We all have our favorites, and our lists (I’m sure you’re compiling yours right now), and while my tastes change, a lot remains the same. I was blown away by a lot of the minimalist produced tracks of this year, as well as the deep house influences that keep coming up to the surface in almost every genre. I thought little about this list compared to others this year as I really feel this was the year of singles, and I could go on and on about my favorites. Anyway…here are songs that will never get old no matter how many times I’ve played them and ones that you should absolutely get down before 2015 ends.
1. Major Lazer/”Lean On” This song has been on repeat on every device I own, every service I stream, and every station I listen to since it’s been released. It was even my ringtone for a short…oh wait…it’s back to being my ringtone YASSS !! (btw that was my first and last yasss of the year…let’s close that f#$king trend out). This song made us fall in love with MØ and made us realize just how important Diplo is in pop these days. And the video’s pretty cool, too.
2. Courtney Barnett/”Dead Fox” Known for her clever over-the-top satirical lyrics, gritty guitar, and no-bullshit-tell-it-like-it-is attitude, Courtney might have the best take on life than anyone else in this world. I am so glad this video and song exists.
3. Daniel Johns/”Cool On Fire” Swept under the radar here in America, Daniel Johns (of Silverchair / Dissociatives) has released his first debut album (8 years in the making) and with it, a radical change of style. This song is one of the most ‘usual’ for radio singles but also quite possibly the best lyrically he’s ever been able to convey. He still has the dark grunge coursing through his veins but this is testament that we can dance to that…this track is cool and it will definitely set you on fire !
4. Nick Jonas/”Jealous” Although it came out in September of last year, you could hear this song at any moment on radio no matter when you turned it on or how far you flipped. And yes, I’m still in love with it…and Nick. Let me know the next time you do a pub crawl in South Philly bro !
5. Jack Ü/Justin Bieber/”Where Are Ü Now” I consider this the better of the two Bieber tracks released in 2015. It has everything you’d want in a club track, and also shifted everyones perspectives on Bieber himself. I guess yer a pretty cool dude…but Diplo and Skrillex are still cooler.
6. Modest Mouse/”Lampshades On Fire” Bringing back the indie rock nostalgia of 2004, Modest Mouse have outdone themselves on their latest album. They seem tighter, bolder, heavier, and just as…odd as ever. ‘Lampshades on Fire’ was a big comeback for them and they pull it off with confidence !
7. Hot Chip/”Hurache Lights” I have no words to describe this song. It grew on me to the point where I have been listening to everything Hot Chip the past few weeks. Incorporating funk, deep house, nerd rock, hip hop, this song embodies everything a band should be…fun, innovative, groundbreaking, and alive. Get hooked…
8. Kendrick Lamar/”King Kunta” This cannot be an end of year list without Kendrick. He is groundbreaking in so many ways. He is selective ADD. He is poignant. He is influential. He is THE artist of 2015.
9. Rihanna/”Four Five Seconds” Kanye and McCartney didn’t quite hit home, but Kanye, McCartney, and Rihanna well that was…a threesome we haven’t been able to get enough of. ‘Four Five Seconds’ marked everything we wanted from Rihanna…no apologies…and everything we wanted from Kayne…pretending to be forgiving. Mixed with a McCartney/Mellancamp style 80s video…well it just never gets old…look at that innocent face Kanye.
10. Mark Ronson f/Kevin Parker/”Daffodils” Mark Ronson has finally become a household name. Bruno Mars…well…we are already well acquainted. I could’ve easily put the #1 song of this year on this list (you know damn well what I’m talking about). THIS is the jam though that has lived in every restaurant, coffee shop from Manhattan to Philly to France to Australia. It is also the song that never gets old and will survive past its predecessors shelf life. It’s dark, it’s heavy, it’s beautiful, it’s metal, it’s leather, it’s back alleys, it’s…I need to shut up now.
11. Ezra Furman/”Lousy Connection” In the doo-wop vocals it is blatantly clear that Ezra has had a change of direction in his music and his appearance. This feel good song also mentions him showing up in court wearing an indian head dress. The in-your-face confusion he has not only with himself but with his country is clearly expressed in this song and by everyone else as you read Facebook daily…as most of us have stopped doing. This song just drives the point home and is arguably the most controversial / poignant of the year. And that is why it deserves to be here on this list.
