Songs of 2015

It was difficult to compile these songs. As always, there are a huge number of candidates spread over a large number of albums, despite my keeping a list of of songs the that I find particularly engaging as I hear them through the year. I agonized over this task, though I realize that not a one of you is hanging on my choices, much less whether song  number 9 should’ve rated higher. Nonetheless, it’s a fun process for me and forces me to think about what I most appreciate and enjoy. And isn’t that much of life, figuring out what brings us the most pleasure and then parsing out those things that don’t?

So here’s my list of the top 10 songs of 2015. If I look at them tomorrow I’ll probably want to move one up or another down, but it is what it is.

1. Vhs, by Superhuman Happiness

I love songs that surprise me, that take me in different directions throughout their 3-5 minutes. That’s exactly what Vhs does. I remember the first time I listened to it. I was sitting on my finance’s couch and exclaimed, “Wow! or “Whoa!” each time the song changed up. There’s a lot going on here.

2. Vestiges, by Martin Courtney

Absolutely beautiful, psych pop ballad from Real Estate’s Martin Courtney marked with airy guitar and gorgeous harmony.

3. Riverman, by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Bird

Like Martin Courtney above, Noel Gallagher (whom you may know from Oasis) went off on his own this year and released a solo album, Chasing Yesterday. Riverman is the standout for me, a relatively easy-going indie track with restrained power.

4. Waterboy, by Rhiannon Giddens

I don’t think you'd find a stronger vocalist in 2015 than Rhiannon Giddens, not surprising when you learn she received classical vocal training. American roots, soul, gospel. It’s all heart here.

5. Giant Peach, by Wolf Alice

Sometimes I need a strong, fast-paced song when I’m navigating New Jersey's congested highways. Giant Peach fits that need. Indie rock at its best. Lead singer Ellie Rowsell is a 2015 version of Joan Jett.

6. For Every Bite, Vaughn Gibson

This heavy song is gloomy, sluggish, and more than a little bit sleazy. What’s not to like?

7. Children of Children, by Jason Isbell

Any of the songs on any of the four country albums among my favorite albums of the year could’ve made it into my list of top songs, but this one stayed with me for several reasons.

8. You Should've Gone to School, by BC Camplight

Lead singer Brian Christinzio channels The Beach Boys in this fun, upbeat, indie pop ear worm.

9. Deeper Than Love, Colleen Green

Colleen Green doesn’t write deep, lyrical songs, but they are winners. She knows a good hook when she hears one. You may find that Deeper Than Love reminds you of Stacey Q.

10. I'm Not Going Roses Again, by Hooton Tennis Club

If punk is still alive, England’s Hooton Tennis Club is playing a role with a collection of guitar-driven songs. Roses feels like it was recorded live and improvised along the way, and it ends with a killer guitar riff.

Runners up

Kill v Maim, by Grimes
Let It Happen, by Tame Impala
Pretty Pimpin, by Kurt Vile
King Kunta, by Kendrick Lamar
Wolves and Doors, Finger Eleven
Hills, by Best Girl Athlete
Bluebonnets, by Aaron Watson
Gimme All Your Love, by Alabama Shakes
WTF (Where They From), by Missy Elliott

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