The musical year of 2015 can be summed up in one collective word
2015 was a continuation of last year’s trends of mediocrity with few bright spots. In fact, when researching for this list, most of the songs popular this year being from last year.
The bright spots, though, help set a tone for the next year. Hip-hop and rap have increased in popularity with new artists paving a bright future. Female artists have proven to be dominant in the pop game while males have been making R&B come back with a vengeance. The independent music scene is more vast than ever thanks to music streaming services such as Soundcloud and Spotify with more people going away from the basic radio waves of their cars.
The 20 songs sum up the ones that will stick around after this year is said and done. This list also includes a interesting event that has never happened before in the past years of writing this list. Let’s not waste anymore time. These are, without any doubt, the 20 Best Songs of 2015.
20. “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap
From a guy whose name sounds remarkably close to something you can order at a Greek restaurant, “Trap Queen” is a fun little tune about being in love with a gorgeous woman and staying with them. Fetty Wap has a unique style and flow that is unusual to say the least, but he makes it work against the heavy use of drum machines and synth-pop sounds. If you are wondering what a “trap queen” is, Urban Dictionary (the only dictionary that matters) defines it as “a bomb-ass female” that is “loyal” and “Gives no fucks about bitter, petty bitches.” She is the highest of all the girls before and after. Fetty makes sure to pay tribute to his queen by admiring in every line doing everything from getting high to cooking pies (should be baked, but I disgress). Fetty is in the one hit wonder spot, but he might be saved since he already has a couple of hit on his belt to avoid such a trademark.
19. “Will You Dance?” by the bird and the bee
The small independent duo from Los Angeles the bird and the bee has always been grand with their indie pop vibes including gems such as “Love Letter from Japan,” a cover of “How Deep is Your Love?” and an entire Hall & Oates cover album. Fortunately after five years, the duo came back with the light and fun “Will You Dance?” off their new album Recreational Love. This is more of a selfish and local choice since I’m in the Los Angeles area, but the duo give a simple song about wanting to simply dance with someone with singer Inara George’s sweet voice emphasizing every line. The addition of the chorus of women brings the song to new heights with remarkable vocal work. The breakdown section with the constant “whatchu gonna do?” is quite amazing and, if you saw the video above, leads to a hilarious moment with Patton Oswalt. the bird and the bee are simply wonderful and deserve a mention.
18. “I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Dammit, Carly, I missed you. Miss Jepsen had been making a hit on Broadway in Cinderella (or lack thereof depending on who you talk to) away from the pop charts, but luckily she came back with a vengeance with the sugary sweet “I Really Like You.” It’s a simple song about having a crush on someone and everything that comes with it. From the awkwardness of possibly saying more than you should and good ol’ unresolved sexual tension while watching TV. Carly’s voice is always light and breezy with a bit a gravel that gives it an edge to this song. The breakdown is neat, though a tad empty, but that damn chorus will be stuck in your head for days. Sure, it’s no “Call Me Maybe,” but it might even be better than it. Also, the video has Tom Hanks in it and that is reason enough to be on this list.
17. “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon
I apologize for thinking this group would never get another hit. Walk the Moon is a pop group back on the 2012 list I put in the “one-hit wonder” position. It may have taken two years, but they came back with the infectious “Shut Up and Dance.” Continuing the trend of the last two songs, it’s poppy as all get out, perfect for friendly radio play and about romance. The best part of this tune is the lead up to the chorus with “She took my arm/I don’t know how it happened” with bombastic chords and the “ooh hoo hoo ooh” in the chourus proper. The vocals of Nicholas Petricca are perfect and suit the song’s tone. Hopefully now, Walk the Moon can continue their success in the pop scene without my idiocy deeming them as lesser.
16. “Way Too Much” by Wavves
Wavves is an awesome as hell band. Anyone who played the darkly humorous crime masterpiece Grand Theft Auto V can attest that fact as the group gave badass tracks to that game. With “Way Too Much,” they combine their loud ass kicking sound to some throwback vibes. Try listening to this song without immediately thinking of “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors. Wavves areone of the last great hopes in rock being alive as the rock scene at the moment is, well, lacking in artists that are not trying to be in the Top 40. Wavves shine bright, kick ass and leave with a real rock sound that takes listeners back to those old glory days.
15. “Talking Body” by Tove Lo
Sexual attraction and having sex is a wonderful thing. What? You thought because Tove Lo sang this song I was going to repeat the same joke from last year? Lo makes a synth-pop sound to talk about sex with her unique voice goes from the traumatized voice of “Habits” to the joyous and excited tone to get ready for some hot action. She wants love, to stay in bed, smoke and if the partner has a perfect body, then they “can fuck for life.” It is a song about having sex plain and simple without sugar coating it. It’s very blunt about the subject and Lo sounds like she craves the hell out of giving pleasure. Lo is a fantastic artist. I’m glad her drug addictions in “Habits” went to a happier sexy song.
14. “So Good” by Tuxedo
In 2013, the throwback song was in full position. Heck, Daft Punk was number one because of it. Tuxedo must have been reading because they came into 2015 ready to satisfy the need for some sexy late 70’s – early 80’s funk style. Honestly, I forgot the name of the song when I was researching, but Tuxedo stuck out. The keyboard synth sounds are simply wonderful combined with singer Mayer Hawthorne’s smooth vocals. IT’s perfection for a sweet throwback I have craved in the past years. The chorus is another one that will be stuck in for days with “It’s so good, it’s so good, feels so good to me.” Tuxedo is just one of the many outfits, pun intended, Hawthorne is in that carry an old school vibe. Tuxedo is a perfect fit.
13. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
Another throwback song tha, unlike the previous one, was everywhere to the point we all got sick and tired of hearing it. Yet, in due time and after many weddings in the future, “Uptown Funk” will be known as a classic for the ages. It’s a funk based throwback that Mars conquered on Unorthodox Jukebox and waste no time showing that he has the pipes to give listeners a trip back to the days of Kool & the Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire. Crowds can sing along to it, the party gets moving and the young teens who can’t stand it will actually groove to it. Too bad the overplay of the song hurts it from being in the top 10, but it’s still an instant classic.
12. “Elastic Heart” by Sia
Sia came out swinging last year for an artist that has been around since the 90’s with “Chandelier.” This year her other single, “Elastic Heart,” also came out swinging with a nice upbeat tone and a controversial video (at the start of the year no less). Sia sings about a dramatic break-up in vivid imagery. Describing her heart as “elastic” and how she will always come back until she snaps, Sia brings the honest and earnest reasoning of why she can move on from her traumatic experiences. There’s some references to more than verbal abuse that can trigger some listeners. The song is a eclectic mix of modern drums and bass and a classic piano ballad. Sia is still magnificent as last year by continuing to prove she isn’t just a “featuring” artist. As for that video, it’s artsy and beautiful. Whoever saw more into it is just looking for attention.
11. “What Do You Mean?” by Justin Bieber
You should have left and never came back. You should not have busted a Justin Timberlake and grown into yourself to become better than yourself. Justin Bieber did exactly that on “What Do You Mean?” growing up into his own, not coming off as cheesy and being genuine as hell. It’s poppy in a Calvin Harris-esque way with Bieber having matured into his voice. Two years ago, I put “As Long As You Love Me” on the list because of Bieber slowly becoming what he needs to be. On this track, he finally went from boy to man full stop. It’s no longer a joke to like Justin Bieber’s music and that’s a good thing.
Part I Here