Monday, 14 December 2015

Best tracks of 2015

So here we are, at the end of what has been both a wonderful and dreadful year in equal measure. With the world moving in the direction it's going, there is no doubt that music will continue to be my go-to escape.

After much debate (...with myself), I managed to settle on the 30 tracks that defined my year. Looking at the list, I can proudly say that my music taste have diversified a lot in the past year; this not only reflects my taste in general but my interests and priorities too. I now value the power of a downbeat and reflective jam as much as I do an uptempo banger. 

In the interest of space I decided to make it one song per artist and in the interest of time I only did write-ups for the top 10.

I also made a handy spotify playlist of all the tracks below the list. Enjoy! 

30. Holly Herndon - Morning Sun
29. Empress Of - How Do You Do It
28. Martha Ffion - So Long
27. US Girls - Damn That Valley
26. Frances - Grow
25. Daughter - Numbers
24. NoMBe - California Girls
23. Chelsea Wolfe - Iron Moon
22. Bully - Trying
21. Lapsley - Hurt Me
20. Oneothrix Point Never - Ezra
19. Puro Instinct (feat. Christian Rich) - Lake Como
18. Waxahatchee - Summer Of Love
17. Kendrick Lamar - King Kunta
16. Grimes - Pin
15. Sufjan Stevens - Should've Known Better
14. Jamie xx - Seesaw
13. Noonie Bao - Pyramids
12. The Weeknd - Can't Feel My Face
11. Beach House - Sparks

10. Nadine Shah - Fool

If you followed my blog back in 2013, you'd know that I was head over heals in love with Nadine Shah's fantastic debut Love Your Dum and Mad. Two years on and this is still very much the case. Fool is a characteristically dark and macabre affair, but there is an element of humor and fire here which makes it a remarkable leap forward in her sound. The combination of the piercing guitars with her rich, smoky tone is just magical. 

9. Drake - Hotline Bling

Like a said earlier, this list is about the songs that defined 2015, so I couldn't possibly leave Hotline Bling off. From the iconic video to Drake's signature sleek delivery, this track sums up the movement that is happening in popular music, where beats and personality triumph over dull, white middle class indie bands. Oh, and who could forget the incredible gifs the video produced?

8. Chromatics - I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around

So instead of doing what they were supposed to do, Chromatics thought it would be fun to tease us all for a year and so still haven't dropped the fucking album. Funny, huh? In spite of this I couldn't do this list without featuring one of their fantastic singles from this year. Out of all of them, I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around is the track that has kept me checking for updates; the driving, pulsating synths ensure that my excitement is still very much alive.

7. Julia Holter - Feel You

Speaking of bewitching tracks, here's another one. This time it's from the wonderful and extremely talented Julia Holter, who's last record Loud City Song is still one of my favourite records of all time. Moving away from a less abstract and more earthy~ sound, 'Feel You' is a sweet and romantic ditty with spine-tingling harpsichord lacing the instrumentation beautifully. As you will soon see, the parent album did very well on my year-end list.

6. Jaakko Eino Kalevi - Deep Shadows

I was initially trying to avoid putting tracks by artists who made the albums list in this one...but yet I've already failed, a lot. In fairness, if there's a track worth defying the 'rules' I set myself, it's this. Deeper Shadows is everything I love in a pop song; it's weird, it's funky, it's full of hooks and IT FEATURES PANPIPES! Seriously incredible stuff, just like the record it sits within, but you already know I love that.

5. Tame Impala - Eventually

Three years on, Lonerism is still the official sponsor of my summer (i.e me eating ice cream and pretzels in my room, listening music and watching old TV shows, alone). But it's so much more than that, it is able to mentally transport me to a psychedelic dream world (like some kind of trippy escape from reality). There are a handful of tracks on Currents which are able to capture the magic of its predecessor, and Eventually is definitely one of them. Shout out to Let It Happen and The Less I Know The Better, the latter actually features on the playlist because I screwed it up. Silly me.

4. Warpaint - I'll Start Believing

A year ago, when I named Warpaint as my favourite album of 2014, I honestly didn't they'd be coming back for more so soon. Embarrassingly, it took me like 5 months to find out this song existed. If you want an explanation for my foolishness I'm sorry, I haven't got one. But I am bloody well making up for it now, I've been playing the shit out of this track ever since. It's everything I love about Warpaint; it's brooding, bewitching, intricate and yet still melodic and, dare I say, catchy. This is a total earworm and will stay with you for quite some time after listening, so be warned. I still believe, girls. 

3. Lower Dens - To Die In LA

How does one define euphoria? According to Google it is 'a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness', this is often associated with music or other forms of art, namely visual. Good music, usually in the genres of dream pop, techno, house or chamber pop tends to have the ability to transform your entire mental state for just a few short moments. But great music, like this track, has the ability to take me to another place entirely, and this motion is so powerful that it resonates far beyond the moment the track finishes. See for yourself.

2. Carly Rae Jepsen - Run Away With Me

As you all probably remember, 2012 was pretty much dominated by Carly Rae Jepsen's mega-hit Call Me Maybe, which I still bop to occasionally (well often...I'm not proud of myself). Three years later, in two the most unexpected moments of the year 1) Carly Rae Jepsen reappeared and 2) Carly Rae Jepsen dropped one of the best pop songs/albums ever made. An overreaction? Perhaps. But the bottom line is that this track is fucking incredible and has been incredible for quite some time now. Carly Rae Jepsen is no longer a guilty pleasure ladies and gentlemen, now bop to your heart's content (skip to track 11 because I screwed up the playlist, again). 

1. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love

Here it is, my song of 2015. I had many options and sounds that I could've picked that would've been as deserving but ultimately I decided to plump for the song that I felt would bring me back to this year whenever I heard it. From the moment I first heard the opening piano riff I knew this track would be special, the infectious chorus went on to confirm this. The fact that this isn't ordinarily a band I'd listen to a lot nor did I particularly enjoy the record this features on is unusual, but I cannot deny how much I love this track.

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