Sometimes one song can shine brighter than the other songs, sometimes the song is lost in an album which does not exactly met the same high standard to which it was crafted and sometimes you get a headache when trying to narrow it down to just one track. It is that time of the year when we announce our song of 2015, it has been as strong for the songs as it has for the albums. It might not have been the year for singles, but for songs it was a top draw year. In this list we have many style and a few surprise admissions as well, thankfully there is no One Direction, Justin Bieber or Adele; obviously we are not that type of blog. But anyway, I am not going to use this blog to diss the current crop of hit makers - I am going to use this blog to praise the top fifty songs of 2015. Now s normal here, it is only one song per artist (otherwise it would be full of Sleaford Mods and FFS, let’s be honest). So without much further ado, here we go......(BTW - if you want to hear any of the song, just click the name which will take you to a link for the song either a Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc.... - There is now a link at the bottom of the blog as well to all the songs that are on Spotify).
50 - The NX - The Day It Rained Forever
From deepest, darkest Newcastle in the mood for an emotional release that sounds incredibly heavy. With a bass rumbling intro, these guys are in no mood for manners being observed and the whirlpool of sound as they scream in the face of a personal Armageddon.
49 - Florence + The Machine - Ship To Wreck
An understated return from Ms Welch, her vocals are almost restrained for the most part as she gives one of her finest performances in years. This song about emotional wreckage opens her album 'How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful' with a game changer.
48 - Wolf Alice - Swallowtail
From the Mercury Prize nominated album 'My Love Is Cool', this slow burning song loops around, adding small layers until the band hit the distortion peddle and the song floats into a shoegazing number that shows a different side of this band.
47 - Kendrick Lamar - i
The album version of this song is where it is at, the first half is a great song that could get any party jump (but with such a serious message that is needed once again) and then Kendrick Lamar drops the music and it goes into some very dark shit which really needs to be said and heard. One of those moments where it will make some arseholes will not get it, some people will try to make their world a better place and some people will try to make it a much better place. 2015 is a year of protest albums, this is off one of the top protest albums of this year.
46 - James Rooney - Drifted Apart
Taken from the 'Try This at Home' EP released earlier in the year, this tale of a failing relationship is haunting with a gentle soul at its heart. The EP is still available on Bandcamp and well worth purchasing.
45 - A Silent Film - Something to Believe In
Whilst their self-titled album might not have set the world on fire, this song was a brilliant piece of piano rock that other major players in this field will be kicking themselves for nothing thinking of it first.
44 - Years & Years - King
A song about escaping a repressive relationship, this year was a big one for Years & Years. This was the crowning glory for this modern day Erasure.
43 - The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - Let's Jump A Train
A simple song about getting on the first train out of town and seeing where it takes you. It is a simple song, it just gets under your skin and makes you want to have a dance. What more would you want from a song?
42 - Enversa - Final Blow
Taken from their debut EP, this indie rock combo come out of the blocks with a fierce song that has a haunted female vocal laced over the top of it. Currently getting ready to record the follow up, this is still available on their Soundcloud page.
41 - Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - Loss
The sound of the terminally pissed off has never sounded so fucking hostile! In a year where lots of bands and artists were taking things easy, Frank Carter took it to a whole new level with his Rattlesnakes. Described as a fight awaiting to happen in their live shows, this song is a hymn for those who have lost everything and have nothing left to do but get revenge is brilliant.
40 - Eureka Machines - Human
Those punk rockers from Leeds have come up with another gem, they seem to have a knack of creating songs which are irresistible to their audience. A short hit of adrenaline to the system, this musical equivalent to an Espresso is a fine song that never fails to give you energy.
39 - Fall Out Boy - Irresistible
It's a pop song, there is very little left of the rock band which started this act to be honest and they have morphed into the pop act which we all knew they would eventually. But this is a really good song, very catchy and it is harder to get out of brain that anything Daft Punk ever released. However, the new version with Demi Lovato was not necessary, not at all.... nothing against Demi Lovato, but the original was good enough and added vocals did nothing to improve or take anything away from it.
