Well here we are, it’s the end of 2015 and a huge amount of music has come and gone throughout the year. Here are my personal Top 20 picks – my favourite tracks of 2015.
First, an honorable mention…
Radiohead – Spectre
While it only came out on Christmas Day, it’s safe to say that Radiohead’s shot at a Bond theme is something very special indeed. I feel it hasn’t quite had enough time to sink in to rank in this list, but I wanted to briefly acknowledge it here – this would have been a truly powerful and rather daring theme song for Spectre and I would’ve loved to see it happen! Maybe next time…
20) Ratatat – Cream On Chrome
The instrumental New York duo Ratatat made a grand return this year with the groovy ‘Cream On Chrome’. Echoing their classic album ‘Classics’ (pardon the pun), this track is just about the smoothest thing I’ve ever heard.
19) Lieutenant – Belle Epoque
A side-project from the Foo Fighters’ very own Nate Mendel, Lieutenant brought us the beautiful ‘Belle Epoque’, a dreamy, wistful-sounding track that has been floating in and out of my head for months now…
18) The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
The Maccabees had a grand comeback this year with their album ‘Marks To Prove It’ and the title track from the album is a raucous, absolute banger of a song. With ‘Marks To Prove It’, The Maccabees are truly back and they made damn well sure that everyone knew it.
17) Stornoway – Get Low
As well as being a fantastic folk act, Stornoway certainly know how to write a happy, bopping tune and ‘Get Low’ is a great example of this. Feel-good, hopeful lyrics make this track an absolute joy to listen to.
16) Wolf Alice – Freazy
One of the most eclectically influenced bands of the year, Wolf Alice released their genre-spanning album ‘My Love Is Cool’ earlier this year, featuring everything from grunge to something closer to dream-pop, which is the closest I can come to describing ‘Freazy’.
15) Foals – Mountain At My Gates
What a comeback. From the moment I first heard Foals’ track ‘What Went Down’ I knew this album was going to be something very special indeed and as well as bringing explosive heavy rock, they also brought anthemic songs like ‘Mountain At My Gates’, which also features a very creative video filmed from literally every angle using a GoPro – be sure to give it a watch!
14) My Morning Jacket – In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)
Picking a track out from this album was a nightmare but the one I’ve gone for in the end is ‘In Its Infancy’ – it’s a classic My Morning Jacket track which segues through several different sections; it feels like a journey and the transitions between the sections are glorious. Why this band haven’t gained more traction here in the UK I’ll never know.
13) Lianne La Havas – Unstoppable
Dreamy, groovy, sensual, ‘Unstoppable’ by Lianne La Havas is one of the most chilled out tracks of the year and has a simple, but effective and cranked up bassline that gives the track a familiar feeling – it’s like it has always been here and it’s definitely here to stay.
12) Will Butler – Anna
A bizarre track which now has two equally bizarre videos, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler kicked off his solo career with a bang when he released ‘Anna’. Echoing the music of the 1980s but with an experimental flair, there is something very unique about this song.
11) David Gilmour – In Any Tongue
Returning with his first solo album in almost a decade, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour still knows how to evoke emotion and he does it excellently on ‘In Any Tongue’, a very raw portrayal of war in the modern world. ‘How am I to know you with a joystick in my hand, when the call to arms has come…’
Here’s David Gilmour discussing the meaning behind the song in a bit more depth:
10) Sylvia – Suddenly
Simultaneously bringing to mind Woodstock and modern alternative rock, ‘Suddenly’ contains one of the most powerful vocals of the year. I didn’t think a band could write a song that sounds so much like it’s from another era but I’ve been proven wrong here – I’m highly anticipating the release of their sophomore album, which should arrive some time in 2016.
9) Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
Speaking of bands who sound like they’ve been plucked out of another era, Unknown Mortal Orchestra sound like a modern day Motown band on their most recent album ‘Multi-Love’ and ‘Can’t Keep Checking My Phone’ is a great example of how they blend classic sounding chords with interesting, new production.
8) Little Comets – Fundamental Little Things
It’s funny to think that Little Comets’ first album only came out in 2011 – they’ve released such a huge wealth of music since then that it seems they have been around much longer than they actually have. Their most recent album ‘Hope Is Just A State Of Mind’ brought some of their richest sounding songs yet and the stomping drums and ripping guitar of ‘Fundamental Little Things’ is perhaps my favourite track from it.
7) Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’
While it is a controversial choice to take a Godspeed You! Black Emperor song out of the context of its album, the opening track of their 2015 release ‘Asunder Sweet and Other Distress’ marks one of the most intense gig experiences of my life. Knowing next-to-nothing about them, I went to see this band back in October and I haven’t looked back since – I feel that this track is one of the biggest reasons. Truly incredible. Hear the album in full below…
6) Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
Returning with a much more classic R&B influenced sound than their previous albums, Tame Impala knocked it out of the park with ‘Currents’ and while Kevin Parker has previously described ‘The Less I Know The Better’ as ‘dorky, white disco funk’ there is something very special about it indeed – a future classic in the making.
5) FFS – Call Girl
I’ve discussed the combination of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks several times before on this blog, so I shan’t go into too much depth on the topic again, but ‘Call Girl’ is one of the most inspired tracks of the year. Had it been released as a lead single from the album, I firmly believe it could’ve been a massive hit – it’s catchy, while keeping that classic Sparks wit in the lyrics. I wonder if we’ll see some more of FFS in the future…?
4) Shura – White Light
There’s something very special indeed about the music of Shura. Near impossible to fully categorise, this 7 minute synthpop behemoth of a track just flies by, leaving you completely amazed. Shura’s got her style down to a T and hopefully it’s only a matter of time before her hotly anticipated debut album appears…
3) Everything Everything – To The Blade
My favourite album of the year, Everything Everything’s ‘Get To Heaven’ brought with it one of the most fantastic selections of songs I’ve heard in a very long time – picking just one was no mean feat. I’ve decided to select the explosive opening track ‘To The Blade’, because it makes for a fantastic introduction of what ‘Get To Heaven’ is all about, both lyrically and musically. To top it all off – they’re one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. Everything Everything are proving themselves to be one of the best bands of the decade.
2) Beach Baby – Limousine
They’re rocky, they’re a bit grungy, they’re catchy. Beach Baby are the best new band of 2015 and their single ‘Limousine’ has only further proven how strong they are as a band. Elements of The Vaccines, elements of Nirvana and a little pinch of Johnny Marr-style guitar come together to make one of the greatest tracks of the year.
1) Warpaint – No Way Out
‘Never again will I play that game with you…’
A long-standing fan favourite from their live set, Warpaint’s ‘No Way Out’ finally made it into the studio this year and they left it uncut in all its seven minute glory. As the vocals build throughout this multi-section track, some real, raw emotions come through in a way that Warpaint do so well. Every instrument is perfectly thought out and arranged, the transitions are perfectly executed. Absolutely astounding. My Track of the Year.