The Best Songs of 2015: Matt’s List
20. The Staves – “Blood I Bled”
Because: It took courage when this band of sisters released this song as their very first single from their debut record If I Was; “Blood I Bled” begins in a cloud of morose and dismal epithets, but shines increasingly brighter and more complex until the final and more exhilarant final seconds of aching harmonies and wandering violin.
19. Circa Waves – “T-Shirt Weather”
Because: This song kept me warm all year.
18. Foals – “What Went Down”
Because: If you must rage, rage in the quiet light, or rage madly at night, rage you should with this as your dark cloak billowing behind you like a cloud of fury.
17. St. Vincent – “Teenage Talk”
Because: Something of this is three parts nostalgia, but it’s also two parts needing to reframe/restate your past in a new and more backlit showcase, so those memories don’t fade and become a big tangled ball of “a certain age.”
16. Seinabo Sey – “Hard Time”
Because: Could this song BE any more pout-ily fierce?
15. Julia Holter – “Feel You”
Because: Between the annunciation and the matter-of-fact manner in which Julia Holter tells us she plays real saxophones (amongst other things), it could only be the aural equivalent of a kidnapped daughter and a “particular set of skills.”
14. Chvrches – “Clearest Blue”
Because: Although I by no means am giving my blessing of the ridiculous spelling gimmick, I do however love and wholeheartedly hug the moment at 2:12 when my teeth start rattling and my elbows start flailing in a dance at your desk manner.
13. Scott James – “Rosary”
Because: You can almost see inside this song and watch all the porcelain moving parts as it reaches out in turn and plucks at the strings and vessels of your heart.
12. Birdy & Rhodes – “Let It All Go”
Because: I think you’d agree that this song is slightly vapid and mostly over the top in tone and string accompaniment, but your hopeful and more romantic side will still urge you, as it did for me, to release all the things. My Schnauzer will stay stay behind the fence though, thank you very much.
11. David Ramirez – “How Do You Get ‘Em Back”
Because: There are buckets of wisdom in this cautionary tale and open question of a tune from the Texan.
10. Day Wave – “Drag”
Because: It’s the most self-insistant and insidiously ear-wormy piece of beach glass you can pick up this year.
[Day Wave Facebook]
9. Everything Everything – “No Reptiles”
Because: The song bespeaks the issues that plague Parliament in England supposedly, or say the writers of the song, but I don’t hear that; I only hear all the hypotheticals coming true to show us what would happen if a band made of sociopaths got a record contract. It’s brilliant.
8. Brandi Carlile – “Wherever is Your Heart”
Because: No other time in 2015 did an artist create a song that described what I had in my own heart more. It’s remarkable how many more songs make sense when you find that love thing.
7. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Run Away With Me”
Because: This amethyst laden chemistry compound of a pop formula, despite revealing all of its ingredients to you, still grabs your brain and shakes it until you care for naught but rhythm and bass.
6. Ainslie Wills – “Drive”
Because: Matt Redlich did a heck of a job when he produced this song for Ainslie Wills. “Drive” croons and waterfalls and churns and burns and struts and THEN relents to a one minute electric guitar rampage. And yet, because of Wills and her voice, the acoustic version is just a good.
5. Wet – “Deadwater”
Because: There are deep and wide places to wander inside this song.
4. Pogo – “The Trouble”
Because: Pogo takes recorded sound and words, then goes at them with scissors and wands until something new is made. In this case, the result is the purest magic of all his debut album, Kindred Shadow.
3. Oddisee – “That’s Love”
Because: Joyous, thankful, and wide-eyed hip-hop is my favorite kind.
2. Amason – “Yellow Moon”
Because: The Swedish supergroup gathered our hearts in, one by one, with their superb debut record Sky City. And with a prominent bass, step-hopping piano melody, and Amanda Bergman’s dazzling vocals, “Yellow Moon” is, guaranteed, the loveliest dream you’ll hear from 2015.
1. Dua Lipa – “Be The One”
Because: Perhaps it’s subliminal pressure on the Kosovo native’s part, but Dua Lipa came out of a literal nowhere and flummoxed me with a rolling tide of smoky harmony and rhythm. There are, i’m sure, more than a few thousand songs that came out of 2015 which “deserve” to critiqued and lauded as better or the best songs of the year. None of the ones I heard however, made me dance more in secret, or more in public, than this glitter-bomb of a single. It comes down to personal preference these lists, and while I hope you can hear just how dangerously Pied Piper-catchy this club mob tune is, “Be The One” is my very favorite song of 2015.