers were polled for their favourite albums and tracks of the year, and a bewilderingly complex spreadsheet was created to tally their votes. For the Serf s Up! Her incitement to cunnilingus is admirably casual, but Missy Elliott steals the show with her menagerie of purrs and trills. Even as Lykke Li catalogues the torments doled out by her would-be lover, the distant steel pan chime, sparkling disco chorus and sugar-spun melodies maintain the glimmering mirage of possibility. Motivation is the pop equivalent of an Olympics-winning gymnastics routine: Normani serves take-it-or-leave-it cool, effortless vocal workouts and nonchalant cheerleader authority on the Ariana Grande co-write. The former Fifth Harmony member swiftly establishes her own brand of excellence, and demands that lovers and fans alike recognise her game.