2015 has been a solid year in music so far as we examined last week with our list of best albums up to this point. This week, we take a look at some of the best tracks 2015 has had to offer. I think we have a very nice diverse list, although many of the songs have some sort of electronic element, but that’s just been the trend in the music industry the past few years. Enjoy the list, and please let us know your favorite tracks from 2015.
10. Viet Cong – “Silhouettes”
We all like post-punk with some teeth, and Viet Cong is currently hearkening back to some of our favorite artists of the early 80’s. “Silhouettes” is a great example of what Viet Cong has burst onto the scene with, not just settling into the genre, but expanding on it.
9. Dan Deacon – “When I Was Done Dying”
Deacon’s “When I Was Done Dying” is the best Modest Mouse song never produced, written, or performed by Modest Mouse. Most impressive is Deacon’scontinued development from expert beat-builder and party-starter to expert creator of the perfectly crafted indie pop song.
8. Hot Chip – “Dark Night”
Hot Chip keeps pumping out reliably danceable electro-pop gems, with this year’s entry being “Dark Night”. Most impressive this time around are the peerless vocals of Alexis Taylor.
7. Alabama Shakes – “Don’t Want to Fight”
On their sophomore release, the Shakes straight up bring the funk with “Don’t Want to Fight”. Brittany Howard’sopening yawp sets the tone, and the rest of the band keeps it smooth the rest of the way. Good work from a band I initially considered a novelty.
6. Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”
I’m coming around enough on Tame Impala that I’m not even mad at this one. Saying that makes me feel like an old man who watches Cheers for the first time and thinks the sexual tension between Sam and Diane is too racy, but after the third episode can’t get enough. “Let It Happen” is doing its best to get me on board with TI’s unique brand of psych pop.
5. Sufjan Stevens – “Fourth of July”
The best song off a new Sufjan album is almost always going to make a top songs list. “Fourth of July” is no exception, providing some ominous atmospherics in contrast to some of Sufjan’s more signature lighter sounds, to great effect.
4. Major Lazer and Mo – “Lean On”
Major Lazer is great for a killer collaboration almost every year, and 2015 is the year of “Lean On”. Diplo manages to effortlessly intersperse the vocals with his DJ effing around, which is why he has turned into so much more than a DJ.
3. Jamie xx – “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”
I feel like Jamie xx has alwaysexcelled by keeping things meticulously simple. On “Good Times” he seems to be juggling so many balls in the air that he seems bound to fail. Until he doesn’t. Melding all the vocals andarrangement changes must have been murder, but Jamie ends up with one of the most delicious songs thus far in 2015.
2. Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best”
Everything about this song is perfect. The soaring guitar kicks so much ass, and Courtney’s lyrics range from absurd to hilariously cynical. For some reason, I imagine Jack White can’t get enough of this song.
1. Kendrick Lamar – “King Kunta”
I think Kanye West and Jay-Z are pretty worried. Kendrick Lamar has been watching that throne, and starting to look a lot like Danaerys with Jay-Z filling the role of the long-deceased Bob Baratheon, and Kanye playing the part of Stannis B. If we’re keeping with the analogy, “King Kunta” is the baddest mother-f*#$ing dragon the rap game has seen in quite some time.
Wes: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Extreme Wealth and Casual Cruelty”
This song is wild. UMO turn “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” into a living nightmare, and I couldn’t mean that as more of a compliment.
Todd: Death Grips – “On GP”
Austin: Dwight Yoakam – “In Another World”
Dwight Yoakam has possibly become my favorite country vocalist. “In Another World” may not highlight some of his vocal ticks as well as some of his other work, but the guitar loop just beats the shit out of you in the best of possible ways.