Thursday, December 17, 2015

Top 100 Tracks Of 2015, 20-1


Music in 2015 echoed successes throughout various genres. From Dream Pop to Hip-Hop to UK Bass, there was no shortage of diversity on display for music listeners. What this meant is a slew of top tier tracks running through the mill from sources as expected as they were shocking. We saw the return of some old heads with the helming of new ones. Underground emcees began to make poignant discussions on sociopolitical thought, while others musicians found comfort in the inherent joy of music making. At the end of the day, and the end of the year, 2015 saw a bustling of remarkable tracks parading through on a daily basis. For comparison, or to dust off those memory cobwebs, here's my list from 2014. And here's Dozens Of Donuts' top 100 tracks of 2015. 

Son Lux | Now I WantBones

Thanks to some beautifully-sung background vocals juxtapositioning Lott's rising tension, 'Now I Want' comes off as an angelic rebirth a la the 'Circle Of Life' from The Lion King. It's a ludicrous comparison, especially sonically-speaking, but the gospel-like chorus that hollers with persistence "now I want to be free" screams of a second coming. Upon one listen of Bones it wasn't surprising its religious undertones, scrutinizing those worshipping empty deities. But with 'Now I Want' acting as the climatic release, all was forgiven and the hope of freedom pressed down upon those wishing for such ambitions. With Lott performing his standard whimpering across experimental structures, 'Now I Want' easily stood out amongst Bones' rubble as the best example of his new age sound. 

There's times when Son Lux's music makes me feel like I'm being blessed. The crispness found within the hollow spaces, the reincarnating lyrics, the overall musical soundscapes he layers instrumentation into. All of it forms this feeling of beyond, a feeling of worth and hope. 'Now I Want' was that in a nutshell. Beginning with little more than some impending chimes, the track aggressively weaves in alarming bells and whistles till it reaches perpetual climax towards the end. Drums and a looming bass overtake the choir humming the title as a rush of relaxation hits, with the eyes rolling back and the senses taking over. Few artists are able to conjure such feelings, but Son Lux does it with ease. He makes simple statements into overarching themes, regular instruments into creative opuses.

Missy Elliott | WTF (Where They From?)

So this happened. Missy Elliott made some of the most invention Pop Rap of the early 2000's and, for people not in the know of her career, they'd be remiss for excusing this as yet another one in that line. But nay, 'WTF' came out a decade later, far removed from her eventual downfall and battle with Graves' disease, to rousing success. With the help of Pharrell on the boards doing his best Timbaland impersonation, 'WTF' sounds almost novelty-like, like a lost track in the era of Missy Misdemeanor Elliott. It reeks of futuristic street Hop, a brand Elliott has known all too well, and one that has allowed her music to stay virtually fresh despite the years it has attained. Few artists can lay claim that a handful of their singles from the early 2000's can still be bumped now-a-days without a single query as to say no.

And I'm sure in 10 years we'll be saying the same thing about 'WTF.' While successors like Nicki Minaj take their brand of braggadocio to extremes, showing disdain for the aggregators, Elliott takes a step back, wags her finger in front of her face, and smiles as she obliterates those that get in her way. In the chorus she doesn't hide her call-out of Miley Cryus ("sticking out your tongue, but you know your too young") and other rising trends in Pop, choosing to retaliate by providing a stellar Pop song that succeeds on every level, especially when it comes to the music video and Elliott's recognizable choreography that reeks of preparation, skill and creativity. While Pharrell's verse is meh, the darling fronting the track keeps the whole relentlessly entertaining, switching her second verse through a bevy of flows and styles that see Hip-Hop's queen rise once again.


