The music industry usually saves its biggest releases for the fall, but the first six months of 2015 could give the normally jam-packed fourth quarter a run for it’s money. From pop stars going indie to indie acts infiltrating Top 40, the year has plenty of contenders for end-of-year best-of lists that defy easy categorization.
Here, TIME contributors highlight the 14 best songs of the year—so far.
Years & Years, “King”
Florence + the Machine, “Delilah”
There are so many things that Florence + the Machine do well: big sound, soaring vocals and lyrics that paint epic dramas. “Delilah,” from the latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, combines all of those elements beautifully in one exuberant track, with the added bonus of a swelling, multi-tracked call-and-response.
St. Vincent, “Bad Believer”
It speaks to St. Vincent’s talent that a bonus track appended to a re-release of last year’s self-titled opus—TIME’s second-best album of the year—is as good as anything else that has come out in 2015. It’s also not surprising: the herky-jerky fuzz of “Bad Believer” is one more reason to worship her.
Major Lazer featuring MØ and DJ Snake, “Lean On”
Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”
Since shaking up the country scene with 2013’s Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves has breathed new life into Nashville with songs that employ a pure country sound while making jabs at traditional southern values. “Biscuits” may not send up any overtly political messages, but its lazy-river, banjo-laden melody melds satisfyingly with its age-old message: live and let live.
Tobias Jesso Jr., “How Could You Babe”
The 29-year-old didn’t take up the piano with any seriousness until he was just about ready to call his music career quits after struggling to make it as a songwriter in Los Angeles. Thank goodness he did—this ballad from his March debut album Goon time-warps back to the 1970s with flashes of McCartney.
Janelle Monáe featuring Jidenna, “Yoga”
Galantis, “Peanut Butter Jelly"
This song’s got everything: clapping hands, bull horns and your favorite childhood sandwich (assuming you didn’t draw the short stick in the allergy game). Infused with retro vibes care of 1960s soul singer Bettye Swann, “Peanut Butter Jelly” is arguably the best song of the year to dance to, work out to or justify the transformation of your car into a rush-hour disco for one.
Kendrick Lamar, “The Blacker the Berry”
Tink, “Ratchet Commandments”
The protege of hip-hop heavyweight Timbaland is neither the next Aaliyah nor the next Missy Elliott nor anyone other than just Tink—and that’s more than enough on this humorous call for her peers to rethink their priorities. Yes, it’s a little slut-shaming, but with five mixtapes by age 20, Tink’s earned the right to scoff at your work ethic.
Jamie xx, “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”
In this strong contender for Song of the Summer, British DJ Jamie xx mixes a soul sample (The Persuasions’ “Good Times”) with synths that sound like steel drums, adding some welcome vocals from Atlanta rapper Young Thug and Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan into a breezy, feel-good track.
Carly Rae Jepsen, “All That”
It’s perhaps the most delightful song ever made about being stuck at work on a Tuesday. Rihanna broke her long (for her, at least) hiatus with a country-inflected collaboration with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, all about being on the edge of a nervous breakdown after dealing with people all day. Relatable stuff: No wonder the trio’s performance at the Grammys this year was the night’s most crowdpleasing singalong.