At some point this year, admit it, you couldn’t help to bust a move to one of MTV’s Best Songs of 2015. Whether you were jumping and screaming your lungs out to “Bad Blood” on the 1989 Tour, getting a little carried away in the car with “Can’t Feel My Face” (despite mega shade from other drivers), or boogying down to “Uptown Funk” at your cousin’s wedding, you were dancing. Hey, even Drake gave us those questionable “Hotline Bling” moves.
Sometimes you don’t feel like dancing, and that’s OK too. Perhaps you locked yourself in your room to cry with Adele, or chose to be antisocial with Alessia Cara, or lent your heart to Justin Bieber when he gifted us with a slew of vulnerable tracks. If 2015 has taught us anything, it’s that you have to feel it all, and then let it go.
And just remember, if you’re feeling weird or funky, sometimes the best remedy is to just shut up and dance. (Or vote for your own favorites, of course.)
Here are MTV’s best songs of 2015:
“Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
As the year’s most existential pop question goes: “Who was I before ’Uptown Funk’?” Really, can any of us actually remember a time this ubiquitous, certifiably catchy song wasn’t part of our lives? Even if Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars didn’t roll up to the VMAs in hair curlers, they still took home Best Male Video — and everyone with a pulse knows why. “Uptown Funk” is not just a song. “Uptown Funk” is lightning in a bottle. That white gold. — Patrick Hosken
“I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” – Jamie XX feat. Young Thug and Popcaan
If there’s a 100 percent mathematically accurate formula for creating the perfect song, Jamie xx has it, and I hope he continues to use it for the musical pleasure of humankind. In Colour was an excellent electronic album, and then the Brit producer smacked us in the face with “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” – possibly the best rap-dancehall-electronic love child ever birthed. Possibly one of the best songs ever created. The Persuasions soul sample for the intro, the steel drums when the beat drops, Popcaan setting the vibez and Young Thug grabbing the baton with his wild raps…Jamie, you really outdid yourself. – Nadeska Alexis.
“Want To Want Me” – Jason Derulo
Is it possible for Jason Derulo to release a song and not have it not be a hit? I don’t think so. In 2015, Jason and his abs remained on top of the singles game with this super sexy song, which peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 — making it his sixth top ten hit. The song became a smash not only because it’s super catchy and makes you want to dance, but, if you listen closely, he whispers his last name at the beginning of the song, which automatically makes it a winner. — Christina Garibaldi
“Where Are Ü Now” – Jack Ü feat. Justin Bieber
“Where Are Ü Now” started as a few lines of vocals Justin Bieber sent Diplo and Skrillex. Vulnerable, heartbreaking and real, the lyrics “where are you now that I need ya” showed a different side of the TMZ-baiting bad boy we had all turned against. But thanks to the production magic of the DJ duo of Jack Ü, as soon as the piano chords began, we knew something had changed. Bieber was softer, freer and more human as he performed the song for the first time at Ultra Music Festival in Miami in March, proving that he could still have fun and be himself — while also pouring his heart out. The song, sprouted from a voice memo, opened the door to JB’s comeback. — Emilee Lindner
“Here” – Alessia Cara
“I don’t dance, don’t ask; I don’t need a boyfriend.” Anyone who nodded to Alessia Cara’s “Here” this year knows she has little patience for witty party banter. In fact, the Canadian singer-songwriter’s breakthrough hit is an unapologetic paean to the joys of skipping the party altogether. And while the Def Jam signee isn’t exactly the “anti-social pessimist” of her lyrics, she gave voice to the massive discomfort that drunken, gossipy get-togethers can arouse in the introverts among us. “Here” is your home-alone anthem; your permission to RSVP “not attending” and kick it with your friends and plot your dreams instead. — Rebecca Thomas
“See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
The summer’s biggest songs are typically bright, warm and bouncy. “See You Again” was none of these things, but that didn’t stop it from ruling the hottest season — and much of the year — with an absurd three months straight in the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The gentle jam proved not only the perfect tribute to the late Paul Walker as a “Furious 7” soundtrack standout, but also achieved unlikely stadium status thanks to Wiz’s reflective rhymes and memorable melodies and Charlie’s catchy, emotional chorus. More than 1.2 billion views later, it’s YouTube’s fourth most-viewed video of all time. — Adam Fleischer
“What Do You Mean?” – Justin Bieber
In a year when Justin Bieber challenged our perceptions of him, “What Do You Mean” signaled the biggest leap. We wondered if his Jack Ü collaboration was just a one-off, then Justin proved us dumb for doubting him. He taunted us with a ticking clock in this song’s opening bars, suggesting enough time had passed to see him as a different dude. And he was. The confusion on “What Do You Mean” let us wonder with him, as uncertainty is the biggest part of growing up. The Purpose album sales say it all: Justin’s found what he was looking for, and so have we. — PH
“Lean On” – Major Lazer feat. MØ & DJ Snake
Maybe you have no idea how to sing along with “Lean On,” but you know you want to. MØ sings, “Blow a kiss, fire a gun/We need someone to lean on,” but it’s OK if you just made up the words (like me). Diplo and crew gave us a melodic masterpiece, and when MØ wasn’t singing, we were tempted to mimic that coy little electronic voice that took over the chorus. I can’t stop listening — and apparently everyone else can’t either. “Lean On” was the most-streamed song globally with over 540 million listens, according to Spotify. — EL
“Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar
When you’re Taylor Swift, you can make pretty much anything happen — so when Swift invited Kendrick Lamar to remix her 1989 track, he not only added his iconic “You forgive, you forget, but you never let it… go” line, but also decided to star in the video as Welvin Da Great. And he wasn’t the only one — the 2015 VMA Video Of The Year boasts 17 cameos. Whether this song is truly about tension with another pop star or not, “Bad Blood” proved that Swift has got plenty of friends to back her up. — EL
“Trap Queen” – Fetty Wap
It’s hard to believe that this trap love song, which was inspired by extremely illicit activities, would become a household phenomenon that even grandmas jam to. But you can’t deny that Fetty Wap treated us to one of the most infectious and inescapable songs of the year. Thanks to an insanely catchy hook and feel-good beat, “Trap Queen” remained in constant rotation, with kids even nominating it as one of their best picks for karaoke. And, by the way, if you’re still confused about what the New Jersey rapper is referencing on this song, I can assure you that he’s not baking apple pies. – NA.
