1. Lana Del Rey | Gods And Monsters
This song is just Sexy. And so is she. The accompanying Anthony Mandler-Directed Segment of Tropico that features this track is a Haunting and Seedy World of Pole Dancing and Hispanic gangs. I Love it. I just Love the whole persona Lana has created: this fucked-up, strung-out Prom Queen gone Bad. The Dark Side of the American Dream. And this song and its Lyrics portray it perfectly.
2. The Weeknd | The Morning
Shout out to my fellow Torontonian Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd. The Morning makes me strangely Nostalgic for the seedy underbelly of my hometown as I remember it in my late teens, this Neon-Lit World of Strip Clubs and After Hours. This song is that weird, spaced out, coming down feeling of 5am, when the birds are starting to chirp and the Sun's coming up, you haven't been to sleep and you won't be able to fall asleep any time soon.
3. Solange | Losing You
No disrespect to Queen Bey, but her little sister Solange just has this cool without trying to be cool thing down pat. This song is a Breezy, Light Pop Confection that sounds almost like it's sung by a young Madonna. A sweet little number about a Romance turned Sour. And the Video is out of this world. Melina Matsoukas' Tribute to the Sartorial Elegance of Congolese Sapeurs, alongside a finger-snapping, sassily-dressed Solange? Visual Gold.
4. Major Lazer | Get Free (feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors)
Like a one-way ticket to the Caribbean. Amber Coffman gives a great Vocal Performance. And yet, as breezy as the Instrumental is, the Lyrics are actually quite Affecting and Melancholic, touching on Universal Themes of Freedom and Escaping Oppression in its Many Forms. Beautiful stuff.
5. Sky Ferreira | You're Not The One
There's this great Blondie/Siouxsie And The Banshees Retro-but-Modern thing going on with this one. And I Love that Melodically it goes where you might not expect it to. I really think she's coming into her own as an Artist and the fact that she's drop dead gorgeous doesn't hurt either. I want her to be catapulted onto the same level as the other big Female Pop Stars, because I think she's actually doing something far more interesting than most.
6. The Notorious B.I.G. | Juicy
The early to mid-90s are arguably my Favourite Period in Hip-Hop. And this was the track that cemented Biggie's place as a Legend. I still know every single word. It's just a Classic. A Highly Intelligent, Aspirational song about an underdog's ascent to the top as well as the story of how Hip-Hop itself rose in Popularity.
7. Kendrick Lamar | HiiiPoWer
Possibly my favourite track by one of the Most Gifted Rappers of Today. Kendrick has so many brilliant cuts: Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe, Poetic Justice, but to me this one is definitely the angriest, and most powerful, to the point where it gives me goosebumps. It's like a call to arms. Plus J. Cole's Beat on this is nothing short of Majestic.
8. Kanye West | All Of The Lights (feat. Rihanna, Kid Cudi, John Legend, The-Dream, Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Elton John, Ryan Leslie, Tony Williams)
I'm a longtime Kanye fan and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a remarkable album. But the jewel in its crown is 100% All Of The Lights. The Beat is fucking crazy, there are like, 11 guest vocalists on it… I recently saw him perform it on the Yeezus Tour and the crowd went absolutely apeshit. I have a feeling that even people who don't necessarily like Kanye like this song.
9. Frank Ocean | Pyramids
Swim Good knocked me off my feet, but Pyramids convinced me that Frank Ocean is a genius. It's his nearly 10 minute long Magnum Opus. Lyrically it is so clever it makes my head spin: the Decline of an Ancient African Wueen into a Modern-Day Stripper. The man is a Storyteller. I can only bow down to his Greatness on this one. And the Promo for it is incredible despite a cameo by John Mayer.
10. Iggy Azalea | Change Your Life (feat. T.I.)
I'm a little bit in Love with Iggy. I mean, it's gotta be hard out there for a White Girl Rapper and she just says fuck it to the haters. And more Power to her for it. And this song is catchy as hell, so who cares what her detractors say?