50-46

50. “Guau!” – Beck, Mexican Institute of Sound (Mp)

Beck’s brand of weird lost it’s luster right around the time “Wow” found itself in an ad campaign. But have no fear: Mexican Institute of Sound is here to inject some south-of-the-border strange. And Mr. Hansen, more often than not the palest guy in the panaderia, most likely gives his Angelino approval.

49. “Feed The Streets (Watch The Stove)” – Helper

Stouffers gets credit not only for the best April Fools prank of the year, but also an instant classic of corporate branding. Seriously, this EP entirely about preparing, serving, and eating Hamburger Helper is molten-lava microwave hot.

48. “All The Way Up” – Fat Joe, French Montana (2), Remy Ma

This song is “Lean Back.” There is nothing about this song that makes it any different from “Lean Back.” If I were to compare it to any song, with every song in history at my disposal, “Lean Back” would be the one I would consider and eventually settle upon. It’s the same damn song, man. Still good, though.

47. “On The Lips” – Frankie Cosmos (2) (m)

Indie rock’s poet laureate is back at it, this time trying to figure out where to kiss ‘ya. And it’s so adorable that it deserves one of those “aw shucks” answers.

46. “Come And See Me” – PARTYNEXTDOOR (2), Drake (9) (p)

Midway through “Come and See Me,” PND takes a step back and allows Drake to take over the crooning. Unless you’re listening closely, it’s hard to tell that any change has taken place at all, which begs the question: does PND do anything that Drake hasn’t already done? But as long as Drake has stepped away from the minimalist ballads, someone is going to have to Drake it up for him. This’ll do.

 

30-26

30. Can’t Do Without You – Caribou (2)

There’s electronic music that goes SKIRR PIINGGG SHLABOOMM WOB WOB WOB WOB A;IDJFPAOUSFGAPOUDFGH’L and that’s fine. There’s a time and a place for entrails-melting bass and glowsticks, and when mixed with enough alcohol and sweat and regret, it’s generally pretty good. But then there’s that electronic music that goes *bip*, and we can blame Brian Eno for starting that phenomenon and Aphex Twin for making it noticeable. At least we’ve come to a point where we can compare artists like Caribou to the Carpenters or James Taylor without getting eye rolls from grey-haired patrons lamenting the demise of six-stringed instruments. After all, what fun would that be?

29. Beautiful – A.G. Cook

Maybe it’s because I’m used to plopping in a few quarters and hearing this type of music through the local arcade’s Dance Dance Revolution speakers, but I really don’t understand the whole PC Music debate. It’s not that I see 2014’s most polarizing label as good or bad, but whenever I read about A.G. Cook’s ironic response to hyper masculinized electro-pop, or how high-pitched vocal manipulations are meant to create a crowd effect or multiple personalities, I wonder if we can just take a second to breathe and consider these songs as collections of sounds that has already been packaged before. Kawaii and feminine dance pop may be new to Britain, but that doesn’t mean that Japan and co. haven’t been bringing this stuff out like fresh baked cookies for twenty years now. “Beautiful” is bliss regardless of the faux politics behind Internet chatrooms and blogs written by men with moustaches, both of which have succeeded in sucking the fun out of a movement that really doesn’t need to be discussed in great detail.

28. Recognize – PARTYNEXTDOOR, Drake (5)

“That’s why every song sounds like Drake featuring Drake.”- Drake. Now to be fair, Drake’s competence is the main reason for this Drake ft. Drake phenomenon, so starting a label with other artists that sound like himself warrants a pass, as arrogant as it sounds. PARTYNEXTDOOR is on this label, so there’s a few things you can guess about him off the bat: he’s Canadian, he probably wouldn’t have been signed anywhere else, and oh yeah, he sounds like Drake. But in a vacuum the grading is incomplete. He has just about as much a chance of being a no-talent coattails rider as a melodic genius (that autotuned “older and older” part makes me want to call up an ex), and time will tell whether he’s The Weeknd or Trinidad James. But for now he’s _______ featuring Drake, and that’s enough for sales.

27. The Writing’s On The Wall – OKGO (2)

It’s understandable to perceive of OKGO as a band that prioritizes music videos over music, but to do so would negate the band’s basic pop instincts. Their newest creation sounds like a New Order song. In fact, if we went Marty McFly and hopped in a DeLorian back to 1985, we could probably convince everyone that this is indeed a New Order song. But if your goal with your career is to orchestrate background music for the most bonkers videos ever created, New Order is a pretty good band to steal from. Especially since those videos don’t look to be stolen from anyone in particular. In the YouTube era, one band had to give up any semblance of arena stardom for the title of the Internet’s house band, and I’m sure glad we got some nice music to go along with it.

26. Water Me – FKA Twigs

You like Grimes? Cool. How about James Blake? Sweet. I generally hate those “they sound like a cross between x and y” descriptions when first describing an artist, but this one works. Like really works. You may have heard of her, too, if you read the Internet. She’s dating Robert Pattinson, if you didn’t know that already. You’ve probably already seen her as well. You know that really creepy album cover with the face that looks like painted clay? That’s her. In full makeup, sure, but that’s still her. Everybody’s calling it the best album cover of the year, and I’m inclined to agree, not because I care about what Internet critics have to say about anything, but because I genuinely think it’s awesome. What was that? Her name? Oh man, it’s escaping me right now, something something Twix or something like that. Yeah man, she’s the female Frank Ocean, except she sounds nothing like him, you dig? Just look her up. I know right now it seems like she’s getting famous for a whole bunch of other reasons besides her music, but trust me, she’s going to stay around for a while, so it might be good to familiarize yourself with her sounds.