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10. Schoolboy Q, ''Man of the Year''
Over ominous West Coast Cadillac bass, Q big-ups herbal refreshment and commands all well-endowed girls to bounce. It's base as hell—but as foolishness goes, it's exquisitely effective. —Kyle Anderson
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9. Lykke Li, ''No Rest for the Wicked''
Sounding like a cross between a Brontë sister and a lost Phil Spector starlet, the Swedish songstress rues a love she ruined: ''I had his heart, but I broke it every time.'' What begins as a mournful little piano tinkle breaks open into pure cinema, a girl-group beauty draped in widow black. —Leah Greenblatt
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8. Hozier, ''Take Me to Church''
It was the song that launched a thousand Shazam sessions. From LeBron's Beats ad to a heavy Leftovers scene, ''Take Me to Church'' was inescapable—but who was that guy? With a haunting melody and sublime string of ''Amen''s, Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne converted even non-believers. —Isabella Biedenharn
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7. The War on Drugs, ''Red Eyes''
An indie-rock rival dismissed the Philly band as ''beer-commercial lead-guitar s---,'' but his comment contained unintentional truth. ''Red Eyes,'' with its drifting synths and liquid guitars, is a Springsteen-meets-Petty heartland anthem that conveys both aimlessness and limitless possibilities. Budweiser's ad team only wish they'd thought of it first. —Eric Renner Brown
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6. Taylor Swift, ''Blank Space''
Taylor Swift knows we've been talking about her. So on 1989's syncopated highlight, she goes fully meta. With self-aware lines like ''You look like my next mistake,'' the star proves her daggers always hit their targets—even if she has to nick herself along the way. —Isabella Biedenharn
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5. Kendrick Lamar, ''i''
On the self-esteem-boosting jam, rap's next great hope rasps nimbly over the strains of the Isley Brothers' unbearably funky ''That Lady.'' Kendrick's working through some issues here (''The world is a ghetto with big guns and picket signs''), but he barely breaks a sweat. When you've got personal-power sermons like these, who needs Tony Robbins? —Molly Simms
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4. Jack White, ''Lazaretto''
''My veins are blue and connected/And every single bone in my brain is electric,'' White sneers on this dense, manic, and fantastically indulgent display of musicality. The song's thick psych-funk bass line, face-melting electric guitar, and cagey blues vocals further cement his position as rock & roll's primal keeper of the flame. —Madison Vain
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3. Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea and Big Sean, ''Problem''
The zippy soundtrack to a sci-fi comedy wherein sassy, consonant-challenged Detective Grande shakes off a string of bad lovers and teams up with the machete-tongued Sergeant Azalea to battle time-traveling robot gangsters. Their supernatural secret? The mysteriously transfixing power of producer Max Martin's spunky saxiness. —Kyle Anderson
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2. Beyoncé feat. Nicki Minaj, ''Flawless (Remix)''
In a single swoop of rage, Queen Bey coins a slogan for 21st-century feminism (''I woke up like this''), delivers the final word on her biggest scandal (''Of course sometimes s--- go down/When it's a billion dollars on the elevator''), and even lets Minaj invite Ivanka Trump to the party. You could call it fearless, scary-smart, or unforgettable—but really, the title describes it best. —Adam Markovitz
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1. Sam Smith, ''Stay with Me''
Like so many great love songs, ''Stay With Me'' isn't really about love. It's about the hopeful, lonely rift between two people—in this case, a one-night stand that leaves Smith pleading, ''I don't want you to leave/Will you hold my hand?'' Then waves of blue-eyed soul lift the song to the most rapturous gospel-choir climax ever heard outside a Sunday service. About that: There is no choir. It's a one-man multitude—a single voice raised to the power of a chorus. It's one guy figuring out, at least for now, how to be whole all by himself. —Adam Markovitz