The best of 2015 playlist
Allow me to be the millionth person to point this out, but 2015 was a pretty great year for music. And if you can put down your copy of 25 long enough to listen for a bit, I’ll prove it to you with this year’s best of playlist. There’s old favorites revived, established darlings exceeding the hype, new artists making a serious name for themselves, and world beating pop stars shattering sales records like it was 1983. It makes for an entertaining playlist, so please take a listen and do enjoy.
(Shout out to Joanna Newsom, whose Divers would have made the list if she didn’t think Spotify was evil.)
I Never Need Get Old – Nathanial Rateliff and the Night Sweats
This is the kind of stomping, horn-laden soul that Stax records solidified its reputation with in the late 60s. The DNA of Booker T. and the MGs permeates this track completely. Pure joy.
Surface Envy – Sleater-Kinney
When Sleater-Kinney called it quits 8 years ago, they were already one of the great bands in modern rock history. No Cities to Love was an unexpected affirmation of this indisputable fact, and they’ve never sounded better or more relevant.
King Kunta – Kendrick Lamar
Not only is Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly one of the best records of the year, he turned in one of the great television performances ever with his scorching medley of tracks on Colbert.
The Graduate – Speedy Ortiz
Certainly not a major departure from the sound of their debut record, but overflowing with tasty hooks at just about every turn.
If It Takes a Lifetime – Jason Isbell
A winning mix of country, blues and Americana, highlighted by Isbell’s rather deft observations of everyday life.
Violently – Natalie Prass
This slice of old school, soulful R&B was one of the best surprises of the year.
Dreams – Beck
After scoring surprise Grammy success with the dreamy Morning Phase, Beck returned with a straight up bid for jam of the summer with this track, which lead to one of the most surreal collaborations in many a year.
(We love you, Annie!)
Made My Mind Up – MCIII
While perhaps a notch below his first two excellent albums, MCIII delivers more power hooks than just about any other record released this year.
Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett
Every write up I’ve seen of Courtney Barnett tries to compare her to another artist, usually early PJ Harvey, Sleater-Kinney, or even Sheryl Crowe, but whatever. Her debut album is just flat out great music.
You Satellite – Wilco
Leave it to Wilco to drop a record out of nowhere named Star Wars. Their show at the Hard Rock in April was just a lot of fun.
High By the Beach – Lana Del Rey
Haters be damned, this tune is a dreamy slice of pop perfection, best consumed at the edge of consciousness. Also, could not love the video more.
The Knock – Hop Along
Possibly the hardest band to classify in the list, Hop Along’s sophomore album brims with alt-rock, Elephant 6, and classic rock influences. It all adds up to something undeniably great.
Empty Nesters – Toro y Moi
Every Toro y Moi record is a bit of an adventure, and this one takes you down a sun-kissed, power pop rabbit hole that makes for some enjoyable listening indeed.
John My Beloved – Sufjan Stevens
Admittedly I am not the biggest Sufjan Stevens fan, but the biggest regret of my year as a penniless graduate student was missing his show here in Orlando last month.
Ship To Wreck – Florence & The Machine
This album is full of unapologetically big rock, and it does what it does really well.
You’re a Gem – Wolf Alice
I’m not overly thrilled with the album as a whole to be honest, but this track made a convincing case for track of the summer.
The Moment – Tame Impala
A dose of psych-rock brilliance that ended up being one the best records of the year.
Hello – Adele
You have to give credit where is due; this is Adele’s world and we’re just living in it. I wish the songs that I’ve heard on this album were more worthy of her ability, but there’s no denying her voice and ability to elevate the material she’s got.
I Love You, Honeybear – Father John Misty
Kudos to you, Joshua Tillman, for fronting one the great obnoxious rock personas ever. Don’t let the antics detract from how great the great is though.
Return to the Moon (Political Song) – EL VY
Hey, Taylor Swift likes it, so it can’t be wrong, right? Seriously good stuff though from National frontman Matt Berninger and Menomena multi-instrumentalist Brent Knopf.
Fatal Flaw – Titus Andronicus
The Most Lamentable Tragedy is one of the best and most emotionally charged records of the year. A true album in ever respect.
TV – Colleen Green
A raised by TV anthem that rock has been clamoring for since the first parent discovered that the tube could double as a babysitter. A terrible, terrible babysitter.
Give Me a Sign – The Vaccines
This record is unabashedly a great throwback to early 80s pop and rock. It should be right in the wheelhouse for much of the class of ’88.
California – Grimes
Grimes most certainly isn’t for everyone, but I don’t think you can deny the quality of this end of the year entry.
Loud Places – Jamie xx
A fantastic, mellow, atmospheric end of the night house jam. And a great way to close out this year’s mix.
Here’s the playlist in Spotify form for your listen and subscribing pleasure.
Cheers everyone and enjoy the movie tonight!