Top 35 Songs of 2015

It’s that time of year again for my year in review of music. It was a good year and it was tough getting down to 35 songs, but we got there. I have a few restrictions this year in order to make it easier so if you don’t see a song you think should’ve been on the list, there’s probably a reason for it. I have excluded:

  • New versions of songs that were originally released in previous years e.g. Sia’s “Elastic Heart” which appeared on my 2013 list. 
  • Remixes of songs that were originally released in previous years e.g. Major Lazer’s “All My Love” which appeared on my 2014 list.
  • Singles released in previous years but appear on 2015 albums e.g. Say Lou Lou’s “Everything We Touch” which appeared on my 2014 list.

Anyway, on we go!


35. Space Song – Beach House.

Album: Depression Cherry (2015).

Great year for Beach House with two album releases. It’s a welcome return. This track is another classic dream pop song. It has a great beat with electronic elements. 

34. The Knower – Youth Lagoon.

Album: Savage Hills Ballroom (2015).

I adored his last album. This track takes elements of electronic and injects it with brass, which I love. The trumpet composition is well written throughout the piece. 

33. Wildstar ft. Foxes – Giorgio Moroder.

Album: Déjà Vu (2015).

Great disco song featuring the wonderful vocals of Foxes. Love the way she sings “probably took it way too far.” It includes elements of disco and features a string composition.

32. Kamikaze – MØ.

Album: TBA.

You can’t not dance to a MØ song. Great beat in this song, and her vocals are as good as always. Love the instrumentation.

31. Wolves Without Teeth – Of Monsters & Men.

Album: Beneath the Skin (2015).

A wonderful indie/folk song. The dual vocals are as impressive as always. Love the imagery in the song, especially of the woods and wolves. Great percussion and guitars.

30. Needn’t Speak ft. Lianne La Havas – Rudimental. 

Album: We The Generation (2015).

I’m a big fan of Rudimental. Not only for their featured artists but for the genre jumping tracks and brass instrumentation. Even though this song is a studio version, it has a feeling of a live jam. It’s got quirky instrumentation from the brass to the guitars and bass. Great vocals from Lianne La Havas also. And it has a bit of drum & bass thrown in as well. Shur why not?

29. Long & Lost – Florence + The Machine.

Album: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (2015).

Now we reached probably the best album of the year. The superb third album of F+TM. It does not disappoint. I love the atmosphere in this song. It’s toned down, with little more than a guitar, drums, and Florence’s delicate vocals. I adore the lines “Is it too late to come on home? Can the city forgive? I hear its sad song.” Great feeling of longing.

28. Empty Threat – CHVRCHES.

Album: Every Open Eye (2015).

This is very fun and uplifting song. Great vocals from Lauren and the production from the lads is very quirky and light. Love the way she sings “Hoping that you’ll never know.” 

27. Give You What You Like – Avril Lavigne.

Album: TBA.

I kind of went a bit off Avril Lavigne for various reasons. I don’t even want to talk about the “Hello Kitty” incident. This song, however, feels like some serious song-writing. It’s stripped back and powerful. The lyrics are really compelling especially “I’ll give you one last chance to hold me, if you give me one last cigarette.” I applaud Avril for this song because its classic Avril Lavigne. 

26. Damn Baby – ALPINE.

Album: YUCK (2015).

These guys are so cute! Really cool instrumentation in this from the synths, percussion, brass and guitars. And of course the vocals are superb. It’s a really fun song that you can dance to. 

25. Jaded – Disclosure.

Album: Caracal (2015).

These guys are seriously on fire. Whenever they release an album, they’re just everywhere. Impressive and catchy beats in this, as well as the synths. They’re pretty good singers too. “What are you afraid of, we know what you’re made of” is a great line.

24. Hot Scary Summer – Villagers.

Album: Darling Arithmetic (2015).

A band I hold close to my heart. I feel like this song is about the Same Sex Referendum in Ireland. The lyrics speak of romance and homophobia and it’s a real poignant piece. The passion is amazing. 

