The Final Countdown: Top 20 Songs of 2015

The best of the best. I’ve an unwavering adoration for every song that follows. My favourite songs of 2015:

20. A Silent Film – Tomorrow

I played this tune a lllllllot in the spring months. Regretfully, it’s been criminally underappreciated/underheard. This is an epic alt-pop movie of a song.

 

19. Leon Bridges – River

Only came to my ears in December, but it was immediately compelling. Musically sparse, emotionally monumental.

 

Bonus: Twenty One Pilots – Holding On To You

Where was I when this came out three years ago? I’ve no answer for that, and I’m ashamed I missed this beast for so long.

 

18. Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out/Ride

I’m not surprised Twenty One Pilots have become as big as they are. Schizo-pop has the ability to cross over if done well, and this duo¬†does it exceedingly so. “Stressed Out” and “Ride” are absurdly catchy.

 

17. The Helio Sequence – Battle Lines

My favourite song from The Helio Sequence’s latest, eponymous record. Summers and Weikel have a preternatural ability to infuse emotion in their (always melodic and gorgeous) songs. “Battle Lines” is a giant exhale, a sanctuary of serenity. Time always seems to stand still when I listen to the best of The Helio Sequence. They remain one of my most treasured bands.

 

16. AWOLNATION – Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)/I Am

Aaron Bruno and company are masters at Shizo-pop. “Hollow Moon” is a delicious slice of modern alt-pop, the type of song that appeals to the masses and gives classes in hook construction. Bruno is also a star at crafting interesting vocal harmonies; this is ever-apparent on the succulent “I Am”.

 

15. Marina and The Diamonds – I’m A Ruin

Far and away my favourite song on her latest LP. “I’m A Ruin” was a staple song for me throughout the year, and it’s among the very best that Marina Diamandis has ever released.

 

14. GRL – Lighthouse

One of the very best pop songs of the year.

 

13. Pure Bathing Culture – Pray For Rain

Portland strikes again. “Pray For Rain” is a hazy, sultry, foot-stomper and snare-pop romper. “Is it pleasure, is it pain, did you pray for rain?”

 

12. Best Coast – California Nights/Feeling OK

Mega-sized hits, both of them. “California Nights”: tempered, pensive, exploratory. “Feeling OK”: propulsive, energetic, incessant.

 

11. Bad Suns – Cardiac Arrest

I went nuts singing and air-drumming this slinky, sexy, sunny-day-at-the-beach anthem last year.

 

10. Houndmouth – Sedona

A grower. And how. Each time I heard “Sedona”, I liked it more. Eventually, I heard the simple truth that became obvious: “Sedona” is one of the best songs of 2015.

 

9. Glass Animals – Pools

One of the coolest songs of the year. One of the sexiest. The oddest. The warmest. The slipperiest. The slithery-est. The roam-freely-in-the-jungle-est. The earwormy-est. The sing-a-long-inside-your-yawn-est. Glass Animals, with only one album under their belts, are a band to be reckoned with. “Pools” is brilliant. (The video is too.)

 

Bonus: Broods – Superstar/Sleep Baby Sleep/L.A.F.

Slept like a baby on these tracks last year, but made up for it early in 2015 with copious plays. All three tracks are sensational pop songs, and I could’ve linked a few more from Broods’ first LP/EP. Extremely impressive work from the bro-sis Notts.

 

Depending on the day, each of the following songs could be my number one song of the year, such is how I value them. As it happens, today, this is how I’ve ranked them…

 

8. Chvrches – Leave A Trace/Never Ending Circles

Blissful, bombastic pop made by a group without peer. Chvrches dropped hit after hit on their debut, and apparently they felt like continuity was the best way forward, as their second LP moves along with nary an off-point blip on the radar. “Leave A Trace” is stunning. They couldn’t have come up with a better lead single. The staggering thing is, “Never Ending Circles” is just as good. Chvrches are well on their way to headlining duties as one of the biggest bands on the planet. I don’t think there’s a better pop-music-making group around.

 

7. Metric – The Shade

Although Metric might have something to say about that. Six albums in, Metric keeps getting better. Which is just preposterous. When I first heard “Gimme Sympathy”, I thought that’d be their pinnacle. It still shines bright enough to light up a galaxy, but “The Shade” is its equal. That’s astonishing. Without a shadow of a doubt, Metric have cemented their place as one of Canada’s best bands of all-time. I adore their way with melody. More than anything else, they care about the quality of a song, an eternally endearing quality if there ever was one.

 

6. Day Wave – Drag

That I have “Drag” this high is a surprise in a sense. It came out of nowhere. But day after day, week after week, it spoke to me. After it spoke, it sung, and clung to the strings of the beating organ in my chest. The clinging of the strings, the singing shaped like wings, and the body finds a soul to squeeze.

 

5. Purity Ring – push pull

I remember hearing this song in January and knowing right away that it’d be one of my favourite songs of the year. The thought held true, and “push pull” remains an obsession. This is electronic music drawn on a hip-hop canvas and doused with an angelic aura. It’s Purity Ring’s best song to date. “I built a constellation lair, out of the moles that hovered there, a fever billowed in the wind, and I bade the sky therein…” is one of my favourite lyrics of the year.

 

4. Miguel РCoffee/Leaves

“Coffee” is my favourite Miguel song to date. And it’s probably the best song on Miguel’s latest. But the feeling that “Leaves” induces compels me just as much, and that’s why I think it’s worthy to keep company with the lead single. FWIW, the non-explicit version of “Coffee” is a lot more captivating than the explicit one (and the version featuring Wale). “Leaves” is based off a simple guitar lick, and is carried through the seasons by Miguel’s alluring vocal. In both songs, Miguel found a way to elicit emotions and make them clear, even if they pull in different directions. He’s at the peak of his powers here, and I get lost in that zenith each and every time I hear these songs.

