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The 100 Best Songs of 2015

With our 2015 year-end coverage continuing this week, we've selected our 100 Best Songs of 2015. And in a year filled with such an incredible serving of great music, that was no easy task.

While we've narrowed down our list to 100, there are many, many songs which could have been included. But over the last year, the tracks we've chosen stood out for a variety of reasons.

From relative unknowns to rising stars to mainstream players, the soundtrack for 2015 had everything. And many of these songs will likely transcend into the new year as well. (Also: The 50 Best Albums of 2015 and The 2015 Artists of the Year)

See the list below and stream it in full on Spotify: The Best Songs of 2015

01
Sia - Alive
Originally penned for Adele, we couldn't help but imagine the British star's voice singing this powerful tune at first. But it didn't take long for us to realize this song was indeed meant for Sia. A big pop anthem putting her fragile, arena-ready voice on full display, this was proof the songwriter-turned-star is at her very best right now.




02
Young Fathers - Rain or Shine
After winning the Mercury Prize last year, the Scottish group outdid themselves this year, as reflected in this standout cut. Lyrically profound, it's also a gritty, straight-up jam.



03
Tame Impala - Let It Happen
Kevin Parker initially caught us by surprise with this wispy, wonderful cut earlier this year. And all year long, we haven't been able to quit this brilliant eight-minute dose of heaven.




04

Gallant - Weight in Gold
From the moment the Los Angeles crooner debuted this magnetic, soulful tune, we've been obsessed. Now that he has our attention, we can't wait for what comes next.



Photo of Shura by Hollie Fernando

05
Shura - White Light

One of our Song of Summer nominees this year, this beautiful track was more than just a great seasonal cut. It proved the British songstress has the talents for a lengthy career.




06
Major Lazer & DJ Snake, ft. MØ - Lean On
Sure, it was Spotify's most-streamed song ever, but with good reason. First of all, the combination of Diplo's Major Lazer and DJ Snake was absolutely brilliant. Together with MØ, they made this dance floor confection an absolute dream.




07

Jamie xx, feat. Young Thug & Popcaan - I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)
Fans eagerly waiting awaiting that next album from The xx can rest easy, because Jamie is clearly at his best right now. An unlikely collaboration with Young Thug and Popcaan, this song was unparalleled and we couldn't put it down.




08
Kendrick Lamar - Alright
Weaved into his very heavy, powerful To Pimp a Butterfly, the rapper offered a glimmer of optimism through a lens of pain and angst. As America continues to navigate through ongoing racial tensions and injustice, "Alright" was a somber anthem delivered by a gifted lyricist.


09

Carly Rae Jepsen - Run Away with Me

This song was meant to be a big, massive hit. And even though it didn't dominate the charts à la "Call Me Maybe," it was an irresistible pop gem on a nearly flawless album.



10
Drake - Hotline Bling
Never mind Drizzy's broken heart, this slow-burning cut was a gift from the meme gods and it was the latest evidence of why the Toronto MC is an undeniable hitmaker. After all, it's one of a mind-blowing 100 Drake songs to reach Billboard's Hot 100 chart.


Photo of Chris Stapleton by Becky Fluke

11

Chris Stapleton - Traveller

A raw, sincere offering from one of the year's newfound country stars.



12
Erik Hassle - No Words
A well-deserved breakout hit for the Swedish singer, who may very well be conquering U.S. radio in the future.




13
CHVRCHES - Leave a Trace
Glimmering and irresistible from start to finish.



14
Grimes - Fresh without Blood
An unabashedly pop creation from a singer who continues to push music forward.



15

Disclosure, feat. Lorde - Magnets

A hypnotic collaboration which made sense on paper and in our ears.



16
Kanye West, feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney - All Day
A fiery appetizer for Ye's next album, even if it's reportedly not even going to be included on the highly anticipated set.



17

Alabama Shakes - Don’t Wanna Fight

This gritty, bombastic track was Brittany Howard and Co. at their absolute best.




18

Leon Bridges - River

Like the Texas singer himself, it draws you in and fills your soul.




Photo of The Tallest Man on Earth (aka Kristian Matsson) by Cameron Wittig

19

The Tallest Man on Earth - Sagres

A deeply personal reminder from Kristian Matsson of the beauty of the unknown and the grace of standing still.





