Another year, another new crop of anthems and bangers. The songs that made this list are the ones that transcended genre and fan to reach new audiences, and got more plays than King James.
Whether by the end of the year you still couldn’t turn them off, of couldn’t turn them off quick enough, these are our team’s picks for the hottest songs of 2015. Listen to them all back-to-back in the playlist.
1) Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Everyone knew that with a new album coming, it was going to be a monstrous year for King Kendrick. With radio-ready tracks like “i” and “King Kunta” in the gauntlet, it took a few people by surprise when “Alright” ended up in the spotlight. The track became the anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement, and was attached synonymously to the protests against police violence going on across America.
2) Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Drake out-Draked himself on this one. Everyone and their grandma knew the song, the video, and the dance — which speaks volumes to its success. It inspired more memes than one would like to hope is possible, and most of all, it was a damn catchy track.
3) Future – “March Madness”
It’s been a hell of a season for Future, but “March Madness” is the magnum opus of this period. Political commentary and blunt descriptions of his drug addiction are somehow woven into one of the most infectious, crowd-moving songs in recent memory. You don’t need to understand all of the words to catch the vibe.
4) Vince Staples – “Norf Norf”
After skirting a trip to hell, newcomer Vince Staples had a strong commercial debut with his album Summertime ’06. “Norf Norf” not only perfectly encapsulated all the feelings and topics covered on the dual-disc album, but was also perfectly timely with all the police violence making headlines in 2015. It also helped that the beat banged and Staples had a crisp video to boot.
5) Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Teaming up with Skrillex and Diplo may just have saved Justin Bieber’s career, and the Biebs had by far his biggest year yet. While on the surface, “Sorry” seems to be an apology to an ex-lover, you can’t help but thinking it’s more directed at the fans and the public. This big comeback song may have single-handedly stopped Bieber from becoming just another child star, and cemented his position to be a pop star for years to come.
Adele – “Hello”
GoldLink – “Spectrum”
Travis Scott – “Antidote”
Fetty Wap ft. Monty – “My Way”
Freddie Gibbs ft. Black Thought – “Extradite”