Top 20 Tracks of 2015

Top 20 Tracks of 2015

We’ve put together a list of 20 of our favourite songs from 2015.

 

20. Guy Garvey – Harder Edges 

Elbow frontman Guy Garvey released his first solo album, Courting the Squall, late this year. ‘Harder Edges’ has a raw edge that would be unheard of on an Elbow album, but fits perfectly within Garvey’s array of new experimental sound. The brass instrumental is sharp and clever, fitting wholly with Garvey’s charming Mancunian voice which is, of course, as beautifully nostalgic as ever.  [Stasi Roe]

 

19. Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out

Just as Jaws isn’t just about a shark, ‘Dimed Out’ isn’t another punk song about turning the volume up to 11. It sits as part of an intricate and complex album narrative which details a manic depressive meeting their ultra-confident doppelganger. ‘Dimed Out’ is the doppelganger’s account of how he got his confidence, its immensely ambitious lyrical content is contained within a song that harks back to both classic punk and classic Springsteen and is as catchy as it is ferocious. [Alex Fowler]

 

18. Nubiyan Twist – Work House

I first discovered the immense sound that is Nubiyan Twist deep in the Welsh mountains at the prodigious Green Man festival, and my eyes were opened to a whole new way of life. Soulful and chic, this tune from their self-titled album perfectly exemplifies the 12-piece band at their best and will have you up and boogieing before you know what’s happened. [Stasi Roe]

 

17. Eric Prydz – Opus (Four Tet remix)

The Four Tet all-nighter in London was one of my favourite of the year and with no light shows, it was solely focussed on the music. This adds to the intensity of the glorious arpeggiated build, which mounts for a solid five minutes and when the drop finally comes, it feels like you’ve earnt the right to let go of all inhibitions and lose control of limbs. [Polly Hatcher]

 

16. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Josh Tillman, once the drummer in Fleet Foxes, divided opinions with his confident chateau-pop alter-ego Father John Misty. The drunken, twinkling waltz of ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ typifies the fun, almost comic, heart at the centre of the album whilst lyrics of “Mascara, blood, ash and cum/ On the Rorschach sheets where we make love” shows he is more than surface. Father John Misty is a rock alter-ego like Alice Cooper, except instead of snakes and eyeliner there is roguish Wildean wit and self-confidence as impressive as his beard. [Alex Fowler]

 

15. Bully – I Remember

‘I Remember’’s brilliance lies in its ability to evoke at once the warm old 90’s alternative nostalgia of awkward adolescent love, “I remember getting too fucked up/ I remember throwing up in your car”, and then twists it all with one disturbingly vague lyric suggestive of sexual violence “I remember the way your sheets smelt”. On top of this is the brilliant fuzzy production of singer Alicia Bognanno who was at one stage sound engineer for the king of 90’s alternative Steve Albini – so you know it’s good. [Alex Fowler]

 

14. Hot Chip – Need You Now

Pretty much everything that Hot Chip release is incredible and this is one of my top songs of the year as seeing them at Glastonbury was almost a cathartic experience – whether that be to the lack of sleep is another matter – when a band looks like they’re enjoying themselves as much as they did it makes for an unforgettable experience. [Polly Hatcher]

 

13. LA Priest – Oino

After teasing fans with just one single in 2007, with ‘Oino’ LA Priest has finally replied to fan’s prayers in the form of psychedelic pop perfection. He’s been busy studying the effects of electromagnetic waves on recorded sounds and this eccentricity is reflected not just in this track, but makes up the core of debut album Inji. [Polly Hatcher]

 

12. Tame Impala – Let it Happen

Kevin Parker’s third album, Currents, surprised a lot of fans. Gone is the tub-thumping, guitar-driven blues-psych of ‘Elephant’ and in its place comes glitzy disco synths and 70’s drumbeats. ‘Let it Happen’, the album opener, is a wonderful eight minute sprawl of snapping fingers, rolling basslines, and post-break up angst-ridden fatalism. [Alex Fowler]

 

11. Masayoshi Fujita – Moonlight

While the addition of a string section and the slightly slicker production unfortunately nudge Moonlight somewhat more towards the cheesy side of neo-romanticism than 2012’s masterpiece Stories, the album is undoubtedly one of the most interesting of the year. Fujita’s technical skill and creative innovation with one of the most versatile yet shamefully underused instruments in the Western world, the vibraphone, is simply stunning. The title track is dreamily repetitive yet meandering, effortlessly exploiting the delicately soulful tone of the instrument with simple phrases and graceful rolls.  [Charlotte Bickley]

 

10. Hop Along – Powerful Man

If there was a voice more impressive this year than Frances Quinlan’s I haven’t heard it. ‘Powerful Man’ is the angry retelling of a sexual-assault failed to be investigated because of the authority of the man. What’s even more shocking than the lyrical content is Quinlan’s vocal gymnastics, spirally from low gruff rasps to high notes that ring clear as glass in the blink of an eye. [Alex Fowler]

 