Youth Lagoon's latest never reached the levels of his previous two, but it did continue his persistence in pushing boundaries and never attaining to one specific genre. Here, as evidenced by lead single 'The Knower,' was Powers' attempt at Art Pop in the vein of a more earthy Son Lux. It's a devastating track that takes the reigns of a horse and lets it run wild, throwing at it every imaginable facet of Youth Lagoon's aura to create something that's inexplicable indescribable. Having no latched structure, 'The Knower' gathers steam without being hindered by regression with a verse, chorus, verse pattern. Instead, instruments get thrown into a blender, carried by a massive bass and Powers' graceful swooning, to cataclysmic adventures that's only matched by the absurdly dark music video

Part of the problem of Savage Hills Ballroom was Youth Lagoon's revealing of his true intentions, coming across as a bit pretentious with his beliefs. They weren't wrong per-say, but they were a bit in your face. On other, more subdued tracks it was a detractor. Here though, with how vibrant and flurry-filled the production is Powers' disdain towards everyday folk matches perfectly. Every conventional instrument in popular Indie today is on display here, from bass to horns to strings to glitchy background vocals, it's a complete barrage of sounds that never lets up and only increases in intensity. 


Sure, 15 or so songs of this magnitude might have weared on listeners or been inconceivably impossible, but if Chvrches created an entire album with the energy brought on 'Clearest Blue' we'd be talking top 5 of the year material. It exceeded the greatest moments on their debut, and that's saying something considering the high marks there soared without leaving a feather behind. But this one, with Mayberry focused and exact, the punchy synths and rousing patterns perpetual, and the progression undeniably brilliant, stood out leaps and bounds above any other track on Every Open Eye. A clear indicator of a dominating track can be seen in its preparations and foreshadowing. Within the first minute, even though it stands to be run-of-the-mill Chvrches, you feel a looming presence waiting to be unleashed thanks to production that feels overwhelmingly loud despite crouching behind the already tiny Mayberry.

There's no question 'Clearest Blue' will be the eventual tour/festival closer. It's bright, poppy, evocative, loud, and features one of the greatest closing's in recent memory. Mayberry acts as the facilitator. Her singing on the first half is pounding and bouncing, fluently grazing over the rapid drums. Almost exactly halfway through though that moment of pure bliss arrives. It's the equivalent of a Dubstep drop without the buildup, making its sudden appearance a treat, made all the better by Mayberry unleashing fury seconds before it "will you meet me more than halfway up" she hollers as the sounds burst apart around her. A bass joins an assortment of synths, some crunchy, others bouncy, as Mayberry fades away only to join in later as an instrument "shaped by, clearest blue" she murmurs amongst all the chaos. 


This is what I've always wanted from The XX's. It's strange but their two albums I never pinned Jamie xx as the best musician and curator of the bunch, but with In Colour he showed that off with ease. 'Loud Places' excels in its pure subtlety, laying down what worth it has on Romy's sacrilegious vocals and a rousing House sample to lead the chorus. The song itself turns into a serene duality between sound where Romy regrettably utters that she "goes to loud places, to find someone to be quiet with," the chorus in turn acting as said loud places. If, according to Jamie xx himself, In Colour was an ode to UK House music, 'Loud Places' was the placemat, the track which breeds others as it acts like a dancehall rendezvous with chatting vocals and foot stops humming their way throughout the piece. 

There's a lot of things 'Loud Places' does right sonically. In fact, it's one of the more polished tracks of the year. Every moment, instrument, effect, has its place and properly executes a way to effortlessly shift to the next one. With each iteration getting slightly larger and more intense, the movements into the chorus do a fascinating job at showing this, with hi-hats hitting on cue as they begin to overlap with that addictive sample of Idris Muhammad's 'Could Heaven Ever Be Like This,' sparsely cut up with Jamie xx's pristine DJ work, turning a beat-less backing into a jam with slight, almost nonexistent chops. 'Loud Places' is a song that works off its simplicity, much like the House scene it aimed to replicate, done impeccably well.

Erykah Badu | Hello (Ft. Andre 3000)

Ok, fine. 90% of the reason I love 'Hello' is because of Andre's verse and ensuing Young Thug impersonation. It's not that Badu doesn't bring her Soul-baring energy, she undoubtedly does, especially when the two in tandem close out the song to perpetual bliss, but the almost ritualistic once a year verse from Andre 3000 steals the show. It bears resemblance to 'Pink Matter,' his cut off Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE, in that he enforces a pitter-patter type flow that ignores the beat whilst simultaneously fitting it perfectly. On 'Hello' there's hardly a beat to be had, loose ends of a keyboard ballad dance solemnly in front of whistling birds, leaving just the right room for 3000 to be the sole attention, like one of the later cuts on The Love Below which progressed nearly into ambient Soul. 

