Choosing the best songs of the year (or half a year) is always harder than choosing the best albums. Because there are more options, sure, but also because there are so many variables. What makes one swooning pop track better than a grimy garage sprint? It comes down to a matter of taste, really. Luckily, the CMJ staff has pretty varied tastes, so our Top 30 runs through it all: Songs that came out in January, songs that came out a week ago, hormonal folk, pit-stained punk, big-stage pop and bedroom synths.
Now, before you scroll down to that playlist and get your hot pants in a crumple because we didn’t include your favorite song, keep in mind that these are our favorite 30 songs of the year with the qualification that they also existed on Spotify. To soothe you, here are some tracks we wanted to include, but just weren’t available in the Spotify library:
A.G. Cook – Beautiful
Vic Mensa – Down On My Luck
Azizi Gibson – Libras Don’t Die
Naomi Punk – Television Man
Rahel – Serve
White Reaper – Half Bad
Ghetto Ghouls – Plastic Violence
Now that we got that out of the way, scope what we came up with (in alphabetical order) and listen below.

01. Alex G – “Hollow”
02. Angel Olsen – “Forgiven/Forgotten”
03. Black Lips – “Funny”
04. Fa Bonx – “The Rinda”
05. Freddie Gibbs/Madlib – “High” Feat. Danny Brown
06. Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
07. La Sera – “Losing To The Dark”
08. Little Dragon – “Klapp Klapp”
09. Little Racer – “Dancing”
10. Lykke Li – “Gunshot”
11. Mac DeMarco – “Passing Out Pieces”
12. Perfect Pussy – “Driver”
13. Pink Mountaintops – “The Second Summer Of Love”
14. Plague Vendor – “Black Sap Scriptures”
15. Protomartyr – “Come & See”
16. Pujol – “Circles”
17. Pure X – “Heaven”
18. Real Estate – “Crime”
19. Rich Hands – “Teenager”
20. R.L. Kelly – “Everything’s Cool”
21. Sharon Van Etten – “Your Love Is Killing Me”
22. Sondre Lerche – “Bad Law”
23. Space Raft – “We’re Not Alone”
24. St. Vincent – “Birth In Reverse”
25. SZA – “Child’s Play” Feat. Chance The Rapper
26. Tune-Yards – “Water Fountain”
27. Tweens – “Be Mean”
28. The War On Drugs – Red Eyes
29. White Lung – “Face Down”
30. YG – “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)” Feat. Kendrick Lamar