8. Chloe Moriondo, ‘Fruity’
“Fruity,” like the best hyperpop, is an anarchic affront to refinement and restraint, an ever-escalating blast of melodic delirium and warped excess. It’s a sugar rush, it’s brain-freeze-inducing, it’s recommended by zero out of 10 dentists. Turn it up loud.
9. Yeah Yeah Yeahs featuring Perfume Genius, ‘Spitting off the Edge of the World’
Yeah Yeah Yeahs grow elegantly into their role as art-rock elders here, not just by slowing to a tempo as confidently glacial as the Cure’s “Plainsong,” but by placing a spotlight on the existential dread of the next generation. “Mama, what have you done?” Karen O sings, channeling the voice of a frightened child. “I trace your steps in the darkness of one/Am I what’s left?”
10. Grace Ives, ‘Lullaby’
Grace Ives makes music of interiority, chronicling the liminal moments of her day when she’s by herself, daydreaming: “I hear the neighbors sing ‘Love Galore,’ I do a split on the kitchen floor,” goes the charming “Lullaby,” a passionately sung, welcoming invitation into her world.
11. Weyes Blood, ‘It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody’
The pandemic left many people isolated in their own heads, questioning their perceptions, feeling disconnected from a larger whole. The clarion-voiced Natalie Mering has written a soothing anthem for all those lost souls in the emotionally generous “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody”; its title alone is an offering of solace and sanity.
12. Florence + the Machine, ‘Free’
A bass line buzzes like a live wire, snaking continuously through this exorcism of anxiety. “The feeling comes so fast, and I cannot control it,” Florence Welch wails as if possessed, but she eventually finds her catharsis in the music itself: “For a moment, when I’m dancing, I am free.”
13. Ice Spice, ‘Munch (Feelin’ U)’
“I’m walking past him, he sniffing my breeze,” the rising star Ice Spice spits expeditiously on this unbothered anthem; before he can even process the insult, she’s gone.