23. Holes In The Sky ft. HAIM – M83.

Album: The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015).

I despise this series, but I adore M83’s cinematic quality. This track has those elements. The first chorus is absolutely breathtaking. I love those large synth sounds. It also features vocals from HAIM. This track makes you want to reach towards the sky. 

22. Superego ft. Nao – Disclosure.

Album: Caracal (2015).

The vocals from Nao is superb. The backing track and production is wonderfully done. Another great track from Disclosure.

21. Life – Sleeping At Last.

EP: Atlas: Life (2015).

This band makes the most beautiful music. This is no exception. The lyrics are full of poignancy. It’s so intimate and full of emotion. One of the best lines I’ve ever heard is “As her hands held tight and her eyes met mine, I saw the future unfold in silver and gold, and I’m already proud.” It’s about a father meeting his baby for the first time. You just have to listen to the song yourself to feel how wonderful it is.

20. Hard For A Man – Say Lou Lou.

Album: Lucid Dreaming (2015).

A song that critiques men’s ability to love- great premise! The dream-pop elements and synths mix well with the vocals. What’s really interesting is the 1 minute outro which features some Inception style time distortion with the chorus being slowed down to create an ethereal dreamlike soundscape. Very clever! 

19. Dark Times ft. Ed Sheeran – The Weeknd.

Album: Beauty Behind The Madness (2015).

A really good stripped down song featuring vocals from Ed. Sheeran & The Weeknd, a guitar and backing track. The guys really give it all, they put everything into it. Love the line “Only my mother could love me for me.” 

18. What Kind Of Man – Florence + The Machine.

Album: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (2015).

The intro is ethereal as it features distorted backing vocals on top of an organ. It then breaks into a rock song. The instrumentation is impeccable here with the heavy guitar riffs and brass section. Florence lets it rip with her vocals and the lyrics angrily question the integrity of man and his ability to love. It’s reaches its climax then in the 2nd chorus with the drums along with everything else. Powerful song.

17. Writings On The Wall – Sam Smith.

Album: Spectre (2015).

The theme song to the new James Bond film. I was a bit apprehensive about it when I first heard it but I warmed to it. What I was impressed with from my first listen was the backing orchestra. The instrumentation is amazing from the delicate piano to the epic brass and string sections. Along with that is Sam Smith’s wonderful vocals.

16. Fire Meet Gasoline – Sia.

Album: 1000 Forms of Fear (2014).

I love Sia’s vocal range, she just throws her voice around and enunciates in such a unique way. The backing track complements her voice too. The piano then goes off mad towards the end.

15. Realiti – Grimes.

Album: Art Angels (2015).

The chorus of this song is so catchy. You can tell Grimes has been inspired by eastern influences with her production. Her vocals are so cute and catchy, especially “Oh baby every morning there are mountains to climb.”

14. Omen ft. Sam Smith – Disclosure.

Album: Caracal (2015).

Two acts who had a great year in one song, what more could you want? Again, Disclosure’s production is impeccable. The synths are so funky. Sam Smith really comes into his own here. Love the line: “Caught my baby crying, saw the silver lining.” 

13. Lean On ft. MØ – Major Lazer & DJ Snake.

Album: Peace Is The Mission (2015).

I really don’t need to explain this song. A great club song. Good beat, great vocals from MØ. “Blow a kiss, fire a gun.” Backing track is infectious.

12. Tell Your Friends – The Weeknd.

Album: Beauty Behind The Madness (2015).

Love how stripped back this is from the piano to the guitar. And The Weeknd’s lyrics are really compelling. 

11. Clearest Blue – CHVRCHES.

Album: Every Open Eye (2015).

A heavy electronic track from the Scottish trio. Great beat and synths. The build up to the explosive chorus is well written. After the drop is just goes into this no-holds-barred instrumental, later accompanied by Lauren’s vocals. She really holds her own in this song, especially during the pre-chorus. 

10. Delilah – Florence + The Machine.

Album: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (2015).

