No. 1: "I Don't Wanna Miss You" by Twin Peaks
This is the song for that one person who somehow manages to intrude our psyches, no matter what we do to banish them. With this dose of defiantly snarky garage rock perfection, Chicago-based quintet Twin Peaks really nails the uniquely infuriating predicament of missing someone when you know you just need to get them out of your life.
No. 2: "Pretty Thoughts" by Eazy El Loco, Emilio Morales
Even rappers get their hearts broken sometimes. In this epic eight-minute track, Eazy El Loco takes us through every aspect of a relationship's demise. From the breakup, to the post-breakup soul-searching and self-destruction, to the light at the end of the tunnel, we experience the chaotic beauty of it all right along with him, against the backdrop of smooth beats and tinkling piano.
No. 3: "I'm Clean Now" by Grouper
We don't hear a note before lead singer Liz Harris gently croons "I'm clean now." What follows is a buoyant song as delicate as lace. It's like a cashmere blanket and a lavender candle for the ears. Gossamer, dulcet, and somnolent in the best way.
No. 4: "Legend Has It" by Run the Jewels
Killer Mike and El-P enter this song like warriors. In fact, this entire song plays like one long roast. With lyrics like "We are the murderous pair / That went to jail and we murdered the murderers there / Then went to Hell and discovered the devil / Delivered some hurt and despair," we'd be worried for anyone who might want to challenge them to a battle.
No. 5: "Rose Golden" by Kid Cudi, Willow
As if Willow Smith wasn't already the coolest 16-year-old in the world, now she has a new song with Kid Cudi. Backed by an orchestra and a clapping beat, the two sing about childhood growing pains. "Oh, since I was young, been grooving to my own drum / Ain't that many teachers show me my potential / Felt like a failure, momma said you know better." We hope this isn't the last time these two great minds come together.
No. 6: "Into You" by Sondre Lerche
We never would have guessed that Norwegian pop star Sondre Lerche would be the one to cover one of Ariana Grande's sexiest and most popular tracks, but we're glad that he did. According to him, it was his attempt to release himself from the doom and gloom of 2016 and set the tone for a sunnier, more optimistic 2017. We're all for that, Sondre.
No. 7: "Blow Out" by Gangly
This track by Icelandic trio Gangly is synth-pop at its best. The heavy synth, atmospheric vocals, and electronic drums make for some serious M83 vibes. The group has said that their band name—which means "tall and awkward," something all the members claim to be—was a way of trying to escape that very feeling. They may be tall, and they may even be awkward, but no one uncool makes music this good.
No. 8: "SB-04" by Unknown Mortal Orchestra
For the past three years, Unknown Mortal Orchestra have been releasing 20-minute-long ambient tracks as a part of their "SB" series. This tune plays like a story, venturing from a clamoring beginning, to a melodic middle, and then a gradually dwindling end. Fuzzy and electronic, like the soundtrack to a tape from some indiscernible time in the past, it's not exactly easy listening—but that's what makes it worth listening to.
No. 9: "Living Single" by Big Sean, Chance The Rapper
On this track, Big Sean and Chance the Rapper go through the surprisingly relatable trials and tribulations of dating life, from the carefree single years to hardcore committed relationships to exes. Happy-go-lucky and laidback, it's full of revelations and silly observations, and is the perfect antidote to a gloomy winter day.
No. 10: "WYD" by Cosima
Baltimore's Cosima is the closest thing this generation has to a Sade. We could drop the mic there, because anything beyond that is almost too much praise. In this song, Cosima recounts chasing after an unrequited love in a manner so alluring that it'll have us chasing after her for the entirety of 2017. It's always a pleasantly odd feeling when a sad track leaves you feeling elated, and this one hits the mark.
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