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“I’m too hot, hot damn! Call the police and a fireman.” Ring any bells? Of course it does. Uptown Funk will most likely go down in history as 2015’s biggest hit and no doubt Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars will have bought themselves plenty of ‘Chucks & Saint Laurent’ for  Christmas.

Besides this stonker 2015 will probably be remembered for OMI finding himself a Cheerleader, for Drake sharing his late night cellphone habits with us in Hotline Bling (this version is way better!), for Adele’s long awaited return (Lionel Richie much?) and for the sudden acceptance of Justin Bieber as a ‘grown up pop artist’ thanks to uncles Diplo and Skrillex.

I confess, I too was swayed by the poptastic fabrications of team Bieber this year… But fear not: I gathered up a bunch of top tunes with plenty of indie rock cred to compensate!

I’ve compiled the usual list of 50, available for your playlist cravings on Spotify of course. Below you can eye up the videos for the top 25 too. And for my list-obsessed comrades: my stupidly big ‘2015 long list‘ is also up for the streaming.

Please do share the tracks you obsessed over this year in the comments and berate me for the gems I mistakenly left out. Happy new year!

25. Mini Mansions feat. Alex Turner – Vertigo

LA smooth lads Mini Mansions cleverly asked buddy Alex Turner to donate his special brand of raunchy delivery to a couple of lyrics. It works a charm and adds some broodiness to this poppy tune.

24. Christine and the Queens – Christine

One of the best performances I saw this year was Christine and the Queens, who take the word ‘performance’ very seriously. The whole show was meticulously choreographed and a joy to watch.

23. BØRNS – Electric Love

An over produced glamfest of a song, but it’s so damn chirpy!

22. Justin Bieber – Sorry

Yes. This happened. #sorrynotsorry

21. De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig – Manon

DJVT keep churning out catchy tunes and this ode to (a female called) Manon has a super addictive chorus. And a video full of cats!!

20. Shura – 2Shy

Like an indie-version of an early Madonna song, sounds like it could actually be from the eighties.

19. Shamir – On The Regular

Discotastic funky number from this androgynous hipster guy (yes!) from Last Vegas. Also, you can never have too much cow bell.

18. Typhoon – Liefste

A plain and simple love song by Dutch hip hop artist Typhoon, with beautifully written lyrics that describe the push and pull of a relationship.

17. The Maccabees – Something Like Happiness

It’s a long standing love affair, me & The Maccabees. They are one of the first bands I remember getting completely bowled over by at a summer festival. This song has exactly that festival anthem quality they understand so well.

16. Viet Cong – Continental Shelf

It’s a miracle this song made the cut really, as the Viet Cong gig I saw this year was a mess. Continental Shelf got massacred in a screaming noise fit and lost all its eerie haunting quality. Still though, killer tune.

15. Sef – Wakker

More Dutch hip hop from Sef in this fresh tune with a nostalgic nineties club vibe going on. Incidentally also my boyfriend’s favourite song to wake me up with (makes me less grumpy).

14. Nadine Shah – Stealing Cars

This was one of my big finds this year. I’d never heard of Nadine Shah but this track would get stuck in my brain for days. She also collaborated with Gostpoet this year.

13. The Districts- 4th And Roebling

Nothing new or innovative about this one, but it’s just such a lovable raggedy romp of a rock tune.

12. Jack Garratt – Worry

Smashing mix of soulful songs and electronics, somewhere in that James Blake – Jamie Woon – Flume – Chet Faker niche market. Also cool how he really rocks it out more when performing live.

11. Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better

Just a beautiful song from the beautiful album Carrie & Lowell. Nobody can put intense lyrics about life and death to a ukulele quite like Sufjan can.

10. Major Lazer, MØ, DJ Snake – Lean On

My festival anthem of 2015 was a bit of a creeper-upper. Not as immediately convincing as predecessor Bumaye, but worthy all the same.

9. Mura Masa feat. NAO – Firefly

Thank you Mura Masa for popping up on our radars this year! Loving the whole melancholy R&B vibe that comes off his tracks, with enough glitchy and exotic sounds to keep you intrigued.

8. Foals – What Went Down

Yes yes yes. This is the sort of manic stuff we want from Foals and plenty of it.

7. Kendrick Lamar – Alright

There were almost too many standout tracks on Lamar’s much hyped second album for me to choose from. Apparently Obama’s favourite is What a dollar cost, which has that moody Radiohead sample. Nice choice mr. president!

6. Hot Chip – Need You Now

Songs about feeling in some way disconnected are Hot Chip’s forte and it shines through in the beautiful desperation of Need You Now. The video is a great partner to the song too.

5. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best

Whenever I play this song my boyfriend says Courtney is sucking all the life energy out of the room. I couldn’t disagree more! Barnett’s trademark comedic ramblings on life and her grunge-throwback tunes always make me smile.

4. Tame Impala – Let It Happen

Well no surprises here, many-a-year list has crowned Tame Impala with the top position this year and it’s easy to hear why. I wasn’t big on the psychedelic stuff they put out before, but these 8 minutes (!) of musical magic really won me over.

3. Young Fathers – Rain Or Shine

The new Young Fathers album first left me in a state of total confusion, but I kept coming back to it for more. It’s all over the place, in a good way. After seeing them perform live a couple of months ago I was sold. These guys give it everything and just explode with raw energy. This song made the top three thanks to the clever Metronomy-hook.

2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

Up until this year UMO were a band that I’d heard of, but never really bothered to look into. Apparently it took the lead singer and his wife entering into a polyamorous love traingle with another woman, and then going through a dramatic break up with her, to make an album that really caught my ear. Multi-love for the win!

1. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)

I long contemplated the top three positions of this list, but if I’m perfectly honest: there is absolutely no contender man (or woman) enough to squeeze father John from his well earned winner’s spot. The only son of a ladies man acually fell in love, and made a glorious album about all the highs and lows involved. From paranoid self doubt to wondrous ecstacy, it’s all there. And if you ever get a chance to see him deliver this rollercoaster of emotions on stage, do not miss it!

 

The remaining top 50 tunes, in alphabetical order:

A$AP Rocky, Rod Stewart, Miguel &Mark Ronson – Everyday
Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
Auntie Flo feat. Shingai – So In Love
Blur – Go Out
Death Cab for Cutie – Black Sun
Django Django – First Light
DMA’S – Your Low
Florence + The Machine – What Kind Of Man
Fresku feat. MocroManiac – Kreeft
Ghostpoet feat. Nadine Shah – X Marks the Spot
Happyness – Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same
Hozier – Someone New
Jack Ü, Skrillex, Diplo & Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now (with Justin Bieber)
Jamie xx feat. Romy – Loud Places
Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin
Lil’ Kleine& Ronnie Flex – Drank & Drugs
Lizzo – Ain’t I
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
Miguel feat. Wale – Coffee
Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money
Patrick Watson – Places You Will Go
The Tallest Man On Earth – Sagres
The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
Vaults – Premonitions
Years & Years – Take Shelter

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If I had to pick one tune that infiltrated every fiber of 2014 it would have to be Pharrell’s Happy. At first I liked it, then loved it for a bit before intensely hating those five frantic opening notes every bloody time they came on the radio… Which is probably the average life cycle of any major hit song. And can someone please explain to me how one feels like a room without a roof!?

Anyway, as opposed to last year’s ear worms, Happy didn’t make the cut. Besides, it was actually released in 2013 already! You will, however, be treated to a delectable smörgåsbord of 50 bites of audio-yumminess from 2014, with the top 25 sporting eye watering visuals too. As per usual you can check out the entire top 50 in my Spotify playlist too, or for my fellow ultimate listomaniacs (loveya!) my ridiculously large ‘2014 long list‘.

Please do share your faves with me too and shout at me about the ones I was oblivious to in the comments!

25.  Tiga – Bugatti

Clean, concise & devilishly sexy, Tiga doesn’t waste a single beat or syllable.The video is style perfection too.

24.  Clean Bandit – Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne)

Such a chirpy tune! A simple catchy love song that takes you back to memories of a high school sweetheart.

23.  Real Estate – Talking Backwards

West Coast jingle jangle at its best, even though the band is from New York. Perfect roadtrip song.

22.  Usher – Good Kisser

Sultry, minimalistic and funky at the same time, Usher is back in shape!

21.  Sinkane – How We Be

A slow clapping head bopper, bringing together the sounds of Sudan and London the way Sinkane does so well. Was lucky enough to catch the band live at Berlin Festival this year and they killed it.

20.  Sia – Chandelier

If you’re anything like me and you’re always wondering what on earth Sia is mumbling about, you might find this tutorial very amusing. On a more serious note: this song tackles Sia’s problem with drinking in a suitably dramatic fashion, I think it’s her over the top masterpiece so far.

19.  Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

This song is the perfect example of what I love about BBC: seemingly soft spoken conservative Brits who surprise you with little bursts of joyous excitement bubbling just under the surface! Also: who can refuse a video with synchronised swimming?

18.  Dan Croll – From Nowhere

This song is the very first thing I heard by Dan Croll and I was immediately smitten.

