Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The 100 Best Songs of 2015

Generally speaking, when putting this particular list together, I look for well crafted songs, and I try to sequence them in a manner that ranks them based on how much I like them, as well as how well them flow into each other. Usually the average song length is about three minutes. Except in years like this of course, where David Bowie decides to release a ten minute masterpiece, which now requires a home somewhere in the list.

The other thing I have always done over many years of making this list, is only allowing one song per artist, with a mind to capturing more cool songs by more cool artists. This year though, I decided to allow multiple songs per artist. The result is probably a more solid and accurate list of 100 songs. Usually I second guess these things before even hitting post, but this really feels like 100 songs I thought were most of the best ones I heard this year. Colour me momentarily happy about all my hard work.

With the pending demise of Rdio, I have made the reluctant switch to Spotify, but I have compiled and and made these fabulous songs available in both streaming services.

Spotify playlist

Rdio playlist

As an aside, this was my 50 Best Albums of 2015 blog post from last week.

100Bassem SabryOf Montreal
99Johnny DelusionalFFS
98Oh DonnaLibrary Voices
97The ShadeMetric
96Leave A TraceChvrches
95KillerNew Division
94Eternal (On & On)Grave Babies
93Running WildDrenge
92Museum of Broken RelationshipsVeruca Salt
91Burning For No OneThe Cribs
90The LightEZTV
89I Can't ExplainSurfer Blood
88We Lost EverythingThe Dears
86DisappointingJohn Grant
85In A Future WorldTelekinesis
84GiudecaGhost Culture
83Are You Ready?Mercury Rev
82To Die In L.A.Lower Dens
81Reality In MotionTame Impala
80Heart Of OakRichard Hawley
79Compound FractureMy Morning Jacket
78So OhThe Charlatans
77Minimal AffectionThe Vaccines
76A New WaveSleater-Kinney
75Where You At?The Bohicas
74Pontiac 87Protomartyr
73English SubtitlesSwervedriver
72Lost On MePeace
71Boys LatinPanda Bear
70Decided KnowledgeDutch Uncles
69First LightDjango Django
68Lonesome StreetBlur
67DetroitGaz Coombes
66Turn AroundMikal Cronin
65At 45 rpmBrideshead
64Ready To ShineYoung Galaxy
63Fade AwaySusanne Sundfor
62Classic ManJidenna
61The Right TimeTuxedo
60Tell MeHumans
59Too Much Space ManDiane Coffee
58EmoticonsThe Wombats
57SuperheatedNew Order
56repetitonPurity Ring
55Slow RotorErrors
54Dark NightHot Chip
53DeliriousSusanne Sundfor
51Spit You OutMetz
50Foolin AroundCrocodiles
49WildflowerBeach House
48Life Like ThisKurt Vile
47What Part Of meLow
45Flesh Without BloodGrimes
44Need You NowHot Chip
43BrosWolf Alice
42Pretty Torn UpEZTV
41Different AngleThe Cribs
39Bunker BusterViet Cong
38Living ZooBuilt To Spill
37MansplainerLocal H
36I'm A GirlPeace
35Made My Mind UpMikal Cronin
34Young GirlsPINS
33The PatternCeremony
32Quo VadisLower Dens
31Get To HeavenEverything Everything
30When The Lights Turn OutTwin Shadow
29Real GirlLittle Boots
28Saturday NightYukon Blonde
27The Noisy Days Are OverField Music
26Go OutBlur
25RestlessNew Order
24Over ItJunior Boys
23Let It HappenTame Impala
22No ReptilesEverything Everything
21Black StarDavid Bowie
20Courtesy PhoneTelekinesis
19A Hunger ArtistGirls Names
18SilhouettesViet Cong
17For A Day Like TomorrowSwervedriver
16Eyes On YouVeruca Salt
15Crybaby DemonCrocodiles
14Pretty PimpinKurt Vile
13Heart Of The MatterThe Libertines
12In n OutDutch Uncles
11Birch TreeFoals
10Mr. NoahPanda Bear
9FreazyWolf Alice
8Huarache LightsHot Chip
7Kathleen Sat On The Arm of Her Favourite ChairHooton Tennis Club
6Dust In The SkyEZTV
5Feel LikeMikal Cronin
4OndineLower Dens
3The Less I Know The BetterTame Impala
2The SeparationCeremony
1Distant PastEverything Everything

