46. “Wild For The Night”- A$AP Rocky & Skrillex

A$AP Rocky is not the New York rap messiah some promised us, but he isn’t the talentless pretty boy some make him out to be, either. “Wild for the Night,” the second single off his debut album LongLiveA$AP, sounds nothing like what either Skrillex or A$AP has put out the last few years. A$AP teaming up with the dubstep king may look like a questionable match on paper (including the awkward rhyme, “put my finger to the grillex/me and my n—- Skrillex”), but the DJ’s enthralling production matched with A$AP’s unfailing energy make the duo nothing less than an inspired choice. Rap hasn’t sounded this aggressive in a long time, and aggression fits perfectly into the makeup of both hip-hop and brostep (could this be the start of a beautiful relationship?). Skrillex tones down his mechanical spontaneity to set A$AP’s table, and A$AP allows the production to shine over any of his numerous artificial vocal inflections, and what results is a hit that lies pleasantly between two musical extremes.

45. “Gentleman”- PSY

If I had a piece of candy for every view “Gangnam Style” has on YouTube, I’d have 1.8 billion pieces of candy (enough to share with one quarter of the entire human race). So at just over 600 million views (or 1/3rd of its predecessor), it would be fair to say that the video for “Gentleman,” the most highly anticipated music video ever released, was a flop. Most artists would kill for a fraction of a percentage of that attention, but since we’re talking about the follow up to the biggest global phenomenon since “Thriller,” it’s pretty clear that “Gentleman” didn’t really hit it “big.” And that’s too bad, because the video is a slightly inferior but still excellent jab at the absurd excesses of young wealth, proof that PSY has that Michael Jackson killer instinct, if not the dance moves. What makes “Gentleman” such a great song, however, is that unlike “Gangnam Style,” it stands on its own as an audio file. “Gangnam Style” would not have reached Western ears without that hall-of-fame video, and though “Gentleman” wouldn’t have stuck without “Gangnam Style,” it merits its place in discos without a hint of foreign novelty or irony. Also, ponytails.

44. “Default”- Atoms for Peace

Atoms for Peace is hardly a supergroup, not because of their personnel (Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, Flea), but because there was hardly any buzz towards what felt like a consolation prize to a Radiohead-free 2013. And while Thomothy Yorkshire surrounded himself with excellent musicians, I couldn’t shake the fact that Amok sounded like a Yorke solo album, missing the four AAA musicians that made Radiohead the best band in the universe for a little over a decade. “Default” is pretty good, though. It sounds like an Amnesiac b-side, a minimalist Kraftwerk-shop that presents both the grating and sly identities of Godrich’s production (the opening few seconds sound like buffering, depending on your Internet connection). It’s not Radiohead because Yorke is just one of the five necessary pieces to complete the supergroup I’m actually hoping will return. I really like Radiohead, if you couldn’t tell.

43. “Bugs Don’t Buzz”- Majical Cloudz

It’s pretty ironic that “Bugs Don’t Buzz’s” opening couplet “The cheesiest songs all end with a smile/this won’t end in a smile, my love” sounds kinda cheesy, but thank goodness it’s all downhill from there. “Bugs Don’t Buzz” captures the “importance” of a moment, and how some, even the ones we should be remembering forever, just aren’t that memorable. “If life could be forever one instant…” lead singer Devon Welsh pleads, “would it be the moment you met me?” Because that would be ideal: two people sharing a wish to make the same moment last forever, but this isn’t how it goes, this doesn’t end in a smile. Welsh’s reality is your run of the mill heartbreak: “No, my dear,” he finishes, burdened with the agony of unrequited love and blessed with the ability to lay it to tape.

42. Work Bitch- Britney Spears

Britney shaved her head in 2007. That was the low point in a years long string of bizarre public relations, a point from which no one expected the Pop Princess would return, much less thrive. But in the six years since that debacle, Britney has pulled a reverse-Samson, finding a niche in gay club/workout anthems that sound better than any other music she’s ever done. There isn’t any underlying subtext to her sound, no feigning of childhood innocence or the impression of pop majesty, just simple house rhythms and her patented dance floor command. This is as simple and idiot-proof as house music gets, and the further Britney gets away from her late 90s, the more the Madonna comparisons start to make sense.


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