I can hardly begin to talk about his verse on a lyrically and flowmanship level (I made it up), because honestly it's one of the best I've ever heard from him. The words play fickle with each other, moving behind bars with a fluidity that's unmatched by anyone. At times he doesn't even rhyme and you'd be forgiven for not noticing. That's how good he is. Then, with the addition of slight Trap hi-hats and analog autotune, Andre slips valiantly into Young Thug territory, a sign to fans of the artist that his uniqueness is something to be admired, even by old head greats. 'Hello' itself is a revelation in whatever genre it attains to, emphasizing a lack of structure to get across the strongest message and the greatest moments. Gliding from pleasure points, there's no real definition to its parts, just a continuation of thoughts and feelings between two monumental artists.


For a West Coast Gangsta Rap album 90059 succeeds. As a work of creative endeavors, it doesn't. That is, of course, discounting 'Vice City,' the Black Hippy posse track that ascends rapidly to the top of their list for collective works, and it's largely because of one thing; the flow. Much like a battle rap the beat takes a backseat, setting the pace, conducting the train, never veering off course. If it were another track that beat would whimper, stagnating quickly, but here, thanks to what it offers up, it prospers. A burgeoning bass takes over as woozy, incredibly distorted synths swirl around like a drunk trying to make sense of it all. It isn't until Kendrick comes on the track, and his first line hits with that deadpan delivery, that the feeling of the track sets in with a fury. 

Initially I thought Kendrick, by default, was going to outshine the others cause I honestly hadn't expected the entire crew to take up that flow, but they all do, and they bring their own style to their verses as well. In my eyes, Kendrick uses the flow best, Rock's the funniest, Soul brings his lyrical edge, and Schoolboy Q has the one-liners down pat. The four of them provide different perspectives to one simple, yet incredibly unique flow that quickly makes 'Vice City' one of the most entertaining and replayable tracks all year. Surprisingly the track is divisive, many feeling off-put by the flow and its unusual structure, but on an album largely monotone and singular, 'Vice City' stands out to bring a flavor of spice that's otherwise entirely devoid.


From the instant those progressive chimes echo in, emphasized greater by a soft humming organ, 'That Battle Is Over' stands out as the clear winner from Jenny Hval's Apocalypse, girl. It may have taken three albums and a handful of side projects but the Norway-bred vocalists finally found where her voice lies best. While spoken word quips on sexual scrutiny is one side of her puzzling personification, overarching statements on the society that breeds them is where she shines brightest. 'That Battle Is Over' isn't afraid to face the fears, acknowledge them, and provide insight on a possible solution. Sometimes her plainly spoken language passes along the strongest message, "you say I'm free now, that battle is over, and feminism is over and socialism's over" she mouths as a retaliation towards exclusionary individuals who mimic close-minded sentiments, most found in the 'Holy Land,' or in simpler terms, America. 

If it wasn't for the sonic bliss, Jenny Hval's societal statements would be open fodder ill-quipped to handle a true impact. But above all else, and as Political Hip-Hop acts are just now finding out, the music needs to be fun, enjoyable, and memorable for your message to have any sort of staying power. Everything here is unequivocally gorgeous. The slowly progressing drums, the aforementioned chimes and organs, all over it manifests under Hval's vocals as Christmas-esque melodies to create a joyous soundscape. Few songs in 2015 have progressed with such effortless fluidity as Hval's Apocalypse, girl centerpiece, with each part gleaming into the next with hindsight in mind as to what's came before. Even the conclusion realizes this, moving ghostly into 'White Underground,' the next track.