20

The Weeknd - Can’t Feel My Face

It was our 2015 Song of Summer—and with good reason, because it was an absolute jam!




Photo of Florence Welch by Tom Beard

21

Florence + the Machine - Ship to Wreck

The singer channeled her own weaknesses in this upbeat but revealing cut about struggling with self-destructive tendencies.





22

Sufjan Stevens - Should Have Known Better

A very moving reflection of the singer's torn reaction to the loss of his mother and his battle to grieve, it marked some of his most honest material to date.






23

Lana Del Rey - High by the Beach

Confessions from a singer feeling restricted by fame and needing to isolate herself, a message made crystal clear in the song's incredible video.




24

Alessia Cara - Wild Things

The rising singer might be catching on thanks to her hit "Here," but this anthem for the underdogs was even better.



25

Cage the Elephant - Trouble

Evidence that the band is at the top of their game right now, this spellbinding preview of their new album was a true gem.



26

Mark Ronson, feat. Mystikal - Feel Right

The "Uptown Funk" master triumphed again with this brassy, infectious offering.




27

Missy Elliott, feat. Pharrell - WTF (Where They From)

Hip-hop's queen returned with this mega-tune, reminding old fans and new ones her reign is far from over.




28

Miguel, feat. Wale - Coffee (Fucking)

Hypnotic and slow-simmering, this bedroom jam was beyond satisfying.




29

Frances - Grow

Honest and refreshing, this captivating tune was hard evidence of a very promising future for the British newcomer.




30

Lauv - Reforget

This repeat-worthy pop confection turned an inability to let go of a lover into pure delight. And we can't wait to hear more.



31

Big Data, feat. White Sea - The Business of Emotion

A hugely underrated track, this explosive (and unexpected) collaboration was too brilliant to ignore.



32

Hudson Mohawke - Ryderz

The Scottish producer cemented his status as a music maven with this delectable offering.



Photo of Adele by Alasdair McLellan

33

Adele - Hello

The omnipresent track wasn't necessarily her best, but we listened to it a million times and it carried just as much punch each time.




34

The Kite String Tangle, feat. Dustin Tebbutt - Illuminate

There was something so intoxicating and special about this glowing track, which left us anxious for more from the Australian musician.






35

Jidenna, feat. Roman GianArthur - Classic Man

A dance floor-ready tune from the emerging singer and Janelle Monáe collaborator.




36

Raury - Devil’s Whisper

Written by a singer on the rise, this darker response to his previous cut "God's Whisper" was reflective of his inner battles.




Photo of Geographer's Mike Deni, courtesy artist

37

Geographer - I’m Ready

Mike Deni continued to wow us with his new material and this delicate cut was proof of why.



38

Chelsea Jade - Low Brow

Former known as Watercolours, the emerging songstress had us in the palm of her hand with this enamoring single.




39

Janet Jackson, feat. J. Cole - No Sleeep

The lead single to her latest album, this seductive track was everything we could have hoped for from Jackson's return. The J. Cole feature was simply the cherry on top.




40

Brandon Flowers - Can’t Deny My Love

An irresistible offering from the Killers frontman, who revealed more of his obsessive side on this massive single.




41

Troye Sivan - Wild

A pure pop gem about wide-eyed young love delivered by one of the year's brightest rising stars.



42

Vic Mensa, feat. Kanye West - U Mad

The Chicago rappers teamed up for this blazing collaboration inspired, reminding haters and former lovers who's on top.




43

Jon Bellion - Woke the Fuck Up

One of the most consistent music makers right now, the up-and-comer continued to demonstrate his unique level of artistry with this tongue-in-cheek confessional.




44

Penguin Prison - Show Me the Way

Chris Glover (aka Penguin Prison) is better than ever and this electric single was just one of his irresistible releases this year.




45

Kacey Musgraves - Biscuits

The country belle charmed us once again with this clever take on minding your own business biscuits.




Photo of Tori Kelly, courtesy artist

46

Tori Kelly - Should’ve Been Us

A shiny reflection of lost love and a singer who's turning lemons into wonderful, tasty musical lemonade.




47

Foals - Mountain at My Gates

The English rockers took on bigger challenges with their newest material and this showed us just how high they can truly climb when they push themselves.