9. Betray my Heart – D’Angelo

Released right at the end of 2014 this shouldn’t strictly have made the cut, but of all the luscious tracks on D’Angelo’s triumphant Black Messiah, it’s this one that’ll remind me of 2015. The cheeky guitar riff, bare-bones production and D’Angelo’s heavenly harmonies make it the perfect leftfield banger for Tom Smith’s eclectic Cosmic Slop. A slave to Leeds’ finest dance, I heard the ever-playful DJ drop this 3 times throughout the year, prompting my (slightly inebriated) pal to strike up one of the worst post-lights-on DJ-chats I’ve ever heard; something along the lines of “hey we really liked it when you played that D’Angelo track… coz you played it one time…and then you played it another time we were here… and that was the third time” – only probably even less eloquent. Ah, the memory brings a smile to my heart. Excellent fun indeed. [Charlotte Bickley]

 

8. Laura Marling – Worship Me

At the beginning of this year, Marling released her newly electrified album Short Movie. ‘Worship Me’ perfectly ends this gem of an album, the mesmerizing guitar scales accompanied with Marling’s delightful voice lulling the listener into a state of complete bliss. Characteristically of Marling, it is deeply wistful and poetic and will have you both crying and smiling at the same time: “Little boy I know you want something from me / Yes I might be blind but I am free.” [Stasi Roe]

 

7. David Bowie – Blackstar

The art rock legend returns – wowing us with the 10-minute title track for his twenty-fifth album Blackstar, due for release January 8th. He ties the futuristic and the occult together with a drum-and-bass beat set behind chanting vocals and hypnotic saxophones, throwing ‘Blackstar’ into the avant-garde and showing us that even after nearly five decades, Bowie’s still got it. [Jekabs Jursins]

 

6. Justin Bieber – Where Are U Now

Justin Bieber is a dweeb, no doubt. Despite this, whenever I hear this song I seem to have a recurring daydream that I am a judge on a failing British talent show that blows the last of the budget on having Bieber perform at the final and during the rehearsals for the bonanza I bump into Bieber in the corridor and he is fascinated by my youthful British charm and asks me to teach him some slang words in which I see an opportunity for some tomfoolery so proceed to tell him that squid means really good in English slang which obviously ensues in hilarity on the live broadcast however after storming out and attempting to abuse me over the medium of twitter (unlucky Biebs, I don’t have one) he sees the funny side and invites me to a party at his hotel which I go to coz why not and it turns out Bieber is actually a bit of a laugh and after a few bevs he ends up recording us miming to Where Are U Now his greatest achievement to date and then puts a small clip of it onto Instagram (I do have one of those) after which I receive torrents of hate-mail from all his deranged fans but am simultaneously thrust into internet stardom which I “just don’t know how to deal with” but am actually secretly thrilled about because I’ve just set up a new blog about clogs (ratemyclog.com) and it gets loads and loads of hits. I think I really like Justin Bieber. [Charlotte Bickley]

 

5. Adele – Hello

27.7 million views on Youtube in 24 hours doesn’t lie. Adele’s brilliant comeback not only impresses because of the strength of her voice but because she took on music streaming services and won. 25 smashed NSYNC’s previous physical copies sales record (and that record was from a time where physical sales were the only way of purchasing music) and was a crucial repost to music streaming services exploiting artists. [Alex Fowler]

 

4. Grimes – Kill V. Maim

“I saw The Godfather and thought it’d be better with vampires,” explains Claire Boucher, aka Grimes. “I’m only a man / Do what I can,” she choruses over heavy beats, looping synths and ruthless guitars before transforming into a subversive cheerleader demonically chanting “B-E-H-A-V-E.” It’s bonkers, and it’s a banger. [Carl White]

 

3. Stormzy – Shut Up

Outselling the X Factor winner, ‘Shut Up’ is the cherry on top of 2015’s Grime cake. Whilst its place on this list is deserved because of Stormzy’s cocksure witty lyricism, it becomes all the more important because of what it represents. It marks a turning point for British music; no longer does music have to be a diluted and Americanised to be a chart success, Stormzy brings a pocketful of dense London slang to the mainstream and all the political critiques that comes with it. [Alex Fowler]

 

2. Jamie XX – I Know There’s Gonna be (Good Times) ft. Young Thug, Popcaan

Opening with a Persuasions sample, Jamie XX’s sun-soaked ode to dancehall was a sign to the world that the man can do more than put down the beats on the XX’s records. Jamie XX brings his minimalist approach to production that creates such space on his band’s tracks and uses it to create one of the biggest breaths of fresh air to hit dance music in 2015. A tactile bassline comes in and out with warm vibraphones and reverberating handclaps as Young Thug flows “Waste time/ I don’t waste time/ I don’t have patience”. Anyone who doesn’t think this is a banger is a liar. [Alex Fowler]

 

l. Kendrick Lamar – Alright

There has been little as touching or politically cutting this year as Kendrick’s stoic and optimistic outpouring of “we gon’ be alright” in the face of police who are “gonna shoot us down in the street for sure”. It is not every song that captures a feeling so perfectly that a crowd of anti-police brutality demonstrators spontaneously start singing it; ‘Alright’ might be one of the most important political songs since ‘Imagine’. [Alex Fowler]

 

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