Yes it’s that time again- time for the end of year lists. And just like every year in the history of modern society, 2015’s musical output has been stellar. The likes of Hotline Bling, Adele’s Hello, What Do You Mean and Lean On by Major Lazer are all obvious shoe-ins onto this list, but I’ll also be adding in some of the most essential songs from 2015 that you may have missed. I’ve tried to limit it to one song per artist, excluding features and collaborations- enjoy!
50. Rudimental – I Will For Love (Roni Size Remix)
49. Snoop Dogg – California Roll (ft Stevie Wonder & Pharrell)
48. Coasts – Modern Love (Friction Remix)
47. Alex Adair – Make Me Feel Better (Don Diablo & CID Remix)
46. JME – Don’t @ Me (ft Skepta, Shorty & Frisco)
45. Nero – The Thrill
44. Tyler, The Creator – Fucking Young
43. T-Pain – Okay To Smile
42. Chase & Status – Bigger Man Sound (ft Novelist)
41. Joey Bada$$ – Like Me
40. Eats Everything – Dancing (Again)
39. The Internet – Go With It (ft Vic Mensa)
38. ASAP Rocky – Holy Ghost (ft Joe Fox)
37. Mumford & Sons – Believe
36. Purity Ring – Repetition
35. Adele – Hello
34. Action Bronson – Baby Blue (ft Chance The Rapper)
33. Enter Shikari – Dear Future Historians (London Elektricity Remix)
32. Jay Rock – The Message
31. CHVRCHES – Afterglow
30. Solo 45 – Feed ‘Em To The Lions
29. Blonde – All Cried Out
28. Frances – Grow
27. Slaves – The Hunter
26. Kanye West – FourFiveSeconds (ft Rihanna & Paul McCartney)
25. Drake & Future – Jumpman
24. Jamie T – Zombie
23. Chance The Rapper – Somewhere In Paradise (ft Jeremih & R Kelly)
22. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone
21. Vince Staples – Norf Norf
20. Delta Heavy – Ghost
19. Disclosure – Holding On (ft Gregory Porter)
18. Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Miracle
17. Lianne La Havas – What You Don’t Do
16. Hudson Mohawke – Ryderz
15. Fetty Wap – Trap Queen
14. Alessia Cara – Here
13. Big Sean – Blessings (ft Drake & Kanye West)
12. Justin Bieber – What Do You Mean?
11. Kendrick Lamar – Alright
10. Logic – City of Stars
Logic dropped one of the albums of 2015, and City of Stars was one of many highlights. While the LP impressed throughout, City of Stars was what switched my attention from mild interest to ‘who the fuck is this?’ Logic’s lyricism and poetic storytelling rap are exactly what’s been agonisingly missing from rap in 2015, with everybody dropping trap-infested hits, Logic finally came to rap’s rescue and dropped something with substance.
9. Snakehips – All My Friends (ft Tinashe & Chance The Rapper)
Snakehips you may not have heard of, but the collaborators on All My Friends you definitely would have. In this sultry R&B crossover, it explains the torture often endured at the weekend when you’re not feeling the night- we’ve all been there, and Snakehips and co. have it the nail on the head. ‘All my friends are wasted, and I hate this club, man I drink too much. Another Friday night wasted, my eyes are black and red, I’m crawling back to your bed’. Chance The Rapper’s typically perfect is merely the icing on the cake.
8. Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (ft MO)
I’ve never been the most consistent admirer of Major Lazer’s brash EDM stylings, but when they tone things down a bit, just like they did with Get Free back in , the results are often incredible. Lean On was the latest and greatest example of this. Featuring eastern vibes, draped in Indian influences, built around that now-trademark probing baseline, the fresh-faced MO danced about her chirrupy vocals to create one of the biggest hits of 2015.
7. Towkio – Heaven Only Knows (ft Chance The Rapper)
Towkio is yet another name to emerge from the thriving Chicago rap scene. Another name stemming from the Chance The Rapper/Vic Mensa-boasting SAVEMONEY collective, Towkio dropped his pretty good debut mixtape .wav Theory earlier this year, and on it was one of the best songs of 2015- Heaven Only Knows. Heaven Only Knows is a chirrupy track that starts jazzy and soulful, and with the introduction of Chance it contorts into a break-beat style anthem of rap soul.
6. Sigala – Easy Love
Talk about a feel good hit. If you haven’t already heard Easy Love then something is really wrong. Famously reworking The Jackson 5’s ABC, the sun-kissed house track was instantly anthem-worthy. Coupled with a just as cheerful video of the expected dances in the sun, Easy Love was one of the catchiest and likeable tracks of 2015.
5. The Chemical Brothers – Go (ft Q Tip)
The Chemical Brothers made a triumphant return to music with their eight studio album- Born In The Echoes. On the album was an array of timeless Chem Bros sounds, some revamped for 2015, others sticking religiously to what’s made them the household name they are. The lead single from the LP was Go featuring past collaborator Q Tip, and it proved to be yet another combination following their past work together on Galvanize.
4. Jamie xx – Loud Places (ft Romy)
Jamie xx is one of the most slept-on artists of 2015. And the fact that his solo debut In Colour, missed out on The Mercury Prize really shows what a catastrophe it is (still reeling over Massive Attack’s Mezzanine). In Colour had an abundance of electronic sounds on it, all showcasing the array of avenue’s that The xx tinker man had pursued. Loud Places was the stand-out track from the LP, and after three captivating performances of the song at Glastonbury, Reading and then Bestival, the song has been essential to this year’s soundtrack.
3. Tame Impala – Yes I’m Changing
Currents was one of, if not the best album of 2015, and as such featured some incredibly tracks. As I’ve tried to limit each artist on this list to one song each, picking the best song from Currents was an absolute task in itself, in the end I went for Yes I’m Changing. Yes I’m Changing epitomised the transition from rock-powered psychedelica to synth-driven hypnosis found on Tame Impala’s latest album. The solitary 808 club, floaty synths and utterly mesmerising vocals from Kevin Parker all contributed to one of the songs of 2015.
2. The Weeknd – The Hills
A lot of people reach for I Can’t Feel My Face when looking at The Weeknd’s unparalleled success in 2015. But for me, The Hills was what propelled the R&B household name into worldwide mega-star. The Hills took heavy influences from 2015’s trap-infested waters, and, with Illangelo on production, reinvigorated it into one of the -cringe- sexiest R&B singles from the past few years.
1. Drake – Hotline Bling
Obviously. Nothing has come close to the enormity of what Hotline Bling has become. Back in 2010, Drake became a household name with Best I Ever Had, a song that had women the world over swooning, and men the world over crying out for more Drizzy. In 2015, Drake did it again with Hotline Bling. With infectious, genius production, melodic-yet-punchy vocals from the man of the year, not to mention the implosion of memes following the release of the music video, Hotline Bling is undoubtedly the song of 2015, from the biggest rapper in the world.
Like this list? Be sure to check out The West Review’s Albums of 2015 here.