17.  Elbow – New York Morning

Oh Guy. You’ve done it again. Be sure to check out the video about the lovely Dennis & Lois!

16.  The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure

Yes, it’s the song with the ridiculously spun out ending, but if you afford yourself the time to sit back and enjoy it in full it’s so worth it. And if you get to hear it jammed out live it makes complete sense.

15.  Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High)

A refreshingly honest take on breaking up from this Swedish singer, who also wrote songs for Icona Pop and Girls Aloud.

14.  Flume – Drop the Game

Even if you think the song has been played to death, at least watch the video for the incredible dancer. I still haven’t tired of this soulful stomper.

13.  Typhoon – Liefste

Typhoon’s much lauded 2014 album Lobi Da Basi is the cream of the crop in Dutch hip hop for 2014, including incredible live performances with his big band. This sweet small tune about the small aggravations that can niggle at a relationship is one of my favourites.

12.  SOHN – Artifice

SOHN has made an album full of tracks for those looking to wallow in misery, with Artifice as the crowning glory. “Somebody better show how me how I feel, cause I know I’m not at the wheel”

11.  Sam Smith – Stay With Me

My how Sam has grown! No I don’t mean in the waistline.. I saw him play a small venue in March, when he was almost painfully shy at times. It’s great to see how 2014 has made Sam Smith into an MTV VMA-show worthy performer. Plus hallelujah for coming out! Not that he was kidding anyone 😉

10.  Hozier – Take Me To Church

I’m sucked in by the darkness and outrage in this Hozier song. The video is a worthy companion and controversial to say the least, well worth a watch.

9.  Banks – Drowning

I love the rhythm Banks uses in her lyrics, she delivers them with such intensity. She also reminds me of Aaliyah in a subtle way, which is a cool throwback.

8.  Mapei – Don’t Wait

Don’t underestimate the radio friendly pop sweetness of Don’t Wait, Mapei turned out to be a lot more kickass than expected when I saw her at Lowlands! I’m curious what she’ll come up with next year.

7.  St. Vincent – Digital Witness

I think this is my favourite track yet of the ever quirky and slightly intimidating St. Vincent (who was also at Lowlands and ran off stage after throwing a tantrum).

6.  Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

Sharing its theme with St. Vincent’s song, Damon quietly ponders our empty social media lives.

5.  Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)

Apparently I’m one of the few people who heard and loved this song before seeing the legendary Letterman performance. Still not sure whether Samuel T. Herring’s intense antics are for real or for show, but is doesn’t take away from the soulful eighties brilliance of this song!

4.  The Preatures – Is This How You Feel?

This is probably my most played tune of the summer. I just couldn’t get enough of the bouncy excitement Isabella Manfredi and Gideon Bensen bring to the song, very infectious .

3.  Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again

Ok to be honest I am still upset with Lowlands for this massive oversight. How on earth did they not book the Robyn & Röksopp tour!? Thankfully their collaborative album also contains the beautifully reflective Monument for me to work through this grief.

2.  Stromae – Tous Les Mêmes

It was a tough struggle at the top of his list, but in a very respectable second position we find the illusive Belgian genius Paul van Haver, better known as Stromae. I love the whole album Racine Carrée, and Tous Les Mêmes is one of the standout singles. His clever use of African rumba rhythms and European dance combined with very witty and sometimes razor sharp lyrics make Stromae one of the best artists 2014 had to offer in my book! And so goddamn stylish too.

1.  Jungle – Busy Earnin’

I was trying to remember the massive impression Busy Earnin’ made on me the first time I heard it, but I’ve played it so often now it’s become like a coundtrack to my everyday life already. I was lucky enough to see the band no less than three times this year and they didn’t disappoint once. They’ve got soul, sex and sweet harmonies that will bring out the hipshaker in even the most static music lovers. Perfect tunes to get a bit grabby with your significant other to…

Also, I need to learn that dance!

Numbers 25 – 50 in no particular order:

Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – Love Me Harder

Beyoncé & Jay-Z – Drunk in Love

Caribou – Can’t Do Without You

Chad VanGaalen – Where Are You?

Damien Rice – I Don’t Want To Change You

Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

George Ezra – Budapest

Glass Animals – Gooey

Half Moon Run – Call Me in the Afternoon

Katy Perry – Dark Horse

Kwabs – Walk

Little Dragon – Klapp Klapp

Mac Demarco – Salad Days

Michael Jackson – Love Never Felt so Good

Oliver – Light Years Away

Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely on You

RY X – Berlin

School Is Cool – Black Dog Panting

Schoolboy Q – Man Of The Year

Ta-ku – Beggining To End

Temples – Shelter Song

Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants

TRAAMS – Fibbist

Villagers – Occupy Your Mind

Wild Beasts – Wanderlust

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Unless you were cut off from all media for the last year there was absolutely no avoiding the Holy Trinity of 2013: Daft Punk’s discotastic latest release, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ hipster thrift shop anthem and of course: Robin Thicke’s ubiquitous blurred lines. My guess is there are goat herders on Peruvian mountain tops humming “Hey hey hey!” to themselves. Although their initial sparkle has dulled somewhat through extreme overexposure, you will still find these three staples in the brokenbranches picks for best songs of 2013. They have served me well as dance floor seductors throughout the year and have earned their spot.

If you are wondering what other songs have delighted and wooed me this year: look no further! My annual top 50 has been painstakingly put together, with the top 25 available in youtube clips for your eager ears and eyes. Of course you can check out the entire top 50 in my Spotify playlist too, or even my ridiculously large ‘2013 long list‘ for my fellow insatiable list nerds. I would love to hear your favourites, so drop them in the comments!

25.   Wild Belle – Keep You

Laid back reggae flavoured debut single from Chicago based brother & sister duo Wild Belle, which manages to incorporate a baritone solo and not be annoying.

24.   Snakehips – On & On

Another song perfect for kicking back in the sunshine (or warming up your winter), with George Maple’s soulful sweet vocals trickling over this London duo’s production.

23.   Blende – Rikki

Enough snoozing in the sun, time for some disco! London dj Blende obviously has a knack for super catchy dance tunes, this has been stuck in my head for weeks. You’d better run right back Rikki Rikki.

22.   MS MR – Hurricane

Slowly addictive track from New York duo MS MR with a very peculiar video. Anyone else think that smurfette singer Lizzy Plapinger looks like Gillian Anderson a.k.a. Skully?

21.   Stromae – Papaoutai

First male vocalist in this list is Belgian-Rwandan rapper Stromae with his massive hit Papaoutai, lamenting a fatherless childhood over a contrastively upbeat dance track. Unafraid to deal with more serious topics than your average chart-topping dance act while still remaining extremely radio friendly, I think Stromae will be an interesting character to follow.

20.   De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig – Bewuste Sabotage

De Jeugd are no strangers to my best-of-lists and they made it again this year. This nasty song features the boys doing what they do best: sabotaging any situation they get into.

19.   Charli XCX – You – Ha Ha Ha

Bubblegum pop princess here today gone tomorrow or savvy up and coming pop artist? Don’t be fooled, UK riot grrrl Charli XCX has a good head on her shoulders and already has the art of writing edgy pop gems down to a tee. Did you know she penned Icona Pop’s  2013 stomper I Love It?

18.   Daughter – Human

Understated indie-folk song of heartbreak and woe from London band Daughter’s debut album. A quiet moment of contemplation as we move up this top 25.

(unofficial video)

17.   Great Minds – Doag

Cream of the crop of Dutch hiphop in 2013: three rappers (Jiggy Dje, Winne en Sticks) who joined forces in ‘supergroup’ Great Minds.

16.   Haim – Don’t Save Me

The hair-swooping Haim sisters with their indielicious mix of R&B and Fleetwood Macness. I was lucky enough to see them live twice this year, they rock.

15.   Disclosure – Latch

Sam Smith delivers the perfect vocals for this seductive Disclosure track, cleverly accompanied by a fitting video full of beautiful people falling in love. Smith’s acoustic rendition is worthwhile too.

14.   Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz)

No for real, ask your granddad, can I have his hand-me-downs?

13.   Half Moon Run – Full Circle

Montreal’s Half Moon Run sooth the soul with their layered vocal harmonies, but having seen them live a couple of times I know they are equally well able to turn up the amps for some Rawk!

12.   Bombino – Azamane Tiliade

Hypnotic North African nomad rock from local hero Bombino, who fled Niger to avoid persecution for simply playing guitar. That dedication and love for music was clearly visible for anyone who saw him play at Lowlands this year, quite something. No wonder The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach was eager to produce the record.

11.   The Child of Lov – Fly

In a strange turn of events I found out the mysterious Child of Lov I had been obsessively listening too for the last few months was actually a Dutch spoken word poet in the same week he unexpectedly died at the age of 26. Oh and gents, pay attention, I’m sure you will appreciate this video.

10.   Mount Kimbie – You Took Your Time (feat. King Krule)

Kicking off the top 10 is this intoxicating tune with King Krule’s languid lyrics and Mount Kimbie’s tripped out production. Also easily the best video in this top 50, a short film of suburban teenage boredom and tension boiling just below the surface.