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The 50 Best Albums of 2015

Man...I don't know. This was a strange year. It feels like there were a whole lot of "good" to "very good" albums released, but very few "great" to "amazing" ones. The bands or artists who had good momentum leading into their third or fourth albums, seemed to rise to the challenge to make some great records. Some elders showed they could still hold their own, making better than expected records. Then there were some new kids who made some positive noise, and it will be interesting over the next couple years to see what they do with it.

For my part, I started the year once again hoping to focus my listening, by not throwing the net so wide. I listen to less music than some people, but more music than most people. I have become increasingly adept at hearing something quickly and knowing if it is going to work out for me, and moving along. That is not to say some albums don't grow on me in due course, but more than in previous years, there were so many albums this year that my ears thought were cool for a good time...just not a long time. Hence why this fun little project sees us back at a Top 50 this year versus a Top 100. 

Generally speaking, I feel comfortable that my sequencing and ranking methodology up to 50 with any pop culture list, works well and mostly without too much bias or outside influence. After 50, it can get a bit dodgy. So the fact that I really only truly liked about 70 albums this year, made it tricky to get down to 50, but pretty easy to stay inside 100. 

As always, melody, harmony, song craft, attention to detail and listenability generally make these albums winners for me. I could have thrown in a few metal and hip-hop albums I liked in 2015 I suppose, but it would have been disingenuous and only served the purpose of optically balancing the list. Plain and simple, I like well put together songs. They can be guitar songs or synth songs. They can be fuzzy, heavy, or jangly. They can be dreamy, gothy, mathy, quirky or bouncy. 

All I really ever want to hear from an album, are a bunch songs where somewhere cared, someone was honest, and someone gave something a try.

50Ghost CultureGhost Culture
48ProtomartyrThe Agent Intellect
47Local HHey Killer
46The CribsFor All My Sisters
45Mercury RevThe Light In You
44Gaz CoombesMatador
43Dave Gahan & SoulsaversAngels and Ghosts
42GrimesArt Angels
41The CharlatansModern Nature
40New OrderMusic Complete
39PINSWild Nights
38BattlesLa Di Da Di
37Sleater-KinneyNo Cities To Love
36Godspeed You! Black EmperorAsunder, Sweet and Other Distress
35Susanne SundforTen Love Songs
34Built To SpillUntethered Moon
33PeaceHappy People
32LowOnes and Sixes
31SwervedriverI Wasn't Born to Love You
30Veruca SaltGhost Notes
28Little BootsWorking Girl
27BlurThe Magic Whip
26Young GalaxyFalsework
25Beach HouseDepression Cherry
24Surfer Blood1000 Palms
23Beach HouseThank Your Lucky Stars
22Yukon BlondeOn Blonde
21The LibertinesAnthems For Doomed...
20Wolf AliceMy Love Is Cool
19ErrorsLease Of Life
18Kurt Vileb'lieve i'm goin down...
17TelekinesisAd infinitum
16Dan DeaconGliss Riffer
15FoalsWhat Went Down
14Viet CongViet Cong
13The DearsTimes Infinity - Volume One
11Girls NamesArms Around A Vision
9Panda BearPanda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
8Dutch UnclesO Shudder
7Tame ImpalaCurrents
6Hot ChipWhy Make Sense?
5CeremonyThe L-Shaped Man
4EZTVCalling Out
3Lower DensEscape From Evil
2Everything EverythingGet To Heaven
1Mikal CroninMCIII