Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Songs of 2015: 81-100

We present the first batch of the top 100 songs of 2015, as determined by the editorial staff of ATHoM in close consultation with our staff writers and drawing on sentiment from our monthly reader poll...

Apple Music and Spotify accounts made it easier to discover new music this year, even if many of the old blog sources are drying up. We will provide an embedded Spotify widget and a link to an Apple Music playlist for each entry.  

Limit one appearance per artist, as per always. 

Apple Music


100. (tie) "Like a Rolling Stone (Take 11, Alternate Take)" by Bob Dylan  (from The Best of the Cutting Edge 1965-1966) / "Sweet Jane (Promotional Mono Version)" by The Velvet Underground (from Loaded: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary)

We'll start at the bottom of our list with what would have easily been the two top songs this year if, you know, they didn't already exist in their original versions.  (Neither streaming service has the deluxe version of either album, so alternate alternate versions are in the Spotify playlist while Apple seems to be defaulting to the original versions)

99. "Nearly Forgot my Broken Heart" by Chris Cornell (from Higher Truth)
"And did me wrong / and it serves me right"

Spectre went with a mopey title track from Sam Smith, but would have done better with either the discarded Radiohead track or this song from the guy who recorded the theme to Casino Royale. Listen and you can picture the animated bullets and sultry ladies.  

98. "Rich" by Cosmo Sheldrake (from Pelicans We EP)
"If I want to have light by day / and fire by night"

Three lines of lyrics repeated over a ramshackle beat. Guest vocals (from Anndreyah Vargas) make it sound unlike the rest of Sheldrake's debut EP. 
97. "Turn Around" by Mikal Cronin (from MCIII)
"Who are we / so light and small and eager to be known"

We really like Mikal Cronin ("Weight" was the #20 song of 2013), and yet when his songs aren't playing we find them incredibly hard to remember. 

96. "Echoes in the Rain" by Enya (from Dark Sky Island)
"Alleluia ^ 

It sounds like no one else. We don't want to listen to her all the time, or even that much, but we're glad Enya exists to soundtrack Audi commercials and unicorn weddings. 

95. "Everday" by A$AP Rocky (from AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP)
"Adjusting to the motions and getting out all my emotions"

A$AP (who also made a pretty good acting debut this year in Dope) is joined on this track by two others further up the list (Hudson Mohawke, Miguel), one who just missed the cut (Mark Ronson) and -- making his first appearance -- Rod Stewart. 

94. "No Life for Me" by Wavves & Cloud Nothings (from No Life for Me)
"My energy is my long for you"

As musical team ups go, this pairing is probably shares too much DNA for its offspring not be at risk of a pig's tail. No Life For Me fares better than that, but doesn't reach the heights of either band's standalone work. 

93. "I Love You All the Time" by Florence + the Machine (charity single)
<Eagles of Death Metal cover>

Given the title, upbeat tone and verses in French, it is a pretty perfect cover choice in the wake of the Paris attacks. Tops anything on How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, sadly. 

92. "Breaker" by Deerhunter (from Fading Frontier)
"I'm still alive, and that's something"

"Breaker" is here less as a standout single, and more as a worthy representative of the surprisingly low key and accessible Fading Frontier.   

91. "Too Original" by Major Lazer (from Peace is the Mission)
"Dance like a chicken / flap tiger wild"

Great to fuel a run or trip to gym. Can be like nails on a chalkboard during more relaxed moments, though. 

90. "Leaving the City" by Joanna Newsom (from Divers)
"Bleached the night / with dawn deleting"

It's weird that in the Samberg/Newsom household the stronger filmography belongs to Joanna (Inherent Vice) and not Andy. Weird, but maybe not really surprising. (not on Spotify or Apple, listen here)

89. "The Less I Know the Better" by Tame Impala (from Currents)
"She was holding hands with Trevor / not the greatest feeling ever"

We're always a sucker for a driving bass line. A shorter version of "Let it Happen" could have made this list instead, but the version on Currents is just too damned long. Solid album.  
88. "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" by Keith Urban (single)
"I'm a blue jean quarterback saying 'I love you' to the prom queen / in a Chevy"

We usually say we like just about all genres of music but Country, but there is actually some good Country out there. This, however, is not good Country. What it is, is so spectacularly and (one hopes) knowingly dumb that it earns enough amusement to ride its catchiness and string of Americana cliches onto the list. Use sparingly. 

87. "When I Look Around (Mix 3)" by Olivare (single)
...no idea

Last minute addition to the list (it bumped something you won't miss, we're sure). There is basically no information out there on this band. Not on Spotify or Apple Music, listen here

86. "When the Light Turn Out" by Twin Shadow (from Eclipse)
"You make something so right so wrong"

We know what to expect from now by Twin Shadow, and he consistently delivers the 80's power ballads we need.   

85. "Weak" by Wet (single)
"Baby / please don't leave me"

DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak will probably fall before we see a song title / band name / album title combo with fewer characters. Congratulations Wet!   

84. "My Cousin Greg" by Houndmouth (from Little Neon Limelight)
"Hey Greg / where'd one of your shoes go / he looked at me and said / 'that's not important'"

No idea what Greg's deal is, but we were charmed by this shambly little tune, and the rest of Houndmouth's sophomore effort. 
83. "Walking on a Wire" by Lost Lander (from Medallion)
"Hold on to that thread / we will not sleep until we're dead"

ATHoM favorite Brent Knopf received a lot of attention in 2015 for his pairing with Matt Berninger (of the National) to create El Vy. His other project this year was a second go round as producer for Portland's Lost Lander, with predictably lush results. 

82. "Kamikaze" by MØ (single)
"So come on / feed the meet to the tiger"

Both of MØ's songs with Diplo as producer have made this list (the other was "XXX 88" in 2013)
81. "Old Thing Back" by Matoma and the Notorious B.I.G. (single)

Matoma takes Biggie's verses from "One More Chance" and puts them behind a much more lively, Kygo-esque beat to great effect. As good as the James Brown + Tupac combo from Django Unchained was, Biggie is crushing him on overall posthumous mashup quality. 

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