48

Little White Things - Step Back

The London-based duo quickly caught our attention with this soaring tune, their debut single together and a luminous preview of what's to come.





49

Lanks - Aurelia

The Melbourne singer showcased his undeniable talents on this haunting, fragile track about a sour relationship of which he can't quite let go.



50
The Chainsmokers, feat. Rozes - Roses
The "Selfie" producer duo proved they were no one-trick pony as they found their footing with this shimmering single, which proved they can play big festival stages as well as craft fascinating music.




51

BØRNS - American Money

The rising singer has a keen way of turning love songs into cinema and this offering was a blockbuster.




52
Lianne La Havas - What You Don’t Do
A classic-sounding yet modern gem about blissful, no-frills romance.





Photo of Jarryd James by Rochelle Flack

53
Jarryd James - Give Me Something
The Australian up-and-comer gave us something good with this boisterous tune, which was an instant favorite.




54

Purity Ring - Push Pull

A sugary and irresistible track from the Canadian duo, who rose to new artistic heights with their new material.






55

Kehlani, feat. Chance the Rapper - The Way

A steamy collaboration from two of the year's most formidable music-makers.




56
Rihanna - Bitch Better Have My Money
As of this writing, her long-teased album hasn't arrived, but this fiery cut made clear that you do not cross Rihanna, under any circumstances.



57

Neon Indian - The Glitzy Hive

The singer started a glossy new chapter with this buoyant tune, which was an earworm in the best way possible.





58
Halsey - New Americana
For those who hadn't already been watching the emerging singer, this Millennial anthem proved her star potential.



59

On an On - Drifting

The Minneapolis trio breathed new life into their music with this fragile cut about holding on to lost love.



60

Son Little - Lay Down

A soulful bit of magic about the simplest moments between two lovers, delivered by one of the year's most talented crooners.



61

Shy Girls, feat. Antwon - Xhampagne

Portland's Dan Vidmar started the year off right with this sexy cut, inspired by a serial gold digger.



62

Jahkoy - Still in Love

A silky, commanding track from one of Toronto's most potent artists, evidence his rise has only just begun.




63

Action Bronson - Actin Crazy

A confident cut from an MC who knows he's at the top of his game right now.




64

Mikky Ekko - Pull Me Down

This translucent ballad was only one of the singer's beautiful offerings this week, but it truly stood out for its honest lyricism.




65

Birdy & RHODES - Let It All Go

An unexpected but stunning collaboration from two of the U.K.'s most brilliant voices.




66

Coldplay - Everglow

Teaming up with ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin offered a transparent and personal track reflective of the pair's friendship post-divorce.



67

Little Big Town - Girl Crush

The title might have prompted uproar from some prudish listeners, but this song about jealousy was straight-up country at its core. Pushing the genre's limits was just a bonus.




68

Travi$ Scott, feat. Future & 2 Chainz - 3500

The fast-rising rapper embraced his new level of fame with this track partially inspired by North West's $3,500 fur coat.




Photo of HUNTAR, courtesy artist

69

Huntar - Sk1n

We were just as infatuated with the simmering cut as the British newcomer clearly was with the object of his affection in this addictive single.




70

Atlas Genius - Molecules

One of the year's most underrated songs, hands down, the Aussie brothers brought their A-game on this explosive single.




71
Strange Talk, feat. Bertie Blackman - Painted in Gold
This shimmering, easily danceable track was a welcome gift, courtesy of Melbourne's Stephen Docker and Gerard Sidhu.



72

Made in Heights - Panther

A glitchy pop gem that played like poetry, inspired by an intense, passionate love that can't be tamed.




73

Ryan Egan - Restoration

The New York singer proved he's one to watch with this breathtakingly soaring track, which we simply couldn't resist.



74

LANY - Bad, Bad, Bad

It was yet another magnetic release about seemingly taboo physical encounters from the emerging Los Angeles trio, who are kind of unstoppable right now.


Photo of DeJ Loaf, courtesy artist

75

DeJ Loaf, feat. Future - Hey There

The Detroit rapper continued her evolution this year into a force to be reckoned with in hip-hop, and this steamy, Future-assisted cut was only further evidence of that.