38 - Blacklisters - The Sadness of Axl Rose
It is with opened arms that we welcome back these guys who in many ways represent the darker side of Leeds, Blacklisters bring their own brand of fantastic noise that always sounds like it is going to erupt out of the speakers, start a fight and then cause more mayhem than the average Joe an achieve in a year. It is great to have them back!
37 - A-ha - Cast in Steel
An unexpected comeback from a pop act who formed a big part of my youth; A-ha might have added a bit too much to their album, but they added the right amount of emotion, music and beauty to this final pop song. It was great to hear them again, this song is one of the highlights of that album.
36 - Blur - New World Towers
In the neon lights, this song about the modern nightmare is very minimal and a song that makes the world feel as if it has been bathed in permanent moonlight (not that you can see it through the smog and street lights). It is one of those moments that can almost make you forgive them for "Country House"...almost, but not quite - still a lot of work to do for that one boys.
35 - Biters - 1975
Party, party, party, party!!! Taking influence from Thin Lizzy, Kiss and any classic rock act that you can think of, this band just want to keep everything simple and it works really well. I defy any rock crowd not to want to dance to this number.
34 - Skints - My War
This song is a dark piece of Reggae Fusion and Dub is harvested from the fantastic 'FM' album, which gives me the same shivers I got when I heard "Ghost Town" by The Specials all those years ago. It is a great number, it is fighting for survival and making the lines in the sand. Sometimes it is down to us and them, sometimes it is that simple.
33 - Ghost Signals - Trauma! Trauma! Trauma!
As far as debut releases go, this is up there. Dark indie with a hint of Eighties love in the mix, Ghost Signals have let everyone know that they mean business from the beginning with this explosive first track that will act as their ground base. What a brilliant song, what a brilliant beginning....
32 - Bachar Mar-Khalifé - Lemon
From the beautiful 'Ya Ballad' is a shot of adrenaline that will make anyone want to find out more about this amazing record and artist. Mixing Middle Eastern influences and modern recording techniques, this song is a shining light on an album made out of stars.
31 - Le Butcherettes - My Malley
With the sound of a keyboard, Teri Gender Bender and co give the world a new piece of Garage rock that is finally bring a new slant to the market. The album works better for the sum of its parts and any of the tracks could have really have made this list, "My Malley" is one of the shining tracks of this album.
30 - Moonbabies - 24
It sounds as if it was crafted out of a dream and it comes in waves, "24" is a worthy entry in this list. Moonbabies are a rare act that mix beautiful ambient sections with dream pop that will make everyday a midsummer's eve and the world is a better place.
29 - They Might Be Giants - Erase
It is so good to have these guys in the world, just because they do things slightly differently. Years ago they had an idea to record songs on an answer machine and publish the number so people would call it to hear the song, this song is off an album containing a new batch of songs. This one is their best song since "Boss of Me" and it sticks to you like super glue.
28 - Ben Folds - Phone in a Pool
The permanent tour de force that is Ben Folds always has a great chance of making any list of the year I ever make; this was not even a question of 'if' it is going to get in, but 'where' will it be placed in the list. A song about having a bit of a drama and the mobile (or cell phone for you American readers) ending up in a pool, it is one of the gentler songs of the year, but it does not mean it is one of the quieter numbers.
27 - Tellison - Rookie of the Year
From one of my new favourite bands, this track from 'Hope Fading Nightly' is the perfect representation of the nagging doubt which comes in the middle of your life with a sense fear and then some sick joy in the failing of others. It is asking for more out of life than statistics and it makes a lot of sense, it takes a lot to make failure sound so good.
26 - Skindred - Volume
Skindred forced their way into this list; seriously it a great surprise to me that they are here, as I was not even too sure if I would get to review their album or if I would get their music these days (I am getting old - allegedly I am prime Coldplay fodder (shudder)). But both the song and album 'Volume' have smashed their way into my world and this is song is a floor filler if I ever heard one and one of the best tracks from the Welsh mob.
