2015's songs I wish you were listening to
2015 was a big deal for music and me. I went to my first music festival, expanded my musical tastes tenfold and finally listened to the entirety of Channel Orange (I was embarrassingly late to that party). More important than my own musical year, though, there was simply a ridiculous amount of good music released, with hopefully more to come (@BadGalRiri, @FrankOcean & @KanyeWest). Nonetheless, between Adele, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar and many other major releases, some time-worthy tracks got lost in the shuffle.
“Lady” - Noé
I first heard Noé’s strong-willed pleasure anthem on Not Mad as part of a Q&A with the Berkeley School of Music student. Extremely polished for an artist as unestablished as Noé, the song should be raking in Spotify listens and climbing iTunes charts.
“Kamikaze” - MØ
Danish singer MØ is best known for her feature on Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” which was this year’s number one streamed song on Spotify. Currently awaiting the release of her second LP, MØ graced fans with its lead single, “Kamikaze.” Produced by Diplo, “Kamikaze” follows the same formula of post-chorus instrumentals and MØ’s singular voice is unlike any other in popular music’s landscape. That, coupled with expert production and the (literally) unforgettable lyrics gives the track more and more intrigue with each listen.
“Let It Happen” - Tame Impala
“Let It Happen” opens the Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala’s third album Currents. Written, recorded, performed and produced by Kevin Parker, “Let It Happen” is, in my opinion, the best song on one of 2015’s best albums. “Let It Happen” is a tour de force of one man’s musical landscape. The intricacy present in the multitude of instruments manages to keep listeners interested, especially at each sonic transformation throughout its almost 8-minute runtime.
“Yoga” - Janelle Monae
“Yoga,” in short, was the summer banger of 2015 (for me and a few others). Immediately from Jidenna’s deep “Let your booty do that yoga,” followed by a bass drop and Monae’s debut “Party at the beach down in Copacabana,” the song comes to life in its first verse and carries its energy through the remaining 3 minutes.
“In Time” - FKA Twigs
Off her third EP M3LL155X (her best work yet), “In Time” might be her most mainstream track to date. Twigs employs all her tricks — brilliant lyrics, beats that take on a life of their own without overpowering the vocals, voice distortion (in just the right amount) and finally her raw, emotional delivery brings her music to another level.
“Levels” - Nick Jonas
Despite Nick Jonas being fucking everywhere this year, the single from his self-titled release didn’t receive nearly as much love as it deserved. Arguably better than “Jealous” or “Chains,” “Levels” gains all of its hook through Jonas’s on-point delivery. His high-notes maintain traces of raspiness and the often subtle trail-off of those notes make the song extremely fun to sing along to. (@ Tailgate DJs of The University, play this next year, please.)
“Instigators” - Grace Potter
“Instigators,” off Grace Potter’s debut solo album Midnight, is one of the LP’s many highlights. Immediately from the electro-pop synths and contrasting guitar riffs, Potter’s newly found sound is The Nocturnals without the “alternative” qualifier allowing her vocals and personality to fulfill a void in pop music’s current offerings. Unafraid to commit, the vocals on “Instigators” flirt with the line between singing and screaming, but in the end Potter’s ability to deliver high-notes with power and control is simply mesmerizing.
“Who I Want You To Love” - Bleachers & Natalie Maines
Originally on Bleachers’s Strange Desire, the album-closer makes a reprise in 2015 featured on the release Terrible Thrills Vol. 2 with guest vocals by Dixie Chicks member Natalie Maines. Maines’s breadth of talent ranges from her southern humor on commonly known throwback “Goodbye Earl” to her rock chops on solo track “Trained.” Her vocals combined with Jack Antonoff’s lyricism on “Who I Want You To Love” is revolutionary. Without the eccentricity on Antonoff’s delivery on the original, the song takes on a new aura in Maines’s seasoned hands.