76

Years & Years - Shine

A glowing offering from one of the year's most auspicious pop outfits.




Photo of Charlotte OC by Jay McLaughlin

77

Charlotte OC - On & On

This gloriously emotional track was such a massive listen, entrancing with every second.



78

Modest Mouse - Lampshades on Fire

Even if it was a long time coming, the band really made the madness sound like a cynical, wonderful celebration.




79

Day Wave - Drag

The emerging California singer didn't need many bells and whistles to captivate us with this mesmerizing lo-fi cut about an relationship in trouble.


80

HONNE - Coastal Love

Long-distance relationships are never easy, but the British duo presented an optimistic look at such situations with this infectious tune.




81

Big Sean, feat. Kanye West & John Legend - One Man Can Change the World

Even without the assistance of Kanye West and John Legend, this was Big Sean at his best, a peak in his career and a realization of himself as an artist, inspired by his late grandmother.




82

A$AP Rocky, feat. Rod Stewart, Miguel & Mark Ronson - Everyday

This smoky cut brought together an unusual combination of talent, but the result was nothing short of amazing.




Photo of Oh Wonder, courtesy artist

83

Oh Wonder - Technicolour Beat

An enticing, otherworldly offering from the talented London-based pair.




84

Mumford & Sons - Believe

The honesty and uncertainty in this track seemed reflective of a relationship on shaky grounds as well as their own transition away from their more acoustic sounds.



85

Flor - Unsaid

The up-and-coming Los Angeles outfit delighted our ears with this infectious confessional about a struggle to be honest, yet not wanting to regret the aftermath.




86

Ryn Weaver - The Fool

The rising starlet continued showing her artistic prowess on this ironically shimmering cut reflective of her own toxicity in a relationship.



87

CVIRO & GXNXVS - Sober

An intoxicating, R&B-infused cut from a pair of brilliantly talented Aussie musicians who teamed up to create this mesmerizing gem.



88

Anderson .Paak - The Season / Carry Me

The West Coast MC instantly had us hooked with this gravely, soul-infused offering chronicling his rise.



Photo of Golden Coast by Adam Bartlett

89

Golden Coast - Futurist

A funky, irresistible pop confection oozing with summer vibes, from an emerging duo who, thus far, can do no wrong.



90

Matt Woods - Blue Skies

The soulful Londoner delivered an emotional ballad about falling for your best friend, marking a new benchmark for the rising artist.




Photo of Skepta, courtesy artist

91

Skepta - Shutdown

The English rapper transcended the U.K. with this explosive single, getting fans hyped and more than making up for the delay of his album.




92
Pusha T - Untouchable
With this pure-rap, no-gimmicks cut, Pusha made clear to his peers any hip-hop crown is far from spoken for—and he's going for it.




93

Meg Mac - Never Be

The Melbourne songstress released this stunner, which easily proved she has the vocal talents to rise to pop's upper ranks.




94

Michael Blume - Manufactured Love

The Harlem newcomer mesmerized us with this delicate debut cut about false promises and material excess, which served as evidence of the singer's pending surge.




95

Miike Snow, feat. Run the Jewels - Heart Is Full

The Swedish trio made an epic return, breaking their silence with this frenzied track, which somehow became even better with the assistance of Run the Jewels.




96

Azekel - The War Inside

This simmering single from the emerging British singer caught our attention earlier this year, a spellbinding preview of his upcoming EP, which is expected in 2016.


Photo of Vince Staples, courtesy artist

97

Vince Staples - Señorita

The Long Beach rapper cemented his status with this fiery single, fueling his inevitable rise and perhaps quieting many critics in the process.




98

twenty one pilots - Stressed Out

A nostalgic rock-rap fusion and worthy hit, from the Ohio duo, who couldn't help reminiscing about the "good old days" despite the fact that they're on top of the world right now.




99

The Paper Kites - Electric Indigo

Australia really gave us the goods this year and this impassioned track from the Melbourne quintet was like sweet honey.




Photo of Big Grams, courtesy artist

100

Big Grams - Fell in the Sun

When Phantogram's Sarah Barthel first revealed to Variance in 2014 the duo's collaborative EP with Big Boi, we knew it was a match made in heaven. The lead single finally arrived this year and it definitely didn't disappoint.