9.   Kavinsky – Odd Look (feat. The Weeknd)

If I’m completely honest, Odd Look basically made the top 10 because it is an excellent make out song. I encourage you to try for yourselves.

8.   Foals – My Number

This is the eighties inspired party anthem from Foals’ third album and it definitely does the trick for a festival crowd. Although a little less arty-weird and more stadium-ready these days, they’ve managed to keep their energetic Foals feel in the process.

7.   Arcade Fire – Here Comes The Night Time

2013 also saw the release of the new Arcade Fire! This is the Afro-Caribbean flavoured festive number, which is my current favourite on the James Murphy produced album (although it still changes all the time). Here is the cameo-packed extra long ‘salsateque’ video that combines Here Comes The Night Time, We Exist and Normal Person:

6.   Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Drank)

This song really blew me away when I first heard it and it stuck with me throughout the rest of the year. Cocky and vulnerable at the same time, with a subtle but mesmerising track to back up the clever lyrics. It will be interesting to see how Lamar will continue after this hype-year.

5.   Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?

Honestly I lost interest in Arctic Monkeys soon after Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, but when I saw them do the closing set at Best Kept Secret festival this years I realised I was missing out on the cool stylings of their latest album AM. Alex Turner grabbed my attention, his laddishness now replaced by the persona of a confident band leader. Do I Wanna Know is the sexiest song on the album as far as I’m concerned, eloquently appealing to feelings we’ve all had at one time or another.

4.   Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. & Pharrell)

Hey hey hey! What can I say. This funky cow bell ditty hits all the marks and it’s no wonder you can switch between 5 radio stations and hear Blurred Lines on every single one of them at any given time. Also: there is a scantily clad girl holding a sheep.

3.   Daft Punk – Instant Crush

Yes, Get Lucky would have been the obvious choice (oh look, it’s Pharrell again!). And in fairness: it’s a great song that could have just as easily ended up on top of this list. But Julian Casablancas’ melancholy autotuned lyrics and the old school Daft Punk synths made Instant Crush my instant favourite.

2.   Major Lazer – Watch Out For This [Bumaye] (feat. Busy Signal, The Flexican & FS Green)

It would be simply embarrassing to divulge how often my friends and I have attempted to grind, twerk, bounce, dagger, dutty wine and slutdrop to this monster dance floor stomper… Suffice to say it has been our number one go-to Friday night anthem the entire year, and rightfully so. If you are equally inclined to join in with the insane dance moves in the video, I would be particularly interested to see anyone who is able to do this one. We haven’t quite managed yet.

1.   James Blake – Retrograde

In a complete mood change to Major Lazer’s Jamaican mayhem, I present you 2013’s number one brokenbranches pick: James Blake’s Retrograde. It is just a thing of sheer beauty. It hit me full force when I was at Lowlands this year. I was by myself and wandered into the warm Bravo tent feeling fairly hungover and sleep deprived. I stood there with the waves of Blake’s compositions rolling over me in my mild zombie-state, and when Retrograde started it  just felt like the perfect place to be at that moment.

For those who have made it this far down the blog, I give you songs 26-50 in alphabetical order (or head straight to the Spotify playlist):

Cashmere Cat – Mirror Maru

CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share

The Don’t Touch My Croque Monsieurs TDTMCM – Helikopter

Everything Everything – Cough Cough

Ghostpoet – Meltdown

Iamamiwhoami – t

James Vincent McMorrow – Cavalier

Janelle Monáe – We Were Rock & Roll

Kate Boy – Northern Lights

Laura Marling – Master Hunter

Local Natives – Heavy Feet

Lorde – Royals

MØ – XXX 88

Phoenix – Bourgeois

Phosphorescent – Song For Zula

Satellite Stories – Kids Aren’t Safe In The Metro

Talib Kweli – Come Here – feat. Miguel

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Swim and Sleep [Like a Shark]

Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers

Villagers – Nothing Arrived

Volcano Choir – Byegone

WE ARE TWIN – The Way We Touch

The Weeknd – Wanderlust

Woodkid – I Love You

Youth Lagoon – Dropla

The end-of-year-lists posts have been updated.

The best albums post now has the OOR top 10 to compare (and if you want even more here’s the Kindamuzik top 21, here’s the Pitchfork top 50, here’s the Stereogum top 50, the Rolling Stone top 50 and here’s the 3VOOR12 top 12).

The best songs post has the 3VOOR12 top 10 to compare (and if you want a second opinion here’s the Pitchfork top 100 , Spin Magazine’s top 20 and Rolling Stone’s top 100 singles of 2008).

Some older posts