 

3. Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better

I’m fucking flabbergasted at how good this song is. I could describe the way I’ve been struck with awe by this majestic piece of music, but I feel like I should let the tune stand for itself, so the less I say, the better.

 

2. Wolf Alice – Bros

I love “Bros”. It’s a romantic love. A familial one. A familiar one. Each and every second of this song is a second in which I’m enthralled. “Ohhh, jump the 43, are you wild like me? Raised by wolves and other beasts, I tell you all the time, I’m not mad. You tell me all the time, I got plans…” is a lyric I hold so, so dearly. With one song (and a teflon-strong debut album), Wolf Alice have made waves without water. In a couple years, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see them headlining arenas around the world.

 

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – The Ballad Of The Mighty I

This is my favourite Noel Gallagher song in almost twenty years. No big deal right. It’d be a stretch to say that Noel’s getting better with age as the music he penned for Oasis will live forever, but the fact that his material has not dipped in quality is truly amazing. I chalk it up to an obvious and simple sentiment: Noel Gallagher is one of the very few people on this earth that was born to write music. And not just any old music, but consistently catchy, consistently excellent, consistently melodic music. I believe that Mr. Gallagher is probably the best songwriter walking the earth right now. It’s also not a surprise that “The Ballad of The Mighty I”, the best and my favourite song from Noel’s most recent album, was made with a hand from the incomparable Johnny Marr. But make no mistake, Noel is captaining this ship. His vocal is stunning. The musical composition is transcendent. When you put them together, you get best-song-of-the-year type stuff. Noel Gallagher is a living legend. D’you know what I mean?

Top 100 Songs of 2015 (40-21)

Each and every song that follows is amazing (to me). My Top 100 Songs of 2015 (40-21):

40. The Vaccines – Handsome/Dream Lover

The Vaccines deserve to be huge. I hope they find their way to that some day.

 

39. The Wombats – Greek Tragedy

Right up there with the best they’ve ever done.

 

38. Robert Plant – Rainbow

His voice sounds splendid singing this type of music.

 

Bonus: Bear In Heaven – Autumn

Frenetic and fantastic.

 

37. Imagine Dragons – Shots

Best song on their most recent record.

 

36. Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin

Favourite tune Vile has ever done. Undeniably catchy.

 

35. Hot Chip – Need You Now

Hot Chip are so reliable. This is an absolute banger with soul pouring out of every pore.

 

34. Dear Rouge – Black To Gold

Immeasurably slick. Nodding to M83 and sage for doing so.

 

33. Foals – Mountain At My Gates

A slow burner that took a bit of time to become massive in my head. And how it did. Wicked video too.

 

Bonus: Alvvays – Ones Who Love You

What a sweet, sombre melody. I can’t not sing along when I hear it.

 

32. Sufjan Stevens – Should Have Known Better

Sufjan tugs on heart strings unlike any other. The shift to a more relaxed, jubilant sound in the second half really makes it special.

 

31. Glass Animals – Gooey/Hazey

Sooooooo sexy. One album in, and Glass Animals already have a sound all their own.

 

30. Modest Mouse – Lampshades On Fire/The Ground Walks, With Time In A Box

The lead single, “Lampshades” is classic Modest Mouse, and the Indie-disco strut of “The Ground Walks” is a jolly ol’ romp.

 

29. Brandon Flowers – Can’t Deny My Love/Lonely Town

“Can’t Deny My Love” is the best song on Flowers’ second solo LP, but the bridge in “Lonely Town” is so strong I have to include it with the lead single.

 

28. Grimes – Flesh Without Blood/Kill V. Maim

Grimes’ latest album is one of the best of the year, a jaw-droppingly good electropop album, and these are the two best songs on it. Wish there was a studio version of Kill V. Maim to share. Alas.

 

27. Cage The Elephant – Trouble

Just came out the last month or so of the year, but won me over right away. Possibly the best song on their brand new record. I love it when Cage goes tender.

 

Bonus: Wolf Alice – Blush

“Punch drunk, dumb struck, pot luck, happy happy…” I love alternative music that sounds like this. Rare that it’s ever this good though.

 

26. Tame Impala – Let It Happen

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this song. There’s so much to latch onto in this 7-minute-plus epic.

 

25. Christine and The Queens – Saint Claude/Paradis Perdu

I discovered Christine and The Queens not long before I went to Osheaga, and they became dear to me almost overnight. A revelation.

 

24. Jr Jr – Gone

This is happiness incarnate. I worry I haven’t ranked this song high enough. I don’t think it’s possible to quantify this much ebullience. I simply adore this song.

 

23. Jack U f. Justin Bieber – Where Are U Now/Justin Bieber – Sorry

When I roasted him, I ended the piece by saying all he needed was a hit and a lot of the negative stuff would fall away. He got it, with Skrillex and Diplo’s help, on “Where Are U Now”. It’s a gargantuan banger. #ThatDropThough. And then a few months later “Sorry” came along, the best song he’s ever put his name on.

 

22. El Vy – Return To The Moon

This is the sound of The National on vacation, fully relaxed and enjoying the sun, all the way from the moon. I’ve always wanted to hear Matt Berninger do a song like this. I really like the guitars in this song.

 

21. Years and Years – King

I’m not sure how big this song got in North America, but it should’ve been bigger. That chorus is really special.