Top 5 Songs of 2015

These are my five favorite songs of 2015, one of the best years in music in a long time.

Warning: some of these songs contain language that some may find offensive, so listen at your own discretion.

Sapokanikan (Joanna Newsom)

One of my favorite songs of 2015 is Sapokanikan, the second song from Divers, Joanna Newsom’s first album in 5 years. Joanna Newsom is one of the most polarizing artists around today—between her strange non-accent (where is she from? California? Really?) and the baroque influences that separate her from contemporaries (she is the only artist who’s primary instrument is harp that I listen to), her music is hard to get into if you have not listened to her before. This was actually the first Joanna Newsom song I listened to: the music video was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) and the first time I played it I hated it and turned it off—I couldn’t understand what she was saying, and the music didn’t seem all that interesting. But something brought me back. I played it two, three, four times a day for about a week before realizing that Joanna has something special. Her layered lyrics and instrumentation take multiple listens to fully appreciate, but if you can get past her voice I think Joanna Newsom is perhaps the most unique, creative, and talented singer/songwriter today.

Pedestrian At Best (Courtney Barnett)

Australian artist Courtney Barnett launched onto the scene this year with her debut full-length album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit. The song Pedestrian At Best is the track that sticks out to me as the best standalone song from this album, and seems to be a good microcosm of Barnett’s style—intense from start to finish, tongue in cheek lyricism, and refusal to bow to societal norms.

I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) – Jamie xx

In his first solo project In Colour, Jamie xx (of The xx fame) dropped a great electronic album which featured this song, my personal song of the summer. It perfectly captures the summer vibe, but watch out if swear words make you uncomfortable—two verses by Young Thug feature some language that you would not want to play in front of your grandmother.
Let It Happen (Tame Impala)

The neo-psychedelic band Tame Impala gained a huge following their 2012 release “Lonerism,” so their album “Currents”, released this summer on Interscope Records, had a bunch of hype leading up the drop. Reviews have been mixed—many fans were disappointed by the disappearance of guitars as the central instrument in Tame Impala’s music, but others appreciated their evolution as a band into the genre of psychedelic pop. The first track on the Album, “Let It Happen” shows how Tame Impala can use a mix of traditional instrumentation and synths to create a sound that is all their own. But make sure to listen to the album version, and not the cut version that is used in the official music video!

Alright (Kendrick Lamar)

This song from Kendrick Lamar’s critically adored album To Pimp a Butterfly is my choice to round out the list of my favorite songs of 2015. With the repeated mantra “we gon’ be alright,” Kendrick stresses the resiliency of his community, with the hopeful idea that, despite all the inequality and prejudice that persists in the world today. Furthermore, it’s a jam.


–Bailey Vehslage, Editor in Chief

Posted by on December 15, 2015. Filed under Arts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry