Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2015 (50-26)


050. Da Souza - “Boca a Boca
Famèlic Records has kept our ears full thanks to their growing catalogue of stellar releases. Yet even amongst other acclaimed albums from fellow labelmates Germà Aire and Univers, Da Souza still feels like a revelation. On last year’s grossly underrated (outside of Catalunya anyway) debut Flors i violència, the Barcelona group skipped nostalgia in favor of a spirited mash-up of Japandroids and Les Savy Fav topped off with slight touches of emo (Dads, American Football) to great results. "Boca a boca," single from their split EP with Regalim titled Bossanova infinita, signaled an impressive growth for the band. As an organ-led intro gave way to their trademark sunny and uninhibited hooks, there’s glimpses of a newfound confidence, which help make this meeting of precious and punk especially memorable. - Giovanni Guillén

049. Miguel - The Valley”
“The Valley" has a soothing quality to match its throttling, licentious adrenaline. Miguel begins by whispering (commanding) you to confess your sins as you masturbate. Miguel sounds whiny and sexy all in the same breath- "vall-AY". Things also get violent (we're not here to slut shame or debate your kink levels- consent and truthful and open conversations in regards to sex positivity are essential, however) when Miguel literally says he wants to force his fingers down your mouth, fuck you like he hates you, and "slut you out”. He also wants to be your spiritual dominatrix: "I'm your heaven, I'm your hell, I'm your healer". Yes, please. The most explicit song Club Fonograma has ever reviewed, "The Valley" is an intense af fuck jam. Miguel wants to film it, too. However misogynist, the argument could also be made that the cover for Wildheart is one of the best album artworks of all time, Miguel claiming his place in the cosmos as a nude sexgod. Love & sex is the perennial motif of soul and r&b and with Wildheart (Miguel's crowning achievement and Album of the Year contender), Miguel adds a noteworthy contribution to its current “male” exemplars- Jeremih, Frank Ocean and its immortals: Prince, and Marvin Gaye.- Ze


048. O Tortuga - Mi amor es el mar”
O Tortuga's debut was one of the most anticipated records of the year. An album full of angst and an uncool but bad ass attitude, with zero expectations about everything. The simplicity in the lyrics is one of its greatest virtues. The opening track, "Mi Amor Es El Mar" is an ode to displeasure and bewilderment. A song about how a guy feels when he's trapped in a city where everything is happening, but would rather escape with a girl to live seaside. Fantasies made up of kisses and a peaceful ocean, when loveless punk sounds romantic. Mexican surf-rock has never been this good. - Jeziel Jovel


047. Planeta No - Zapatillas con luces de color”
When Pablo’s review of Planeta No’s Odio came out last October, I hadn’t yet grasped the whole teenage angst emanating from the ten track album. Now I get it. Lyrically, the band is sailing as he sees feet between disillusionment and realism, wisely clashing hard-hitting sentences, crushing melodramas and raw reflections. “Zapatillas con luces de color,” last song on their debut album, is perhaps one of the most poignant and important pieces of this collection of feelings. The warming violin presence, Gonzalo Garcia’s wise, controlled tones and the repeated “con luces de color," gives the track (and the end of the ride) a quest-for-freedom air, one that as paradoxical and utopian as human can get.- Souad Martin-Saoudi


046. Selena Gomez - Same Old Love
If you're gonna steal, steal from the best. At least that's what I'm sure was going through Selena G's head when Charli XCX gave her "Same Old Love." However, Selena ups the ante beyond mere theft by riding the off-key for four minutes, while also adding tension through expertly added backing vocals. And props for maintaining a base level of enthusiasm for the entire track and really hitting the "same old" part over the head. - Andrew Casillas 



045. Juan Wauters Así No Más”
While, for some, it seems sometimes that Juan Wauters is rather sloppy and is taking it too lightly, “Asi No Mas” meets the daunting challenge of charming us all, precisely because of his unpretentious side. The former Beets frontman exposes, in an uninhibited exploration of a popular expression and its phonetic and graphic ambiguity (¿así nomás o así no más?), his thoughts on life changes, inevitable moments of loneliness. With lyrics like "voy a crear un universo para usted, poder estar bien sin que pelear ", such simple phrases, that is disconcerting, the song carries in it very inspiring hedonistic values, at a time when intolerance is increasingly fierce. - SMS



044. Conejito Colvin - Mujer, cansas en la vida real”
Just when we've had enough of listening to the old time classic "Perfidia" at every family gathering, Reuben Torres was clever enough to make the geekiest homage to musical hymns. In "Mujer, cansas en la vida real," Conejito turns the extremely boring and overrated (at least at my family gatherings) melody of "Perdifia" into a relative kick-assedness track by sampling it and adding 21st-century-milennial lyrics such as “Mujer, cansas en la vida real /Tal vez sólo quiero chatear, entre ventanas”. As the track keeps enchanting me, I imagine Reuben in MSN messenger chat signing in and out of MSN to attract the attention of a crush. - Pablo Acuña
 (via SoundCloud)


043. Dënver - La Lava (feat. Fanny Leona)”
The week Sangre cita dropped it took almost no time for the public to single out a specific moment in which Milton Mahan got his Miguel Bosé on. How unfortunate if that’s all listeners came away with from this. “La Lava” is a quiet exorcism bathed in foam and water ripples. The lyrics alone give us chills in a way that no other Dënver song has before. There is a clear stance here. A sensuality that refuses to be defeated by external factors (real or imaginary). Think of Orwell’s characters: “Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory… It was a political act.” Now think about an incoming storm and the threat of violence via a distant guitar. Milton meets this threat unfazed, heroic. “Nada puede pasarnos. Nada puede tocarnos. Nada puede atravesarnos.” <3 - GG

042. Julieta Venegas 
Explosión”
"Explosión” is noteworthy not by its own urgent and charming virtue alone, but because we are living, writing, breathing, dying, and creating in the tragedy of historic times. The second best song on Algo Sucede, “Explosión” isn't some cheesy world peace number- it is a cry against state sanctioned social cleansing campaigns taking place in Mexico. Julieta's singer songwriter genius is embracing the light and the dark, thematically recalling her Tijuana No! days. The chorus paints a colorful hymn: "que todo despierte" coupled with the most necessary nihilism: “que explote todo por aquí." A collective cultural shift towards liberation is underway- the #PopInsurrection hits of 2015 prove this. Even Julieta Venegas (AKA mom) is talking about it. One of the catchiest protest songs of our generation, we are singing along to every word of "Explosión," embracing the necessary destructions that must take place in order for the mysteries of our individual and collective awakenings to continue flourishing. "¡Que el mundo tiemble!" - Ze


041. Santos - “Muevelo”
Catacombs open and a foggy pestilence burdens the soundscape of the seductive “Muevelo”. Santos envisioned “Muevelo” as a slower, more sensuous tribal number: "yo quiero mas de tu boom, boom sensual." The percussive elements in “Muevelo” sound like snakes de cascabel, images of a malefic tribe intoxicating itself with libations of darkness come to mind- existential demons working through our bodies on the dance floor. Just as you think the spell would be winding down, the percussion clatters, digital culebras emerge from their nest, battle drums: it's hard not to imagine war weary spirits dancing on the ruins of a burning Mexico.- Ze
 (via SoundCloud)

040. Audri Nix- 1,000 Mph”
All cylinders pop off in “1,000 MPH”, an Overlord produced masterpiece dripping in expressway braggadocio. Audri Nix sounds calm & collected (a breathtaking feat at 1,000 miles per hour) yet menacing in her Ferrari. You know this Boricua smoking the finest kush in the Caribbean, too. “I don’t come from a rich family, nobody is out here putting me on” Audri Nix told Vibe last year. And at 20 years old, we have high hopes for Audri’s multi faceted #lifegoals which include putting out five albums before she dies, winning a big award, embarking on a world tour, and fighting for women’s rights on a global scale. Audri’s hubris is the knowledge of self: “todo lo que quiero lo persigo”.- Ze



039. Nelson y Los Filisteos Gusano”
Tibio proved to be anything but. By turns demented and turbulent, Nelson y Los Filisteos gave us carnage. “Gusano” gave us something different. Even as it remained inspired in all of the heavy themes of Tibio, the song turned to shoegaze and achieved beautiful results. From the get-go Alonso Mangosta pours out his emotions (“En un sismo o una disco, todo contigo es mejor”). Here the biggest struggle comes from avoiding thinking about an ex. A near impossible task when daily places become landmarks of the shared past. “Gusano” avoids the trauma by elevating us through dream-pop and rousing guitars and in the process becomes a true highpoint.- GG
 (via Bandcamp)

038. Empress Of Icon
On an album that was sustainably blunt, melancholic, euphoric, and playful, "Icon" closed it in its own mantra-like ballady way. The sparseness of the verses and totemic chorus hark back to "Standard" but keep things more contained, more intimate. The video for the song thankfully capitalised on the very deliberate click that starts "every minute [being] like an hour". A fantastic ode to procrastination and the creative process, but also the anxiety of waiting for 'the one'. - Sam Rodgers


037. Marineros Secretos
Constanza and Soledad both have a very unique sensuousness in which every track has a beastly devastating sense of pop and rock confidence. It’s a quality rarely seen and heard, but coming from the Chilean pop scene is not surprising. Marineros' "Secretos" is a song that completely describes its spirit and character as a duo. Female mysteries made poetry. Guitars tenaciously guide a delicately executed precious voice which falls over a dark instrumentation becoming the main axis of the sensual lyrics and the charming rhythm. Song after song, Marineros have shown that they’ve come to stay. This year was only the beginning of their journey with their solid debut. Like new sailors in a vast old sea, they have so much to explore and so much to conquer. - JJ


036. María y José - Calor (feat. Dany F)”
"Calor"" sounds highly accomplished, a consequence of Tony’s ability to mutate aesthetic forms from a niche, localized area of electronic music and play them out across styles of the past. Take the density of the heavy drum section, it still has the manic hi-hats and fusion of pitch-fucked vocal loops that are copy-pasted into oblivion. "Calor" also sounds like a track Tony has been gearing up to make, he’s scoping its potential on nonconformist terms. And from the perspective of the listener, it’s an absolute treat. Another hurrah for our dearest Tony. - PA
 (via Bandcamp)


035. Planeta No - Sol a Sol
Odio might have been too punk for its own good. First single “Sol A Sol” indicated that the band was moving in a more disco direction but Planeta No’s tempered debut proved otherwise. “Sol A Sol” showed a band ascending towards cutting disco gems like Milton Mahan, singing about depression and self destruction. "Your enemies made you work from sun to sun to feed them. Now that the land is yours, work from sun to sun to vanquish them” is the quote that accompanied an online promo for “Sol A Sol”. Planeta No continues articulating the terms of its own anti authoritarian praxis in the Chilean pop scene. - Ze


034. Zowie - NO MONEY MAKES MONEY (feat. (feat. BOYITO K.R.E.A.M.)
As a duo, Zowie and Boyito K.R.E.A.M. could’ve easily made a more interesting What a Time To Be Alive. I’m serious. Rewind to Boyito's verse (“Imma be my own Boss..”) and pay attention as Zowie screeches the same sentiment (“OWN BO$$”). Clearly these two have ambitions, and “NO MONEY MAKES MONEY” brilliantly soundtracks their come up. The beat is glittery and fast-paced. In the past I linked it with the chrome Midas touch of Bflecha. Together Zowie and Boyito sell it like a diamond heist along with the getaway anthem. - GG
 (via YouTube)


033. Emilio José - 
By disc three the commitment that Agricultura Livre demands becomes a real challenge. “Yí” provides the perfect incentive to stick around. Dressed in the same wintery heartbreak of Javiera Mena’s “Cámara lenta,” Emilio José imitates crooners and breaks our hearts. Near the song’s midway point, the composition turns its focus to an instrumental breakdown in which weeping guitars air out emotion. Their grandiosity stands in place to what Emilio José cannot achieve on his own, perhaps through his own vocal limitations or fragile emotional state. Whatever the case, there is no doubting its place as the year’s most unique ballad. - GG



032. Natalia Lafourcade - Nunca es suficiente
The troubling video for this track showing the flip side to every embrace with a loved one elevated the song's sting of the push/pull of offering unconditional love. The melody is direct, and punctuated like a letter written at the end of a relationship. One party is done, but never really over it. Lafourcade offered us several tentpoles of balladry perfection on her Grammy-award winning album, and this was the most disarmingly bittersweet of them all. - SR





031. Playa Gótica - Fuego
In 2015, Chilean pop evolved to include guitars & distortion. Album of the Year contender O Marineros attests to this, as does the band with the most anticipated album of 2016: Playa Gótica. "Reptil No Gentil" very well could be the Record of the Year. And its follow up is just as lit. "Fuego" is the work of a mastermind- the reason everyone is looking at Playa Gótica as the Next Best Thing. In other words, Reptil No Gentil was not an isolated event and there are words from the band stating that their first two singles are not indicative of the sound of the rest of the album. "We are filled with a rotten darkness" Fanny told Noisey in an interview last year. Noise, funk, J Pop, disco, dream-pop, post-punk- this is what Playa Gótica promises to deliver in 2016.- Ze


030. Astro - Druida
Best steel drum usage in a modern pop song? Could be. This was the strongest song on Astro's second LP, a dazzling metallic firework of tropicalia. It's a call back to the druida on their debut album, a shaman of the band's mythology, a figurehead of their superficial spirituality. The build and build of the track is addictive, it's almost tantric. - SR


029. Neon Indian - Annie”
I could give a crap if Annie ever answers this dude's messages. But here's the key: I don't think our protagonist gives a crap either. Underlying it's cool island vibezzz, "Annie" posits nothing more than carefree casual sex. We know nothing about Annie. We know nothing about what makes her so ideal. We know nothing about why the hell she still has an answering machine. But then you reach the breakdown, and the air gets heavy, and the lights go...out. It's so deliberate and sly that it's actually clever. - AC





028. Kali Uchis - Lottery”
Kali Uchis’ brand of marshmallow soft R&B didn't light 2015 on fire as many expected. But it ain't for a lack of matches. While "Lottery" isn't the type of song that you would call incendiary, it's slow-burning desperation was a perfect compliment to both dry hot summer nights and frigid winter chills. It's the type of song that keeps you company and reassures you that passion still burns. When she says "yeah we've had issues, can we dismiss those?," you know she's realized exactly what you needed to hear. - AC




027. Algodón Egipcio 
Multiestabilidad”
"Multiestabilidad" is instantly tantalizing, jolting even. This is music you can see: sharp yet malleable pixels. And almost feel: metallic structures being manipulated to their percussive breaking point. Algodón Egipcio sounds like a digital seraphim (“cada puerta abierta es una dimensión”) occasionally allowing his pitch shifted vocals to express those other dimensions without words. The results are a tinny yet pleasant landscape that at the 1:41 minute mark begins to test the limits of its own formula, eventually expanding into a segment that could almost be understood as footwork.- Ze
 (via SoundCloud)


026. Gaax - Mega Boy”
Transfusão Noise Records is still home to Brazil’s scuzziest indie rock and lo-fi alternative. Campo dos Sonhos, arguably the most notable Transfusão record of the year, kept the tradition of previous albums but included softer moments as well. Gaax (solo project of Felipe Oliveira) decorated his irreverence with fall colors for a bittersweet arrangement. But don’t accuse Oliveira of rendering anything run-of-the-mill. The melodic turns in “Mega Boy” are earned as the singer hangs on to each syllable of the titular “Mega Boy”. When the lyrics are delivered and punk guitars bleed into the composition it still avoids a calculated release. Oliveira understands that longing is the superior impression, especially if it’s this catchy. - GG
 (via SoundCloud)


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