12. Mumford and Sons/”Believe” This band got a lot of slack for changing their sound on their new album. This song was electric, with a killer guitar solo, heartfelt lyrics, and a sea of synths. It might be as formulaic as a Coldplay song but it is just as epic in every way. Give it a listen.
13. Beck/”Dreams” This was a shock to Beck fans as much as those that hopped on board from the success of his last album “Morning Phase”. Now part of FIFA 16, this is the quintessential “feel good” song, with aspirations to keep dreaming, and quite possibly the first electronic pop piece he’s made since his track “Timebomb”. Beck never fails to disappointment or surprise and I am very intrigued with how the next album will sound. This was my feel good hit of the summer:
14. Adam Lambert/”Ghost Town” I wanted to not like this song, or the entire album, but it’s just such an amazing combination of pop, country, folk, blues, and dance all rolled into one. At the end of the day though it really comes down to the song itself. Adam Lambert is becoming a brilliant artist pushing boundaries in the form of songwriting.
15. Fratellis/”Imposters (Little By Little)” This is just a great written song, a catchy little melody, and a heartfelt performance from a band who knows nothing more than to rock your socks off.
16. The Wombats/”Greek Tragedy” One of the more interesting songs to be released this year in the indie genre, from a band who’s been more up and coming than any other the last few months. “Greek Tragedy” combines elements that make you dance your synth electro-pop heart out while still having some edge. It has been climbing on radio and through word of mouth for the entire year.
17. Incubus/”Make Out Party” Ahh the nostalgia…wait…this sounds different. It’s slowed down Incubus with falsetto. I mean, the keys sound the same, the guitar sounds just as dirty…wait now it sounds like Sublime….this is awesome:
18. The Lone Bellow/”Marietta” Those harmonies tho.
19. Chris Cornell/”Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” If Adele sung this song it would be #1. Otherwise Chris Cornell, you’re doing just fine and we love you. This is quite possibly the best lyric music video I’ve seen yet.
20. Cruisr/”Throw Shade” Local Philly band released a funky snarky single that’s fun to dance to and shove in your ex’s face.
For the complete list, check your Spotify life right here.
For Patrick’s picks, check your 2015 music life right here.
If you haven’t heard of The Bright Light Social Hour yet, you certainly will soon. I had the fortunate pleasure of seeing these guys perform last night at Underground Arts. Psychedelic Rock will probably make your eyes roll into your head, but BLSH is a different sound altogether. Hailing from Austin, Texas, they bring a new kind of Southern Blues of honest passionate soul sweetly packaged in nostalgic feeling. Reminiscent of Mute Math and The Apache Relay, BLSH still shine through their melodies, harmonies, and energy. But why don’t you check them out for yourself?
The crowd was small but compact. People were swaying/dancing along (not your typical Philly crowd). The cobwebs, disco ball, and purple lights featured at Underground Arts also helped shape the vibe of the night. It was all about bassist Jack O’brien’s headband though. I mean really, he rocked that thing. The show ended with the crowd still up front of stage (another thing that doesn’t happen often in Philly). They eventually all migrated to the merch table where I could see this band’s hard work only start to pay off (little by little). They made an impression on Philly. They made an impression on me. And if they were able to do that in this city, they for sure have been having greater success in other cities.
Known as the first “gothic rock group,” UK based Bauhaus formed in 1978 and took its name from a German art school in the 1900s which meant “house of construction.” But it’s their dark, twisted, strange, methodical, and empty track, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” that always takes over our dark souls…..just like Lugosi himself.
If you’ve been following American Horror Story:Hotel, this song was featured in the premiere episode when we are introduced to Gaga (who was dressed in the same style of Denevue from ‘The Hunger’). Being known as a goth fan herself, Ryan Murphy and company knew what they were doing to fans of Gaga and the show by adding this track. The spinning guitars envelop you like cobwebs while Peter Murphy delivers shuddering, yet nostalgic vocals from the past. Undead. Undead. Undead. .
Bauhaus definitely schooled us in such respects as this song still creeps up out of nowhere, influencing the dark side in us all…and just in time for Halloween.
Take it all in with the long version if you will:
And as a bonus, how can we forget this iconic scene from AHS:Hotel with this track (inspired by the above):