In no particular order …
40. Conor Maynard – Can’t Say No
The pared-down bass riff weaves as indelible a spell as Azealia’s 212. Conor Maynard’s Timberlake-esque confection was one of the pop treats of the year.
39. Deerhoof – The Trouble With Candyhands
Breakup Song polarised fans, but I’m definitely in the “love it” camp. It’s accessible enough to instantly fall in love with, and interesting enough to engage many months after release. It’s sort of indie … um …
38. Madonna feat Nicki Minaj – I Don’t Give A
MDNA might have been a very patchy release, but it had its highlights. Madonna excels when she strives for more than simply filling a dancefloor. When she’s lyrically honest, as she is here, her obvious passion imbues a bit of depth.
37. No Mas Bodas – Flesh
The most straightforward song from the Flesh EP, it’s Bontempi-keyboard electro with a swirling psychedelic guitar line that makes it absolutely irresistible.
36. Front Line Assembly – Pulse Charge
FLA’s Airmech wub-ly soundtrack wipes the floor with most of the lauded “best of the year” contenders.
35. ultraísta – Strange Formula (David Lynch remix)
David Lynch remixes how he directs: it’s dreamy, warped, a drugged tilt-a-whirl. It’s like a Curve track spun through an old cassette player with the batteries half-drained.
34. The Melvins – Worm Farm Waltz
The Mr Bungle links are obvious, but it’s the warm, woody double bass that marks this out. It has an intimacy that cuddles you through its more disturbing twists.
33. Dirty Projectors – Offspring Are Blank
Swing Lo Magellan is on most end-of-year lists, earning its place through its defiance of traditional songwriting structures and refusal to be pigeonholed. It’s so unlike anything else that it can’t even be compared to the other music that doesn’t sound like anything else. The rest of the album didn’t grab me the way the opener did, but it’s one hell of a way to make an entrance.
32. Cloud Nothings – No Future/No Past
Another album that fails to live up to the first track, Attack On Memory‘s opener is a stark and brooding beast that sounds startlingly fresh despite harking back to 90s grunge. I think Steve Albini produced this.
31. Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute
You say “they sound like The Bends-era Radiohead” like it’s a bad thing.