“Shut Up And Dance” – Walk The Moon
Ed Sheeran called it the song of the summer. The band tore it up on the 2015 VMAs pre-show. There’s just no denying “Shut Up And Dance” with its jangly guitars, thunderous pounds, explosive hooks and a pre-chorus ripped straight from 1983. All of this made Walk The Moon destined for year-end glory from the get-go, even if this stadium-sized pop anthem technically debuted last year. 2015 is when it hit three different Billboard charts, and good thing. We needed it. — PH
“Alright” – Kendrick Lamar
In case you didn’t know, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” was inspired by the MC’s trip to Africa. “I got to see other peoples’ problems,” Lamar told MTV News in March. “Their struggle was ten times harder.” And K. Dot’s ability to tune into that might be why the song’s had such a strong impact. Back in the States, it’s become more than just a catchy banger (though it’s that, too). It’s also turned into a protest anthem, a symbol of optimism in the wake of tragedies. The track can be a personal and global reminder that no matter what we go through — be it on our own or as a people — we gon’ be alright. Can you hear me? Can you feel me? We gon’ be alright. — Andres Tardio
“Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd
This was The Weeknd proving that he could hit Michael Jackson pop frequencies, while crafting a chart-topper that’s uniquely his own. “Can’t Feel My Face” gives you an instant itch and urge to hit some moves on the dance floor, but without a cost to the formula that earned him a loyal fan base before his mainstream crossover. He still checked off the hyper sexualized lyrics, layered with thinly veiled drug references and just a dash of self-destruction. This is what addiction feels like. – NA.
“Hello” – Adele
It’s only fitting that after four years out of the music spotlight, Adele returned uttering three of the most beatiful words ever recorded: “Hello, it’s me.” As if we needed a reminder. The singer dropped the single and music video — which shattered Vevo’s record for most single day views (Sorry, Taylor!) — and instantly brought tears to everyone’s eyes. The highly emotional and hauntingly gorgeous song inspired covers, memes and spoofs… And even played as a friendly reminder that there once was a time we used flip phones. We couldn’t be more excited to have Adele back. — CG
“Hotline Bling” – Drake
Even the most ardent Drake fans may have initially missed “Hotline Bling”: When he released it in late July during an OVO Sound Radio episode, it was overshadowed by the premiere of his much-anticipated first Meek Mill dis, “Charged Up.”
But any public oversight was erased before long. Despite some criticism of the track for its interpolation of D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha,” it soon crept onto radio nearly every hour, all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and through your ear canal and up into your brain, where it found a permanent home. With no rapping on the track, the hit combined the essential elements of Pop Star Drake for their most streamlined delivery to date: Relatable, innovatively penned verses about a relationship; an easily digestible chorus, comprised of numerous bite-sized, repeatable moments; and an array of melodious Drake flows.
As Aubrey’s highest-charting song since his 2009 breakout, “Best I Ever Had,” “Hotline Bling” could have staked a claim at or near the top of this list on its own. But with the accompanying music video, which dropped in October, the song took on a new life and cultural meaning. Ever the Internet savant, Drake created a visual that — as I have to assume he knew and planned — was ripe for meme-ing. Suddenly, Twitter, Vine, Instagram and text message inboxes were overrun with “Hotline Bling”-inspired clips, not to mention the timely Halloween costumes it inspired.
As Drake taught us, that can only mean one thing: “Hotline Bling” is the song of the year. — AF
Check Out The Rest Of MTV’s Best Of 2015:
…And Vote For Your Own Best Of 2015: