It’s a December tradition here at Flavorwire that we take a look at Pitchfork’s Top 10 Songs of the Year, and think about what they might say about the generation who’s listening to them. This year’s Top 10 is a diverse selection that perhaps reflects the disconnected and fractured nature of the year that saw their release — so anyway, join us as we overanalyze and overthink just what it might all mean.
10. Michael Jackson — “Love Never Felt So Good” (Original Version)
We miss the King of Pop, it seems. But c’mon, listen to Thriller or Bad instead.
9. Future — “Move That Dope” (feat. Pharrell, Pusha T and Casino)
We’re as into vicarious tales of the gangsta lifestyle as ever — as Pusha T asks here, “Who don’t wanna sell dope forever and flex their Rollie ’til the bezel break?” Which is all very well if you don’t actually have to, y’know, sell cocaine for a living. As Kendrick Lamar observed a couple of years back, “Dreams of living life like rappers do… Back to reality, we poor.” Or, more likely, we’re middle class and bored.
8. Perfume Genius — “Queen”
We love all of the following: – An underdog; – Self-expression; – Self-confidence; – Defiance; – Flamboyance; – Sea witches with penis tentacles.
7. Beyoncé — “Flawless” (feat. Chmamanda Ngozi Adichie)
We are a generation raised on branding. We love a grand gesture. We love spectacle, theater, performance. We are living in a Debordian dystopia where standing in front of a sign that says “FEMINIST” is the most feminist gesture you can make.
6. Run the Jewels — “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” (feat. Zack de la Rocha)
Fuck you, we won’t do what you tell us! Also, we really loved the Run the Jewels record, both because it was really fucking good, and because of the genuinely endearing friendship between Killer Mike and El-P, which is on full display here. We understand that screaming “RUN THEM JEWELS FAST!” can be just as political as marching down a street chanting slogans. We take our views seriously, but we don’t take ourselves overly seriously.
5. The War on Drugs — “Red Eyes”
Despite everything that’s happened since R.E.M. released Murmur (over 30 years ago, kids!), we still love an indie anthem with an obtuse lyric — especially when it comes with a stadium-sized chorus that could have walked straight off Arcade Fire’s Funeral. And we’re not all curmudgeons like a certain M. Kozelek, apparently.
4. Caribou — “Can’t Do Without You”
Someone stole the copy of Moby’s Play we never admitted listening to, and damn it if we don’t need something else to play once we get home from the club and the molly’s worn off and we’re feeling kinda emotional. We’re unashamed romantics. We’re sentimental. And about this time tomorrow, we’ll be coming down like a bag of cement from the top of the Empire State Building.
3. FKA twigs — “Two Weeks”
We’re still suckers for pop stars who look and sound like they descended from another planet. (Also, we still miss Aaliyah.)
2. iLoveMakonnen — “Club Goin’ Up on a Tuesday” (feat. Drake)
Deep down, we have an unspoken understanding that there’s something desperate about our hedonism, that there’s an undercurrent of pathos beneath our partying. Eat, drink, and be merry… and all that. But despite it all, we also know that we might just self-release a track and end up having Drake do a verse on it.
1. Future Islands — “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
We have FEELINGS. Real FEELINGS. Serious feelings that can’t be constrained by the confines of a normal singing voice, feelings that demand the attention of an unassuming man with some endearingly strange dance moves. For all that people like to accuse our generation of apathy and an overdependence on irony, deep down we’re as sincere as it gets. And we’re not ashamed of that one little bit.