25 - Mercury Rev - The Queen of Swans
Dreams seems to be coming alive this year with various artists, Mercury Rev have created one of the strongest albums of their career and this song opening proceedings on 'The Light in You'. It can only be described as a psychedelic dream in musical form that will melt the hearts of all who are willing to let their imagination be opened up.
24 - John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
Dealing with a terminal disease is something that you would not wish on anyone, it is even harder to imagine how it would feel to receive that new; this song gives a little insight to what it is like to deal with this spectre in your life. It is painful, beautiful and heart-breaking - if only it did not have to come in such sad circumstances.
23 - Puscifer - The Arsonist
Some people are designed to break every friendship that is in their life, this song deals with those people. It is a great reminder of how good a musician Mr MJ Keenan is, how much that voice is missed and how beautiful Puscifer can be.
22 - Tall Tales & the Silver Linings - Afraid To Love Again
I know I was hard on these guys when I reviewed this album, but I also know a class song when I hear one. This song is a droplet of joy in anyone's day, a song about trying to lose your fear of emotional attachment and moving on - it is a great song and it makes the sunshine whenever it comes on (seriously, the sun has come out from behind the clouds as I type this).
21 - Calabrese - Down in Misery
With a truly unique stylised punk sound, Calabrese have always been a favourite of a few of the team and this dark song that sounds as if it is being driven by demons is a fierce number. From the opening riff to the destructive ending, it is a brilliant number.
20 - Therapy? - Still Hurts
I am not calling this a comeback as they never went away, these guys have been releasing some top quality album over recent years which have been criminally ignored. "Still Hurts" was the lead single from 'Disquiet' and it introduced another strong set of songs to the world; if you thought it began and ended with 'Troublegum' and "Screamager", think again and get this song and the album it is off.
19 - Faith No More - Superhero
Now this one we can call a comeback - harvested from their first album in eighteen years 'Sol Invictus', this was the second of three singles to be released of it. It shows that age has not tamed the best and Faith No More still have a lot to offer the world, we can only hope this is not a one off reunion.
18 - Matt Skiba & The Sekrets - Krazy
"Krazy" is a song about a relationship which was bad for everyone involved reminds me of the theme for the TV show 'Due South' and it is a brilliant song. Matt Skiba is a man in demand and hopefully with have some new tunes with Alkaline Trio at some point, this was one of a few amazing songs off 'Kuts' and the whole emotional trip is truly inspiring.
17 - Pastel - La Scatola, Il Crocevia
Brief, noisy, beautiful and in Italian - this is one of those moments where everything is brought together in one simple drop of noise that hits you in the chest and makes you want to experience it more. It is available in with words and as an instrumental, both versions are brilliant.
16 - Dave Gahan & Soulsavers - All of This & Nothing
Dave Gahan has created some of the darkest moments in pop history with Depeche Mode, I think it is only fair that he should have one that radiates with light as well. From the most recent collaboration with Soulsavers, this song gets better with each subsequent listen.
15 - Staves - Steady
The Staveley-Taylor sisters certainly have very pleasant voices which merge well on this song. Recorded with Bon Iver main man Justin Vernon, this song was originally two separate numbers which the sisters merged together. The resulting song is one of the best songs reminds me of winter time, so it is perfect for the end of the year.
14 - Sleaford Mods - Live Tonight
It might not have been the best track when we reviewed the album, but after seeing them live in Newcastle this year it is certainly improved in stature. They have not put a foot wrong this year and it is great to see them getting their rewards. Anyone who argues otherwise, is a dick.
13 - Return to the Sun - Velvet Sky
From their recently released 'ElevenFiftySeven' EP, Return to the Sun have created an alternative rock anthem for the future here. It has received air play (one time from yours truly) and it will be interesting to see where they go to from here.
12 - The Prodigy - Rok-weiler
Oh it is good to have them back to their best, especially when they sound as feral as this. In a year when the old school dance acts all seemed to be making comebacks, there was only one contender for the crown and it went to the boys from Essex. This song will fill a dance floor quicker than ants to honey, classic Prodigy and it has been sorely missed.