'Feel The Lightning' is almost exactly what I wanted from a Dan Deacon single. Bromst is by and large my favorite album of his for its ability to perfectly match this whimsical sound with an unbridled commitment to a unique foundation of music. 'Feel The Lightning' is a more Pop version of this sound that aims at structure but still excels at instilling remarkable joy and careless production that creates an earworm within the first second. No song in recent memory has competed to 'Feel The Lightning's' catchy nature whilst also remaining entirely creative. 

Speaking of which, the fact Deacon can craft a female version of himself that sounds better than most Pop artists without their auto-tune enhanced help is remarkable. There is just nothing more you could ask out of Deacon, an artist whose personality is as zany as his music. It all feels nonsensical, goofy, and absurd, but its that exact commitment to ludicrousy that makes Gliss Riffer's single a work of beauty. A pounding bass and gutted synths echo throughout the chorus while calming thumps and soaring synths join Deacon in the verses, where he wildly talks about hundreds of hands, arms, and eyes covering his body feeling like Johnny Depp playing "the rebel named Eddie." It's the first time Deacon's personality that comes out in his concerts and interviews, the one where he describes his eccentric dance methods through labels that make no sense, in a song, plopping that joyous escapism found at the gatherings in his completed works.

Death Grips | On GP | The Powers That B

Death Grips goes Shoe-gaze. That's what people call 'On GP,' and they'd be partly right. More than that though 'On GP' is a perfect track to witness MC Ride, Zach Hill, and Flatlander's transformation into the genre-bending artists they are in 2015. Riveting drum and bass slams against the walls, reminiscent of ExMilitary, while Ride, bleeding through his vocals, tears in with the unbridled ferocity of Niggas On The Moon. Throw in intersecting dashes of Loveless Shoegaze (precisely tuned out-of-tune guitars waving in and out of focus) and Ride's most blunt, revealing lyrics and you're in for one of 2015's most reaching tracks. 

The music video, if one were to call it that, sees the three artists drained on the ground as they bear witness to what seems like their final creation. With limited movement their bones have become nullified by their now-calling card, a track so consuming that if the trio were to properly explain who they are to people they'd pick it, Ride especially. In his first public acknowledgement of Death Grips' treatment Ride reveals his inner conflicts residing with his fans, some who take their meme-touting obsession to extremes. His second verse, following their first Shoegaze interlude, might be Ride's best to date, solely for his openness, a facet of his enigma that's never been revealed. 'On GP' is a musical trek, a tiresome six minutes that drains the body of not just energy, but emotion.


How an artist made this song work is beyond me. While I'm not shocked it's Milo, I'm impressed with his ability to create it as everything up to this point directed him to more passive behavior. Even on his latest LP he weaves through soothing beats that remain par for the course. On 'Re: Animist' though, a looming bass eerily turns its head around Milo's staunch repetition, as the rapper shows an aggravated, relatively mainstream emotion for the first time not just in his career but in Hellfrye Club's as well. Add some synths that strongly evoke Boards Of Canada and you have one of the strangest bangers of the year. 

Not that I want Milo like this 24/7 but the fact he can pull off this ferocious rapping shows that he's capable of variety and an ability to rise out of the underground if he so chooses. The lyrics may hinder that though as, per typical for So The Flies Don't Come, Milo processes past events with a fluidity that's unrivaled in detail, arranging them around absurdist talk with heroes and their unpaid debts. His hellacious dribbling's make way for monster-like vocal alterations, like in the bridge where he attacks critics ("but it's back to the metaphysics, flash half a rhythm, and decapitate a metacritic God") stretching that last word to incredibly devious lengths. Milo's mid-album banger offers a two-folded success rate, where the complications it forces results in such a high risk/high reward that it can't help but be one of the best tracks of the year.

Beach House | Sparks | Depression Cherry

Of all Indie bands to receive credibility on their rise to stardom few, if any, have handled it better than Beach House. When most, after two albums of relatively the same sound, switch things up drastically to alienate their audience while trying to draw new ones in. Beach House, as has been further proven with the lead single off Depression Cherry, has evolved. Their progression should be used as a benchmark for musician growth. With this progression comes a tendency to latch onto an album, and that's fine, because evolving doesn't mean making better music, although that's the aim, it's more about gaining skills to better craft the tunes. There's really four different groups of Beach House fans, each content with their respective favorite album, and when Depression Cherry releases in all likelihood they'll be five. 

