2015 could be labelled many a thing but when it comes to the music, three things come to mind; the rise of British grime, musical memes and colossal comebacks. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve missed a group of young grime artists take the year by storm(zy) – backed by Kanye West himself. We’ve also been treated to the best meme generator in Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ video – and the song wasn’t too bad either, and there’s been huge returns from Bieber and Adele, but don’t worry, she’s not on our list.
Here’s our rundown of our favourite tracks from 2015.
Josh Shreeve (Editor)
1. Skrillex and Diplo (with Justin Bieber) – Where Are U Now
It seemed no-one would be able to turn around baby-faced turd Bieber until the least likely pair of adoptive parents, Skrillex and Diplo rocked up. Overnight, Bieber has been turned into a PR monster machine and Skrillex has proven he doesn’t just hit things randomly. It’s our generation’s ‘Darude – Sandstorm’. Watch out 2030 club-goers.
2. LA Priest – Oino
3. Foals – What Went Down
1. Drake – Hotline Bling
Self-awareness can stop a musician dead in their tracks, but for Drake it manifests itself as ‘Hotline Bling’, a minimalist lift-music slow jam played out in muted neon tones, and the biggest song of the year. Aubrey Graham dims the lights and croons his postmodern cellular lady woes – he’s practically Philip Larkin in Timberlands. Custom-built to be memed, the video has seeped into popular culture and dominated social media, proving that the Drake of 2015 has serious mileage, even if it is a product. Graham has pushed the art of self-caricature to the point that he’s achieved greatness – or it could just be the dancing.
2. Spector – All The Sad Young Men
3. Young Fathers – Shame
1. Tame Impala – The Less I Know the Better
I play this song several times every day, without fail. I listen to it for motivation, to perk me up, to keep me at that perk and it’s just so much fun.
2. Father John Misty – The Ideal Husband
3. Alabama Shakes – Future People
1. Skepta – Shutdown
2015 has been the year of grime with acts such as, Bonkaz, Novelist, BBK and Stormzy coming to the forefront of British music. However Skepta, for me, is the centre piece of this grime revival. Avid grime fans will have been a fan of his for a long while, but ‘Shutdown’ took Britain by storm. With its infectious beat and penetrating lyrics it has attracted many new fans to the wonderful world of grime. Grime is back ‘TRUSS MI DADDY’.
2. Foals – Night Swimmers
3. Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
1. Tame Impala – Let It Happen
With over 16,000,000 plays on Spotify and me being at least a half a million of them, is why this song is at the top for me. All 7:48 minutes of it. Since the first time I heard it on radio, it blew my mind, straight through the windshield, onto the freeway and off the bridge, it was complete. It’s complex yet catchy and when you think it couldn’t progress any further, it explodes to another level. Most importantly it’s awesome to (ridiculously) dance to. I cannot fault Kevin, even when I thought there was an actual technical fault in the song when I first listened to it.
2. Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta
3. Courtney Barnett – Depreston
1. Gengahr – She’s A Witch
My choice is the new band on the block, Gengahr, with maybe the most infectious tune I’ve ever heard. ‘Maybe she’ll sink, maybe she’ll fly. I’ve got a witch that cries all the time’. I don’t know who ‘she’ is, but it’s another factor that makes this song great.
2. Frog – Judy Garland
3. Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
1. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best
Lyrically, Courtney Barnett is one of very few artists who can pull off being incredibly witty and humorous in music yet also exceptionally talented. This aggressive track showcases her superb ability to connect with the listener as a songsmith. Her dry humour resonates perfectly in the chorus especially in the line – “I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny”.
2. Slaves – The Hunter
3. Laura Marling – False Hope
1. The Maccabees – Something Like Happiness
I first heard ‘Something Like Happiness’ when it debuted as Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record’ at the beginning of June and struggled to get the infectious chorus out of my head. The song cemented itself at the top of the list when it went down at a treat during their Other Stage performance at Glastonbury. The song perfectly combines the band’s intricate slower songs with the arena filling fan favourites of ‘Pelican’ and ‘Marks To Prove It’, to name but a few. I am sure this song won’t be at the top of many people’s lists but for me it has sound tracked the summer of 2015 and for that, it deserves the crown.
2. Tame Impala – Let It Happen
3. Jamie XX – I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times
Listen to our top songs of 2015 in the playlist below: