The rules:

  1. Only one song per album. Life is decisions and you must learn to live with them. There are infinite paths, not all can be taken.
  2. Songs with significant cultural purchase released in the year previous can be included. This is the “Paper Planes” rule, and it comes into play twice in the coming list, though I could argue that it never actually comes into place. Who cares, really?
  3. Extra points for Bandcamp links.

Part 1

No time for links and pictures. Roll on.

50-49: Party Music for Party People

50) toyGuitar – When it was Over 
toyGuitar made an entire garage-punk album of catchy guitar leads and vocal hooks; the catchiest of which comes at the 1:12 mark of “When it Was Over” and doesn’t end until the song does. This song is a keg party at White Reaper’s house.

49) Jeff the Brotherhood – Coat Check Girl 
If a song sounds like Weezer, Dinosaur Jr, The Eagles and weed, doesn’t it really just sound like Kiss? Do that math on your own time if you like, but do so knowing that Jeff the Brotherhood tried to make 90s revival and wound up making the catchiest pop-rock of 1977.

48) Modest Mouse – Be Brave
Two summers back, I saw Modest Mouse play an outdoor set at the Bethlehem Steel Stacks, which is a converted steel mill that serves as the cornerstone of Bethlehem’s attempted revitalization. It is an incredible place to see a concert. It looks like no other venue I have ever visited and I cannot suggest strongly enough that you seek it out should you have the chance.

Anyhow, “Be Brave” was one of a handful of Strangers to Ourselves songs that Modest Mouse played live. Not only did it totally kill, it kept up with some of the band’s finest material. Music always sounds better outside, but the song holds up as a late-era hit for the band that never stops predicting the end of its own life.

47) Miguel – Coffee
Miguel would probably be bummed to hear that, out of all the songs about explicit and acrobatic copulation on his 2015 release, the one that lasts longest is about what happens after sex. Sorry man, quit writing all those fuck songs.

46) Strung Out – Nowheresville
Strung Out are the Tim Duncan of punk; they’ve been so consistently great for so long, enjoying them becomes less an act of appreciating the output and more an expression of puzzlement. How these cats keep doing it, I will never understand. Their blend of So-Cal skate punk with Dragonforce-lite metal riffs remains as potent now as it did 25 years ago. “Nowheresville” is raging against the dying light by refusing to die.

45) Post Malone – White Iverson
Great song, very ugly human being.

44) Migos – Pipe it Up
Besides being super fun, “Pipe it Up” deserves props for trying (and so far failing) to catch rappers slang-jacking in the act of creating new slang. Migos really are better than the Beatles.

43) The Barren Marys – Peter Criss
Kids these days just don’t understand the utility of a well-placed “woah-oh-oh.” Thanks, Barren Marys, for doing your part.

42) New Order – Nothing But a Fool
While I really hope Music Complete is more of a statement on their future than anything else, I can’t deny the occasionally moments of success 2015 New Order pushed themselves into. “Nothing But a Fool” is the greatest of those finds; it stars out sounding like a Moby song, then a New Order song, and finally finding its home in the chorus. Welcome back, New Order, now go away forever.

41) Western Settings – San Antonio
This song’s chorus makes me want to cry and I have no good reason for feeling that way. Punk music is rad, man.

40) Big Sean – I Don’t Fuck With You
Look at the litany of gifts this song gives us: a Kanye / DJ Mustard neo-soul beat, E-40, a hook that, while gendered, is an excellent kiss-off for anyone to use on anyone else, this music video. If we gotta deal with Big Sean revival as a result, well, it can’t all be sugar down the gullet, can it?

39-31: Haiku Reviews

39) Sleater Kinney – A New Wave

Sleater-Kinney did
Not leave us, they were only
Waiting on the wave.

38) Phet Phet – Chuck Don’t Spell

The revival came
And washed out those did not
Need their homes improved.

37) Turnover – Dizzy on the Comedown

Our generation
Will get the Minus the Bear
We believe we need.

36) Young Thug – Constantly Hating

In Atlanta now,
Thug is planning his next song,
Birdman rubs his hands.

35) Thin Lips – Nothing Weird

I got to hear this
Band before the record dropped;
This shit will blow up

34) Heems – Patriot Act

War on Brown is not
New Heems explains the struggle
In time for act two.

33) Girlpool – Ideal World

Promises were made,
You decided not to cash,
They came anyway

32) Fight Like Apes – Didya

I heard you traded
Your guitars for keyboards and
It rocked anyway

31) Vince Staples – Norf Norf

The scariest song
From the scariest album
I have heard all year

30-25 Post-Punk and Shoegaze

30) Viet Cong – March of Progress
“March of Progress” glitches out for the first three minutes of its run time before transforming into the best post-punk song of the y- … you know what? Not yet.

29) Jeff Rosenstock – I’m Serious I’m Sorry
No one lets the listener in quite like Jeff Rosenstock does. Cat has a talent for making you feel like you’re talking right to him, like you really know him well. A big part of that is his clear-eyed view of himself; “I’m Serious I’m Sorry” paints a picture of a dude trying to apologize for being a dick when empathy was so close under the surface. Rosenstock isn’t the hero in his own stories, which makes him more human.

28) Dogs on Acid – Ideal Decanter
Sometimes you just want the guitar tone of a Who song and the energy of Algernon to crush some sadness-beers to.

27) Letts – Emerald
Theme from True Detective season 3.

26) Deafheaven – Luna
Deafheaven has gone full shoegaze and I love it.