The lead single 'Sparks' is a wonderful mixing of the grand Beach House who piqued up around Teen Dream and the more subdued one that initiated their career. The song is slow-moving and meandering, dreamy and hazy, and yet it engulfs the soundscape without a care in the world. The sound most are discussing, and rightfully so, is the electric guitar, wailing about in the background most reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine shoegaze. While it seems a bit too much, it's immediate presence is one that won't be forgotten. What's more impressive is the vocal layering of Victoria LeGrand that warps into an instrument itself. Drums progress beautifully into the mix, as a cherry piano riff joins about halfway through. The chorus, as is the case with much of Beach House's discography, is wonderful. It resides in a fantasy world where notes align perfectly with elongated melodies and soothing vocals swell in accordance with darling instrumentals.

Kendrick Lamar | u | To Pimp A Butterfly

'i' startled many fans of Kendrick's music. Personally though I knew its stature as the lead single only meant of greater things to come. Fans woefully predicted Kendrick's downfall into mundane Pop Rap, but as expected, when 'Blacker The Berry' arrived all fears were washed away. As the official tracklist for To Pimp A Butterfly released, with 'u' precariously sitting towards the front, intrigue set in as to its purpose. What ensued was a critical look at the self. Whereas 'i,' after undergoing a revitalization of positivity, proclaimed the importance of self-confidence, 'u' saw Lamar wallowing in the lack of it, struggling to come to terms with pitfalls in his life. 

How this plays out is nothing sort of artistic genius. Apart from other consciously-thinking rappers who hide their motives in the lyrics, Kendrick, for the most part, has always been blunt. But never has he been so forward with the message as to make listeners uncomfortable, a feat unto itself remarkable. Panicky maids, glass bottles hitting puckered lips, tears falling onto the writing pad, all of it creates a setting unmatched in Hip-Hop. The only comparable monologue would be Eminem's 'Stan,' with Kendrick starring as the off-the-walls lead getting agitated at himself rather than his favorite artist. As the transformation of To Pimp A Butterfly occurs though, what was soon his greatest enemy has now turned into his biggest fan, proclaiming with a defiance that stifles 'u' into realistic artistry, that "I love myself," a far cry from his earlier sentiments that "loving you is complicated."

Vince Staples | Summertime | Summertime '06

Often times the best songs on collectively great albums are the risks, the ones where an artist feels as comfortable as Vince Staples did on his debut to loathe around in autotune loveless, a facet never before seen in his music. There might be no more shocking stretch of music in 2015 than at the end of Disc 1 off Staples' LP, where drastic jumpcuts between sub-genres somehow mesh. 'Senorita,' with its thumping Southern-induced Trap, falling emotionlessly into 'Summertime' is just a testament to the young emcee's ability to master constantly shifting backgrounds. Even with the slow-moving drawl of Disc 1's closer, listeners are still startled as to its peculiar existence in Vince's Long Beach lore. 

Just hearing Staples sing "this could be forever, baby" with a brandishing that hardly resembles the artistic vocal form, is a thing of beauty, coming across as Spoken Word with a touch in tone. His voice glides over the lush Clams Casino production as he stumbles to extract the love that's so been beaten inside him. Each line is worthy of repetition and remembrance, the cherry topper though kicks off the second verse as Staples considers his beginnings. "My teacher told me we was slaves, my momma told me we was kings, I don't know who to listen to, I'm probably somewhere in between." It's such an impactful line that ends with the harshness of reality, the stance of between kings and slaves resides normalized humans without a true grounding on their past. 'Summertime' wraps all these conscious thoughts in a love story told to a girl he desperately wishes to spend more time with, but one who deflects her own history of neglect to ignore him.

