There's no longer consensus in culture, but there's more opinion than ever, and mine is that last year was one of the best in recent memory for music of all sorts. Below is a link to a YouTube playlist of my favorite songs of the year—18 jams that span the gamut of styles, from minimalist hip-hop to frisky garage rock to sci-fi country to Lorde. (Despite existing on YouTube, the songs, not the videos, are the point of this collection, so feel free to let it play and not watch.)
I call this year-in-review mix "The Connector," a title derived from the best song on Arcade Fire's ambitious, bloated Reflektor album. Even as artists delved deeper into micro-genres and niche sounds, music of every stripe further saturated every facet of our lives, an unprecedented immersion that suggests that what we listen to matters less than how closely we listen.
1. Heliocentrics, "Wrecking Ball"
2. Phosphorescent, "Song for Zula"
3. Kurt Vile, "Girl Called Alex"
4. Thee Oh Sees, "No Spell"
5. Daft Punk ft. Panda Bear, "Doin' It Right"
6. Kanye West, "Bound 2"
7. Lorde, "Royals"
8. Arcade Fire, "Reflektor"
9. The Moondoggies, "Stop Signs" (Live on KEXP)
10. The Cave Singers, "Shine"
11. Justin Timberlake, "Strawberry Bubblegum"
12. James Blake feat. Chance the Rapper, "Life Round Here"
13. Mount Kimbie feat. King Krule, "Meter, Pale, Tone"
14. Pusha T feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Nosetalgia"
15. Grand Hallway, "Horses" (scene from the movie Touchy Feely)
16. Sonny & the Sunsets, "Dark Corners" (teaser only; full track not available)
17. Washed Out, "It All Feels Right"
18. The Comettes, "Great Lakes"