I started with 10 songs but I had to share more. There was so much great music in 2015.
There’s a lot of Top 40 mainstream pop music here. I unabashedly love pop music and don’t believe in “music shaming” or having to qualify the music I enjoy as a “guilty pleasure.” I wholeheartedly agree with Dave Grohl on this matter.
This list also features a lot of songs Max Martin worked on, five to be exact. I’m a huge Max Martin fan.
I prefer sharing songs rather than whole albums. The days of records with numerous hits and substantial overall quality are over, and yes, there are exceptions. Recommending an entire album feels heavy and burdensome. That said, I must recommend The Bird and The Bee’s Recreational Love and Susanne Sundfør’s Ten Love Songs.
Now let’s get to it! Here are 20 songs I had on repeat in 2015:
1. The Bird and the Bee – Will You Dance?
My favorite record of 2015. Greg Kurstin and Inara George are immensely talented musical geniuses.
2. Susanne Sundør – Fade Away
If I was ranking records, Ten Love Songs would be in the number two spot. Amazing record from this brilliant Norwegian artist.
3. Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. MØ)
This song will soon have 1 billion plays on YouTube for good reason, it’s amazing! This tune forged a magical amalgamation of EDM and trap, while using modern production and unique sounds. The solo section using vocal samples makes this song so special.
4. The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
The one standout track from an otherwise lackluster record. Oh yeh, Max Martin strikes again.
5. Death Cab For Cutie – The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive
The first half of Kintsugi starts strong but loses steam and focus at the halfway mark. This song though, so good.
6. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
This was the song of the summer, for me.
7. Demi Lovato – Cool For The Summer
Another Max Martin hit.
8. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
I Love You, Honeybear was not as strong as Fear Fun. While still a good record, the slow spots made Honeybear a duller and less remarkable experience.
9. Disclosure – Jaded
The vocals and keys on this tune from the British brothers kept me coming back.
10. Craig Wedren – Higher and Higher from Wet Hot American Summer
Craig Wedren flexes his musical genius on this soundtrack.
11. Lana Del Rey – Terrence Loves You
She’s brilliant. Honeymoon, while strong, didn’t pack the same punch that Ultraviolence did. Honeymoon was a more relaxed excursion into experimentation, depth, and space. The production on LDR’s records continues getting wider and deeper, with a remarkable and tasteful use of reverb and delay on her vocals.
12. Ariana Grande – Focus
Feels like Max Martin doing Prince.
13. Dawes – Things Happen
Dawes is truly a live band. Their studio recordings don’t always convey the excitement and energy they generate playing live.
14. Ryan Adams – Bad Blood
I liked this version more than the original. Another gem from Max Martin.
15. Ellie Goulding – On My Mind
One of my favorite songs of the year. Another Max Martin hit nodding to The Police.
16. Chilly Gonzales & The Kaiser Quartett – Advantage Points
This year Chilly dropped “the musical genius” moniker and told us why. He also dropped two full-length records, one with the Kaiser Quartett and one with Boys Noize. This song was my favorite from Chambers.
17. Vulfpeck – 1612
I’ve been following this inspiring band since their Sleepify debacle. This song, and particularly this performance, got many repeats in 2015.
18. White Reaper – Sheila
Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist can help break a band nowadays. That’s how I found this fun band from Kentucky.
19. Brandi Carlile – The Eye
The harmonies. Brilliant.
20. Peaches – Close Up
Peaches is not for the faint of heart. After watching this informative and inspiring interview with Dave Pensado and Peaches, I had a lot of anticipation for this record. I was not disappointed.
Have you heard all of these? What were some of your favorite songs from 2015?