Bjork | Black Lake | Vulnicura

Bjork has one of the most storied careers in all of music, and yet 'Black Lake,' the 10-minute opus standing centerstage on Vulnicura might be her most emotionally-invested song. The story of her 9th album is already well-know, a concept album focusing on a cancerous break-up, one where years wash down the drain, children get involved, and familial issues explode in argument as much as they linger under the bedsheets. In other words, it's a mature break-up album. And, according to the songstress herself, this particular song takes place two months after the official split, a time where person and place seem lost amongst the rubble of what once was. 

'Black Lake's' structure may be its most notable presentation. Spliced between lyrics drilling into the opposition are long form proses of instrumental emptiness, devoid of either sound or feeling, for these brooding moments of bass-infused brilliance feel as dreadful as the silent movements coming before. Speaking of the sonic palate, it couldn't be more excellently composed. What starts as a soothing downer reminiscent of Vespertine's cinematic lullaby turns eery as a pounding bass begins to form underneath her, before eventually taking over her feelings entirely. From there things only get more interesting, more wild, more reckless with electronic malfunctions competing for swelling strings, a battle for sweet and violent that ends in quiet ambiguity.

Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment | Sunday Candy (Ft. Jamila Woods) | Surf

Long before Surf hit the music scene, the lead single, and future climax of the album, 'Sunday Candy' strongly indicated the sound Chicago group The Social Experiment were going for. Bright, cheery Neo-Soul bouncing off Chance's notorious Jazz Rap, accompanied by Jamila Woods' standout chorus. While some have fallen off Chance's never-ending ride towards Hip-Hop notoriety, the way he's handled his new-found stardom couldn't be more well orchestrated. Masking through song and video as a 50's doo-wop piece, 'Sunday Candy' gushes candidly and lovingly over Chance's grandma and her antidotal quotes. The way this feeling sounds couldn't have been more perfectly done, acting as a revitalizing gospel sent from the heavens. 

In fact, while one would be remiss to not call this Hip-Hop, 'Sunday Candy' takes from a litany of sources, making a truly breathtaking piece reaching into the annals of black music and culture. It rests on its laurels and creates a personal experience that resonates in one of the happiest Hip-Hop songs since De La Soul preached about positivity. The message couldn't be more welcoming, especially for a genre attempting to further broaden its range, The Social Experiment's head-first dipping into Neo-Soul and Gospel brings back an era that admits the negatives of life while maintaining a focus on the positive. If we include the music video, one that perfectly encapsulates the sounds on a stagehand-filled stage, I can't help but get teary-eyed thinking and feeling the pure bliss 'Sunday Candy' creates. It's a track where, to Chance, Sunday's are filled with the sweet love a meeting with his grandma brings, and to his grandma, it's the same, bridging a generational gap Hip-Hop has long, through its youthful angst, separated.

Earl Sweatshirt | Solace

While I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside grew on me, filling a sound that's been desperately abandoned in Hip-Hop, all of it combined didn't resonate nearly as large as the follow-up 'Solace,' a 10-minute ode to his mother. Some refer to it as an EP, others a Single, but at the days end this reserved opus wraps up a feeling Earl Sweatshirt's been festering since entering retreat following Doris' mixed reaction. It's quiet, meandering, and, above all else, content with a coming to terms of one's place in life. Sweatshirt doesn't force complexities here for the sake of being intricate, in fact, the lyrics are his most immediate yet, giving off a feeling more than a workout in verbiage. 

Everything is remarkably real, as pots and pans, a fire alarm chirping, and a creaky piano surround and engulf an atmosphere set in Sweatshirt's hazy, smoke-filled room. The description given with the song, "music from when I hit the bottom and found something," really offers a viewing as to the mind-state the slowly-fading OF affiliate experienced during the IDLS,IDGO era. Sonically, 'Solace' parallel's his emptiness closer than any track on his latest accomplished, as the sounds were geared towards beats, structured in a box, while 'Solace' breathed openly its feelings. Horrible screeches, the crackling of a record player over MF DOOM-inspired production and a emcee who's more concerned with re-telling a moment than confining it in 16 bars, 'Solace' really is a journey through Sweatshirt's feeble mind.


