Tracks of the year 2015

There were so many great songs to choose from in 2015, so to narrow it down to 11 I had to ask myself, which were the songs I listened to on repeat throughout the year? Even then, I was only able to narrow it down to 11 rather than the more traditional ten. So, here goes:

11. De Lux – Oh Man the Future

De Lux were our new band of the month back in September, but this was always my favourite song of theirs by far. As compelling and catchy as a paranoid rant about the future can be.

10. Leftfield and Sleaford Mods – Head and Shoulders

Sleaford Mods were perhaps the most divisive band of the year, as became apparent when a friend mentioned this track on Facebook. The split was pretty even between those who thought it was the worst thing they’d ever heard, and those who love it. I wasn’t sure at first, but grew to love it, with Leftield’s bassy electronic rumblings proving a perfect match for Sleaford Mods’ surrealist, angry ranting.

9. Jamie XX – Loud Places

This was one of our tracks of the week earlier in the year, so I won’t repeat myself too much, other than to say that this was one of those rare songs that total overexposure couldn’t ruin. And that ‘Gosh’ from the same album was very close to as good.

8. Oh Peas – September

Simple, lo-fi sadpop (in her own words) and absolutely gorgeous with it. It’s easy enough for anyone to produce a record in their bedroom now (even I’ve tried it), but it takes a rare talent to produce something as wonderful as this. If there’s one record from last year which deserves to be more widely heard, this is it.

7. FFS – Johnny Delusional

I may have been a bit cynical about the collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks originally:

But, when the album came out, I grew to love it, with several tracks vying to be my favourite. In the end, Johnny Delusional won out, as melodically and lyrically wonderful as the best Sparks songs. Who else can open a song like this?

“Words are in my head but I can’t enunciate them clearly
Headphones on your hair, they prevent a chance to even try
Some might find me borderline attractive from afar
But afar is not where I can stay and there you are”

6. Jenny Hval – That Battle is Over

Jenny Hval was responsible for one of the strangest and best gigs I’ve been to for a long time, back in November at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Part spoken word, part performance art, part weird electronic noises, but always with Hval’s powerful voice to the fore. This Battle is Over is perhaps her most accessible track showcasing those powerful vocals and unique fascinating lyrics at their finest.

5. Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta

Another one that I wrote about earlier in the year, the catchiest song from a fascinating, complex album. Of all the songs released this year, this was the one that, when listened to on headphones, made me walk in a bouncy, slightly ridiculous fashion.

4. Ata Kak – Obaa Sima

I would have given long odds on an electro hip-hop track from early-nineties Ghana being one of my tracks of 2015, but no song made me smile more than this one this year. Again, I wrote about it earlier in the year, so won’t repeat myself, but kudos always to Awesome Tapes from Africa for bringing it to my attention, and to the wider world. And great news that Ata Kak will be on tour in 2016.

3. Girlpool – Before The World Was Big

As I wrote back in June, I’m slightly perplexed that two teenagers could produce something as lyrically and melodically perfect as this, but that doesn’t make me love it any less. Girlpool have that lo-fi, stripped back sound I love, with beautiful harmonies and intertwined vocals. One of my favourite new bands of 2015.

2. John Grant – Disappointing

John Grant’s Pale Green Ghosts is one of my favourite albums of recent years, and I doubted he could produce anything to match it, but Disappointing may now be my favourite track of his. Taking his always superb lyrics and powerful vocals and melding them to the catchiest electro-pop song you can imagine turns out to be a pretty great idea.

Lyrically, it’s a list of things which are “so disappointing, compared to you”, which sounds straightforward enough, until you realise that list includes “Rollercoasters and Earl Gray Malts, Ocelot babies but not bath salts” and “The genitive case in German, it’s true, Is something that I’m quite partial to”

On a side note, I may have slightly ruined this song for my wife by constantly singing it around the house, but with made up lyrics. Sorry love.

1.Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4

It’s not often a song comes on the radio which stops me in my tracks and makes me think I’ve never heard anything like this before, but “Chateau Lobby #4” is one of those songs. A string-laden mariachi love-song with some of the best lyrics I’ve heard in this or any other year. I’ve listened to this song more than any other this year, and it still sends shivers down my spine every time. It was tough to narrow my tracks of the year down to ten, but picking my number one was not difficult at all.

 

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