There’s great movements of sound throughout this song. It starts with Florence with guitar and then gets into the song proper. Again great instrumentation from the piano, guitar, drums to the strings. The second chorus has really impressive percussion. The lyrics speak of “a different kind of danger.” Love the line “never knew I was a dancer til Delilah showed me how.” The outro is amazing with the strings.

9. We The Generation ft. Mahalia – Rudimental. 

Album: We The Generation (2015).

Again, like the previous Rudimental song on this list, I enjoy how this sounds like jam sessions and its like a bunch of musicians having fun. The instrumentation is brilliant, especially the trombone towards the end. Mahalia’s vocals suit the song perfectly. 

8. Amhrán Na Farraige – Lisa Hannigan.

Album: Song of The Sea (2015).

Such a wonderful Irish folk song from a film that celebrates Irish folklore. The harp and guitar intertwine beautifully with the flute. Lisa Hannigan’s voice was the perfect choice for this. There are two versions of this song, but personally I think it sounds much richer as Gaeilge

7. Courage – Villagers. 

Album: Darling Arithmetic (2015).

Another amazing Irish act. Love the lines “I get heavy hearted thinking of how we used to kiss” & “It took a little time to be me.” It’s a really lovely love song but it also speaks learning how to be yourself. 

6. Style – Taylor Swift.

Album: 1989 (2014).

The beat in this is so infectious. Somehow in this song Taylor makes a love song really profound. The lyrics are compelling as she sings about “James Dean,” “red lips” and about how “we never go out of style.” 

5. Magnets ft. Lorde – Disclosure.

Album: Caracal (2015).

Yeah, those English brothers are here again! What can I say? They write a good song. This track features the illustrious Lorde. Perfect beat, smoky vocals from Lorde. Love the lines “Smoking sunset off Mulholland. He was talking. I was wondering about you and that girl. Is she your girlfriend?” Epic chorus. 

4. Queen of Peace – Florence + The Machine.

Album: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (2015).

This is a superb song. I absolutely adore the brass- from the intro to the outro. Florence sings about struggle and tension: “come on is this what you want, cause you’re driving me away.” The brass solos are impeccable. It’s brilliant song writing from the band. 

3. Which Witch (Demo) – Florence + The Machine.

Album: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (2015).

I was blown away by this when I first heard it. I couldn’t believe how brilliant it was and just a demo. I was also baffled that it wasn’t included in the album proper. It is a masterpiece. The pounding drums and synths create an intense atmosphere. Florence is ferocious with her vocals. And of course there’s a heavy brass section in the bridge. Great line: “I’m miles away. He’s on my mind. I’m getting tired of crawling all the way.” 

2. Alive – Sia. 

Album: This Is Acting (2016).

Sia is a force to be reckoned with. Her voice in this blew me away. The amount of power she can get behind it is unbelievable, and her range is incomparable. The drop in this is the most epic I’ve ever heard. This song is full of power.

1. How Big How Blue How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine.

Album: How Big How Blue How Beautiful (2015).

Taking the top post this year is F+TM’s title song from their 3rd album. In my opinion, this song is their Magnum Opus. It’s the best song they’ve ever written. The movements of sound throughout it are amazing. The brass ensemble, the guitar, drums, keyboards, Florence’s vocals, everything works incredibly well together. The lyrics speak of the sky and a kind of movement towards the sky/ reaching towards the sky. I love the line: “Meanwhile a man was falling from space.” The song proper is perfect but the outro turns this song into an absolute masterpiece. The brass and string outro is so rich and full of life. It’s a wonder to listen to. A perfect way to finish this years list.


Songs by country:

  • UK: 15 (England: 13. Scotland: 2).
  • USA: 5.
  • Australia: 4.
  • Canada: 4.
  • Ireland: 3.
  • Denmark: 1.
  • France: 1.
  • Iceland: 1.
  • Italy: 1.
  • Sweden: 1.

*Note: Say Lou Lou are from both Australia & Sweden.


 

 

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