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    Spinnaker Record Club’s Best of 2015: Songs (10-1)


    BACK2THESTART [via Four Tet on Soundcloud]10

    Four Tet



    Kieran Hebden had a busy year, putting out an album, a compilation and a smattering of excellent singles under a variety of monikers, but this track, first heard in a Rinse FM mix from late last year, tops them all. It’s dark, intoxicating house at its most appealing and foundational. – Doug Markowitz



    Parlay [via Lustwerk Music on Bandcamp]9

    Galcher Lustwerk


    (Lustwerk Music)

    Driving top-down on the interstate in the fog of a 3 a.m., post-club bout of insomnia with the city lights glimmering in the distance, you put this on and find yourself to be the slickest, most glamorous motherfucker alive. Only so often does house come along that’s so effortlessly smooth. – Doug Markowitz



    Dubby [via Backspin Promotions website]8

    DJ Spinn feat. DJ Rashad and Danny Brown



    The Chicago-born dance craze creates one of its finest moments in this terrific track featuring the late DJ Rashad. You’ll probably never be able to dance footwork, but this wonderful song, the true last will and testament of one of the South Side’s loyal sons, will make you want to try. – Doug Markowitz



    Elaenia [via Floating Points on Facebook]7

    Floating Points

    Silhouettes (I, II and III)

    (Luaka Bop / Pluto) 

    This is without one shred of doubt the most stunning, heartbreakingly beautiful song of the year. Fusing jazz drums and organ with strings and choir, the places the 10 minute song takes over its three movements are at once familiar and new, and whenever I visit them I find myself in shock, awe and tears. I can’t say it any other way: it’s simply marvelous. – Doug Markowitz


    Grief [via Earl Sweatshirt on Facebook]6

    Earl Sweatshirt



    BARS. They may be spit by a rapper or swallowed in the form of Xanax. Whichever it is, both apply in the case of Earl Sweatshirt. “Grief” may be an exceedingly dark, agoraphobic track about anxiety, depression and self-medication, but Earl goes in like never before. You want bars? Look no further. – Doug Markowitz


    Universal Everything [via Leftfield on Facebook]5


    Universal Everything

    (Infectious Music)

    This summer, one of the inventors of progressive house came back from obscurity to remind us all why this EDM thing is so big, and how it should be done. “Universal Everything” is a song that can unite the Boiler Room bangers with the EDC wannabes as one nation under one groove. – Doug Markowitz


    Oh Baby [via Micachu on Facebook]4

    Micachu and the Shapes

    Oh Baby

    (Rough Trade)

    Smack in the middle of the whimsical improv sesh that makes up Good Sad Happy Bad is a subterranean homesick blues song for the ages. You can’t really make out what’s being said, but as the beat thumps along and the melody glides across, you know it’s for you. – Doug Markowitz



    Hotline Bling [via iTunes]3


    Hotline Bling

    (Young Money)

    Drake’s booty call put him on hold and he’s feeling insecure about it. With a simple two-note organ melody, some drums and an elevator jingle of a sample, he conveys the latest of his woes. Lyrically, it’s about being used and swept under the rug, a morose topic for a song that has garnered about 99 million plays on YouTube. But the catchy lyrics and classic Drake delivery, plus the influence Future has undoubtedly had on his style, makes for a solid song to vibe, smooch or cry to. Pick your poison. – Justin Belichis


    Beautiful Blue Sky [via Constellation Records website]2


    Beautiful Blue Sky


    This is a song about the oppression of commodification, the neoliberal experience and the world Millennials have inherited. This is a song about how humankind has wrecked the earth with advertisements and development and war, or perhaps a combination of the three. This is a song for a time when life is so overwhelmingly, achingly atrocious that all we have to appreciate is the sky. Every generation has its version of “Once in a Lifetime.” This is ours. – Doug Markowitz


    Alright [via @TopDawgEnt on Twitter]1

    Kendrick Lamar


    (Interscope / Top Dawg)

    “It’s Kendrick’s ‘Alright’ because it has taken a sizable portion of the angst in Black America and turned it into this beautiful and empowering declaration of strength and intent.”

    That was the response given by Grantland’s Shea Serrano, author of a book on the most important rap song of every year since the genre was created, when a Reddit user asked him what the most important song of 2015 was. He gave the same emphatic answer to a different user: “It’s Kendrick’s ‘Alright’ and it’s not even close.”

    He’s 100 percent correct. It’s an excellent track, synthesizing the trap-style production that’s currently in vogue throughout hip-hop with the woozy jazz all over To Pimp a Butterfly. But all of that, even Kendrick’s masterfully technical flow, is almost beside the point. Out of all the songs on this list, this is the only one with lyrics chanted at political rallies. This is the only one that taps into the one essential, flagrantly-stated fact of black life from the very first line: “Alls my life I has to fight.” And this is the only one that nails down the cautious optimism of a life defined by struggle: we have fought and suffered, and we will keep fighting and suffer again, but no matter what, we’ll be alright. Judging by the recent headlines, we may need to rely on that mindset in 2016. – Doug Markowitz


    Our year-end coverage continues tomorrow with our favorite EPs of 2015


    For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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