Easily, without any competition, the most impactful song of the year. While 'Alright' had its police brutality scoured through its positive message and catchy hook, resulting in some equally powerful chants at a Cleveland protest, the bread and butter was found deeper into Kendrick's opus on the gargantuan 'The Blacker The Berry.' Vocally speaking it's Kendrick at his most aggressive, turning the knife deeper into the rib cage of those that look down upon blacks, saying that he's as "black as the heart of a fuckin' Aryan." He lashes out at racially-charged individuals looking to rid the world of African-Americans, "you hate me don't you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture." It doesn't get as hard-nosed and forceful as this. 

And yet, at the end of it all, he turns it onto the inner-city, onto himself, onto those that continue to enact what the majority wants. With gangs killing each other off Kendrick feels that that inner-turmoil, fostered by whites putting them in the ghettos, only continues the hatred many have against blacks. He feels, as a rush of relaxing melodies and soothing instrumentation washes over his final lines, that peace is the answer and unity working together will prosper greater than its parts. To Pimp A Butterfly eloquently pushed a lot of pressing agendas on the state of black culture, and to succinctly pair it all down to a single, gut-wrenching, self-immolating line is nothing short of genius. For the first time in a while Hip-Hop, for a time in March when Kendrick ruled, meant more than the music itself.

Jamie xx | Gosh | In Colour

Does Jamie xx know how to make an impression or what? In Colour's opener is a gargantuan statement on 2010 House music. 'Gosh' may be the best thing to arise out of the genre in years, a track that focuses on the intrinsic as much as it does the gnarling bass. Hi-hats dance around that throbbing bass as classic, genre-defining samples creek in as DJ's retelling the events transpiring between their ears. It isn't telling of what's to come on In Colour, the album itself is of course an ode to Electronic music as a whole, incorporating many different aspects of their success, but what 'Gosh' does is set the tone, propels into motion that head-nodding, eyes rolling into the back of your head, hands uncontrollably swaying about feeling that only the most prominent House songs accomplished. 

Everything comes together in the second half though when the DJ wisely retreats before the synths take over. Jamie xx lampooned a bass so demanding with a noise so small, and when it finally dawns on you what happened you can't help but be flabbergasted. A faint, quivering synth line protrudes from the masses like David rearing his head around the corner to see Goliath midway through the track. As you reach for the details you sense its impending doom, then, like a bat outta hell, it erupts as a siren guiding the bass rather than driving away from it. From there on it only expands, blossoming into this kaleidoscopic journey where it soars through the bass, the hi-hats, and these soft screeching vocals. Jamie xx, without a doubt, made the most massive track of 2015. 


You know a song is special when you remember the moment you first laid ears on it. While some tracks are labelled as instantly likable and others as growers, 'When I Was Done Dying' was both. It was a perfect marriage between Dan Deacon's zany personality and his oft-kilter Electronica mixed with Psychedelica. Everything Deacon's worked for since 'Wham City' came together here, a story of death and reincarnation told through vibrant instrumentation, vivid imagery, and Deacon's trademark catchiness through absurdist measures. It's as if he had a template to work from, an LSD-infused tale of one's perception of death, and decided to jam every trademark measure he's instilled throughout the years into four minutes and 19 seconds. Down to the chorus eerily reminiscent of 'Of The Mountains' off Bromst

Gliss Riffer's centerpiece sees Deacon channeling 60's Psychedelica with a beat that hums and strums rather than bolts and flinches. His work, apart from the U.S.A. series, shows precision, but here, when the first notes come in, things become wholly human. Adding to that is Deacon's voice, still tormented by effects, but being his clearest to date, like a flash of visuality in an over-encumbered mess of technological warfare. Much like Gliss Riffer's other tracks, the lyrics here are riddled with natural events; fire, dirt, leaves, and water weave their way through Deacon's otherworldly journey. His momentum building beat collides in the chorus, as tribal drums join a Native American sky-calling ritual as synths dart around the atmosphere. It's the most obtuse, riveting, cataclysmic four minutes in all of music this year and a worthy track to stand atop the list.

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