It’s become something of an end-of-year tradition to look at what’s probably our generation’s most representative end-of-year list — Pitchfork best songs of the year — and ponder what it says about its readership. After all, the music we’ve found ourselves listening to over the course of a year is a pretty good indication of where our heads have been at. And so, with the publication of this year’s list, it’s time once more to over-analyze the top 10 and see what it has to say about the year gone by.
10. Autre Ne Veut — “Play by Play”
We deal with our burgeoning anxiety disorders (and our increasingly dysfunctional love lives) by immersing ourselves in… ultra-emotive R&B, it appears.
9. Deafheaven — “Dreamhouse”
We were pretty excited about My Bloody Valentine returning, but these days we prefer our shoegaze with a harder edge. We’re not so much into immersing ourselves in a sound that’s soft as snow but warm inside; these days, we seek our catharsis in screaming. These are angsty times, after all.
8. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell — “Get Lucky”
We like staying up all night. To get lucky.
7. Disclosure — “Latch”
But we’re not into the idea of staying up all night to get lucky forever. Sam Smith’s lyrics on this Disclosure track are an unlikely paean to monogamy and the joys of falling in love, even if the chorus is dominated by the curious imagery of locking and latches: “Now I got you in my space/ I won’t let go of you/ Got you shackled in my embrace/ I’m latching on to you.” Settle down, dude.
6. Haim — “The Wire”
Relationships are hard, though. Haim’s breakthrough single was about how you can fall out of love with a partner — not because of anything they’ve done, just because. (Also, we appear to continue to miss the joys of ’80s FM radio, for whatever reason.)
5. Ciara — “Body Party”
We’ve come to realize that the body-as-wonderland metaphor sounds a whole lot better when it’s not coming out of John Mayer’s mouth. Thank god.
4. Arcade Fire — “Reflektor”
Fifteen years on from OK Computer, we still haven’t gotten over our skepticism of technology. These days, though, we prefer our post-millennial smartphone angst presented in two languages and augmented with some cryptic references to Kierkegaard.
3. Vampire Weekend — “Hannah Hunt”
We’re older and wiser, our hearts bruised, our egos diminished. We’re not as carefree as we used to be. We’re not in college anymore, and we’ve come to realize there’s more to the world than caring about the Oxford comma. But we’re soldiering on. And summer’s on the way.
2. Kanye West — “New Slaves”
The Year of Kanye, again. We bought Yeezus and played it on repeat. We giggled every time we saw croissants, especially if the barista was taking a while to fetch them. We read a thousand thinkpieces and had Strong Opinions about Jimmy Kimmel and the “Bound 2” video and leather jogging pants. And at the end of the day, we remembered that we really love a slamming beat and a compelling vocal.
1. Drake feat. Majid Jordan — “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
It’s been a strange old year. The economy’s still in the can, the planet is warming up, it’s hard to find a job, and we’re not making any dent in our student loans. (Also, we seem to have a regrettable fondness for songs that include the phrase “You’re a good girl.”) But hold on, we’re going home. It’s all gonna be OK.