11 - Ryan Adams - Style
A Taylor Swift cover in style of both The Smiths and Bruce Springsteen, created by the wondering troubadour to deal with the aftermath of a marriage. Ryan Adams certainly scored headlines around the world with this album and this is one of those moments that should not have worked, but for all the wrong reasons it does.
10 - Walk The Moon - Shut Up + Dance
A great pop song is a great pop song, no matter how cheesy it is. Walk The Moon scored a massive hit with this song about meeting the love of your life in a club, it is as simple as a,b,c and incredibly catchy. It will have some people turning in horror that it is on this list, I have this to say to them....
09 - Ash - Let's Ride
Ash have always been able to get a good tune together, they specialise in sub three-minute rock anthems and this is one of the latest additions to their back catalogue. This song is brilliant live, fantastic on record and just flat out fun on the studio recording as well - brilliant from beginning to end.
08 - The Armed - Forever Scum
And as if to counterbalance the sunshine, we have this drop of noise from Detroit, Michigan which sounds as if it could start a fight with itself in an empty room. From the album 'Untitled', this song explodes out of the speakers, smashes you to a pump and leaves without so much as a good bye or leave. Of course, we love it....
07 - Champs - Desire
Sounding as if it was a lost 80's classic, this song is taken from 'Vamala' and shines like a diamond on that record. They are charming to a fault and this song is one that we kept returning to during the year. It is moody, dark and wonderfully crafted; a strangely peaceful and thought provoking song.
06 - Young Fathers - Shame
Any band that pisses off Gareth Gates are great in our opinion, any band that gets Jerm out of listening to metal are extra special. Young Fathers have followed up their Mercury Prize winning album 'DEAD' with 'White Men Are Black Men Too' and this is song is one that will be stuck in your head for weeks, it has a hook that sticks in you and it will stay there for an awful long time.
05 - Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love
Another comeback here, this time from Olympia punk group Sleater-Kinney. This song is a great tune, it has a catchy chorus and shows that uses metaphors to gain perceptive on relationships and the places where they inhabit the mind and presence of people. It might not come out at a million miles an hour, but it does not need to - it is class without have to resort to a quick clash of chords.
04 - D'Angelo & The Vanguard - 1000 Deaths
This is full of funk, protest, heavy duty bass, harsh words for the world, a sample that speaks about Jesus in ways that will make a lot of people uncomfortable and it sounds as if it has been forged in lava. The fact that this is still so high after 12 months of release shows just how amazing this song is, how important it is and how good D'Angelo got it when he recorded this number.
03 - FFS - Police Encounters
They say collaborations do not work - that is a lie as this one is just out of this world. Franz Ferdinand have always had a bit of the Sparks to their sound, the Sparks are one of the best acts to ever come out of America. Together they have created a masterpiece in FFS, this song about brushes with the police is the highlight of that union and once again - please do not make it a one off!!!!
02 - Ghost - From The Pinnacle To The Pit
I will be honest here, it was incredible close for the top two song - they are both with merit and in a different year, this one might have topped the list. Taken from the beautiful 'Meliora', this hymn from the Satanic Damnation Army in praise of the Father of Light being cast down in triumphant defiance is a modern rock classic. It is so retro it hurts, it shows that they are not a one-off band and have improved with each release; the chorus could tempt the most resolute Catholic to sample that forbid fruit.
01 - Kurt Vile - Pretty Pimpin'
Here it is - our song of the year. A song about not knowing the person in the mirror and losing all sense of time and place, it is something that some of us can sadly relate to and it is here is majestic musical form. Kurt Vile has always been known to create some great alternative country song, this time he made a song that did not only dominate the album he created but it also dominated 2015 as well.
So that is 2015's songs of the year! Our next big post will be the top 40 albums of 2015 as voted by the bloggers and general public as well, till next time.
Songs of the year Spotify playlist