1. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
This feels like a collaboration of styles reminiscent of R&B, ‘70s-‘80s funk and disco. So what if the lyrics make little sense? So what if it uses a ton of musical styles at once? You want some uptown funk? I hold no guilt whatsoever in enjoying this song. It even made a bitter friend of mine bob his head and sway his shoulders to the rhythm. This song will definitely be around for a while. Don’t believe me? Just watch.
2. “Sleeping with a Friend” by Neon Trees
I loved listening to this song on the Top-40 radio station until I had no choice but to download it when it disappeared. It has kind of an ‘80s-techno-new-wave-ish feel to it, and the music video is about as cheesy as ‘80s music videos, but with updated technology. Given the material in the lyrics here, I’d say Neon Trees pulled off a tricky challenge—they made an anthem for uncertain, dangerous love sound good. Now can we please make this popular again?
3. “Team” by Lorde
This bitter addition to the list only got more profound (and better) every time I heard it. A self-proclaimed “tribute to [Lorde’s] friends and country,” almost everything on this track (with the exception of the very beginning, which is an enhanced lyrical loop) is done right. It has since become an effective parable about unfortunate young people (not that Lorde has any reason to make a song about that, but whatever). I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands in the air, too.
4. “Boom Clap” by Charli XCX
There are plenty of songs about love, right? Well, not that many. There are numerous songs about lust, sex, needs, passion and about anything else that hardly associates with how good it feels to find the right person to be with. This song illustrates actual love, and while the reason we may not have many of these is because they’re lame, insipid or forgettable, this one certainly is neither. It’s fun to listen to and it sticks with you. And let’s not forget that unforgettable chorus.
5. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
I just love this song. This apparently stayed at the top of pop charts earlier in the year. Well, you know what? Maybe there’s a reason for that. It’s so cheerful and, for lack of a better word, “happy” that it’s hard to hate. It’s lighthearted fun, the mid-tempo beat is catchy, Williams’ falsetto voice is well-suited for the material, and… actually, that’s pretty much it. Let Williams be happy. Let us all be happy if we still like this song. Clap your hands.