Free Energy - "Free Energy" (0:00 - 0:30)
"Making out with the wind" might be the lyric of the year (this is 1978, right?), and does a nice job of quickly summing up Free Energy on their titular song.
LCD Soundsystem - "Dance Yrslf Clean" (3:07 - 3:08)
I assume James Murphy mixed the beginning of this song especially low so when these drums finally kick in, you'd wake the fuck up. Mission accomplished.
Fang Island - "Sideswiper" (2:19 - 2:28)
If there's ever a Megaman movie, these guys should do the score.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - "Bottled in Cork" (0:24 - 0:31)
After opening with 20 seconds of straight ahead punk rock, out of nowhere, Ted Leo drops into one of his classic pop grooves.
Yeasayer - "ONE" (0:49 - 0:58)
The best pre-chorus to chorus anticipation of the year. You just wait and wait for that drum to kick in so you can start drunk dancing like a maniac.
Ariel Pink - "Round and Round" (1:58 - 2:13)
SALEM - "King Night" (1:21 - 1:39)
I don't know whether I'm on board with witch house, but embedding a sample of my favorite Christmas melody in this chorus certainly peaked my interest.
Nana Grizol - "Cynicism" (0:56 - 1:03)
I'm a sucker for a cheesy line sung by a nasally folk singer.
Joanna Newsom - "Baby Birch" (6:45 - 6:51)
Some songs on Newsom's Have One on Me show too much restraint, but "Baby Birch" executes the slow build so perfectly that this small uptick in energy (backing vocals) and instrumentation (drums) makes this moment feel like the anthem of the year.
Kanye West - "Monster" (4:03 - 4:54)
Combine the schizo, the over-the-top inflections on "sign it" and "climate" and the scream of "monster" at the end, and you get a perfect verse from Nicki Minaj. Oh, I also like the stereo Left/Right flip-flopping.
Titus Andronicus - "Four Score and Seven" (7:43 - 8:08)
As a whole, this record is my favorite of the year. This is also 15-year-old me's favorite record of the year.